or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Blended and Step Family Parenting › having trouble feeling motherly/loving towards DSD
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

having trouble feeling motherly/loving towards DSD - Page 2

post #21 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by LionessMom View Post
first of all- feelings are feelings. you have feelings, you arent feelings. my therapist always says that you cant hate yourself for what you are feeling. they just are. they are not right, they are not wrong, they just are.

so you take those feelings and examine them. why do i feel this way? there isnt always an answer b/c feelings are not rational. what triggers these feelings? something always triggers a feeling. etc.

then you decide what to do with those feelings. do you act on them? would that cause harm? etc. or do you accept those feelings, say "yes i feel that way" then go on doing what you know you ahould be doing.

you know this child needs your love. and yes you can fake it till you make it. this is very common for smoms who have babies younger than the skids. quit hating yourself. you obviously love her if you try to treat her well even though she bugs the crap out of you. sounds like DH bugs the crap out of you too.

feelings are just feelings, not actions. you cant judge feelings, you can only accept them and then move on with doing what is right.
Very good advice
post #22 of 39
I feel so many of the things that you said in your post. It has been my dirty little secret for the past 4 years. I feel guilty a lot. My DSD lives with us full-time and I am Mom 100% of the time, but I am not Mom even one bit. I am totally not sure who I am. I feel like a housekeeper a lot. My DH is a good guy but has no idea to parent this now teenage child. Her "mother" is useless and just not even a factor. My DSD is too old to just let things happen for her--she is starting high school with very limited social skills, study skills, life skills, etc. I stopped waiting for everyone else to raise her so I took over because she needs it now. But, I am surely public enemy number 1. But, I just don't care. She needs me to help her grow up, as her parents both failed. I have a 5 yo boy too, and I just tell myself that she will be in college in 4 years if I have an say so.

Mama, you are so not alone in your pain and struggles.
post #23 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by ccohenou View Post
I agree with the above. In relating to my stepdaughter, I think it is a good thing not to have a "motherly" role as a goal, for me. I am a friendly, helpful adult who cares, but I am not her mom. She has a mom, so she doesn't need me to be that for her. I know this isn't the way that all stepfamilies operate, but for us I believe it is healthy and minimizes conflict both external and internal.
I feel so many of the things that you said in your post but I would never admit it to my friends or family. I deal with this by using the above suggestion and it seems to help a little. When my step daughter is around I feel like I am walking on egg shells. I see a counselor to help with these issues and that has worked for me
post #24 of 39
You are not alone. I could have written your post word for word. I think it is natural to lack affection towards a child that is not yours. I find that when I am irritated with Dh, my irritation and resentment towards dsd is worse. Awful, I know. I don't have any advice because I am also trying to work through this. I just thought the support would help. It is always good to know that you are not the only one feeling this way.
post #25 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleBlessings View Post
I feel so many of the things that you said in your post but I would never admit it to my friends or family. I deal with this by using the above suggestion and it seems to help a little. When my step daughter is around I feel like I am walking on egg shells. I see a counselor to help with these issues and that has worked for me
I have been thinking of going to a counselor for this reason too. DSDs family (moms side) is HOOOOORRRRRRIIIIIIBBBBBBLLLLLLEEEEEE. What kind of counselor are you going to? I really need help working through all of this or it WILL ruin/affect my relationship with dh, which in turn will hurt our ds.
post #26 of 39

These negative feelings are very common, ime.

 

 


Edited by UUMom - 3/8/11 at 7:25pm
post #27 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamakah View Post
I have been thinking of going to a counselor for this reason too. DSDs family (moms side) is HOOOOORRRRRRIIIIIIBBBBBBLLLLLLEEEEEE. What kind of counselor are you going to? I really need help working through all of this or it WILL ruin/affect my relationship with dh, which in turn will hurt our ds.
I've been seeing one that specializes in family relationships. I wound up just picking one because so many therapists seem to "specialize" in just about everything. Luckily, the one I picked enjoys family work the best.

