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if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

Posted by lilysuzanne40 (My Page) on
Thu, Oct 31, 02 at 3:49

My dad remarried last year, a year after my mother died. My entire family has tried very hard to be nice and supportive, but my stepmother makes it very difficult. In discussing the problems we've had with other adult children of stepmothers, a couple of common themes have emerged.

1. Your husband has a family who he loves and who loves him. They have a right to see him (yes, sometimes without you), spend time with him and talk to him on the phone. In no way does this threaten you or the love you share. You are not owed every single second of his life. If you are insecure and jealous of his family, you may temporarily or even permanently push his family out of his life, but they will hate you and he will resent you. My stepmother rigidly controls the amount of time we spend with my father. Prior to his marriage, I talked to him a couple times a week and usually saw him every other week or so. Now, weeks go by without him returning my phone calls and I've only spent 20 minutes alone with him in nearly a year.

2. Do not, under any circumstances, dispose of, give away or even sort through, personal items belonging to your stepchildren's mother. Do not empty out picture frames or photo albums, or give away clothes, jewelry or pictures of the children's deceased mother. It is not your place to do so. If you are uncomfortable having the items around AND your spouse either won't or can't deal with them, let your stepchildren have the opportunity to do so. My stepmother has done all of those things, from sorting through my mother's things (remember, she'd only been gone a year when the new stepmother moved in), to giving away various items to emptying out picture frames and albums. You may think you have the right. You don't. And they will hate you for it.

3. Don't talk about your stepchildren behind their backs, especially to the other children. Referring to your stepgrandchildren as "little brats" is not conducive to good family relationships.

4. If your spouse is a widower, don't think you have to "compete" with the ghost of his deceased wife. You can't anyway. Even if she was the wicked witch of the west, once she's gone, all her good qualities are magnified. My mother was a wonderful woman, but to hear my stepmother tell it, my dad's life with her was sheer torture. Totally untrue, but she somehow needs to believe it.

5. Don't come into the family home and immediately begin to purge it of any trace of the "other" woman. In my case, my stepmother not only tore down our family home, she bulldozed my mother's gardens, went through every box of mementoes and family treasures and has dismissed as "junk" everything that ever belonged to my mother.

6. Don't "diss" the children's mother to them, even if you think you're being clever about it. They can see right through you and again, they're going to hate you for it. My stepmother makes statements about what a "mess" the house was when she moved in. (My dad had been alone for a year.) What a terrible housekeeper my mother was (nothing could have been further from the truth, at least when my mother wasn't dying of breast cancer.)

7. If you're so insecure and certain that his children can "make" him stop loving you, you're wrong. They can't, but you can if you exhibit mean, self-centered, spiteful, jealous or controlling behavior.

I'm sorry this is so long. My stepmother has caused such intense pain in my family. I don't know if she even realizes how much or if she cares. If you see yourself in any of the things I have said, stop now and re-evaluate your actions and reactions. Don't let temporary growing pains become irreversible error.
I'd like to be my stepmother's friend, but she's making it awfully difficult. I started out liking her, have regressed into feeling ambivalent and am very close to hating her. And it's all because of her behavior.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

I had a stepmother from hell. She loved all six of Dad's kids until the day they married. Then, she would not allow us to speak to him for years at a time. It was his fault as well for being so easily manipulated and for believing her lies. They lived about 2 hours drive from us and I was busy with my own life as were my siblings, but she was so afraid to share 5 minutes of phone call time. They were married for 20 years and I saw Dad about 4 times in that period. We were happy that Dad had a chance to have a marriage where he felt loved (Mom tossed him out during menopause when she decided she wanted to see what life was like without the man she had been tied to since age 16.) We welcomed her with open arms when we first met... went to the wedding, etc. There was absolutely no reason for her to change face the way she did. She told us how much she had wanted more children (one son) and now was going to have them. She had always wanted daughters!! She died about 5 years ago. About 2 years before her death, Dad suggested they have a will drawn up. He had a good job, nice home and some savings and he wanted to make sure that his kids would get something. When they went to the attorney's office, she stormed out because she refused to agree to 50% for her son and the other 50% to be shared among the six of dad's kids in case the both of them died. She died without a will and my Dad inherited every last penny, so she screwed herself with her venom because her son received nothing. At the funeral, it was only with the greatest of constraint that I could keep myself from breaking out singing "Ding Dong the witch is Dead!!!" I feel blessed that since that time, we have been able to rekindle a relationship with my Dad. My children actually got to meet their Grandpa and my Mom and Dad remarried 3 years ago. It could have been so different had she not had such a dark soul. She could have been an asset to our family and we could have been the daughters she never had. It was her own evil that consumed her.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

Rosie brings up a very interesting point -- lilysuzanne, does your Dad have money? Is your mom trying to rewrite history so that his will will be her will?

If I was himself there, I'd be checking on my bank accounts, and on my credit card bills.

The bad mouthing I could almost ignore, depending on what is was, because words are easily misconstrued. The getting rid of the stuff esp the photos on the other hand -- that sounds insane.

Out of curiousity, *how* can she limit contact with your father? Does he work? Can you call him at work? Does she vet his mail? If he doesn't believe this sort of thing is going on, might be a nifty test-and-evidence -- send him a card registered mail, and if he doesn't get it, show him the receipt.

So...what do you want now? And can you count on your Dad helping you? And can you show him what's really going on -- while downplaying your own rancour so he sees it objectively?

Not sure what to advise you if she's siphoning money. You may want to look into a lawyer/detective (I'm blowing hot air now). Dunno, as it's your dad, not you.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

My father remarried about 8 years ago and it was a very hard adjustment for everyone. I want my father to be happy so I looked the other way with a bunch of things.
I had been living out of state and relocated to a town about 30 miles from them shortly after they married. She thought I was going to be the focus of my father's life and wanted me to stay away from their house. So I did. i figured she was so far off base that after time she would come around and I was right.
But the ride has not been smooth since then. His wife has a daughter who they have raised believing that my father is her natural father! The girl gets everything and anything she wants and at times it bothers me, but I realize that that was then ansd this is now and I am glad to see my father being a better parent to her then he was to me.
His wife runs his life. She also has an older son. She removed all pictures of my brother and myself from her house and has lined the walls with pictures of her kids and her sons new baby. Once when I was there I just had to comment. I told her that I was glad to see that she had taken an ugly picture of me off the wall. She said she was painting and that the picture would go back up soon Yeah right. She had other pictures hanging where mine had been. I figured it was her way of pretending that I didn't exist, but that was too bad, I was not going to disappear from my dad's life.
I feel that I have to be very understanding because she never will. I don't let her stand in the way of my realtionship with my father. I figure that they can just deal with it.
I do not love my fathers wife. But I do love my father and I respect the choices he has made in his life even if I do not respect his wife.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

First off your stepmother is a class AAA b***h, and that is an understatement. The correct word that describes her I will not post on this forum.

But what about your Dad? I think some of this is his fault. Why doesn't he stand up to this hag and tell her that he's going to see his family whether she likes it or not? If she gets mad and leaves him then in my opinion he is better off.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

Thanks so much for your comments and advice. My sisters and I are seeking counseling to help us deal with the pain of the situation and also find ways to tell our father how we feel. We suspect that he may not be completely aware of what she is doing. I have been told by a very reliable source that he asked her for a divorce less than two months ago and told her that he thought they'd gotten married too soon. As far as I know, the whole thing blew over, but it's a hopeful sign to me. I don't want him to get divorced, but I do find it comforting that he is willing to take the step if he feels it's warranted and, ultimately, he's the only one who can make that decision.

On the subject of money, oddly enough she is the one with the money. However, she uses it like a weapon, alternately rewarding and punishing people who please or displease her. My dad has never had a lot of money, so when she came into the picture, she immediately bought him a new truck, with all the bells and whistles, and has thrown money around since then. Truthfully, I don't think he would have married her if she hadn't been wealthy. That's not because I think my Dad is shallow, but I think on a subconscious level, he was seduced by the idea of not having to scrimp any longer. His asset at the time was a home/land/shop/vehicle that were all completely paid for. Of course, she moved in and invested a bunch of money in "fixing" up the place, including building a whole new house, so now, even if he were to divorce, he would likely have to sell the family property and split the proceeds.

Most of all, I am trying to be understanding of her and her situation. She is a hurting person who is needy and has very low self-esteem. Her anger and fear are driving her actions and I think will ultimately drive my dad away from her -- which she definitely does not want. I have tried being honest with her before, telling her that I want her in my Dad's life, but that she has nothing to fear from us and that we just want them to be happy. She reacted by telling me I was "attacking" her and proceeded to trash me behind my back, even lying about what was said. It's impossible to reason with an unreasoning person.

Our next course of action is to meet with the counselor, with my Dad there so he can hear what we have to say. What happens after that is up to him, but when he loses touch with his family and has nearly no relationship with his children and grandchildren, he won't be able to complain 2 or 3 or 5 years down the line that he didn't know what was going on.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

IT sounds like the only difference between our situations is that my mom is still alive. My stepmother does all of the above. My sister and I knew from the beginning that my mother was the reason for the divorce. We never made her out to be a saint, but to be subjected at the age of 11 to a horrible woman calling your mother every name in the book when they were friends up until this woman married my father is the worst. The thing tha got me through it was that I realized I had to control the situation. To do that, I cut all communications with them. When my sister had her son, she told my dad he could come over anytime he wanted to see Tucker, but that she was not going to put her son through what we went through. My stepmother called my sister and told her that my dad was not going to set foot in their house. I accept the fact that she is a psychotic witch. I know that my sister nor I did anything to warrant this treatment from her. People on this site were always saying kill her with kindness. I see no sense in that. I am not going to be nice to someone who told me that I was not welcome in her house because I wouldnt let her walk all over me.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

I am so glad to hear that we are not the only ones with an evil stepmother. My dad started seeing this woman just 2 months after Mom died (at age 46). We were not ready for a new mom but to keep Dad happy we all greeted her with opened arms. They married just a year after Mom's death. This lady had two teen sons that we also welcomed into the family. Well, in the years that she has been in the family she has done everything from forcing Dad to sell the family farm to getting rid of ever last bit of Mom's things (except the antiques that she wanted to keep) All of the items we grew up with were auctioned to the highest bidder, not offered to the kids...at any price. She has left Dad several times, been seen with other men, has a secret bank account..ect. When we tell Dad about these things he accuses of lieing. If I caught her in bed with another man I would not tell him about it anymore. Her boys have grown up and have children of their own. She and Dad travel several hours into another state to visit them but cannot even drive 15 minutes to see ours. My oldest child will be graduating from school this spring and her "grandparents" have never seen her in a single school activity...they do not have time...though they have time to travel to see the "other" grandchildren, go out to eat, go to plays, visit other relatives...Did I mention that while Mom was alive, Dad never took the family out to eat? He and his wife eat out almost every night. They have a nice new house that she will inherit some day and she left him one time because he did not set up his will like she thought he should...Darn..she came back. Oh well. I am resigned to the fact that when Mom died, so did my family as I knew it or dreamed it should be. Is there anyone out there who would like to be the grandparents of three wonderful, intelligent, talented and loving grandchildren. I know three that could sure use some grandparently love and attention.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

I would welcome them with open arms. What kind of selfish, self centered person could not see it???? It happened with my Dad as well and the worst thing about it is that I knew that if he was half a man, he would be there to be Grandpa to my childrewn. I care diddly about his $$ as I did then. I have more than he does. Unforunately, his wife had $$ signs in her head and since that was her focus - she could see anyhing else. She died a victim of her own greed as will all that think $$ is the prime focus.. For the sake of money, we lost the important part of him.... his presence and love. She's dead now and we now have our Dad. He is elderly and needs us now. I would never hold his bad choices against him. I'll be there every minute because I love him. He is human, imperfect....aaandd the Dad I love. Despite the fact that I lnow that he threw out all the kids and the grandkids for some manipulating XXXXX, I am here for him because I remember and appreciate the good in him and love him no matter. Our kids are now able to get to know him and all the family history he brings. You have to be flexxible to accept it all. Hope your story ends up as happy as ours. The key is ... patience!!! We waited 25 years until the devils spawn died! Sounds horrible? Not nearly as baaad as what she did to 6 kids and their children with her jealousy!


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

Thanks for the encouragement. My step mother is 17 years younger than my dad so the chances of her kicking off before he does is not good. We took care of him the three times she left him (packing lunches, cleaning house, doing laundry, getting medication filled...) but as soon as she comes back we are dumped again. She does have $ signs in her eyes as Dad paid off her debts, put her boys through school and built her a lovely home and treats her to lots of things that he would have told Mom was a waste of money. I hope for a happy ending also but we are going on 21 years of this treatment so I am starting to give up hope...now about these grandchildren...tomorrow is senior night on the basketball court....wanna come?????


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

All of these perspectives are so amazing to me. I think the one really solid lesson we should all learn is that it is not stepmothers, stepfathers, stepdaughters, stepsons, faults globally. EVERY situation is different. Every case different. Their are great stepmothers, great stepfathers, great stepdaughters and great stepsons. We shouldn't judge any one category. Every type can be hurt or loved. Judge each case independently and try to forgive the best you can.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

True, but if you read through this forum, there are quite a few commonalities that emerge. No, not every stepparent is mean, hateful, resentful, but there are certainly some. Most of us, parents and stepparents alike are trying to wade through the morass of previous messes and do the best we can.

Kinda surprised that a 4 year old thread got hit again....


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

It's been four years since I posted this message on the forum, so I was surprised when two follow-up messages were posted on the thread within 24 hours.
I'd like to tell you that things are different or better, but that's simply not the case. In fact, my stepmother has "won" in every way that counts. I neither see nor talk wtih my dad. My sister and I arranged to go there last Father's Day for a visit but my stepmother canceled the visit because "they were going to be out of town." We showed up anyway and, of course, they were there. She had a screaming hissy fit and the only time I've seen my dad since was at a family funeral. He later told his sister, from whom he has been estranged since his marriage to my stepmother, that he simply "can't be with people the way he used to be because she can't handle it."
I guess my advice to stepchildren, especially those with stepmothers, is this:
1) If you think it can't get any worse, trust me, it can.
2) While there are a lot of wonderful stepmothers out there, there are also lots of psychotic, severely insecure, bullying, jealous, hysterical women who will stop at NOTHING to erase their husband's past, children and grandchildren included.
3) You cannot change these women, nor should you try. When I dwell on the situation too long, I become very emotional. That's when I recite the prayer: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
4) There are thousands of people who are in this predicament. We don't often talk about it because it seems people are automatically disposed to believe any bad situation is the fault of the adult stepchildren. We're called greedy, controlling, stuck in the past, etc.
5) I no longer like my stepmother. In fact, I actively despise her. She's a shallow, manipulative shrew who has destroyed my father's relationship with all his friends, his family, children and grandchildren.
My consolation is that someday she'll have to answer to God for what she's done.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bullying in the family


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

Wow!


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

Lily,
Your consolation is that despite all that went on around you, you tried to do the right thing.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

wow...the games some women play. It is so incredibly sad. I imagine that they somehow are able to justify their behavior in their own mind...otherwise, how do they sleep at night?


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

I'm not sure my stepmother sleeps so much as she hangs upside down by her claws. (Meoow! lol)
You're right though, bnice, she does justify all of her actions under the umbrella of "everyone is just trying to be mean to me."
What I can't understand is my dad's actions. He has a brother and three sisters who live within 10 miles of him and who virtually never hear from him. He never calls or responds to any of our cards and letters. My stepmother is such a bully that I understand, at a rational level, why he behaves the way he does. But the hurting side of me just wants closure. I've thought about actually formally cutting ties with him, to the point of changing my last name and notifying him by certified mail that he is to consider me to deceased. I realize that is drastic but the pain of never having closure hurts so much, I can't imagine that it would be any worse than that.
I understand how she can be cold and cruel and callous. But how can he?


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

I suppose in some ways it stuns me at how spineless and weak some men can be with women like this. I do not understand why they do not stand up with all of the strength of a man and tell her that if she wants to remain his wife, she will treat those he loves with respect and kindness, and that he is not putting up with her mean spirit and trying to destroy the relationships with everyone he loves. She would respect him more if he stood up with the strength of a man and told her no more. And he would respect himself. I wonder what he thinks of her late at night when he realizes that all of the important relationships in his life are damaged and broken because of her. How does one actually feel love for someone who creates so much pain in their life? Who bad mouths everyone he loves and cares about and who brings such strife, instead of making a home filled with love, laughter, and welcoming the people he loves.

However, I also understand that when we are hurt by people, we pull back and withdraw from them...because the relationship is too painful. For some, perhaps this is the reason...they try to keep the people who judge them, or hurt them away...because seeing them, or talking to them pulls the scabs off the old wounds and it hurts. She may have been hurt somehow too, or felt rejected, harshly judged, or knew how you really felt about her. Or she may just be so insecure and callous and simply wants everyone who he loves out of the picture...which would make her a pretty awful human being. And a person like that must have a selfish, mean and bitter spirit, and not much fun to be around.

I am sorry that another person was able to create such pain and loss in a realtionship with your own dad. It is so sad. I have a feeling though, that alot of people unfortunately are going through the same thing you are, as people remarry. After reading this forum, you will read about many step mothers who cannot stand their step children...and it is so sad...this pain they are bringing into these families. Unless they adore his children, and have a generous spirit, it would be better for everyone (including themselves) if they did not marry into the family.

I hope that somehow she can become generous in spirit and that there will be healing in your family. I am sorry that this pain has been brought into your family. I hope for happier days ahead for each of you.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

lilysuzanne...how are you doing?


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

How am I doing?
Most days I'm OK. I heard from a cousin, who saw my dad in the local barbershop. He hadn't seen dad in a couple of years and inquired about the family, grandchildren, etc. Dad replied that he didn't know how anyone was doing and that he doesn't see or talk to any of his family. Then he said, "I'm not allowed."
That comment broke my heart in a couple of ways. First is that he's apparently not strong enough to assert his independence and right to have connections with his family. The second is that the entire situation has come to this. I've come to think of him as a hostage who exhibits classic Stockholm Syndrome. My stepmother has become his captor and he has learned to do what he can to maintain the peace.
On a related topic, did anyone else read the news coverage of the stepmother incident in the Midwest last week? Two young girls were discovered, starving and emaciated, locked in the basement of a home. Upstairs was their stepmother and her own young daughter, both well nourished. The father was a long-haul truck driver who was out of town for 4-5 day stretches, but who had most recently been home about four days previously.
Now, there is no way that he could not have realized that something was wrong and yet he failed to protect his daughters in an effort to appease his wife. Yet another example of the destructive influence of poor stepparenting. I'm not saying they're all like that but there are stunning numbers of bad stepparents out there. Imagine the damage they are leaving on young psyches.
Whenever I'm tempted to feel sorry for myself, I think about how lucky I am to be an adult when having to deal with an evil stepmother. I can't imagine going up against her as a child. It's apparent I would get no help from my father.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

I wonder how your dad would respond to someone offering him their home. Is he retired?