I've only seen her a couple of times so far, and while on one hand it seems like it is helping, one the other I am starting to think that we just had a stretch of time with DSD that was conflict-free. This week has been one of the worst weeks with her ever - I cannot wait for her to leave on Friday - so it feels like the therapist isn't helping that much right now. I have an appointment on Friday, so we'll see how that goes. I am starting to think that it might be helpful for DH to come along to some of these as well, but the thought of lining up childcare for that is a little daunting.
post #28 of 39
I've read most of the posts, and everyone has given lots of great input/advice. I had a hard time with my two stepdaughters after the birth of DD3. My DH and I each have two children from our first marriages and DD3 was our first child together.

It just made things different. Alot of it had to do with my anger at DH. There were times when he would have the stepgirls and have things to do at work, thus leaving me with 5 children, one being a newborn and the rest being 7 and under! The other part was my own feelings of helplessness and lack of input in thier upbringing -thier mother was wanting to move out of state and there was some other issues going on. When I supplied my take to DH - it was ignored.

I feel that my stepchildren and their mother became the object of my anger/resentment because in a way they were safer. Talking to DH about my feelings was much more difficult

So you're not along with your feelings. And as another person stated, feelings just ARE, so don't make it worse by hating yourself for the way you feel.
post #29 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by UUMom View Post
But I think no step parent is better than a step parent who doesn't love you unconditionally (esp if that person is the main father or mother figure).
<snip>
I also feel terrible for my own mother, who was a loving mother to us, her bio kids, but had difficulty raising step children.
I strongly disagree.
I do not think stepparents can or should be expected to love their stepchildren unconditionally. I have been married for 7 years and known my SS (13) for 10 years. I don't love him unconditionally. Sometimes I don't know if I love him and sometimes I don't know if I like him.
I am kind to him and I keep order in my home but I am NOT his mother. He HAS a mother. I am not raising him.

OP, I understand where you are coming from.
Stop beating yourself up.
Realize you aren't her mother. You don't have to compensate for her mother or her father. You just have to not screw her up!
Don't accept responsibility or blame or credit for who she is.
Try to see the good in her.
Focus on your baby and acclimating yourself.
The more you enjoy your own life, the less these things will bother you.
post #30 of 39
Thread Starter 
Wow, there is so much excellent advice in these pages, practical and personal/spiritual. I had no idea that so many people felt like I did- I always thought that most of the step parents on this board were mainly concerned with crappy relationships with ex's, or behavioral problems with the step kids, or trying to have a good relationship with the the stepkids even when the stepkid resists. . . I guess my struggles are more common, which just feels SO good to hear.
I am going to take a lot of you mama's advice.
It occurs to me that DSD is actually like how I was as a child in some ways--- very obedient and always seeking parental approval, kind of rough/tomboyish/undainty, a bit overweight... so I think there is some self-loathing issues there.

Also, thanks for putting it in perspective about the new/shiny/perfect baby vs older kids who go through unattractive behavioral stages no matter if they are your own kid or someone else's.

I DO try to do projects with her, that's more great advice. I need to make that something I do every visit....

Well anyway, thanks everyone for all your help and input. I have read and reread all the comments and really thought about them and I'm sure as i turn them over in my head, I will feel like I'm making progress in the situation.

post #31 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamakah View Post
I have been thinking of going to a counselor for this reason too. DSDs family (moms side) is HOOOOORRRRRRIIIIIIBBBBBBLLLLLLEEEEEE. What kind of counselor are you going to? I really need help working through all of this or it WILL ruin/affect my relationship with dh, which in turn will hurt our ds.
I see a family counselor.
post #32 of 39
We do too. I think it helps me the most. I feel validated. I also feel like I realize that I am angry with my husband. He expects too much from me, although he says I expect too much from DSD. I can't be her mother no matter how much he wishes that I could. She doesn't love me, care about me, or feel connected to me. She came into my life at ten, after years of neglect by her mother. Her mother loves her but I am not sure that love is the issue, as she has not been able to raise her at all. Hence, that is why she lives with us. She has serious attachment issues and is just not "right" somehow. I have been thinking it is me, that I have the problem. The therapist opened my eyes. She told me that I can only do so much for her, because she had ten years of damage done. I am not going to fix her no matter how hard I try. I really think my husband and I need to get together and have realistic expectations. He needs to let me step off some pedestal. He thinks I am in control, and we would be one big, happy family if I could lighten up, relax, back off, etc. This stuff is not for the weak at heart. I admire all you parents who have been in this situation and who do right by the children. I wish things could be different but I think there is freedom in acceptance.
post #33 of 39
It is crazy that everything you said could have came out of my own mouth! It's good to know I'm not the only one with these exact feelings. What we are trying to do in our home is create and stick to our own set of rules that must be followed regardless of the non-rules that exist at the mothers home. It's the hardest job I have had in all of my life so far. Good luck!
post #34 of 39
Is it possible that DSD represents the parts of DP you dislike most (ie junkfood, tv loving etc) and that is the reason you feel so angered around her? I think that your goal should not be to love her like your own daughter (quite yet), but to view her as a young child, not the worst part of DP.

She is still growing and learning, and there is a good chance she will be a book loving, healthy woman. I would try to help her become that so that she is independent and competent. This is a goal that benefits you as well, because a healthy and intelligent dsd who can manage things on her own, is much less stress than a dsd who is having problems.
post #35 of 39
I think some of it is hard-wired and developmental WRT to your DSD. I raised my DD, from birth, using Waldorf and Montessori principles. She was waterborn at home, BF for four years, fed organically. We hung around with only homeschoolers. She has a healthy weight now at age eight. AND she is obsessed with sugary treats, popular preteen stuff like High School Musical, the dreaded Hannah, hairstyles, clothes, and computer gaming. She acts "bratty" and unappreciative at times. She rolls her eyes and stomps around and thinks she's deprived (heh. not the case). She's also smart and independent (read anti-affection! bummer!) and hilarious and way into theatre. She's my bio kiddo so I do love her unconditionally, but sometimes she bugs the crap out of me. :-D My partner struggles to remain positive in her interactions with her. It's a rough age for some kids and their parents/steps.

Here's what, I guess, I'm saying. It's not all your fault. You don't deserve to be flamed. DSD probably is acting in an annoying way. She's also totally normal. So are your feelings! Lower the bar for yourself. Stay as positive as you can for her sake because she IS, after all, an innocent kid. Ride out this phase and remember that this too shall pass.

I remember when DD was a baby. I was so sure I'd never have one of "those" kids. Well, you know what? EVERYONE does, at some point. There will be phases your son goes through which disappoint and embarrass you, but they will pass. May your marriage last forever - but if, in theory, your son ever had a step-parent, that person would feel a lot like you feel during those phases. And it would be YOU saying the words you're hearing now from your DH.

Bottom line: you're totally okay in feeling how you feel. The fact that you feel so guilty says that you care and that you have high expectations for yourself. You're a GOOD stepmom. Cut yourself some slack and do the old "accept what you can't change, change what you can and do your best to know the difference." I find I connect best with kids when doing something I really like. For example, the park bores me to tears but I love riding bikes together and we find lots of chances to talk and laugh that way. Maybe you and DSD have some undiscovered hobby/activity in common? best of luck!

ETA:

I am so with you on the buttcrack problem. Clothes these days are made too low in the rise for "style" purposes, without the consideration for how active children are compared to teens and adults. you might want to do a little shopping for higher-rise pants. My kiddo eats healthy food but also lots of junk/sugar compared to the average MDC kid and isn't chubby at all. I was the same way. your DSD may just be about to shoot up in height, y'know?
post #36 of 39
Not a stepmom, but the mother of two with a stepmom. I can imagine that it would be very difficult to form a close relationship with kids who you see a few days a month, at best. Even more so when you have (your own) children living with you. And with that, I hope you're okay with some input from the other side of things (the kids' side).