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

He was retired, although he was forced to go back to work this year because of her spending habits. I don't think he'd take up the offer anyway ... his siblings have all offered him the same but he has turned it down. Please understand -- he recognizes that his situation is difficult but he says he loves my stepmother and is a steadfast believer in his marriage vows. It is painful but I, and my siblings, have tried to come to terms with the obvious: when forced to make a choice, he chose to delete us from his life.
When I tell other people, who don't understand the situation, that fact they simply assume that we have made the situation into what it is. There seems to be a presumption of guilt when adult stepchildren are erased from their parent's life. Over the years, I have had people accuse me of being greedy and controlling and of being only concerned with my "inheritance." It's as if an adult child is thought of as not "needing" their parent any longer and of being selfish when the parent finds a new love.
I've often wondered why this phenomenom hasn't been explored more by television talk shows, etc. I have come to the conclusion that it hits entirely too close to home for many people. A recent survey I read indicates that more than half the population of the United States is, or has been, involved in a stepfamily situation. There seems to be a pervasive effort to mute criticism of stepping as a method of forming families, out of fear of alienating people.
It is my belief, my strong belief, that a majority of stepfamilies simply don't work for at least one or perhaps more than one of the immediate family. I could be wrong, but that's my gut feeling.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

Hi lilysuzanne! I am sorry for the needless pain that you are suffering. In response to your last post, I had no idea that there were such problems in so many of the step families...until I found this forum and began to read it. I then started thinking about my own friends who have divorced and remarried, and they are terrific, successful women with lots of friends. If anyone could do this well, I thought that each of them would be the one to be a very successful step parent, and do it right. When I would listen to "their side" of course I would sympathize with them. They are my friends, and I only heard their side. But after watching each one push "his kids" further and further away, and I found this forum, and I read about how these new wives hate his children, I realize that in many, many step families, there is such gut wrenching pain for children out there...young and adult children alike. Even a long time family friend of my in-laws who is in her 60's and has been in two marriages in the last 10 years (one husband died) in both of her marriages, there was no communication with the adult children of the men she was married too. I am now realizing that she may not be the woman I thought she was. Sure she is all laughter when visiting us, but if she was so terrific, why have the relationships with his adult children completely been destroyed? For what?

I agree lilysuzanne...I am beginning to think that the pain in these families is much bigger than I realized.

I have yet to hear a step mother on this forum describe her husbands ex wife as a wonderful person. I know several normal, wonderful women who are divorced. Will the new wives now see them through very tainted eyes, describing them as horrible, and need to see them that way due to their own insecurities and jealously? Or do they behave horribly themselves in these situations, provoking the new wife? I don't know.

And if you have been accused of being greedy, and worrying about "your" inheritance...should they not be questioning your step mothers motives? In the woman in her 60's that I know, she got everything, and his own off spring did not receive anything. I imagine that they were hurt. Afterall, he knew the new wife for less than 2 years. She turned right around and married another man, and again...there is no communication with her now husbands adult children. I cannot imagine that a man would not be strong enough to stand up to such women. I think she may respect him more, even if she does not like it. But to let some woman destroy the most important relationships, that he has spent a life time building, is beyond comprehension.
It causes me to lose repect for these men who would allow a woman to call the shots, and turn them into this wimpy, pathetic creature...for what?


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

My mother died when i was 10years old. I've had 2 stepmothers. The first was a horrible witch gold digger demon. But thank GOD my father and us had a family meeting and she was kicked out of the house. My second stepmom was good.BUT business and smart woman. She respected us. My father moved into her house, so we didn't have to go through the ordeal of what you went through. BUT..years later my father sold the building and we as kids recieved NOTHING. Infact he locked the money with her into rrsp's. My mother paid for teh building and we didn't see a penny. Now they are after the land in europe. BUT..thank god for their laws. It clearly states when the person becomes dies, it goes directly to the kids and not to the husband.:) There was a big fight with both andwe didnt speak for 6 years. Now we talk for teh sake of my son but i still have my guard up. He wants a 1/4 of the profit. We haven't sold it yet. Its cruel thing....but i think my brothers are waiting for him to pass away so my stepmom will recieve absolutely NOTHING.
Make sure you keep open communication with your father regardless of what the stepmom does. Do not get jipped like i did. I'm sure he has changed his will to give everything to her.
Im a stepmom now and i do not interfere in my husbands relationship with his kids. He loves them and to do anythign mean to them is unfair and a betrayal on my part to him as his wife. Though we are both very strict when it comes to respect. He will not tolerate adn neither would i. We are a united front with that (ie, shipping out if it gets bad to be taught a lesson after alot of love and nothing gets done. Its a last resort but we are united in this decision. ANdyes, that includes my son. If he acts up and after many chances doesn't behave, he goes to my brother who is a priest:) )
At the begining and even now and encourage them to spend time alone. I dont have to be stuck to their hips adni dont want to. i like my alone time. My SD gets upset cause she always wants me there. But i explained to her there is nothign wrong with alone time and its healthy.
I'm sorry to hear the pain. i went through it 6 years ago adn i'm sure it will be torture if my father dies as well.
Good luck adn keep open communication with your father. DO NOT GIVE UP!!! SHE IS NOT WORTH IT. She is just a insecure woman and selfish.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

Thank you Maria and bnice for your stories. I find it gratifying, bnice, that you recognize that the women you know may well be showing a very different side to their stepchildren. I've found that to be very much the truth. In fact, longtime family friends treated me with a great deal of coldness for a couple of years following my father's remarriage. I later found out that my stepmother had been badmouthing me all over town and it had taken them that long to discover her lies.
I do try to keep up the communication with my dad. It's difficult. The last time I physically talked with him was last November at my uncle's funeral, and then only to say hello and wish him well. Since then, I've sent Christmas, birthday and father's day wishes and presents and have heard nothing at all. My birthday is approaching. I expect no acknowledgement. He has acknowledged my birthday only once in the years he's been married to her and then only by driving 100 miles to my place of work to hand deliver a card (I had the day off but I found it the next day.) For a while, I hoped it was a sign that he was finding his way back to us, but it was not to be.
When I saw him on a visit that I forced on Father's Day 2005, I pleaded with him to remember that time is fleeting and that no one has any guarantees. He said he understood but has made no effort since then to follow up. As I've said, I've had to come to terms with the fact that he could die without ever reaching out to any of us again. That is extraordinarily painful. I am quite certain that she has managed to exclude us from any sort of inheritance -- and I don't mean money. I ache over the things that can't be replaced: My mother's wedding dress, her jewelry and diary, letters and pictures, even family videotapes. All are in my stepmother's possession. I'm going to attempt to get them back before my father's death but I will take legal action afterward if I have to.
It amazes me sometimes that I'm still getting postings on this forum, four years after posting the thread. I think it shows the amount of anguish caused by dysfunctional stepmothers and the lack of support many adult stepchildren receive.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

lillysuzanne,

I think your words should be a wake up to others at the loss of a parent...that items that have meaning to you and your siblings (not furniture, but personal items, such as the diary and wedding dress, and photos/family movies, and wedding rings, etc) should probably be shared with siblings at that time. I think that there are enough women like the step mother you describe out there, that you should remove these items from her grasp (before she throws them out...which she may have already done) and put them in safe keeping. Now that you mention it, another person close to me mentioned years ago that when her mother died, her father remarried and the step mother did the same thing. Not only did she lose her mother, but she barely saw her own father after he remarried, and she never saw the cherished family items again.

Why these step women are not big enough in spirit to box up the cherished items and lovingly pass them on to his children...I will never understand.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

What bnice says is absolutely the truth. In fact, perhaps it's the perfect follow-up to my original post: If I could tell potential stepchildren anything.

1. Do not underestimate the lengths to which people will go to protect what they consider their property, even if that "property" is cherished family mementoes or even a cherished family member.

2. If your father or mother is about to be remarried, take steps NOW to protect those items you consider precious. In my case, I held off for more than a year after my mother's death because I didn't want to jar my father by taking away things that he considered important. As it is, I managed to salvage one box of family photos by taking them under the guise of preservation. Even then, my stepmother hovered over me as I went through my mother's cedar chest. She kept insisting that I bring everything back RIGHT AWAY. When she left me alone for about 20 minutes, I considered taking my mother's small jewelry case (filled with costume jewelry and the watch given to her by her company at retirement) and her diary, but I felt small-minded in even thinking that my dad would allow them to be harmed. Now I kick myself for my inaction.

3. Be especially vigilant with irreplaceable items, like family videotapes. I found out from a woman who is a family friend that my stepmother would spend long hours watching them avidly (without my dad being around). The friend happened upon my stepmother watching one of the family videotapes on which my mother was prominently featured. When she expressed surprise, my stepmother said, "I want to see what SHE was like and why everyone thinks SHE'S so great." Boy, did that give me the creeps.

4. Don't ever think this can't happen to you. I could never have dreamed my father would behave like this. My mother, who had seen many such marriages result in alienation of the father's children, was actively worried about it, even going so far as to write a letter to my dad to be opened after her death. In it, she warned him to beware of finding a mate who would attempt to separate him from his children. When I echoed her fears to him shortly before his remarriage, he said, with a great deal of hurt, "Do you think I'd EVER let that happen?" I believed him and it happened anyway. It can and does happen every day. Prepare yourself.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

I've been following this post for a while and just want to let people know that not all stepmothers are as stated above. Yes, I know that there are many, but not all. When my husband and his ex divorced, one of the few things he got (along with all the family debts) was a huge box of pictures that chronicled their life together as a family. When I met him, that box was in the basement, and there it remained for a number of years. Every once in a while we would have to dig through it in order to find a baby picture of one of the kids for school or whatever (all three lived with us), but very rarely was it opened. I wasn't thrilled that it was there, but it never occured to me to dispose of it.

One day I noticed that the box was experiencing some of the problems that come with basements. It was damp and the pictures seemed to be getting affected. While it was not the most enjoyable thing to do, I went and got separate containers for each of the three kids AND my husband. I then spent about 3 days going through all the pictures and various other items that were in the box and separating them into four categories. I neatly packed a box for each child and one for my husband. I did not go so far as to create albums for them all, but every one of them has a box filled with memories of the time that they were together as a family. I would never go so far as to have these memories share a shelf with our memories, but it is all there for the kids. They will each get their box when they are settled in their own homes and lives.

The pictures included everything from their parents' wedding and honeymoon to the first, second and third baby pictures to Christmasses and birthdays. Why their own mother didn't want them is beyond me, but I have made sure that I've done all I can to preserve these memories for them.

Make no mistake, the ex is not my favourite person. My life would have been so much easier without her around. The kids have, at times, done their best to make things difficult for me too, and I know that there were many times when I could have been a better person. But we're all human. No matter how many times I wished that their mother could be erased from my life, I never once wanted her erased from their lives. She is their mother, and no matter how flawed she is, they love her. And I have to respect that. And, at one time, my husband loved her too. So he should also be allowed to keep some of those memories. I have to admit though, that I'm very pleased with the fact that he's never asked about his box. But it is there, and will remain there for him, just as the memories have been filed away for the kids.

Stepparents need to realize that everyone in their new families has a past, and that past needs to be respected. It's not the easiest thing to do, but it needs to be done.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

Chrissty40, could I have you for a stepmother? That is not a sarcastic question. You're exactly the kind of stepmother I would love to have.
Many years ago, I told my stepmother that, while I didn't need or want another mother, I was very hopeful that we could become friends. Obviously, that didn't happen but I still wish the woman who loves my dad could find a way to appreciate his children. I would love to spend time with her, have lunch, go shopping or just call and be able to talk about the events of the day.
Your action with the box of photos made my whole heart happy. I hope your husband and stepchildren realize what a treasure you are. It is indeed very difficult to be a stepmother but to your credit, you have done very well.
When it comes to the past, I always think of this analogy: The past is a hibernating grizzly, curled in a den in our hearts and minds. If you are content with your past and excited for your future, the grizzly slumbers on, alive and breathing but at rest. Provoked and harassed, the past can be jolted into wakefulness and will give no one any rest, least of all the person who provoked it.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

Take possession of your mom's stuff asap!!!! I did for my mom's jewellery. My father was pist beyond belief. I lost my moms house but i was goign to be damned if i was going to lose mymom jewellary.
We didn't talk for 6 years but i now talk with my stepmom and dad. i'm still cautious mind you. But she defending herself saying she wasnt' after mymom jewellary. i said ..i know. i wanted them cause i was old enough to have them instead of them sitting in the bank. She past away, i was well past 25 when i asked for them. and i saw no reason for my father to say no. and when he did, everyone assumed it was my stepmom. But i still wonder to this day. I dont trust her 100%


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

I am a 'wicked step-mother', I suppose, but I do have great respect for my husband's first wife and a very keen sense of what is mine and what is not. You need to have and deserve anything and everything that belonged to your mother. Your stepmother has absolutely no right whatsoever to any of your mother's things. I made that perfectly clear to DH and his children from the start. Everything that was here on the day I moved in belongs to my husband and his children. I have no right to dispose of anything. If something is changed or no longer needed, his children are offered the opportunity to take what they want. I have also made it very clear that if my DH should pass away, everything that was here at the time of our marriage should and will go to his children. DH tried to change the title on his house to include me. I said no. Not because I am a such wonderful person, I am certainly not that! Just ask my step-children :-), especially the youngest daughter! He and his first wife built that house together and raised his children together in the house. It belongs to the family. I have no moral right to any of it. I believe that all things that were acquired together during DH's and my marriage should be disposed of at my discretion. If something should happen to my sweetheart, I plan on taking most of my personal property and possesions and moving to senior apartment. DH's kids can have whatever of my possessions that my kids and I don't want. I'm not into material things, except for things that were handed down through my family and have nice memories attached.

You need to have a heart to heart with your Dad. Do not let your stepmother stop you from visiting with him.

What I would really appreciate from my step-kids is this:

1. That DH and I be allowed to live together as we please without them telling us or them doing what they think is best for us.

2. That DH and I be allowed to spend the money I brought into the marriage in any way we desire. My children don't care, why should the step kids care?

3. That they respect our privacy and autonomy.

4. That they stop the back biting, lies, gossip and squabbling.

5. That they stop trying to cause problems between DH and me.

Because both of us were widowed once before, we both understand that we each still love our former spouses.
We love each other just as much. We each have talked so much about our former marriages and spouses, that it is as if each of us knows them, even though we never met them. This is only right and normal. Neither of us chose to be widowed. We just feel blessed that we found each other.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

lily, sorry to hear of your situation. I can hardly believe a person (your step mother) would do such things without reason. It is so very sad. I am a step mother who for the last 6 yrs. has tried and tried to be friends with my 2 step children (at present: girl 24 yrs old and boy 20 yrs old). They attempt in everyway to not include me in any of their invitations. Just recently SD tried to have her Dad go away on a trip (with just her) and Dad pays. DH and I have not been able to take a trip for 2 yrs due to finacial reasons so he surely could not take a trip with her. She is aware of DH and I finacial situation and that we have not been able to take a vacation together for 2 yrs. SS just recently has his Dad come alone to meet with him and ss girlfriend's mom shows up, who by the way is single and looking for someone. It is upsetting and just one example of what each child does try to upset our marriage. This has been going on for 5 years and the examples of hurtful things they have done is endless. I truley love my husband and trust him fully and that is why they cannot break up this marriage. I keep on trying to include them in everything and help them with things I can, but it is hard with all the hurtful things they have done to us. In regards to DH alone with the children it seems like every time he is alone with theme they attempt to get money and material items (which is now ours together), or set him up with some single women his age. There was one time DH went with daughter and discussed some of my personal medical problems. DH informed me she asked about them. I feel that over-stepped some bondaries. Those are some of the reasons I don't feel comfortable when he goes alone with them. It has nothing to do with him loving his children. I want him to love his children fully and would think it terrible if he could not or did not. I want everyone to please realize there are two sides to every story. I understand my DH ex. has had some hand in some of the problems the step children have come up with. I plan to keep on trying with kindness and hopefully some day the step children will accept, respect and include me in their life. It would be so nice if they would treat me as a friend and enjoy the life of love that DH and I have together. Just a side note: DH and I are both divorsed and have separated everything from our ex spouses. We have started our lives over together combining our incomes, material items, and build a new home together. I independently do make a good living and could support myself.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

Lilly,
Your story is very similar to mine. Only I've endured 25 years of abuse and being bullied by my stepmother. Most information available addresses the stepmother's pain and not the plight of the Adult Stepchildren. My mom died unexpectely and within a short period of time my dad remarried a woman who came barging in like a "bull in a china shop". She was excited about her new marriage, but had no regard for the family that existed before her. When my stepmother moved into my family home ( I had just married and moved out) she allowed her 2 year old daughter to destroy furniture that my mother loving cared for and cherished. She used my mothers best china at her dinner table. She slept in my mother's bed. From day one she let me know in no uncertain terms she was the new woman in town and I better accept it. I never gave this woman grief, I endured and smiled so not to create turmoil for my dad. My mothers things were never offered to me including her most beloved pieces of jewlery. How could the relationship start off healthy under these circumstances?? I know there are good stepmothers out there. I've met many I'd LOVE to have, but mine is a nightmare. My dad is weak and has allowed this woman to take complete control of everything. It's very sad to see YOUR dad turn into a spineless jellyfish. The woman is the heart and soul of the family. It's tragic when some women abuse this gift to destroy injured, innocent people.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

If I could tell stepparents and the adult children anything.....

Just wanted to share a tragic and very sad real life story... I still do not have all the answers, I only know of the tragic loss.

My mother passed away from breast cancer at the age of forty-four. Before her last days she was full of life and vigor. German and Cherokee decent, loved her Lord, her husband of twenty-seven years, and her children. She was the Mom all the kids on the block wanted to be around. My dad loved her immensely and after she passed, went into a downhill spin for two years until my sister introduced him to what would become my stepmother.

The relationship before their marriage was in turmoil because of the power struggles between my fathers new love interest, my sister, my stepmothers two children, and my mothers ghost. My father was caught in the middle. In the beginning, my dad tried as best as he could to find water to pour on the little fires that everyone wanted to consistently ignite, and threatened to become an engulfing inferno. Sounds dramatic I know. but this is all very true. My father was completely honest with everyone involved from the beginning. He told his new love that he was not looking to replace his wife, he loved my mother, and she (stepmother) could never have what was my mothers place in his life. My dad wanted her to be her and he would love her as she is. He wanted a companion to "share" the rest of his life. He would accept her children and he expected her to accept his. Everyone agreed. When he began discussing openly with my sister and my stepmothers kids that he may want to marry this woman the war paint went on. I believe that my stepmother began unjustly believing that she had the "power" to weld over my father and through him my sister. My sister began fearing what she would loose (power, money, place in his life etc.) if my dads "love interest" became his legal wife. This went on for four years. Then after a heart attack, which was a result of the continued stress and pressure put upon him by people who claimed to love him, and the marriage of my sister to her current husband; my dad married my stepmother. You would think that things would at least begin to settle down. Not so. Things insanely actually became worse. Now my sister had a someone to back her up on the issues (which many were simply untrue but her perspective on things), and my stepmother had her kids to back her up on her side of the issues (same distorted perspectives as my sisters), and the hate, and resentment deepened. This scenario went on every day. My stepmother began condemning my father openly, in front of him, and anyone else who would listen. My sister the same, my stepmothers kids more of the same.

All the while that this is happening (Im getting caught up in all the family disputes, like my father trying to get everyone to accept each other and the circumstances for what they really were, and finding some peace for my father), I keep looking at my dad who is getting weaker, and sicker with every passing day. The stress of it all first caused my fathers spirit to fail, then his willingness to actively take a part in his own life, then his mental health began to collapse, then his physical health began to deteriorate. I just wanted to pack up my loving dad and take him away from all of these selfish people, to a place where he would could find his peace again. I know I couldnt do this because I respected my fathers free will as he has always respected mine. It finally took its toll on February 22, 2005. He died of heart failure at one in the morning alone in this world. He was left by himself over the previous two-year period while these people continued to attack one another, and have the audacity to hate him for not picking sides. It cost my father his life but I say "good for you dad you did not give up your integrity and allow yourself to be forced to pick sides between the people you loved so dearly. You hung in there and loved them all, even when they clearly were not loving you or considering you, and you could have walked away from all of them. But you stayed, loved, nurtured, and dealt with their insanity until you literally had nothing left to give, because they took even your last breath".

All the woman on this site from what I read are very intelligent and thoughtful woman. I thank you for your responses to my own posts. Forcing someone to pick sides is a very intimate subject with me, which those who answered or read my post can now clearly see. I too am capable of doing this very thing. These woman have given me some things to consider in my own life. However, I shared this story with all of you in order to remind everyone.. are you also forgetting the object of your affections? Love is a choice, its not deserved by anyone. In your attempt to be loved and cared for are you forgetting that you too have an obligation to reciprocate that affection? Are you causing undue stress on the person you say you love? Walk softly.. the hearts you walk upon could be the very hearts you wish to hold closely the object of your affection and your own.

Please do not let what happen to m y father happen in your own relationship with your parents. They have the right to love whom they will. They have the right to choose their course in life. They have a right to call you or not call you. They have a right to allow you to have your own life. They have a right to love and be loved by someone other than you. They have a right to take everything they own and burn it all in the street (as my mother once lovingly and jokingly told me (my father was a assistant pastor) "When your father retires were going to spend every cent we have, and with whatever is left over were going to get in the bathtub, drink Champaign, and smoke dope until the Lord calls us home... were not leaving you kids a dime lol).

When you try to force your hand on the stepparent, it is the parent who lives and feels it. Your parent(s) is/are not being forced to discount you in anyway. If this is occurring, it is because they have chosen it to be so. A stepmother cannot force a father to not show love to his children, he must give up this right for it to occur. You need to speak with the parent who you believe is allowing the stepparent to do the things you write about. He or she is the only one who can put a stop to them. You should never even try to interfere other than communicating (lovingly) your own hurt because of the lack of relationship, which is occurring. However, do not take a mile when the inch is given.

I included the words I wrote at my fathers funeral.. maybe they will do some good here maybe not.. I realize that my views and opinions are quire often not the same as many others. I can no longer share anything in this life with my father. everyone else took him away from me.

A great man was called home from this earth today. He was not a man of renown nor did he leave behind a great legacies. His accomplishments are not tangible by the worlds standards; they would not be recognized. He was not a perfect man however; his good deeds, words, and actions; outweighed his lifes failures. What he gave, he gave from his heart and never did he attempt to take anything back. For those of us who knew him and were loved by him; still possess those most precious of gifts.

The memories of a soft touch; a kind word; word of truth, delicately given with a touch of wisdom and a knowing smile. He sat besides us in our times of sorrow, and gently held our hands and dried our tears, he was a friend that a friend would like to have. His petitions to his God for all those he loved were forever on his heart and mind. He knew his own accountability and in his way, tried to make amends. He suffered on behalf of others, for sins that he never committed, voluntarily asking that they be put on his account for those whom he loved.

God grant him in to they heaven, and forgive any inequity that you may find. We prey you will bring him eternal rest and joy in our Lord Jesus Christ. A change in the tide has been declared by the Almighty, for we will no longer cherish our moments with you in the present, and now mark our days, and years by your passing, and all we can no longer share with you in these physical bodies but in our hearts, you walk with us, and talk with us every day. All that you taught is alive in us, and is your legacy to your children, grandchildren, their grandchildren from generation-togeneration to come. This is your legacy, the greatest of all legacies to be given or left behind; for you have given life and lessons learned to those not yet born through your own children, and those lives that you touched through Gods eternal plan. We love you daddy and our hearts will be missing you until we hear the voice of our Lord call upon our name; the name only known by God, and we meet again on the other side. Our spirits strive to rejoice for you, and know that thou are at last at peace.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

Well I'm glad to know I've done a lot of things right! I can't imagine tossing out any of my husband's former wife's belongings or any of the other things mentioned above.

That said, I have invested a lot of money in this home and I don't think it would be wise to give it all up as if I am just a guest in it. I could have invested that money into my retirement account but DH suggested I invest it in the house instead. Would you just walk away from that? On the other hand I am not greedy and as one poster said above I too could live in a retirement apartment and be perfectly happy.

Though I have not done the very negative things mentioned above, I have not been perfect and could have handled some difficult situations much better. I just hope his kids know how much I love their dad and what what's best for all of them.

The reputation of "step-mother" precedes her and it seems like she has to prove her innocence and it often takes years to do that. Every little slip of the tongue or minor infraction (things that EVERYONE does) is considered proof that the woman is wicked or any one of the stereotypical step-mother attributes. That's the other side of the fence that we don't often read about.

Finally, the reason there are mostly negative comments on this board is because people tend to talk more about things they are unhappy about than about things they are happy abou, and it is contagious. They come here to complain about problems and get help, not to give praise to their own situation. But there are many out there who are not wicked like the one described above -- we just don't hear about them because it doesn't make good talk-show fodder!


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

In regards to the last post:

This is NOT my situation, but a successful story about a stepmother I know. Her name is LU. Lu has two grown daughers. Her husband has one grown daughter. I happened to be at LU's house this past mother's day when a huge bunch of flowers arrived along with a beautiful card from her stepdaughter. It was touching to see the love shared between these women. Lu has been the heart of this blended family. All the daughters have been treated equally. All the grandchildren have been treated equally. All personal items were given to the girls. Inheritance issues were addressed up front. All assets were combined and will divide equally among the 3 girls. Holidays, etc are rotated. Lu knows it's impossible to combine everyone, so LU and Hub make a point of rotating thru the family. Everyone is welcome to join, but if not possible, the rotation covers everyone. Lu makes a point of reaching out to her stepdaughter, calling, emailing, just to say hello. She encourages her husband to keep contact with his daughter, reminds him to call, etc. Lu keeps pictures of both deceased spouses (his and hers) on the walls of their home. The deceased spouses are celebrated and still loved. I've spoken with all (3) daughters, all are happy. They apprecaite the time, effort and energy LU put into healing them all. Lu put her personal feelings aside and healed two very broken families.... I admire her heart and respect for the past, while making sure everyone made it into the future...


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

Wow, LU sounds like a wonderful woman and I'm glad you shared that story because it gives me an example to live by. How did she handle conflicts and difficulties, especially at first? How did she respond to unpleasant attitudes that so often flare up in blended family situations? Did she remain a neutral party? It's so difficult to know what to do when things go wrong -- be the mediator, or just step off to the side and remain neutral. I believe now that it is better for me to not get involved in that unless I already am involved in some way (such as if I said or did something wrong that causes the conflict).


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

Jenn,

I recall Lu remaining kind and patient. When trouble arose, she reminded everyone how they were in the same boat. Charting unfamilar waters and that each was hurting. She always referred to the 4 stages of grief and how they all were experiencing them. She didn't allow conflict to fester in her home and if she sensed someone was bent out of shape, she'd make a point to sit down and talk..always encouraging talking and release.. she never bad mouthed anyone in the family...and I think her acceptance of the prior spouses importance was key... Somehow this seemed to soothe.. knowing the deceased loved ones were still loved and respected. Her daughters were never favored...all the girls became equals.. Lu seemed to lead by example...with an attitude of love, patience and understanding. It's hard to argue or have conflict when you feel someone loves you.. so in the end I think she showered them all with kindness, kept her dignity and never let the girls see her sweat.. I think she understood how difficult it was for the kids to loose a parent...and it certainly wasn't fair to rob them of another...she wanted them to move forward with life and love and not be afraid... Somehow it worked for her....I was recently at Lu's biological daughters home and there on her wall...was a picture of her stepdad (lu's current husband) and his first wife...as a newly married couple. I couldn't believe it. I know if I walked into my stepsisters home and found a pic of my parents on her wall, I'd cry for days.. I could only feel warmth and love and connection...


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

I get e-mails from this message board nearly every day, telling me someone else has posted to this forum. Some, like Renay, make me shake my head in disbelief. The account of Lu, the wonderful stepmother, gives me hope. I have no desire to be on a TV talk show about this subject. I cannot begin to imagine the trouble that would stir up.

What I have come to discover, after reading all the messages, is that the people who have experienced the trauma of a bad relationship with a stepparent get it. They know what I'm talking about, have felt my emotions, know the feeling of being abandoned and unloved and disrespected. The rest will never get it. They look for someone to blame, usually the stepchildren. As far as they're concerned, the evil stepchildren are just out to ruin their parent's life, to destroy their parent's happiness, greedily suck up the supposed inheritance, and will stop at nothing to get what they want.

Renay's extended counseling session above is virtual rerun of all the things people have told me over the years. For the record, since she has apparently decided I'm a part of the problem, here is what I have done over the past several years:

1) I have tried, to the very best of my ability, to always be nice and kind to my stepmother. This includes repeated apologies for having done anything, ever, that could have upset her or caused her offense. These apologies were offered, at one point, through tears, as she sneered in my face and said, and I quote, a "oh here she goes again, the poor, pitiful drama queen." My father stood silently by while she attacked me verbally. When she stepped forward with her hand raised it was my sister, not my father, who stopped her.

2) She has made it abundantly clear that none of us, (dad's siblings, children, grandchildren and family friends) are welcome at her home. When people attempt to call, they either hear endless rings or the answering machine. Messages are NEVER returned. When my dad's sister was dying of colon cancer, he was able to call her once. He apologized for everything but said that his wife "can't handle" him having a relationship with any of his family. He has also told another member of the family, again in a secret meeting, that he is "not allowed" to have contact with his children or grandchildren. Please do not respond to this information by urging me to call the police or get him help. He does not want it and wouldn't take it if it were offered. We have tried. For the record, Ranay, I would love to have contact with my father and it breaks my heart that he could die without seeing any of us again. But our attempts to do only make his life more difficult. The information that he has been able to get out indicate that his wife treats him relatively well as long as no one rocks the boat. If we were to make attempts to see him, call him or visit him, he would suffer for it. I choose not to make his life more difficult.

I am well aware that there are many stepfamilies that are successful, healthy and happy. I wish mine was one of them.

I AM NOT, repeat AM NOT, the problem in this relationship. I have done all I can to set it right, but my stepmother is a mean, vindictive, cruel and abusive woman. I cannot change her. I can only change my response to her. I use this forum to explain the situation to others, to offer a shoulder to other people who have been hurt by bad stepparents and to try to work through my emotions. I cherish the comments and encouragement from others who have seen stepparenting both good and bad, and try to help. The scolding, preachy comments are shunted aside. I've heard it before and it doesn't help to hear it here.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

Lily, I am truly sorry for your bad experience with your step-mother who sounds like a horrible person. I'm also sorry if my words sounded scolding or preachy or critical of you in any way -- I didn't intend them to be like that and in fact was speaking in general terms, not particularly in response to your situation. Your description of your step-mother makes me shake my head in disbelief.

Maureen, thank you for sharing the details of the practical ways in which LU handled her situation. I think the key is "laying her own feelings aside". She is a wonderful model for all.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

Jenn,

My reference to "preachy posts" wasn't about you. I had been working my way through Ranay's post and found my anger growing. It's something I have to work on.

Frankly, the best thing for all of us is to forgive. I try to and have to keep working on it. It's not easy and sometimes I feel as if I'll never accomplish it. When my dad first turned his back on all of us, I was angry and bitter. The anger ate away at me and poisoned my life. I finally decided the only way to get over it was to forgive it all. I try, but sometimes it comes back. This week has been particularly bad. My birthday was this week. My dad hasn't sent me a birthday card since 2003. I hoped this year would be different, since I've remembered him on each special day: birthday, Father's Day, Christmas, etc. I waited all week, hoping for anything, even just a simple note.

It's hard. It's really hard -- to love someone who seems not to care at all. I wonder sometimes if he knows or cares how much his silence hurts his family. If he does, it's something he can apparently live with. I wouldn't put up with this treatment from a boyfriend or a husband. But how do you make yourself stop caring about your father? How do you tell yourself not to hope for anything?

I still don't know how to do that. I want to not care because not caring would mean it wouldn't hurt any more.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

The only way to move on is really to accept your father did what he did for selfish reasons of his own and that is was not your fault. It sure feels like it is your fault. I was in your place a few years ago. I would not talk or see my father. When he heard i was pregnant he started to call me. I rekindled a friendship with him but not a father daughter relationship. That is long dead. i still call him dad and my mom mother cause i've been taught those customs from young. But i accept the fact my father is long gone and that i see him more of friend uncle slash part of the family but not get too close.
Its hard. real hard cause you really have so much hate with this person. You feel backstabbed , betrayed! I still to this day do not understand why he turned his back on his children. Maybe for men its an easy thing to do than a woman. We are the ones bearing our children so to turn our back on them would be suicide in itself..a man is more detached in ways...he needs to bond with his kids doign activities..if he doesn't..they are able to shed them..i know it sounds cruel bu i've seen it so many times! Forgive..never forget but be active in your life and concentrate on your happiness. Not on what he is not giving you. Life is short. I wasted so many years being bitter. Accept that your father is gone. The man you knew is no longer. Mourn for the loss and move on. When i did that, it was a sense of release. Its hard to explain. ANd yes...it really hurts.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

Lily, my heart goes out to you. It sounds like you are a wonderful person, especially continuing to send your dad cards though he didn't send them to you. You're right, it is necessary to forgive, accept him as he is, and move on knowing it isn't you, but him. Still, that is painful and I'm sorry for the lack of love your father has shown. It sounds like he may be trapped and may not even realize it.


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To LillySuzanne40

I am a Step-"mother" to two adult children who despise me.

I married their father 10 years after their parents' divorce. They were married 29 years ago, and they divorced 18 years ago.

I am very familiar with the anger in your message.

Would it have made a difference if your father had waited 10 years after your mother's death to re-marry?

I have learned that there is no middle ground.
I did not move into my husband's marital home...he moved into mine, and then we built our own house.

I never threw away anything that belonged to my husband's first wife. In fact I never threw away anything.

My husband talks to his children several times a day by phone, and visits them alone on a regular basis.

At first I included them on our family vacations, and on visits with my parents during the summer. They made it clear that they weren't interested. I included them on every holiday dinner, etc. They made it clear that they couldn't wait to leave and go to their mother's house.

When I make an effort to include them, they snub me. When I don't include them, they complain that I am trying to push them out of our family. When I spend money on them, they say I am trying to buy them. When I don't, they complain that I am not doing anything for them.

I love their father, but I don't know if I love him enough to spend a life like this.

They enjoy punishing their father for "breaking up their family". They enjoy punishing me because I am an easy target. And yes, on a few occasions, I have lost my temper and I am constantly reminded of it.

This weekend, we are going for a visit in the town where my stepdaughter lives, and we are planning to have lunch with her. I am already a nervous wreck. If I attend the lunch, I will hear that I never give her any time with her father. If I say anything during the lunch, I am being overbearing and intruding. If I don't say anything, I am sulking. If I don't attend, I am snubbing her.

I am an adult, and financially independent. When I married my husband, he promptly retired, because we could live on my income. He can now spend much more time with his children.

I feel in you the anger I feel from my step-"children". I put mother in quotes, because I never tried to parent these kids. I have just tried to be a good wife to their father.

I can't win. I fantasize about leaving. I was alone, but I didn't have this kind of seething anger in my life before I had adult stepchildren. Incidentally, I have been married nearly 8 years, and my stepchildren are 21 and 25.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

Dear Southernsummer, I can totally relate to your input. I am in the same situtation as you. When I read your post I felt as if I wrote it. I also have 2 step children around the same age as yours and have been with DH for 6 years. As a step mother I can never do anything right. All I ever wanted was to make my husband happy. To me it appears these step children just want me gone. I have tried all the same things you have and nothing is good enough. Thank goodness my husband's mother, father, and siblings have all been very excepting of me and have helped me feel wanted/supported. They even at times have had trouble with my step children. I agree it is very hard and like you said you never had this kind of anger before in your life. Thanks for putting this on paper, it helps me not feel so alone.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

i have friend who has 3 stepkids who despise her for nothing. She broke her back with them. Cleaned, fed, dressed, school work and nothing was ever good enough. It was always mother is better and knows better. You not my mother..etc..ec... She was not mean to them in anyway. She didn't try to buy them. But yes that was the same feelings all said above in the previous 2 messages.
I will tell you the same advice i told her. They dont' like you. Accept it and ignore them They are adults , treat them as such. WHen someone treats you like sh*t dont you kick them out of your life and have nothing to do with them???? Right? So this is no different. They are adults. Have a meeting with the family. Stand up, tell them i'm married to your father, not you. I owe you nothing. You dont give me respect , i dont have to either. You meet your father alone, have a relationship with him. I do not interfere and wont. Do not accuse me of interfering or buying or anything. i've broken my back to try to have a relationship withyou. Its obvious you dont want to be friends. I'll respect that. From now on i will not attend any social gatherings with you because you dotn want me. I have already told the entire family you do not want me at all. So have your father but do not speak of me behind my back. Look at your own life and deal with your own life. My relationship with your father is mine and his to share. Not yours. What happens between your father and i is our business and none of yours. You are adults. Act like it. Accept that you dont' havea relationship with me based on what you want and it is not my fault. I dont have to attend anything with you. i owe you nothing. Now that i've said my peace. Good luck with your lives, Thank you please leave me house now.
Yes its harsh. But these are adults. Tell them off!
Sorry this message has turned into something else....we shoudl start a new thread. I just felt the need to express my feelings from this point for southernsummer. She has touched base from a different perspective.
As for lizsuzzane40, i still stand to this. your stepmom had no right to throw out anything. It is very sad your father has chosen this path. Been there...my father is in the same boat (i think my father is afraid to live out his life alone so he does what his wife wants) He now has contact with me but its not the same. I hope things smooth out. Accept the decision he has made but make sure you take soem things..jewellery ect of yoru moms....and keep contact. I know it hurts...but keep contact.