The kids know that you don't feel the same way about them as you do your own. And they're more or less okay with that. What they'd like is some acknowledgment that they're actually people that have something positive about them. From what they tell me (and based on the emails I get from the ex and his wife), they have yet to get anything positive from either. Are they perfect? Of course not. Are there things I could have done differently/better? No doubt. But they're pretty darned good kids.

The message they get is that neither their Dad nor their stepMom like them (let alone love them). They're no longer of an age where I can shine them on about it, either. #1 has said that he's done when he turns 18.

Find something positive about your DSD when she's with you. No matter how small it might seem - find it and acknowledge it.
post #37 of 39
Not a step-mom, but I had my fair share of step-parents and parent "partners" growing up.

I'm guessing that she pretty much knows exactly how you feel about her. No matter how you act, true feeelings are hard to disguise. Kids can be pretty intuitive about things like that. They don't bring it up a lot of times though because they know that it won't change the situation. Then it ends up feeling like the parent chose the new "partner" over them. It's a really bad feeling.

Your dsd didn't become an "overweight, butt crack showing, gum smacking" kid overnight. If all of those things annoyed you before you had a baby with your dp, then it was your responsibility to acknowledge your feelings to dp and let him know that you may never feel a real love or bond to his dd. Have you ever told him? If so, how does he feel about it?

Instead of focusing on your dsd's faults, why not try to find a common ground with her? If her clothes have an unflattering fit and show her butt, take her shopping. Help her choose styles that flatter her and give her more coverage. At 7, she's at the mercy of whatever clothes other people supply for her. It's not her fault that they don't fit correctly (and if you are noticing that her pants are riding too low, I'm sure other kids are too and she may be or become the subject of harassment and teasing). If she is focused on eating junk food, then don't keep it in the house. Or try to make "healthier" at home versions of her favorite snacks. Have you tried to let her prepare meals with you? A lot of times kids are more willing to try foods that they have helped with. If she smells bad, then take her and help her pick out bath/deodorant products. Again, if it is bad enough that other people are noticing, it could set her up for harrassment and teasing.

What are some things that she likes? HM may not be your thing, but there isn't anything you can do if her mom thinks it is okay for her to watch. There is a HM series of books out there. Maybe you could take her and let her check out a couple from the library or buy her a couple. Are you sure that she doesn't LIKE to read? Could it be that she can't read very well and so she gets easily frustrated with it? My niece was that way until my sister discovered that she needed glasses. After that, reading became easier and more enjoyable for her. That may be another thing for you to check in to if dsd hasn't had a complete eye exam lately.

Lastly, you cannot go into this relationship expecting to change the basic person she is. That's like a woman marrying a man expecting that he will "change". You knew what dsd was like and you still chose to have a relationship with her father. That's not her fault. Just because she isn't your idea of "perfect" doesn't mean that she doesn't have good qualities about her. Try to find those!
post #38 of 39

All moms feels this way sometimes

Not a stepmom here either, but to be completely honest all moms have feelings like this about some of their children, some of the time. The important thing is that we TREAT our children kindly, regardless of how we are feeling.

I'm not in the camp that thinks it is important to know why you feel this way or to beat yourself up for having these feelings. So you feel this way - ok - now just be nice :-)

Good luck,
post #39 of 39
My DP has a son from another relationship who is a year older than our 1st son. Lots of times I feel helpless because I have no control over the situation, and the fact that DP won't even try to get formal visitation rights because he doesn't want to rock the boat. It's really tough sometimes and confusing, because I want to make us all feel like a family, but I know that his mom may leave and take him away at any time, so it's hard to get attached. He has some behavioral problems too, he takes meds for. I've noticed I get frustrated with him quicker than I do my own DS. I think you just can't expect those loving feelings to appear overnight just because she is your daughter's sister, it takes time. Hope it gets better for you!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Blended and Step Family Parenting › having trouble feeling motherly/loving towards DSD