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To Sunny Gardener and Organic Maria

Hi, Ladies

Sunny, thank you for your kind words. It is nice to feel like I am not the only one going through this.

Maria, there is a lot of wisdom in what you have said.

Thank you for your compassionate comments.


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Husband's fear

I think that for some husbands, their fear of being alone is greater than their fear of losing their children. i.e. they believe that their children are more likely going to be more loyal to them than their spouse.

I think that for other husbands, their fear of losing their children is greater than their fear of being alone. i.e. they believe that their spouse is more likely to be loyal than their children.

I am in the second group, and my husband is more willing to impose on me than on his children.

I think that many of you are in the first group, and your father is more willing to impose on you, than on his second wife.

What say you?


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

Lily,
It's not easy to let go. You love this person called "dad" and it's hard to grasp why they've shut you out. You can justify, rationalize, let go, etc, but still the confusion/anger/pain is lurking. You love this person and want to be part of their life... it's not natural..there's been no fight, no falling out, just silence and withdrawl and confusion. Unless you've experienced it, there's no way to relate. It's a pain that continues to cut without relief. I think for me, I had to change my perception of the situation to survive. I had the best years of my dad's life...when he was a younger man...he was a wonderful dad..and I want to remember that part of him...that was his gift to me...I keep that memory of the family I did have close in my heart. Although it was brief in time, it was real. I feel very sorry for him. He's can't possibly be happy being estranged and poisioned about me. My stepmother can't be happy, otherwise she wouldn't be the person she is. I can only have pity on them and realize they both aren't well. Life is a precious gift and not a second should be wasted. People like my dad and his wife have wasted knowing me..loving me...sharing life with me...they've lost...I didn't loose them....they lost me...and for that I take pity on them....and know they just aren't healthy people.. and there's nothing I can do anymore...but send my dad love in my heart and wish him the best life possible.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

I agree, most men are afraid to lose their new wife. They know there kids will always be there because its their kids. But the new wife has no ties as kids do. So if she gets up and go its a final thing.
My father was always in fear of losing my stepmom because he lost my mom to cancer. IT scared him for life and changed him emmensly. I feel sorry for him. My stepmom found old pictures of us and my mom and handed them over last week. I've made two photoalbums of the memories and was in tears making them. My father went through the photos with me the night she gave them to me. I can see memories flashign before his eyes. So i am not as angry at him like i used to be. He is human. Has the right to live the remainder of his days with no arguements or anything negative. I just leave them alone. My stepmom has gotten better with me over the last year. We have mended a few wounds. i still dont trust her 100% but its not as bad as it used to be.


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Miracle

Hi, everyone

Well, a miracle happened this weekend.

We went to a college football game at the university where my SD goes to college. My husband has season tickets, and suggested that we go and have lunch with my SD, and spend a fews hours at her apartment before the game. My children went also. I have been so nervous for the past week, that I have been an absolute nervous wreck. I even went to my doctor on Friday to see if he could give me some Valium to take before the game--of course he refused.

Well, it was an absolutely lovely day. SD introduced us to her roommates and friends as her "parents" and my kids as her "brother and sister". Even called us her "family". She fixed me a drink (it didn't event have hemlock in it), and we all went to lunch together. It was a lovely day, and I throughly enjoyed the time.

I couldn't believe it. I am still stunned.

I asked my husband about it, and he said that he had talked to his kids and insisted that we all need to get along, and that he was tired of the tension. I told him that I was glad, but wished that he had done that 8 years ago. As long as he made excuses for their bad behavior that we would just get more bad behavior.

Also, I went to a holotherapist / psychic who told me to bury a St. Joseph statue in the front yard, and place a crystal at the back door, which I did last week. (I'm a woman of science--but I'll try anything!)

Anyway, that's just unprecedented. Truly a miracle.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

What fantastic news!

Now write her a short, gracious note saying how lovely it was to see her and how much you (and her father) appreciate her making you all feel so welcome.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

Wow! Congrats. So your hubby did the deed. Its a weight off your shoulders eh?:) Focus on the good stuff!!!


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

Southernsummer, you and others like you give me hope. I hope that someday my stepmother will allow us into our dad's life. I agree with the follow-up post, which advises a thank-you note or some sort of contact. The next phase of your relationship is crucial. Unfortunately, when relationships have been difficult, mending them is often near impossible because people hold on to old hurts and old transgressions, and constantly look for slights and subtle messages.
If my stepmother ever agreed to come to dinner or have a visit in any way, I'd be over the moon about it, and eager to know what to do to continue the good feelings. So, in that vein, what could your stepdaughter do next to show that she's ready and willing to move on to even better family relationships?


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

I am a step-mother of 3 grown daughters and I had 2 stepmothers when I was growing up. And I will say this I never disliked my stepmoms and my 1st stepmom I would love to see, but have no idea how to find her. Both my stepmoms have always been good to me. My father has never really had the relationship with me and my sisters they way he should. I never blamed my stepmoms he was a grown man and was able to see his kids if he wanted. I dont know if his wifes ever tried to get him to not see his kids as much, and even if they did he did not have to choose to do it.

And as I said at the start of my post I am now a stepmother to 3 grown daughters and it has been the hardest thing I have ever done. I NEVER treated my stepmothers the way I have been treated and never would. I have been called names talked about and been made to feel like I was worth nothing. I have loved these girls from the start, and they liked me when it was good for them. Then would go back to their mother and tell them all everything I may have done or said(and most times it was twisted or added to). Things that my husband or myself may have purchased. It has been nothing but DRAMA. They now have kids of their own and I am great if they need someone to watch the kids, and you know what I dont mind at all cause I love these kids and love spending time with them. They may hate me when they get older too,But I will still love them as if they are my own.


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Miracle

Hi, Everyone

Thank you for your encouragement. I would love to write a note to my SD. But I am so afraid...my fear is the usual type of response..."it wasn't about you...why don't you get over yourself", etc. There is so much history here. I just have to walk such a careful line. And of course the distorted reports to her mother. I am very familiar with that one. I know that she has loyalty to her mother, as she should. And often she has reported back to her mother that she had a positively horrible time, and I received an angry call from her mother that positively blew me away.
I will just keep my expectations low, and take the high road. I will avoid becoming disappointed or angry if things don't go well, and I will brace for the worse, and hope for the best. Maybe this will grow into something good.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

I feel very sorry for the women mentioned above, imagine the insecurity they must have felt to have the need to push you from his life... These women obviously felt like you were the competition.. How sad. Instead of realizing that by encouraging the relationship between your father and you she would have won a place in your hearts. I am step mother to three girls ages 18, 15, 11 don't get me wrong there are days I think what have I done... (then again there are days I look at my own children and think what have I done?) I really don't think it was hate that drove these women to the extent they went to. It was definately insecurity. Remember being a step parent whether the children are grown or not is hard. I know from experience, you feel as though you are always being judged it would be very easy to become paranoid. For the one whose step mother is still alive, have you tried speaking openly with your father about this issue? Or even to the step mother. Perhaps if you went out of your way to make her feel welcomed into your life, she might let down her gaurd a little.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

"I would love to write a note to my SD. But I am so afraid...my fear is the usual type of response..."it wasn't about you...why don't you get over yourself", etc. There is so much history here."

Believe me, I understand.
But you do know what those thoughts will do to you... They'll choke you up and tie you in knots so that your 'gracious' note turns into something that sounds strangled, unnatural and insincere.

That's why you have to keep it short. Reeaaallly short. No why's or how's or anything that could be misconstrued -- just that you had a lovely time and appreciate her making your visit so enjoyable. And that you hope to see her again soon. Big writing on small card ;-)


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Miracle, Part 2

Greetings, again

Well, we tried it again--another football weekend, and this time even more ambitious. We arrived Saturday morning, and spent about 2 hours tail-gaiting with my step-son, and his friends. It was positively lovely, and we had a really nice time.

Then we left, and went for a second tail-gait party with my step-daughter, her sorority, and their brother fraternity.
A little crazy, but nice, and both kids were very nice.

Then we went to the game, and they each sat elsewhere at the game, but we had a great time with my husband and my kids. We spent the night at a hotel, and came home. What a great weekend.

So...do I have a fatal disease and everyone is just being nice to me, or what. This is truly amazing. I would have bet money that this would never have happened.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

Congratulations!
I just love hearing the good news stories --


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Waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Well, as predicted, the other shoe indeed dropped.

My husband and I were at a benefit ball tonight. It was a really special occasion. I have had a beautiful 1920's type dress for months, and my husband looked great in his tuxedo. We were having a great time.

I thought things were weird when I spoke to his ex-sister-in-law, and she looked the other way. That's strange,because we have always gotten along well.
That's when she looked at my husband and said "I'm not speaking to you, because of the way you treat your Mother F***** children."

Evidently, our version of the last couple of weekends is not the one that was passed along by my step-children to their mother and their aunt.

Oh, well, I knew it was too good to be true.

I wonder if one of you nice step-children would adopt me.
I'll be good.....I promise. : )


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

Speaking as a stepchild, I have to ask you to take a deep breath, southernsummer, and don't assume your stepchildren are responsible for the ex-sister-in-law's comments.

I say that as a stepdaughter who has been damned for what other people have said and done. What the ex-in-law said was reprehensible, but you really have no proof it was your stepchildren who said anything. She could have taken something small out of context, misread a situation or may be simply jealous and angry that your stepchildren are finally finding a way to forge a tentative peace with someone who is important to their father.

Believe me, all those things can, and do, happen. Several years ago, when my dad and stepmother were still communicating with me and my siblings, their attitude changed abruptly. She became cold and furious with us. It wasn't until months later that she told me that a neighbor had said something and she assumed it came from one of us. It did not. At that point, we weren't talking about the family situation with anyone, in an effort to calm the waters. I did my best to mend the situation but the damage had been done.

Please don't jump to conclusions and shatter the fragile peace you've managed to work out. I know your feelings are hurt and you're disappointed, but often all is not as it appears.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

Yes, I am hurt. No, I'm not going to do anything.
I suggested that my husband call his kids and just ask them about it. Of course, he's not going to do that.

The thing is that I didn't ask for all of this. I just wanted to love their father. I feel like I'm in a hole and someone is throwing dirt on me. I don't know if I love him enought to put up with this.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

I wish I could take away your hurt, southernsummer. In fact, I wish you were my stepmother. Care to adopt?

I know you didn't ask for any of this, but neither did your stepchildren. We are all bound by the choices other people make for us. But even with as much anguish as my stepmother has caused me and my siblings, I don't wish that she and my dad would split. The fact is, my dad loves her and she loves him. It would hurt him if the marriage ended and I don't want him to be hurt any more than he already has been.

Maybe it's wishful thinking on my part, but I have to believe that your stepchildren feel the same way about you. They may not even like you and they may feel conflicted about the situation but on some level they must realize that he loves you and that you make him happy.

This is me, standing in the hole with you, brushing the dirt off. I hope it helps.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

Thank you very very much.

I wish you were my stepdaughter.

I understand that there were many issues which predated me by more than a decade. But it never occurred to me that
everyone would rather be in conflict that just be happy.


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Drama addicts

Summer, I'm happy to report you are normal. Before this situation, it never occurred to me that some people actually enjoy conflict more than they enjoy happiness.

I've been thinking about your situation all day during my housecleaning (which is a perfect time for deep thinking.) The longer I thought about your ex-sister-in-law's actions and words, the angrier I became. I have family members like that in my life too. They serve no purpose other than to poison the well. I suspect much of this comes from the bio mom. For most of the 20 years of your marriage, your stepchildren have, in one form or another, been encouraged to dislike you, to find fault with you, to nitpick and judge, and inevitably, reported it all back to mom. They may have felt bad about doing it, and may not have even felt some of the things they reported, but a child's need to please and take care of a parent is powerful. As time and maturity work their inevitable magic, the thaw often begins to happen. Suddenly, they don't have negative things to say. Suddenly, they're including you and your husband, inviting you to events. Even ... gasp ... having fun. If the bio mom is getting some kind of vicarious thrill out of stirring up trouble and trouble suddenly evaporates, she'll try to stir it up again.

One of things my therapist told me about people who thrive on drama and angst and will lie or manipulate to achieve it: Anything that person accuses you of doing or saying is probably something they've done or said themselves. That helps me enormously.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

I'd be more inclined to believe there's some huge misunderstanding in there somewhere...

You remember that game where you whisper something in someone's ear and it has to travel all the way 'round the cirlce before getting back to the start? and some of the crazy things that came back around?

Well, by the time exSIL heard it, whatever happened, was perceived to have happened, was said, heard, or misheard -- it had probably be re-interpreted several different times and been twisted, deliberately or accidentally a few more times. Who knows what she heard or who she heard it from!?

What about just calling exSIL and asking her straight out -- tell her that you know her well enough to know that she'd never 'go off on you' like she did without a good reason, but that she also knows you well enough to know that you'd never do anything so awful. So that clearly, somewhere, there's a misunderstanding that you really want to fix. And you need her help to fix whatever it is that's wrong.

??


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

Hi, Lily & Sweeby

Thanks for your nice messages.

My husband was divorced 18 years ago. I have only been in
this dysfunctional picture for 8 years.

But Lily I think you are right, about people who love conflict and drama, and I agree that their mom is perpetuating that. I know that there are mixed loyalties here.

And you are right that it is possible that only the ex-
stirred this up. And it is possible that very nice visits could be distorted by their mother to poison the well for ex-SIL.

And Sweeby I agree that I would love to call SIL and say, "wow, can you help me understand this?".

But it seems like if she can be that dramatic, when she hasn't even talked to us about it, then it's going to take a much better person than me to fix this.

I'm going to just assume the best about the step-kids,
and let unhappy people be unhappy.

This is really affecting my marriage.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

Ok, well, I talked to my husband about this, and we
are all just going to get along, and ignore this event.

We have decided that this outburst was a "pre-peace innitiative" event, and that the SIL has just not caught up to our way of thinking.

We are going to be happy, and that's that.

We're not going to let this affect us.

Thanks for the support, y'all.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

Southernsummer,

I just read your recent posts. Excellent, don't let the happy events of recent be spoiled by an adult who had no business saying what she did. Don't be bitter with the SIL, just think compassionate thoughts about her, as obviously she's stuck in the past somewhere..and doesnt' realize her contribution in blending your family isn't a healthy one..


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

Truthfully, SIL was probably just drunk and expressed what she had felt all along. Maybe this is the first time she was uninhibited enough to truly speak her mind, and all the times we thought we were getting along, she was just holding her tongue.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

I just want to thank all of you.

You have really changed my life, and I mean that.

Okay, so I vented with y'all about my SIL, and you were good to point out that this had nothing to do with my Step-kids. And after thinking it through, that made a lot of sense. It gave me the strength I needed to keep things going in the right direction. We have made tons of progress--and I guess everyone really wants to get along. We have had lots of more good times since then. My SD even told me she loved me last weekend...twice. I have tears in my eyes as I write this. That is something I never hoped for, and I would have ruined it if you had let me fly off the handle.

I ran into their mother at a party on Saturday. I looked absolutely GREAT, by the way. She really tried to pick a fight--really jumped me. But I pretended not to notice, and I was an absolutely perfect lady, told her how nice she looked, and told her I was glad to see her. Yes, that took effort. Yes, she actually seemed to warm up a little after I did that. Thanks for the support and encouragement.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

Way to go SouthernSummer! Woo Hoo!

I'm so proud of you for taking that deep breath, and now you are reaping the rewards of your patience and grace. Enjoy! --


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

It makes me so sad to read these, but happy when there is a step forward.

I have been together with DH for over 5 years, married two, and thought that I was doing all the right things with his two adult daughters. I told them that their relationship with their father was important. I encouraged him to go out with them, to call them, but unfortunately, he is the kind of person that if you don't call him, he doesn't call you. He is also not very good at expressing himself. They didn't have a very close relationship before me and now, it is virtually nonexistent. I have cried, begged, pleaded, yelled, all to no avail. The only thing that they wanted to know was if I was 'going to get all his money when he died, because their mom told them this might happen and to make sure they got what was theirs.' I don't know their mother and have never said a bad word about her. But if this is what she really told them, I don't want to know her. Every call from them only results in one thing: Daddy, can you send me money. I stay out of it, since it is not my place to say 'yay' or 'nay' - it just hurts me when he gets off the phone and says that they never even asked how he was, just for money. No calls on father's day. No calls on his birthday. For every crappy stepmummy out there, there is probably a crappy matching kid, as well. I'm just sorry for all of us.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

Hi, Babeinwoods

I agree with you. There are knit-picking ex-wives, bad stepkids, bad parents, and bad step-parents.

It's not all about the "stuff", but the stuff can be made into a bigger issue that it really should be. Power struggles have certainly come about because of it.

I'm sorry for your situation, and it's got to hurt your husband. I know I can't believe some of the very hurtful things my step-kids have said to me and to my husband, but truthfully, he is so used to it, that it doesn't seem to bother him. I would think that at least he would be embarassed by them, but he's really not.

Just remember that these loyalties were there long before you came on the scene. I have come to realize that my step-kids view their mother as the victim in the break-up of their marriage, and they tend to side with her, even though there was no real "bad guy" in their divorce. An ex- spouse can really make it seem that way. Also, to heap on the speculation that Dad is going to cheat the children out of their inheritance, is a really great way for an ex- to
create anger on the part of the kids, to make your husband feel like he is just a bank account, and to make his kids more loyal to her, the "good" parent.

It's all so complex, and there are many hidden adgendas.
5 years is just the beginning.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

I've been with my DH for 4 years. His ex thrives on conflict so we practice not giving into her at all. She is always using the kids against us adn especially targets me. Guess its not working cause i am getting a halloween present this weekend from my SD:) I'm so glad that she is always appreciative. Both kids are super good. Stepson is still a bit naive , we'll see how he unfold over the years. But the Biomom is an experience and i want nothign to do with her. I say nothign bad to the kids. But she is just such a rotten sour person. never seems happy.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

Hey, Maria

You have really suggested a good idea.

I am going to think of my husband's ex- as a bonfire, and conflict is gasoline. I am going to imagine that when she tries to stir up trouble, that she is asking for us to throw gas on the fire...and I'm not going to give in to that.

It sort of changes the perspective.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

"I am going to think of my husband's ex- as a bonfire, and conflict is gasoline."

There do seem to be people like that, and you're wise to recognize that.

Come to think of it, I think my DH's ex is one of them.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

What a lot of heartache, it makes me very sad. I also have sadness in my life. I am a stepmother to a 20 year old SS, and have been married to his dad for 3 years. He recently moved out of our home because he did not like our rules - we expected him to help pay for his car, help pay his insurance, to respect us, and to finish his education and have a part-time job. He had not graduated from high school, he somehow got very wrapped up in a relationship with a girl, and forgot about his studies. Now finally he has his GED and is working part-time in the grocery store. He is living with his mother and stepfather, and we rarely see him, as things got bad between us all. He would never speak to us, only with resentment. Many times, the three of us would sit down one evening, to try to iron things out, to make a fresh start, to find out why he resented things. He has always said he doesn't resent me, or my relationship with his dad; it's hard to believe him, by the way he acts around us, so full of anger.

His parents divorced after his mom cheated on his dad with the minister at church, and couldn't work things out. She remarried first, but he lived with DH alone for 3 years until we married.

When we married, DH chose him as his best man (he was almost 17) - he welcomed me as his new step mother, and it went downhill from there somehow. There was a house move for all of us. We got him nice things for his room (of his choosing), got his dream car with his promise of making monthly payments to us, two years ago, of which he has only made about 5 payments; we bailed him out of jail when he was arrested for non payment of a traffic ticket which we knew nothing about; we were forever loaning him money for everything as he didn't have a job; we supported him after he confessed that he experimented with drugs; none of this was enough for him. He always went around acting hard-done-by. He would get annoyed if we ever bought anything new for the house, such as a piece of furniture, asking how could we afford that but not his car payment? etc etc.

I never threw things away that had belonged to his mom - I sorted out their family photos and made an album for him for the future, I rescued his old ball game trophies out of the trash and kept them, in case he wants them later. I have not been perfect. I would be assertive, which he was not used to, his mom is a complete doormat and does everything he wants, unfortunately for him I wasn't the same. Example - first time I drove him somewhere, we got in the car and he refused to put on his seatbelt (he was 16). I said "Please put on your seatbelt!" and he looked amazed - "are you serious?" - I learned later that his mother could never make him put it on. I didn't try to irritate him, but I kept boundaries that were pre-agreed with his dad.

We are hoping that things will improve in the future as he matures. Our door is always open to him, even though when he does appear, he won't speak to me, only his father. To me, it's obvious that he resents me, as he might see it, splitting up their "bachelor days" as he has referred to several times.

I try to be a good stepmother, but with that much anger and resentment, it's difficult to make anyone happy.


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Cat Lady

Hi, there

I certainly feel for you, and I have been there and done that. The important thing that I realize from your message is that if step-kids want to resent you, they really don't need a reason. Like you, my husband was a divorced bachelor with kids for a long time (10 years)before I married him. I had nothing to do with ending his first marriage.

There are step-mothers whose step-kids resent them because they came too soon after the end of the marriage, or even were instrumental in the ending of the first marriage.

In our case, the opposite is true: we had nothing to do with the failure of the first marriage, and came on the scene much later.

Your step-son really can't complain about anything specific, but he resents you because you don't allow him to be the center of the universe. Your husband now has a wife, and your step-son has become an adult son...which is what he is--he is not your husband's pal any longer.
He and your husband might have been "bachelors", because your husband needed companionship, and elevated him to the position of bachelor companion, instead of son, but that doesn't change the fact that he is a son, and not a bachelor friend.

Your husband's single friends might resent you, too, but that doesn't change the fact that your husband is no longer a bachelor...he is married, and he has a wife. Too bad, so sad....: )

You made a very good point, and that is that you can't make him happy. You are certainly right...he is the only one that can make himself happy. You could have a very nice family, but he has chosen to be a brat about it, and he is causing your new family to miss out on some very good times.

I have a step-son just like that. He is now 24 years old, and is a senior in college. (There's a story behind that, too...)

Anyway, I am on the other side now, and I want you to know that you are doing exactly the right thing to set limits,
don't get angry, keep the lines of communication open, stick to your guns, and eventually he will come back to you and your husband on your terms. Don't try to please him. Do not allow this kid to run over you, and do not allow him to come between you and your husband. It sounds like your husband backs you up, and that's the best thing of all.

This is not personal. Your step-son would resent a step-mother no matter who she was, and only because he is no longer the center of attention. Also, he has not been able to win this power struggle, and he resents you for that, too.

There is a new script in this family, and he doesn't like it.

Eventually, he will grow up.

When I married my husband, my step-son was 16 years old, and now he is 24. There were times at first when he ran all over me, and then quickly I learned to set limits and boundaries. There were times that I lost my temper, and he reminds me of them every chance he gets. His mother reminds me every chance she gets. But I am human.

I admire you for keeping calm, and setting boundaries.

You don't have to love this kid--that's the job of his parents. You just have to set limits, and protect your marriage. Try not to let him make you mad, and don't respond to criticism from him or his mother. Eventually, it will get better.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

Addendum to above:

Try not to allow yourself to become angry. Just try to look at things objectively when he crosses aline with you.
He is crossing a line, and therefore I am going to inconvenience him in some way as a consequence.

I said in my last post, try not to let him make you mad...
He will push your buttons, but don't react by being angry.
Just be objective and react with consequences. It's tough, but when they see that they can no longer push your buttons, it spoils their fun.

When my step son has reacted to a situation by saying,
"I hate you, f&*& you, I will never speak to you again".

I say, calmly, and very truthfully, "I don't care".
"It's not like you have been a friend to me, or anything".

It sounds mean, but it's the truth, and it helps me to have an objective response, without losing my cool. It works.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

Southernsummer, thanks for your replies, and the wisdom they contained.

Like you, I was not instrumental in the break-up of my SS parents' marriage. When the two of them (DH and SS) were living alone together, they were companions by necessity. My husband gave his son a lot of time and naturally, since our marriage, he has had less one-on-one time, although still some. I tried a lot of things - like 'family game night' where we would play board games, computer games, go bowling, crazy golf etc. but he was not interested. At that time he wanted to be out running around with his friends. Some months later, he told me that I had 'stolen' his dad. I replied that yes, we were now sharing our time as a family, and wanted him to be a big part of that. He has reacted badly by some pretty bad behaviour, including getting into quite a few thousand $ in credit card debt, we have credit agencies phoning our house constantly. My husband blames himself for excluding SS, where in fact, SS excluded himself. He just didn't want to be doing activities together with his dad and me. I tried to encourage them to spend time together without me, at the time, SS was sulking and not interested in that either. The most we could hope for was him to sit and eat at a restaurant with us, then want to leave the minute he took his last bite, with hardly a word said.

Again, you are right, that he resents the fact he is no longer center of the universe. Well, I am sorry about that. Yes, he was an only child and probably center of the universe for many years, but is now 20 and has to grow up sometime!

I will try to not get angry, I do feel it sometimes especially when I see the hurt it causes my husband, when SS doesn't remember his birthday, father's day etc. On Thanksgiving we heard not a word from SS. DH left a message on his voicemail saying we would like him to come and visit, eat if he would like to, but he chose to ignore it.

I believe in giving chances, and we will never give up hope that he will return to us one day, it's just a shame that we do not have any time together hardly. He has a girlfriend, but he won't bring her to our house because she is anti-alcohol and we (occasionally) have a glass of wine with dinner. He doesn't want her to see us in that light. Well, ok.

I do bite my tongue sometimes, I will continue to do that, I just wish for my husband's sake that he could have a relationship with his son, without me feeling guilty.

I am glad you have come through a rough patch with your stepson, do you have a good relationship with him now, or is it more a matter of tolerating each other? Eight years is a long time so hopefully he has grown to love you.


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to Catlady

Hi, Catlady

Yes, I do get along with my step-son, now. But we will never have a close friendship. Remember that there are conflicting loyalties here, and a definite yin and yang.
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

In other words, as long as you keep encouraging, begging, or otherwise insisting that your SS spend time with you,
he has the freedom to resist. If you pull towards you,
he will pull away from you. It's true. Sad, but true.

What finally did work for me and my SS and SD (2 step-kids),
was to stop pulling. Stop inviting him. We are having Christmas at the beach with my children (10 & 12) this year.
Christmas was always an emotional fight. Every holiday was an opportunity to punish Dad for destroying their family and destroying the bachelor pad.

This year we are having a Christmas brunch with all 30 of my husband's family on the 16th (everyone is bringing a dish, so don't be impressed!!), and his children received
written invitations just like everyone else.

Now, they are civil, polite, my SD even tells me she loves me (I don't believe it, but it's good to hear). My SS asks to speak to me just for a light-hearted chat after he talks to his Dad on the phone. I am polite but I will never pull again.

The transformation was astounding when I started doing that.
Also, there is a tremendous amount of Divorced Father's guilt, and his kids and ex-wife really know how to push that button. With time, my step-kids' bad attention-seeking behavior spoke for itself, and he quit rewarding bad behavior. He still gets bad behavior (DUI, multiple totaled cars, failing out of college, etc.) but it's not as bad.

Also, when the step-kids are sick, DH lets their mother be Florence Nightingale, and doesn't worry about it.
Their usual trick was to insist that both parents drive 4 hours to their side (without me, of course) to manipulate a
family reunion of sorts. That doesn't happen anymore.

Of course, the door is always open, but we don't wring our hands and insist they spend time with us. We don't change our plans to accomodate them. We don't allow ourselves to be manipulated.

It has done wonders for our marriage. And that's the most important thing of all.


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Christmas Brunch

Hello, everyone

I had 30 of my husband's family over for Christmas brunch last Saturday, and it was absolutely lovely. This was the second year that we have done that at our home, and it was an absolute delight. Last year the pre-Christmas brunch was lovely, but his kids (ages 21 & 25) turned Christmas day 2005 into a terrible incident. This year, we had a characteristically lovely time with his family (aunts, uncles, cousins, etc...his parents are deceased), and we decided to spend Christmas day 2006 with my family in Atlanta. It was definitely the right decision. His daughter (age 21)pouted all during the Christmas brunch 2006, but I chose not to notice. Otherwise, it was a wonderful day.

Christmas (today)with my parents & family (the first time in 23 years for me, and the first time in my 8 year marriage to my husband) was perfect. Everyone is enjoying everything, and my kids (ages 11 & 13) really have enjoyed being with my parents for the event.

Maybe we have finally turned a corner for step-family issues. I have realized that much of the conflict has absolutely nothing to do with me, but is rather based on his children's mood at the time, and the ability to manipulate their father. I just happen to be an innocent bystander. This has been very liberating, since in reality, nothing I can do will make any difference, except that I can choose not to react to situations that I can't control. I can choose not to take things personally, and not to fire back. You can't have a tug of war if one side doesn't pull. There's no power struggle, if I choose not to participate.

This has been the best year of my marriage, after a very turmultuous beginning. At the beginning and for most of the year, I was ready to throw my hands up and quit. Now, I feel confident that we can make it through just about anything.

I have a professional friend (David) who married my husband's cousin three years ago, and we had their wedding reception at our home. David has an ex-wife and 2 kids from his previous marriage. This was her first marriage.
A month ago, she left him, and said she couldn't take the constant conflict any more. It was sad, but I certainly know how she felt. In retrospect, I often felt that way, but I'm glad that I stuck it out. I know there will be more conflict in the future, but I feel confident that I can handle it, and that we will survive as a couple.

Thanks for being there. Love to all. Summer


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

Dear Summer,

You are new at this, but have much wisdom. I am a stepmother and grandmother now for 24 years. It has been a long, often difficult, often joyous journey. We married 24 years ago, both were divorced, myself for 3 years and my husband for one year. I had one son at the time, age 5 and my husband had three children, ages 7, 9 and 12. We were young and very unenlightened to the struggles that laid ahead. We relationshipped with his children from afar (we lived 2-4 hours away during much of their growing up) and were more "Disneyland parents" than "everyday parents", except for my 5 y.o. son who lived with us. We made many mistakes along the way. We got involved in power struggles, loyalty issues and the like. We also did somethings that were the right things to do and those have had positive consequences. A couple of those things are that -- we always paid our child support - even when we had little money and even when it kept being increased. We also always sought out visitation with the children and offered to meet half way or accomodate that anyway possible.

As a result of some past actions and alot of divine intervention -- now for two years we are living in the same city with my stepchildren and one hour away from my bio. son. We see our grandchildren several times aweek and are in joint business with our stepdaughter and son-in-law and soon with our stepson. Our SD and son-in-law were just baptized this past summer and their new hearts are beginning to make changes throughout the whole family. It is truly a blessing !!

What I wanted to thank you for is your idea about Christmas. I really struggle with part of our Christmas holiday. We always include activities that surround our faith, such as working at the community dinner, going to church and fellowshipping with other believers, but also we go to Christmas at my husband's ex-wife's house. It is very chaotic, all about gifts and we play board games until late in the evening. There is still alot of dysfunction in his ex-wife's life and the life of at least 2 of the children. My husband and I feel we need to excuse ourselves early or have our own celebration at our house and like your idea.

Any other thoughts would be appreciated and believe me --- this stepparenting thing takes a lifetime to learn. I am glad to see more sites like this and more books out there.
I work as a Marriage and Family therapist (newbie, working on licensure)and am amazed at what few helps are out there.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

I too am a stepmom,but I would hope I'm not considered an evil one. I actually get along quite well with two of my step daughters and only dont get along with one of them.
I have always advocated my husband to have relationships with them,with or without me.
He was never married to his exes,and he is actually the one who bad mouths (one of) them,not me! He says what a Psycho she was and how the reason he finally left her was when she threw a glass bottle at his head.Consequently,it is the daughter of this psycho that i dont get along with.
The other ex (of his twin 17 year olds) I could talk to for hours.She is very nice and we have never had a problem from her.Their daughters are good girls and have a great relationship with their dad and my husband and I's daughter who is 8.
We have tried everything with sd#3 though,even offering to let her move in with us.Of course it didnt happen because she couldnt keep her hands to herself.My daughter is often in the hospital and very frail and sd#3 who weighs more then I do hit her constantly.My husband wasnt great addressing the issue,so I HAD to take on the role of evil step mom to protect my child.
I never in my life even saw myself as a step mom.Quite frankly,I've never been big on kids.But I love my husband so much,I wanted to love every part of who he was,even his other children.And mind you,my husband didnt have a pot to piss in so to speak when we met,so I could hardly be called a gold digger.
I have had step dads that I didnt like...but I have grown to love my step dad that I have now,and I think my husband's twins have grown to at least like me too.
However,I have tried all I can with the other step daughter.I dont trust her at all.And I have never told my husband he cant see his daughters,but he at the point where with the one daughter he doesnt even want to.
It is hard to be a step parent.I guess since I had a step parent I didnt like maybe I was better at being one,because I knew what not to do.
In your situation you need to confront your dad though.Corner him somewhere if if wont meet you somewhere.Tell him you love him and this has to stop.Because my dad died when I was young,and we didnt have much of a relationship before hand.
My Christmas was horrible because the family pet died in my arms,and I couldnt save him. Life is short.Dont let her stand in your way.Your dad was just real lonely after your mom died i think.Maybe you say you were there for him,but I'm sure you know there are just some ways you cant be there for him as a wife/girlfriend would be. Maybe once he has mourned some and not so lonely he wont want the step mom anymore.She doesnt sound like a very nice person. Try not to be jaded though.There are plenty of women (like myself) who if they really love the man would love to build a relationship with their kids as well.Your common bond is the love you share for your dad.
There should be more talk shows about this though! But it is a very touchy subject to some people.Maybe you could try Dr.Phil...he seems like he'd tell her how it is!


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Bittersweet & Cool Mama

Hi, there

Bittersweet, thanks for the nice comment about the Christmas Brunch. Actually, brunch is a very safe meal, because people don't just stay and stay. It sort of has a limited time period. Also, since our brunch is held on the Saturday before Christmas, it isn't packed with the emotions of Christmas.

There's one other detail that I didn't mention, and that is that my husband has a half brother and half sister, and there was a lot of friction there before we married. I have brought them all together, and this brunch has actually been a wonderful mending of pain in his family.

One other thing I do, is that I invite all of his family, but I also invite about 6 or 8 old family friends that everyone is very happy to see...the family nanny who is now about 80 years old, old family playmates from childhood, old employees of the family business that they hadn't seen for years. It has a way of bringing to mind goodtimes and not bad, and it has a way of keeping everyone on good behavior. Also, I serve Mimosas (champaigne and orange juice) before breakfast, and it takes the edge off of everyone (not too much, of course). It has worked, in a fmily that has had its share of problems.

Cool Mama, sometimes there's nothing to do but set boundaries.

Love, Summer


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

Dear Lily Suzanne 40, (the first poster on this page)

I completely agree with what everything you said. It seems some women have a strange power over some types of men.

My dad actually left my mom for a woman who lived up the street from us. I was between one and two years old and my sister was almost six. The woman up the street, who was a sometimes-friend of my mother's, was also married with two kids of her own.

What might be worse is that throughout my childhood, she was attached to his hip and neither my father or stepmother realized that my sister and I needed to spend alone time with dad. We were all just sort of forced together and made to feel as if we were supposed to get along...like the Brady Bunch.

To top it all off, before I was old enough to make a sincere decision about how to address my stepmother, I was calling her "mom," even though I lived with my real mom full-time. In my dad's house, everyone addressed each other as if we were a biological family. Her kids called my dad "dad"--even though there dad was not missing...he lived just five miles away and saw his kids. And my sister and I called our stepmom "mom." I can't imagine how they justified this, especially considering that my dad and stepmom had an affair. It's kind of cruel. As if they didn't already hurt a lot of people.

Anyway, it took me until I was 25 years old to say I didn't want to call my stepmother "mom." Now, I'm 36 and I no longer associate with my stepfamily, but do my best to maintain a relationship with my dad.

Interestingly, my stepfamily takes full advantage of my father's monetary situation. My stepbrother bought my dad's beach home and resold it for profit. He also went in halvers on a boat with my dad, which they both just sold. My sister and I have never been privy to these financial conversations or situations. It's weird. But, I don't really care. I don't want to have anything to do with their financial business....much rather make my own money, my own friends and my own connections. The price is too high otherwise.

It seems to me that my stepmother tried to re-write history to save face and create an image. I'm not buying it!

Sadly, my dad cares less about his relationship with his own two daughters and more about forcing us to embrace the stepmother...so as to look good. It's sad, but I mourned the loss of my father years ago.

I found this discussion by looking up Stockholm Syndrome because of the recent missing/found Missouri boys. While stepfamilies are not situations of kidnapping and the terror is not at such a level that those boys experienced, I do believe kids do what they need to do to survive in certain stepfamily situations...and that can mean losing one's ability to resist and speak up. Ultimately, a lot of kids might lose themselves in situations like this.

Today I feel completely liberated. Thank God!

Here is a link that might be useful: Generation ACD (Adult Children of Divorce)


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

Sorry for jumping into this one so late but I so wanted to say....all step mom's who marry widowers are not like your SM....and thank god!!
I married a widower 3 years ago (been together a little over four years).
I noticed after my 4th visit to his home that a big picture of he and his late wife, facing each other and staring into their eyes had been taken down. I asked him why and he said that he felt it might make me uncomfortable. I told him that he had to put it back up right away!! That his kids were trying to adjust to dad caring for someone else, and they needed to see that picture and the love their parents shared right now more than ever. I waited quite awhile before I started to make this home "mine"...but I did it in a way that included the kids. We did it little by little and not all at once. We did take a shelf and put it in the living room and it is "moms" shelf. I have even found some beautiful pictures of her holding the kids and as gifts to them had copies made and framed them for that shelf. At that time we had three kids still at home and I would never have dreamed of "getting rid" of mom....I have two kids and it breaks my heart to think if it were my kids in their place. The three kids at home ( the ones I got the closest too and love dearly) know that they can at any time any place, talk to me about mom if they need to. And if it is dad they need to talk to mom about....that is between them and I can make myself scarce. I encourage my husband to spend time with them and when he says he is to busy I remind him that they have lost their mother...they need dad more than ever....make time!! I have had a few people ask me if it bothers me that we have a rather large picture of my DH holding his late wifes hand with their kids surrounding them ( a family picture) still hanging in our house. I say that as long as we have minor kids in the house....they need to have that re-assurance that they DID exist as that family and mom is still a big part.Does the picture bother me?? Of course it kinda hurts to see the man you love holding another womans hand...but "my" hurt is not always going to be first in life. It is nothing compared to the hurt my s'kids would feel if I tried to rip mom out of their home/life/memory. When the last child moves out ( and no, not the same day, but eventually) the picture will go with one of them if they choose. There was alot of the LW's stuff around that we needed to do something with...not out of spite but out of neccassity, so I helped my SD go thru it all and wash it/dust it or whatever and get it ready for her hope chest.

My husband explained things once to his younger kids that when he and their mother had their first child that they fell in love with it. Could not for a minute believe they could ever love another child as much. But, eventually they had the next child and realized the love was just as strong and as beautiful....that you can love more than once and it does not take from the one you loved first. That it didnt mean that the "first" was delagated down to second place...but neither was the "second" expected to feel any less special. There is enough love in this world that no one should have to be alone and that he didnt want to be alone, so he choose to love again....but that didnt mean he would stop loving their mother.

Because I chose NOT to try and compete with mom or try to put myself as "all important" I got the reward of three kids to add to my life. I see their mother in their eyes and personalities....she is in them and therefore will always be in this family. But, at the same time I also expect respect from them to not compare us or try to make me feel "less".

My saying to all women who are getting involved with a widower is to:

respect the parent/child bond and do not come between it. Let them have the relatioship they have always had. Respect their relatioship. Give them time alone. Always, always make them feel comfortable in the home they have grown up in. Let them know they have a home to come to when life is kicking their butts....a safe place. Respect the woman who gave them life and never down talk her...ever. Dont try to become "mom"....become someone they can come to with "mom" issues if needed, and feel proud they trust you enough when they do. basically, respect them.

And always, always do not settle for less back from them. It is not okay for you to give it your all and try your hardest....and then allow yourself to become a whipping post because life has changed and dad has moved on.

Respect...from both sides is what will make it work in the long run.

I have very normal "step-parenting" issues....few of them (if any) with the kids still at home have ever had anything to do with mom or my lack of respect for their relationship with dad. I personally would not want a man who could turn his back on his children for a woman...specially kids who have already lost one parent.It would show a wishy-washy man where love is concerned. I love that my husband is in tune with his kids and knows when they are dealing with mom re-lated issues and need him....it reminds me why I love him so much.


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Sharon & Country

I'm convinced that it all boils down to loyalty.

I am loyal to my husband, and my children are loyal to my husband, and therefore my husband treasures our loyalty and unconditional love. We don't spend our lives punishing him and reminding him of something he did 20 years ago. So he loves us, and loves being with us.

He loves his children, but they are loyal to their mother, and they take every chance they have to needle him about
the divorce which happened 20 years ago. Quite frankly, he is sick of it. He is cordial to them, and spends time and money on them, but he is tired of listening to their martyrdom and victimization...he loves being with us, because we love and respect him...2 things he doesn't get from his biologic family.

Sharon is loyal to her mother. She harbors resentment and anger about something she doesn't even remember. She resents her father's "new" wife of 20 years and she resents his happiness. He is supposed to suffer like her mother has suffered. He is supposed to pay for what he has done.
But life goes on. And who knows what really happened in their marriage. Maybe the neighbor was just there to pick up the pieces in a broken marriage. Twenty years is a long time to punish someone.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

To Gone Country,

Thank Goodness women like you understand the dynamics of blending a family. Your post brought a tear to my eye. I wish you'd been my SM.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

Wrong does not become right just because time has passed. Sharon has suffered for 25 years, and will continue to suffer from the effects of her father's affair and from his disregard for his children. From her posts, it appears that he does not even seem to show any remorse for what he has done.

southernsummer said:
"He is supposed to suffer like her mother has suffered. He is supposed to pay for what he has done. "

Of course he should.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

Agree! I just can't believe that you admitted it. I totally agree that Sharon is still punishing her father. Sharon is not suffering because her father shut her out of his life, Sharon is suffering because she needs to hold on to her anger and bitterness. Who wants to include someone like that in their family?

It is clear that her father's family included her in everything and included her father's step-children as well.
Sharon chose to push them away. That is totally her choice.

Sharon is angry because her father and step-mother are happy and that her step-siblings are happy.


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The other side

Agree! I totally agree--Sharon wants her father to suffer...the problem is that he is happy and that just kills her.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

I think Sharon is unhappy that her father and stepmother have wanted all the children to pretend that the affair never happened, and that their marriage is legitimate. On top of that, the stepmother apparently is doing her best to make sure that Sharon is not allowed an independent relationship with her father.

I think she is disappointed that her father is not the good person everyone hopes his or her parent would be. Why would she want her father to be the kind of person who could be happy while committing adultery and destroying his family?

For that matter, why would any person here want to see wrongdoing be rewarded?


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Otherside

Okay, so let's put a big letter A on Sharon's father and vote him off the island.

My step children have been punishing my husband for 20 years, but there was no affair. Just an irreconcilable differences uncontested mutual divorce that his ex-wife filed for. He has been good to his kids (good to a fault), and his children still take every possible opportunity to hurt him. I came on the scene 10 years after the divorce. It's not like needs to have a big letter A on his chest like Sharon's father.

What I am saying, is that kids do not need a reason take sides against one parent. All they have to do is continue to perpetuate anger and hostility.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

Wow. I wish I had seen this twenty years ago. My stepmother has done all of the above (except tear down the house) and more. My father recently died and I am dealing with his wife who has made it plain and clear that she is the only one who ever loved my dad (not) and that we are only interested in the money (so not true). It has been a really painful experience.

My father was a spineless wimp when it came to my stepmother. He changed his will one year after they married so that she is set up financially for the rest of her life... assets that were supposed to be liquidated in order to set up her trust were liquidated 4 months before my dad died... when my father was in very, very poor health. Now she won't even talk to us. She hangs up on us as soon as she knows it's us. "Oh, sorry, I have company. Can't talk now. Bye."

I miss my dad. I tried my very best, from 3000 miles away, to have a relationship with him... but she was always putting her digs in that my sisters and I were horrible children. We weren't. We were just competition. Now that he is gone (he died right before Christmas) I am angry with myself that I didn't fight harder... but at the time it was really painful to deal with such a negative, selfish stepmother. Now she can sit in her little house with all the money (but they couldn't afford to fly out for my wedding - but that's a mute point now) and I hope she chokes on a bon-bon.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

Wow in looking at the above post there is some really great advice... in others I see angry children, not trying to help but trying to encourage the hatred. Here is the thing you can not hate so passionately and still be free and happy. If you spend your entire life focused on "making someone pay" whether it be for real or imagined wrongs, you will become a horrible, hateful person who can not contribute any good to anybody. Anger is a natural emotion, forgiveness takes work.


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Sandstone

I so agree. My stepkids have been trying to make my husband pay for the divorce for 20 years. He has been so good to them, but they treat him so disrespectfully. We could have all been so content...they have just resisted at every turn. They took every opportunity as a chance to be hurtful to me, my husband or my children (3 and 5 at the time of the marriage.) It just made no sense to me. I am a very likeable person. I get along with everyone. I like people, and people usually like me. This has been a new trip for me...that these kids just hate my guts, and want to hurt me at every turn. They are making our family pay for a divorce that they don't even remember. Well, I have learned not to let it bother me. We have become a happy family of 4, instead of 6. I just can't be a punching bag for ever. My husband deserves respect. He deserves loyalty. He is a good man, and he loves his children but he does not like them. He likes us, because we treat him with the respect that he deserves. He loves me, and he has grown to love my children, who love and respect him. There was a time when I loved his children, because they were a part of him. But my love for them changed to hurt, then sadness, then anger, then indifference. That is the sadest thing of all.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

It continually amazes me that this topic remains active a full four years after my original post. I think it speaks to one of the most overlooked segment of the step population -- adult stepchildren and remarriage of newly widowed or long divorced parents. My original post was not intended to address problems or concerns of stepmothers of young children. I can't speak to those issues because I have never experienced it.

Just to be clear: My situation with my stepmother is unique but there are parallels to many other people. Time and again I have spoken with, e-mailed and chatted with adult children who are in anguish and pain over their exclusion from their parent's life. If you are a stepmother, hear me and take this to heart: YOU DO NOT HAVE A RIGHT TO DESTROY YOUR HUSBAND'S RELATIONSHIP WITH HIS CHILDREN. I don't care how old they are or how much you dislike them.

I am adamant about this because of a recent development in my dad's situation. He has tentatively reached out to his children and siblings, behind his wife's back, to tell us that he regrets the marriage and believes his wife is mentally ill (crazy and paranoid are his descriptions), and that she is out of control when it comes to his having any relationship with any of his family. He remains committed to her because of his belief in the sanctity of marriage but he is not happy. Clearly, this situation is not normal. I wish I had a mentally healthy stepmother who would allow us to have even a few seconds of time with my father and her -- maybe even someone who would be my friend.

If you are the stepmother of emotionally immature, violent, deceptive or just plain spoiled adult children, I'm sorry. I wish they wouldn't behave that way because it makes it harder for the rest of us who just want to be friends.

If you are the stepmother of young children, I wish you the best. But please don't blame the situation on those children. They didn't choose for their parents to split. They didn't choose for their parent to fall in love with you. And they didn't fall in love with you. Give them time. Try to be someone they can trust and count on.

I hope this helps.


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Lily Suzanne

You introduced the topic of step-mothers of adult children,
as though we were the sole cause of problems with our step-children. You gave a series of commands, as though that would solve everything.

I'm glad that your father is at least able to play both sides against the middle, instead of just catering to your step-mother. It seems like he needs a backbone. That's okay, my husband could use one, too.

It never occurred to me that there would be any conflict with my husband's children. But you brought it up, and it's no longer about you, it's about the topic of Step-mothers and adult step-children...not just your case.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

I'm really glad that I found this thread because it's comforting to know that other people are experiencing problems with their new stepmothers. Situations aren't exactly the same, but there are sure many parallels. I have come to the conclusion that as much as I dislike my new stepmother, I blame my father for the estranged relationship. Ultimately, he had a choice and he picked his new wife over his own children and grandchildren. My wicked stepmother is the instigator, but my father is the problem. I realize that he is selfish and weak. I tried to rationalize his behavior and I really think that he is willing to sell out his own children because his greatest fear in life is to be alone. It's sad but true.

Everyone has their insecurities and weaknesses, and it's unfortunate that my dad had to be so weak, that he would rather live with a woman who obviously wants to put a wedge between him and his family instead of standing up for what he believes is right. When I confronted him about the entire situation, he tried to save face and had the nerve to place the blame on me... what a COWARD!!! So, I guess the point that I'm trying to make here is that the person that is responsible for the strained relationships when the stepmother is a witch is the father.

I have a laundry list of things that my stepmother has said and done that justifies my hate for her, but she is a NOBODY to me, and will always be a NOBODY. I'm just truly disappointed in my father's actions and sadden by his poor choices concerning this matter. The key to survival in my situation was to learn to accept my new father and to lower my expectations. I have accepted that my father died when my mother died 6 yrs ago. The father I know today is a stranger, and someone I really don't enjoy being around. I have lost all respect for him and he knows it.

Our contact is very limited and it is the best for both of us. Everytime he sees me, he is reminded of the person he has turned into and he doesn't like that. He would prefer to live in a fantasy land with his new wife and believe that everything in his life is just great.

Perhaps one day he will "see the light" and realize that his new wife isn't that great and that he made a mistake by selling out his own children. At this point, I don't care... I'm not going to sit around waiting for that day to come. I have accepted that my dad died 6 yrs ago and he's not coming back.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

No1special, finally the voice of reason in this discussion. Don't blame everything on the evil stepmother - dad didn't have to marry her; he's just as much at fault as she is, perhaps even more.


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No 1 Special
I'm so sorry about your pain. I understand completely. Dad is the weak link and stepmother takes advantage of his weakness while trying to build her new family. Some men are incredibly weak, especially in the case of death of a spouse, they become vulnerable. There are females in this life, but it takes a woman to blend a broken family. It's all part of the process couples should take before they remarry. Counseling and full understanding of what's involved in remarriage might prevent alot of broken hearts, but many don't take that step. Don't take your dad's weakness personally, it's about him and his fears, he's not thinking of how much you might be hurting and the Stepmother isn't either. It's a new life for them both and you represent the past. Some men just can't stand up for their children. My dad never stood up to his wife and I came to realize, that if dad didnt respect me or my family then why should she.....it certainly has a way of destroying a relationship with one's dad. The respect just dies and although the love is there, the warmth is gone..


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

Organic Maureen, thanks for the putting everything in perspective. I think if my stepmother got some counseling before she married my dad, I don't think we would have these problems today. She has a lot of issues from the past and is the most insecure person that I know. She is a wicked and toxic person because of her insecurities. Although I'm disappointed with the way my father handled this entire situation, I still wish that he could be happy with this woman. I just have this feeling that she'll turn on him like she's turned on us. Well, that will be his problem to deal with because that was the path that he chose to take.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

No 1 Special,
so many women just want to get married and they don't realize that taking on a broken family is a huge undertaking.. some women work miracles blending broken famiies and seem to have that instinct, while others fail miserably and leave nothing but toxic waste in their path.

I've come to realize though, this was my dad's choice and I can't carry the burden or heartache. I gave up trying and accept his weakness. I've educated myself on blending stepfamilies and know how dynamic it is. I think a stepfamily can be a wonderful thing, a chance for new life, new connections but it's unfamilar land and dangerous territory and shouldn't be taken lightly. The tradgedy is taking it lightly and unfortunately too many couples do.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

Hi no1special-
I tried writing you before but am not sure it went through so I'm re-writing here.

As a stepmom to two adult stepchildren, I'm curious as to why your dad blamed you for the estrangement between you. My heart is open to both of my SKs and one is civil but the other continues in rudeness and disrespect. I'm trying hard to see things from both sides and that is why I'm curious as to why your dad felt you were to blame. I hope you don't mind my asking.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

Hi notwicked,

My father chose to blame me because he refuses to admit that he married a bad woman. I have been nothing but respectful to him and his wife, even when she was a b*tch. If he actually admitted that his wife was evil, he would have a hard time living with himself and her. So, in his best interest, he has to believe that she is good, so that means I must be the bad person. My father is in denial, and frankly, I have given up on him. Like I mentioned before, he died when my mother died. When he married his new toxic wife, he started to become toxic like her.

If your heart is open to both of your SKs, that tells me that you are a secure individual. My father's wife is very insecure, and I believe her motive is to isolate my father from his children. She doesn't want any reminders of his past around. She is one sick woman.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

Hi no1special -
My heart goes out to you in your situation and to be honest, your situation sounds similar to lilysuzanne40's original post. The woman sounds like a bad seed.

My heart is still open to my SKs after 6 years of being disrespected and ignored in most instances. Being an idealist, I would love to see them have a loving relationship with their father as long as they are courteous to me. It is unacceptable to me, however, to be treated as a non-person and since they will not share openly & honestly with their dad about their feelings of why they are behaving this way, he & I have come to the only conclusion that we can - they would treat any new wife in this manner. They are both young adults and have just begun their own lives separate from family within the past three years. Their mother has fed their fire of negativity since day-one and that continues to be a problem - one of which we have no way of countering - how do you counter a loyalty issue? If you (or anyone else on this board) has any suggestions for me, please share. My thoughts are with you and I pray you will have peace in your life.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

Hi, Notwicked

The answer is that you can't combat a loyalty issue.

You just have to take into account that every event
is dictated by the fact that they are loyal to their
mother and you are loyal to their father.

I have even come out and said that to my stepson before.

Immediately he snapped back that he was loyal to his father, too. I reminded him that his actions showed that he was loyal to his mother, and disloyal to his father.
And that I am loyal to his father.

I think that helped some. At least temporarily.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

Hi southernsummer -
Thank you for your quick reply. I totally understand your concept here and I have a question: Do you personally converse with your SKs about any tensions or does your DH?

So far, my DH has handled his children's misbehavior towards me by letting them know that he is hurt by their actions, hoping that SD, in particular, will "do the right thing" and be polite, civil and courteous. The one conversation he had with SS, the problem was cleared up immediately and SS "did the right thing". My DH & SD, however, are now estranged completely and she is trying her hardest to destroy DH's relationship with SS. She was able to do it once before, early on in our marriage, but SS has been noticeably fine for a few years - unless that is just a cover for him as he is quite a "charmer" and SD doesn't have that talent. As of now, both DH & I are distrusting of SS and are walking on eggshells, hoping that this relationship is not also going to hell. DH has decided to pull back from SS and leave more space until they can meet together face to face. DH will then try talking with him about the situation, hoping for a conciliation before things might get ugly. That's DH's only hope right now.

I really appreciate your comments and insight. I think you have a lot of wisdom that has come out of your pain. Thank you for sharing. If you have any further comments for me now that I've shared more, please respond.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

Hi Notwicked,

I agree with the above post, you can't combat the loyalty issue. I don't think there is anything you could say or do to change the way they feel about you. I think the key is acceptance. Since they are young adults, it tells me that they are not mature yet to think for themselves. I would give them a few more years on their own to discover who they are and hopefully they will be able to figure out right from wrong. I would suggest to you to stay patient in the meantime. If I were you, I would start to distance myself from having a relationship with them. Being treated with disrespect is not healthy for you. I think they still have resentment issues and aren't ready to accept you yet. I also think that they only want to spend time with their father alone, without you around. I think that your husband needs to sit down with his children alone to discuss what kind of relationship they want from him. They might be open to discuss what is really on their mind. Take care...


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

Having started this topic so long ago, I feel a responsibility to tell you what happened after my father and stepmother went off to live "happily ever after."

They didn't.

After years of estrangement and tensions, my father contacted me by telephone in early March. His message was, "I love you and miss you and want to see you." I went to see him the following Monday at his place of work. He had been retired but went back to work to escape my stepmother. When I saw him in person he told me of tragic aspects of his life.

When he's not at work, my stepmother monitors his every activity 24 hours a day. She screens his phone calls, screens and opens his mail and won't allow him to leave the house without her. He returned to work to save his sanity.

She is, in his words, paranoid and delusional and convinced that the whole world is plotting against her. She holds particular animosity for me and my sisters, along with my dad's siblings.

I asked him what he was going to do about it, because he can't work forever. His reply? "I can try."

For now, the makeshift solution is for his family to contact him at his office only. We send all of his mail there. His boss is well aware of his situation and is happy to help. (His boss is on his second marriage, to a woman who hates his children.)

I asked my dad, pointblank, what would happen if she finds out about his contact with us. Would he turn his back on us again? He said, "No. I will not lose my family again. If she pushes it, I'll divorce her so fast it'll make her head spin. I don't care if I walk away from her with nothing but the clothes on my back."

Understand -- my dad is from a generation that believes in the sanctity of marriage and sticking to a vow but he's willing to walk away from it if my stepmother tries to take his family away again.

I have just one goal is making this post: Although my stepmother is obviously mentally ill, there are many other stepmothers out there who are doing the same things she does in the misguided belief that once the husband "chooses" them, they've won.

The fact is, the minute you make him choose, you've already lost. You may not pay the price right away, but you will pay.

Southernsummer is unusual, as far as I can tell, in her dealings with her stepchildren. For those of you who are having trouble dealing with stepfamily situations, I would urge you to read the book or column by Jann Blackstone-Ford and Sharyl Jupe. These two women are a bio mom and stepmom, connected by marriage, who committed themselves to truly doing what is in the best interest of the children.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ex-Etiquette for Parents: Good Behavior After a Divorce or Separation


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

To Notwicked:

(and anyone else)

There's one more thing: No matter how frustrated, heated, or angry you get, don't say something you regret.
It's easy to do, but somehow the things that you say will be repeated over and over, and the things that they say will be somehow forgotten. Don't fall into that trap.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

Hi Southernsummer and notwicked...

My thoughts are with you both. I too have supported 6 years of my "non existance" in the eyes of my now 25 and 23 year old stepchildren, as well as having to watch the extraordinary disrespect that they show for their Father. From my side, it is what it is and although I will continue to try, I cannot lose sleep over these two people. I have tried, and will continue to try only for the sake of my DH-to-be (we marry in October!!!!!), but it is an awful journey and a horrible situation to experience. I would not wish this on my worst enemy. Of course the hardest thing to try and live with / understand / embrace is why my DH allows this treatment in the first place... I am fully aware that he is responsible and accepting of thier treatment towards him as he feels this is "normal" and how it has always been in the old family unit (amazing to me as he is such a well-respected professional in his field and would never tolerate this type of behaviour from anyone else in his life, his parents are also fabulous and are not like this at all), so I must try to respect that. But it is violently complicated - how can one just stand-by, mouth shut, and watch/accept foul behaviour and treatment of someone you love? More tears have been shed than I can say.

I must add that I am also a step-child, and was 16 when my now Dad (he adopted me as a 22 year old) came into my life. Oh how I hated him - not because he was around when my parents split, but simply because I saw him as "taking" my Mum away. We had 2/3 years of a cold relationship before I soon figured it all out and stopped being such a selfish brat. He is simply the best thing that could have ever happened to my Mum, and our family as a whole, and for that I cannot EVER thank him enough. The point? That step-parents CAN be fabulous additions to a family unit and with patience and friendship, normally, things can work out wonderfully.

You can imagine my surprise and shock when I ended up in the same situation...but not with anywhere near the same results despite my personal expeiences. In 6 years I have been addressed by either SK directly with a specific question (not just answering my questions or joining in a group conversation) only once. My DH says that they are intimidated by me (because I am a successful career woman which thier SAHM mother is not) and have no idea how to speak to me ?!?!? Life will not treat these two well if this is the truth...

All I can say is that one must hold true to the idiom of "what goes around comes around" as it does tend to fall true. As everyone here I have stories to list by the truckload, but will only recount the most recent one involving only the SD. My SD25 has finally taken care of showing her true colours to her Dad all alone for example. She is marrying on Saturday, and after presenting her father with the enormous bill for "his share" of the wedding costs (at the same lunch where she announced that she was getting married no less...) last October, she has not involved him in one single aspect of the day or the planning regardless of her complete and utter obsession with "her day". I had to make him force her to send him an invitation so we would at least know what time we had to show up! At the beginning he offered (his hobby is as an amateur sommelier and wine collector) to assist by helping her choose the wines etc., then offering to do various other man-wedding things. No was the repeated answer, and so eventually he stopped offering. She has had no interest or time for him apart from cashing the cheque, and then had the nerve to claim that he has "changed" and is no longer "her father" because he does not call everyday to enquire about the wedding, and that clearly it is all because "SHE" (that's me apparently) was stopping him being her Daddy... what the he% is that??!!!??? He flipped out as you can imagine ...

And so... the moral of my story is simply that most often we, as Stepmothers, are in dead-end, no-win situations regardless of what we do or do not do, of what we want or do not want. I have accepted the fact that everything is always my fault and shoulder this unfair and inaccurate notion accordingly. What I do know is that it has eradicated my respect for these two adults am sorry for weak men who do not try to blend these two lives into one, but I do often feel that we are too easily and quickly blamed in cases where it is absolutely not the case. When it is the case, then we must never forget that there are ALWAYS two sides of any story ...

Cheers,

Fiona


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

Fiona,

I read your response with interest. I have no doubt that some things are entirely as you describe them. What I didn't see is any ownership of the situation that exists. In stepfamily relationships, bad blood is never entirely the fault of one party. In my case, I have owned up to and apologized for anything I've done or said that ever caused my father or stepmother pain or distress. My dad accepts my apologies, but says my stepmother never will.

What struck me about your post was a statement so unconsciously condescending that, were I your stepdaughter, I would have immediately seen red.

"My DH says that they are intimidated by me (because I am a successful career woman which thier SAHM mother is not)."

As a stepchild, what I read is, "I am a better and smarter woman than their mother because I have a job and all she's done is stay at home and raise these two awful kids."

I'm not writing this to bash you but to point out that it's those types of statements that, in a stepfamily dynamic, can cause hurt feelings, anger and disrespect. If over the past six years, his children sensed any of those feelings coming from you or their father (who you also took pains to point out is a successful businessman), it would inevitably ignite an instinct to protect their mother. You have no idea what happened in their marriage, because, as you pointed out, there are two sides to every story. Perhaps that inference that a SAHM is somehow not as worthy as someone with a career originated in their marriage and is being carried over.

My point is, these children are reacting not to six years of their father's relationship with you, but a lifetime relationship that has been damaged by divorce and anger.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

Fiona,

I was wondering how your DH's relationship with his children has changed since you came into the picture. I'm not saying you are to blame, but has he stopped calling them as much or spending as much time with them because he now has you? I think men sometimes just need someone to occupy their time and when they don't have a GF or a wife, they tend to focus more on their children, but as soon as the new GF comes along, their focus shifts to their new love interest. Could it be that this is the case, so they blame you for taking him away from them?


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

I totally agree with this statement:

I have just one goal is making this post: Although my stepmother is obviously mentally ill, there are many other stepmothers out there who are doing the same things she does in the misguided belief that once the husband "chooses" them, they've won.

The fact is, the minute you make him choose, you've already lost. You may not pay the price right away, but you will pay.

My stepmother is mentally ill and for the past 5 years she has been putting a wedge between my father and I. Over the years she would do bad things to me to show me that she had power over my father. My father enabled her bad behavior. I never told him to choose sides, he's the one that chose a side. I told him that I could no longer have a relationship with his wife because of her constant bad behavior towards me and my family, but he insisted that if his wife wasn't included in our relationship then he didn't want a relationship at all. My relationship with my father was doomed the day he married this woman. She's the one that made him chose a side, not me. My stepmother is toxic and my father is becoming toxic too. Basically, I had two choices to make. Abide by my father's term and have a forced relationship with his mentally ill wife OR walk away and save myself and family. I chose to walk away because being around toxic people is unhealthy. Seeing what my father has become has made me ill. It's unfortunate, but there is nothing I could have done to change the outcome. Now, the only thing I could do is accept the situation. I truly believe my father will pay the price one day for picking sides. His wife will turn on him because she is mentally ill and since I'm not in the picture, she'll have to find someone else to pick on. Oh, such is life. What goes around comes around, I say. :-)


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

Hi no1special -
I want to thank you for your very encouraging and supportive post. You are totally right!

This past January I came to the conclusion that my only path is to step away from the situation and focus on my marriage with DH. I think somewhere it is written that to be able to see the difference between something you can change and something you can't, belies wisdom in knowing when to walk away and remove yourself from continuing to hit your head against a wall :)

I've spent 5.5 years hitting my head against the wall and the past two years in therapy. My health would not hold up any longer. I came to understand that there are many family dynamics between my DH and his children and X and I cannot take any responsibility for them. I can only take responsibility for any hurts I've caused my SD when I came into the family home and married her father. For that I have apologized. My SD refused to forgive me. That was 4.5 years ago now.

Again, I truly thank you for your good advice and encouragement to take care of myself by stepping away. It's the only sane thing to do. However, if my SD should ever decide to come asking forgiveness for hurts she has caused me, I will be here to begin anew.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

To southernsummer -
I believe you are totally right about the loyalty issue. It will likely never cease. Even though the X was the one who was having an affair that brought on my DH's divorce and she went on to marry the guy, she somehow has turned things around to where my SKs most likely see her as the betrayed. It really doesn't make any sense to us. But like I said in my post to no1special, I understand there were many dynamics which went on in this bio-family long before I arrived on the scene two years after the divorce, so who knows how much resentment each SK is holding against their father already - it's not uncommon for children to carry over hurts (real or imagined) into adulthood. Besides that, children - even adult ones - sometimes do not really see their parents as people, only as parents. I think it takes children coming into maturity before they can begin to think of their parents as people with feelings which may become hurt. Hopefully, we will live long enough to see peace in our family.

As far as holding my tongue, I am honest in sharing my feelings with DH but I will admit there have been a few times where I have said something in front of my SKs which they may be holding against me. However, I remember a few times when I have been the one to be the peacemaker between SD and her father. I'm not doing that any longer - their problems are between the two of them now and I've stepped back into the shadows where I can breathe once again.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

This past January I came to the conclusion that my only path is to step away from the situation and focus on my marriage with DH.

Hi Notwicked,

I'm glad to hear that you are finally ready to take care of yourself. It's not about being selfish, but about saving yourself from further damage. Your focus should be a good wife to your DH and to provide him support because he'll definitely need it when dealing with his children. I think there is a lot of resentment and anger of the past still harboring among your SKs, X, and DH. It is something that your DH has to work out with his kids. A family therapist might be able to resolve the issues your DH has with his kids. There might be a time when your DH won't be able to handle this abuse from his children anymore and he'll be forced to step away too. It's a decision that he will have to make on his own.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

lilysuzanne ... did you think when you typed this 5 years ago ... you would still be here and still actually replying to this post??

AMAZING!!!


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

Cawfecup,

I probably didn't realize it when I wrote the post, but I came to the conclusion soon afterward that my situation is not all that unique. My stepmother is mentally ill, yes, but I have talked with and corresponded with literally dozens of people who have similar issues.

I think the reason the post is so popular is that there are a lot of adult stepchildren who don't feel "heard" by the world at large. There are lots of forums for stepmothers and stepfamilies, but most deal with incorporating young or adolescent children into a stepfamily. Few places address the unique needs and problems of an adult stepchild.

FYI: I saw my dad yesterday at his place of work. He said he doesn't think my stepmother will ever accept his children into their life. The pain this situation causes him is huge. How can a woman who claims to love him put him through that kind of anguish?


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

lily...I want you to know there are SM'w who would never do that. Even when my oldest SD was at her worst in disrespecting me, I told me DH I would leave on the weekend and go to my parents so she could still visit. I told him he was welcome to go to dinner with her, amusement parks, etc, but I just wasn't going to participate for a while. I would never ask my DH to desert his children and I can assure you he wouldn't do it even if I packed my bags and left. So, IMO, you dad does hold some responsibility in this. I feel for you. My best friend has been estranged from her dad (bio) for 4 years (not because of divorce), and I have seen the pain it has caused her. I hope things continue to improve, and I hope your dad sees the light very soon.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

This topic of adult stepchildren is one filled with great pain. It's a pain that doesn't end, it's always there lurking in the background of my life. There comes a point where you have to save yourself in the madness. This journey with my dad and SM has been the most painful experience of my life, far exceeding losing my mother, at least in death you come to heal. This is rejection like no other because you can't put your arms around it, it makes no sense. I wake up some nights in a cold sweat thinking of my dad and knowing I'll lose him some day for ever and I wonder how I'll endure that next leg of this journey knowing the golden years of his life have been so dark.

I read some of these posts by sm's just ragging on their stepkids...and it makes me shudder..I was 21 when my SM came into my life and have lived an emotional nightmare with her... I can't even begin to imagine how children endure and survive in these types of situations. But even more alarming is what do these men see in these women?? where's the attraction??


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

Organic Maureen,

Your comments about the situation with your dad and stepmother being far more painful than losing your mother is one that I agree with completely.

I think you and I have similar reactions to some of these posts about adult stepchildren. Anyone reading them would think that adult stepchildren are nothing but trouble ... mean, evil, vindictive, greedy, manipulative. It always makes me wonder about the other side of the story. My stepmother says the same things about me, always with a healthy dose of completely convincing lies to back it up. Her perception is just so far out there that many people can't seem to understand how much she lies.

There seems to be some sort of disconnect going on in stepfamilies, especially when the children are teenage or older. Stepmothers seem overwhelmingly focused on things like:

1) Disrespect. The claim is the stepchildren are utterly disrespectful, slobby, conceited, lazy and worthless. While some may be, I wonder how much of that behavior is triggered by the feeling that the person married to your father would just as soon you drop off the face of the earth.

2) Money. Stepchildren seem to cost their fathers untold hundreds of dollars. The bio moms, if still living, are invariably overweight, lazy, manipulative harpies who drove their husbands to divorce and now use their children to make their ex and his new family utterly miserable. The stepchildren are often cast as ungrateful brats, spoiling the fairytale life of the new wife.

3) Greed. Adult stepchildren must be the greediest humans alive, endlessly draining the resources of their poor beleaguered father and his wonderful new family.

My point isn't to bash any stepmother or stepchild. It's to point out that no one is either all good or all bad.

If you're a stepmother and you think your adult stepchildren are mean, lazy, vindictive, greedy, manipulative or just plain awful, believe me ... they know how you feel about them. It's tough to like or respect someone who treats you as an annoyance and a burden.

I started this thread because no one seemed to know how soul-destroying it is to have your own father look at you as if you're a piece of crap he picked up on his shoe and believe every lie told to him by someone he met only a couple of months before.

He's come back to me now, but only in the most distant way. My stepmother still controls access to him and he still lets her. It continues to hurt. Organic Maureen is right. This journey is an emotional nightmare.

Stepmothers, you ought to listen to a song that was released about 15 years ago on an album by a singer named Lisa Brokop.

Now That We're Not A Family lyrics
(Phil Dillon)

As a child they were the world to me
I was the quiet and trusting kind
She gave me love, he gave me honesty
He told me he and mom couldn't get along
It was time for him to leave

I said, "Now that it's not your home
Who's gonna sing me off to sleep
Now that you're on your own
Who's gonna answer when I call you"
At the sound of the tone, just a voice on the phone
Now that we're not a family

What did I do to make you both so mad
I know it must have been my fault
We share the memories that we all had
but they're hard to hold, in December's cold
And I know that they won't bring you back

Now that it's not your home
Who's gonna help us trim the tree
Now that you've got your own
Will you be here on Christmas morning
Wipe the sleep from my eyes,
check your room, no surprise
Now that we're not a family

I've memorized some things about you
But they're an undependable substitute without you

Now that it's not your home
You've got a brand new family
A new baby of your own
Pretty soon she'll call you daddy
And you'll always be there, something we'll never share
Now that we're not a family

At the sound of the tone, "Sorry we're not home"
Now that we're not a family.

Remember, stepmothers -- That man you married made commitments to his children before he met you. Please allow him to honor them.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

lilysuzanne...the lyrics to that song were really touching. I thank you for sharing. I am proud to say I have a DH who didn't want his divorce, but it was not his choice. My SD's know they can call his phone 24 hours a day and he will answer. They know he is there anytime they need him, and one of the main reasons I was attracted to him was his committment to his daughters. I keep you in my prayers, and appreciate you adding the other side of the equation in a thoughtful manner.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

Lilysuzanne and Organic Maureen, why don't you ever comment on other posts pertaining to stepmothers having problems with their stepchildren and their stepchildren's mother, etc.? It would really be helpful to have your insight and opinions. Your advice and thoughts would be invaluable...


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

hi all I'm new.

I just have to add something on this since my SD is 18 and I'd like to give a different view point.

I think some adult Skids do not want to face a harsh truth concerning some things.

1. stepmother do not always "control" your dad. Your dad is not weak. If he doesn't call maybe it's cause he doesn't want to. If he doesn't write or email or come over, maybe he doesn't want to!
2. we are tired of everything being "cause stepmother said so" how do you know this? why is it everything you do not like it MUST be because SHE had something to do with it.
It's easy to create a scapegoat for everything.
3. How much have you tried to get to know stepmother as a person and not just someone you have to put up with to see you dad? You think we can't tell we aren't liked? How warm and nice would you be if you knew you EVERY action was being picked apart, dissected and judged by a skid and their mother? How warm and fuzzy would you be?
4. Not until you become a stepmother yourself would you ever know how hard it is and how much it hurts. rejection hurts.
5. Stop saying "you knew he had kids" that myth is the stupidest one of all! Most times everything is going great and the skids are ok until the marriage happens and then the BM starts a hate campaign against the new family out of jealousy. Have you gone to paskids.com? some adult children are victims of this and don't even know it, only the PAS is not the targeted other parent but the stepmother.

I say this because my husband is just not into his daughter. He will admit it too. I am the one who is trying my butt off to get him to care. But guess what? he doesn't. I am not keeping him away (what SD surely thinks) he just doesn't really care. He would be fine if she never talks or sees him again. he sleeps like a baby every night. Never mentions her unless I bring her up.

here's how it goes...

me.... DH send SD an email.
DH... I'll get to it later (never does)
me... Why don't you call her
DH... Later (never does)
me... why don't you fly out there?
DH... hell no

see what I mean? It's EASY to blame the SM but your dad might just be like mine and not want to be that involved. I know it hurts but make sure you aren't casting blame on the wrong person. If it wasn't for me DH would never have anything to do with his daughter. He does love her but he's just not that into her and her life. and yes I have made sure that he will tell her to her face the truth and not hide behind the "blaming the stepmother syndrome!"
He's not a weak man at all and he won't have anyone calling him weak. He does what he wants and I can only nag him so much to be involved! So in my case It's me who wants to get to know her. It's me who wants to talk to her. It's me who wants to know all about her life. It's me who wants to play with her children when she has them. It's me who remembers her birthdays, scans pictures for her, etc. IT'S ME!!, the one who she thinks keeps her dad away and keeps him in the closet or something who actually cares about her life and thinks about her everyday!!! but I will only try so much longer before I give up. Who needs this headache? She will never give a damn about me anyway in the end! Why do I go through all this trouble for someone who just thinks the problems with her dad are my fault??


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

I have to agree with what notabadstep is saying. There is no way in the world, my DH would not be in his children's lives, and if I tried to make it that way, he would be gone in a hot second. So, the men who allow their new wives to step all over them, need to grow some and take some responsibility. I also understand the part of a dad just not being that into his kids. My best friends DH is that way about his kids from a prior marriage. She jumps through hoops to try to get him to have a relationship with his daughters, he is just not interested. So, I do think it is important to look at all perspectives.

Finally, I definitely know what it means to be constant scapegoat. One time my DH and his daughter were in a huge fight which I had made the decision to stay out of. I was in my room reading, when I hear DSD yell that she was being punished because I told her dad too. How? Through psychic waves? I had nothing to do with it (even later told DH in private that the punishment he gave was too harsh IMO), but I STILL got blamed. So, I know how it feels.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

notabadstep, your SD is only 18, in my eyes she is still a kid not an adult. You have noclue what we, adult stepchildren are going through right now. The adult stepchildren that are posting here are well into their 30's and 40's, so we understand the dynamics of what is going with our BF and SM.

It takes maturity to clearly understand and analyze the situation. I understand exactly what lilysuzanne and organic maureen are feeling right now because I'm going thru the same experience with my father and stepmother. I can honestly say that this is the worst thing that has ever happened to me. This hurts way more than the death of my mother. I was able to heal after her death. My father on the other hand, he's betrayed me and right now I'm just feeling REALLY angry and disappointed. He is very weak and his greatest fear is to be alone. So, he'll do anything that his wife wants him to do, because he's afraid she'll leave him. I just wished that my father wasn't so weak.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

Why so sensitive? I wasn't singling you out no1special or anyone. I am sorry you got offended.
It was just a different point of view for everyone to think about. It is clear to see that you have laid everything at your stepmothers door and that is fine.
My point was only that sometimes fathers (mothers too ) aren't "into" their children. It happens everyday. I wasn't saying it is right or wrong. It just is. I was just letting you know how my DH is so maybe others (not necessarily you) could see that sometimes a man isn't weak or being controlled at all and sometimes stepmothers are judged as the cause of the fathers not being around and that is wrong sometimes.

but I see that my SD will probably grow up thinking like you do and will get to be in her 30's and 40's and still blame the wrong person.
but we are going to see her soon and DH is going to tell her that he is not a weak man and loves his life. He wasn't cut out to be a dad and he accepts it. He will make clear this isn't a case of wicked stepmother.

Have you ever heard the phrase "you can't teach a pig to dance"? "It just frustrates yourself and annoys the pig"

The hardest lesson for adults to learn is that you can't make someone be or act the way you want them to. People just are who they are in life.

and yes I am an ADULT stepchild myself!(late 30's) and I am fine and love my stepdad. He's is dad to me since 1 yrs old.
I forgot all about my Bio dad and hold no harsh feelings at all towards him. He has a nice wonderful life and I am truly happy for him and wish him and his wife wonderful things. I let the past go and I'm a happy person. If anyone is having such issues with the past counseling is my advice.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

Notabadstep,

I thought I knew cruelty, but your post takes the cake. I'm not going to attempt to refute what you say point by point. What kills is the quote: "we are going to see her soon and DH is going to tell her that he is not a weak man and loves his life. He wasn't cut out to be a dad and he accepts it. He will make clear this isn't a case of wicked stepmother."

Your stepdaughter, who obviously lives far away, longs for a relationship with her father. You are incensed that she continues to press for that relationship and blames you for the distance. Your solution? Have her father face her down and tell her he just doesn't care about her and would like never to hear from her again. To make sure she knows you're not a wicked stepmother.

And after all that, the visit will accomplish nothing. Your stepdaughter will know, quite clearly, that you are the reason for the visit and will attach all her pain and anguish to you, not to her father.

Why is it so important to you that this girl KNOW that her dad doesn't care about her? What possible joy can you get out of shattering her illusions? Even if her father truly feels as you say he does, she won't believe it.

My stepmother says the same thing about my father. She tells everyone he doesn't want to have anything to do with his kids. The thing is, he just tells her that because if he says anything about us, she goes off on a ranting, screaming, crying fit that lasts for hours and sometimes days. It's easier for him to feign indifference than to put up with her temper tantrums.

And by the way, it's very different to be the adult stepchild of a stepmother, versus a stepfather.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

but I see that my SD will probably grow up thinking like you do and will get to be in her 30's and 40's and still blame the wrong person.

Why don't you give your SD a break. She is only 18, you have no idea how she'll be like when she is in her 30's or 40's.

notabadstep, I read your post and all I see is negativity. You can respond to this post, but I'll tell you right now, I don't plan on responding to any of your other posts because it would be a waste of my time.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

it wasn't negative just honest. I'm sorry if you are offended but sometimes people just are who they are and I was only saying stepmothers aren't always to blame for fathers not being around.
and saying get counseling if you can't move on from the past is not negative but helpful.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

First of all, I want to say I think telling a daughter face to face you are not "into" being a father is cruel. With that being said, I think notabadstep was saying she had never discouraged her DH from a relationship and had in fact encouraged it. So, the claim that she has a problem with the daughter pursuing a relationship is not accurate. I think she asked her DH to make his true feelings known to his DD because she is sick of being blamed. I just don't think it is a very kind thing to do in the whole scheme of things. Remember, we all have different opinions and different circumstances. Also, the written word makes it difficult to interpret tone, feeling, etc. so give everyone a break. You will do a much better job of getting a person to empathize with your point if you explain it in a rational manner, and not slam each other personally. It doens't work with everyone, but most on here are willing to learn from others experiences and thoughts.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

How can you all think I would get joy out of any of that? I am not stopping anything. Have you not read that I said I tell him to fly out, email, call. He says no or I'll do it later (he never does). Again with the myth that it must be a stepmother who wants to keep dad away. That is not true! I would be happy to have her in our lives.
I meant if she tried to scream at me or hit me or anything DH would set the record straight. I would get no joy in it. I am not a cruel person. I would love to have her around.
and she doesn't press for a relationship with him.
Reading these posts make it clear that no matter what you can't believe that he couldn't possibly not want to be all that into her and it must be me. How sad.
For the record he never wanted to be a dad and had a vasectomy 6 months after her birth to make sure it didn't happen again so now do you get it? IT ISN'T ME KEEPING HIM AWAY! My goodness why is it so hard to believe that I'm not keeping him away. He isn't a weak man and he does as he pleases. years before I ever came along he didn't have much to do with her. I'm the only one trying to get her back in our lives. I am the only one who cares but maybe I should just give up since you all think I am the problem here.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

WOW! In response to notabadstep.

Your SD who is 18 has a dad who isn't interested in her life. If this is true, my heart breaks for this girl. Do you have any compassion for this girl? I find your comment as follows interesting:

I think some adult Skids do not want to face a harsh truth

Speaking for myself I've had the harsh truth stuck right up my A** and it sounds like you and your husband want to make sure his daughter faces her harsh truth... Incredibly sad....


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

My ex is very much like your DH. He had a vasectomy right after our son's birth (without telling me), and has no desire to be a father. My DH has stepped in and been the father to my son, but I have ABSOLUTELY no belief that my ex's new wife has anything to do with his lack of contact with our son. It's HIS choice, and he has chosen not to. That is not her fault, and it is my Ex's BIG LOSS!


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

no what is sad is that you can not see that I of course feel compassion and sorry for her. But what is it exactly you want me to do? I can't MAKE him care. I can't force him on a plane. I can't force him to pick up the phone.

That beginning part is concerning older adults (30+) who are blaming stepmom because dad won't call.

honestly. In nuclear families if your dad didn't call would you blame your mom? No. It normally is the mothers doing all the communicating. My dad doesn't call or email me or send me cards but I know it isn't my mom's fault. My dad just doesn't like to do that sort of thing, my mom does. I still think we are close and he loves me.

my DH said that alot of this is because guys just aren't like that. women are. Maybe some of this is because they are guys and guys don't communicate that much anyway. I mean my DH's dad never calls or emails or anything and my DH doesn't blame his stepmother or get upset. They can goes months with no contact and still be fine.

really why are you all so mad? You act like we are planning on screaming hateful things at her or something. My DH is only planning on saying something if she gets violent (like her mom) or starts cussing me out. Other than that he will not bring any of it up.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

notabadstep,
Speaking personally, I'm not mad, just find it sad that's all. This is a young girl who's whole life lay ahead of her and aleady she has a huge strike against her...her dad's lack of interest in her life. You came across as being more concerned that you weren't the evil stepmother as opposed to this girls life. If you really are trying to connect with her and do nice things for her like remembering her bday, holidays and such, in time she'll come to understand that YOU made an effort. She's still so very very young...


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R E: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

I'm thinking I am in a total no win situation here. The more I do to try to make up for dad the more she will get angry because it is not coming from dad. But if I don't do anything than she will get NOTHING because he won't do it.

A CATCH 22! and yes of course it is sad. Should I just not do anything anymore? What would you do if you were me?


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

I think organic maureen has a great point. Even if your DH isn't "into her", you can still make an effort to keep in touch. It is hard at that age to distinguish exactly when your relationship with your dad fell apart, or if you ever even had much of a relationship at all. Why do you think that she blames you? Has she confronted you about it?


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

no confrontation. DH would never let it happen. Just subtle things like when I email her and ask her questions she won't reply. she'll say she didn't get it but then when DH once in a great moon will send something she will reply instantly.
It's only now that I am planning the visit (DH has me do everything) that she is replying everyday.

I know in A LOT of cases with stepdaughters they will only talk to a SM when they need something and then go back to ignoring. Is this the case do you think?
Gosh my DH will hit the roof if she does that to me in person!


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

Hi notabadstep -
My situation is very similar to yours and learning what I've learned now if I were in your situation at this point, I would let DH visit his daughter alone. It sounds like there are many dynamics they have experienced over the years and until they can come to some understanding between the two of them, your input will not be accepted and you will continue to feel blamed (which is a horrible place to be when it is not all your fault to begin with - everyone has baggage in stepfamilies).

Is it possible for your DH to visit alone this one time just so he & SD can have some time together?


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

Notabadstep,
you asked What would you do if you were me?

If you can take the honestly I'll tell you:

this isn't about you. this is about a girl trying to connect with her dad. In your situation the dad doesn't want anything to do with this girl. As a woman how do you feel about that? It's terrible isn't it... if it were me, I'd be kind and loving with this girl without ANY expectation in return. She's a hurting puppy and her dad is kicking her in the teeth. He brought her into the world but doesn't want her in his life...be yourself with her, but don't go overboard be consistent in your affection and connection with her. Send an email, if she doesn't answer, so what, send another when you feel like it...this girl is in for a world of pain with her dad and only YOU can bridge that gap. It's a huge responsiblity, but it's yours..you have no emotional attachment to this girl, so what's the big deal if she rejects you...she's hurting...just remember this girl is HURTING and YOU can help her.. rise above and don't see this as a SM SD issue...this is an issue of love and if your willing to show this girl love, then show it....and if she acts up in front of your husband and he attacks her, then stick up for her...after all what's your husband done for this girl other than disgard her....we all love our husbands but really this is a girl who had no choice in the matter...


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

What I don't understand is why anyone would marry a guy who has already abandoned a child? Why would you want to be with someone like that?


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

"Have you gone to paskids.com? some adult children are victims of this and don't even know it, only the PAS is not the targeted other parent but the stepmother."

This subject has come up before, but since I think a lot of people are unaware that the parental alienation syndrome theory has been discredited, here is a link to an article on the topic:

Legal Community Rejects Parental Alienation Syndrome
http://www.stopfamilyviolence.org/ocean/host.php?folder=63&page=334

Dr. Richard Gardner, who developed the theory, had some rather "interesting" views on pedophilia, and his method of committing suicide was indicative of rather severe mental health issues.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

Well put, Organic Maureen. And exactly what I was thinking, the otherside.

Notabadstep,

I wanted to answer something you wrote earlier. "In nuclear families, if your dad didn't call would you blame your mom? No."

Why do I blame my stepmother about my dad's lack of communication? Because it is her fault.

Let me explain. Both before and after my mother's death, my dad and I were very close. I talked to him on the phone at least once a week and at least half of the calls were initiated by him. We took day trips together. He loved his family and spent a lot of time with his siblings, children and grandchildren. After my stepmother came on the scene, all that ceased. To this day, she claims it's because he doesn't want to see or talk to any of us. For a long time, I believed that to be true, but have recently found out that it's because she has a hissy fit if he even mentions having contact with his family. I know this because he tells me so. We meet behind her back, in secret, because she throws screaming fits if she finds out that he has even talked with his mother. He has grandchildren he hasn't seen in years. He's only able to talk with me or see me behind her back and on the sly. I cannot explain why he stays with her, other than the fact that he made a vow and believes in trying to keep it.

As to your specific situation, I believe your stepdaughter knows, or at least suspects, exactly how her father feels about her. She doesn't know how lucky she is to have you as a stepmother. I'd give my left arm if you were mine. I'd love to have a friendship with my stepmother. I don't expect or need her to be my mother, but it would be nice sometimes just to be able to call her and talk or ask her a question or just get some advice. She doesn't want any of that. I've tried, probably as hard as you've tried to make peace with your stepdaughter. When my dad and stepmother first met, I was only concerned that they not rush into marriage. I extended a hand of friendship, gave her gifts, wrote her cards and letters, etc. She never once said thank you or acknowledged my efforts in any way. Instead, I've been cast as the evil stepdaughter.

That's why I post to this site. There are a lot of adult stepchildren out there who are just like me. We don't want to own our fathers. We don't want money or control or every single waking moment of his life. We want him to be happy, healthy and fulfilled. We'd just like to have a little tiny bit of his time, something that a jealous and angry woman is dead set against. My stepmother may not be the norm, but there are enough of them out there to cause unending pain.

The fact is, my dad is nearly 70 years old. My stepmother has managed to take control of every single aspect of his life, down to having the family home put in her name. She won't even allow me and my family access to my family's home videos, recorded years before she ever came on the scene. She says it's all "hers" and that we're greedy for even wanting them or asking about them. She won't even allow access to a cedar chest of my mother's things, including her wedding dress, diary and jewelry. Sometime, perhaps soon, my dad will die. And she will be allowed to do anything she wants with him, the family home, even my mother's things.
There won't be a thing I can do about it.

The reason I wrote this original post is to give women who are stepmothers a window into the hearts and minds of the adult children they wish to attempt a relationship with. I'm not here to bash all stepmothers. I'd like to break down the walls between stepmothers and their adult stepchildren.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

lilysuzanne40 -
My heart goes out to you that you have lived with this horrible situation for so many years. I am happy for you that your father has come around and realized where the problem lies - with his wife.

Like a pebble in a lake the problem continues into the future as long as you & your SM are at odds. I know this is not your fault - you have apologized and it was not accepted. I understand how hard this is to live with b/c I apologized to my SD years ago and she did not accept it. Things have progressed downhill since.

Is there a way in which your dad would be open to going to a lawyer himself (alone) and signing something allowing you to legally recover your mother's precious items after his death? If so, you would at least have a little peace of mind in knowing that your mother's items will come to you later - if not graciously, then legally.

Take every opportunity you can to make your time with your father good and positive - leave the SM out of the conversation and build only good-lasting memories. This woman will NEVER change!

If you are interested in a friendly SM, please put me on your list! :)


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

Lilysuzanne,

I'm continually amazed at how similar our stories and thoughts are. Everything you've just posted echo's as if I'm speaking. But you touched upon the most important aspect for me:

We don't want to own our fathers. We don't want money or control or every single waking moment of his life. We want him to be happy, healthy and fulfilled.

It's all I've ever wanted for my dad.


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

Yes - another 'evil' stepmum of an adult stepson here. There are most definitely two sides. My adult stepson has a breathtaking sense of entitlement and I deeply resent him and yes have grown to hate him even though I am a kind generous loving gentle person by nature and that does not come easy to me. He is systematically ruining my marriage to his father by his attitude and his father doesnt help by over protecting him to a ridiculous degree - both infantising him and villifying me by doing so. An example - my husband and I rarely eat alone but it is nice to sometimes. So we are all sat at the table and stepson sits directly opposite me. I am a slow eater and always finish last so when his dad gets up and leaves the table stepson will recline back in his chair and blatantly just sit and watch me eating - which l absolutely hate at best of times - I think to myself its like feeding time at the F******g zoo - why dont you just leave when you have finished your meal. I have looked directly at him a couple of times and he has basically just stared me out with a real smirk on his face. So one night last week we were all three sat round table and for some reason l was looking at stepsons plate - probably cos its directly opposite me and not thinking anything in particular. Husband pounced straight away though he has never ever checked his son about sitting watching someone else when he has finished - he said to me 'What??' - so l looked puzzled at him and he says 'Just wondered what you were looking at and what you were thinking' - in a very disgruntled tone. Anyone spot where my resentment has come from ??


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RE: if I could tell stepmothers of adult children anything

lilysuzanne40, your story sounds so much like mine.

I'm struggling with whether or not I should just severe all ties with my father due to his wife. He remarried less than a year after my mother died, and his new wife came in, took over and essentially force me out of my father's life.

I had the same problem with all photographs and belongings of my mothers being removed by my stepmother. Anything I couldn't take was thrown out like it was garbage.

There are actually sites out there telling women dating widowers to make getting rid of the previous wives photos and belonging a requirement of dating.

My stepmom endlessly criticizes my mother - her decorating tastes, what she wore, what she did, the fact that she was a stay-at-home mom and mainly her parenting.

My stepmother will not stop nitpicking everything about me. She claims that it's because I didn't have a mother growing up (because she was dying of cancer), so she now has to fulfill this role - by telling me everything she thinks is wrong with me and how she thinks she should fix it.

The worse thing is my dad will never stand up for me. He just sits there and lets her bash me and my mom and says nothing. That's truly the worst things. If he would simply say something - tell her to cut it out, then maybe I wouldn't be so upset.

I don't know if I should continue to put up with it. My dad won't stand up for me, he won't tell her to cut it out. But if I decide I've had enough and stop visiting and calling, my evil stepmother wins and I've lost both of my parents.


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