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Help me help mom deal with her insecurities

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
My stepchildren's mother has had an inability to share her children with me from day one. This happened to a women my husband was with before me met me also, so it's not a personal thing with me.

She hated me from day one eventhough it was a year before she met me because she and the children were living in another state. She would put my stepson on the phone and tell him to ask me why I don't love him anymore. Things like that.

Four months after she arrived here, my husband obtained a restraining order against her and 50% custody.

For the last four years she has done everything she could to alienate the children's love and affection from me. She has degraded my son and me to the children.

She doesn't want me to nurture them, help with homework, discipline them, be alone with them for any amount of time, etc.

She takes my hsuband to court every year to try to get full custody but fails.

I took parenting classes provided by our local CPS to see if they can help me shed light on what she is ranting. I wanted to make sure I knew my place as a stepmother in the eyes of the law. I was right on the money. I was told to do what comes natural. Treat all the children in my home the same.

We've been to family therapists to help, but it didn't.

We are now going to have a psych-eval done in the near future.

I don't think the children's mother will ever stop until she eliminates me. Of course that will never happen because regardless of what she dishes out, I truly love her children and her exhusband (my stepchildren and my husband).

As parents, stepparents, fosterparents, etc. what advice can you give me to help the children's mother understand that regardless of how much they love me, it will never deminish or affect the love they have for her?
post #2 of 13
Honestly? I don't think you can do anything to help her. She needs to learn it on her own. I know this doesn't help you, you want some progress to be made, but it's not gonna happen until she's ready to let it happen..

Just be a good wife, and a good mom, and let her deal with her issues.
post #3 of 13
Unfortunately, I agree. I know I spent years trying to find the right words, gestures, actions to 'fix' things with my stepkids' mom, all to no avail. Now I focus on what I can do, for myself, my partner, and my kids, and try to let go of her behavior. I also try to ensure that I can be proud of my own conduct, and that I never stoop to her level. And that's it, that's all I can do. Just because someone else's worldview says that you're the one who "makes" them respond a certain way doesn't make it true, and you're not responsible for her behaviour, she is.

That's not to say that there aren't many families in which the mom and stepmom get along: just that ours will never be one of them, and it's not in my power to affect that.
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 

I was afraid I was going to hear that. Eventhough it's something I would tell someone also, I just have a hard time believing it myself. I'm always looking for something else I can do to help. I read every book & webpage I can find on the subject, I watch Dr. Phil, took the Parenting class, sought spiritual therapy, and things just get worse with my husband's ex.

I just hope I don't blow it with this Psych-evaluator. My husband's ex has been able to convince so many people, even therapists & teachers, that a stepparent is mearly a third party that should stay silent while the natural parents (as she calls them) raise the children alone.

My parents split up when I was about 5. They remained civil in front of me for my sake (eventhough I knew they hated each other I loved that they loved me enough to pretend for me). Two of my sisters are remarried and their ex-husbands as well as their ex-husbands new families are still considered part of our family. both of their ex-husbands and their new wives & kids come to our family get togethers. My sisters bring their new husbands and they all get along great. One sister even gets along with her ex's new wife eventhough this wife is the one who my sister's ex was having an affair with when they were together.

My niece had a baby last year. I took pictures of my sister on one side of her giving her ice and my niece's stepmom on the otherside wiping her forehead with a damp cloth. I also took a picture of my sister handing the stepmom their new grandbaby. This certainly will never happen for me and my husband's ex.

My parents raised us that once it's over, it's over and now you just have the kids in common and you have to let everything else about that person go. Also, if you plan to get a divorce, then you have to be prepared to share your children with other people in your ex's life.

As stepmoms, how do you feel about raising a stepchild vs a child you brought into the marriage? Do you raise them differently? Am I wrong to be blinded by the fact that they are all children in my care and I will care for them exactly the same? I mean, I have 30 nieces and nephews. I started babysitting when I was 9. I babysat all my nieces and nephews and some neighbors as well. I have lots of experience with caring for other people's children. As long as I can remember I've cared for them with the attitude that, "How would I care for this child if he or she were my very own?" and that's how I cared for them. I never thought, "Okay you are my brother's child so I will care for you this way and you are my friend's child...and so on"

Is there a golden rule that I don't know about when it comes to boundaries and blended families???
post #5 of 13
As a step-parent, yes I raise the kids the same. Did that come naturally? Honestly, no, not at all. It IS different, a child you raised from day one, and a child who has a deeper love for their 'real mother' and then one day you're just a part of their lives. (especially depending on age, and depending on how the divorce went between their parents).

I had alot of trouble at first parenting my step-son, and from time to time still do. Although now, it's more about how I feel his biomom isn't treating him fairly, and how she favors her new baby over him.

I treat him like my own now, but I believe it is a learning process, I don't think it's something that we just automatically DO, and I think biomothers know that as well.

I'm lucky in the sense that my step-son's biomom seems very aware that I'm a better parent than she is. She leaves me and SO to raise their son, and is just the fun weekend parent. She even calls me to ask if she can keep him to a certain time etc, as if I'm the 'real' parent, and she's just watching him... Kinda sad, but at the same time, I'm flattered. She knows and respects the parent I am to her son.

I don't know how to help you honestly. It sounds like things are rough for you with this situation. Have you tried just staying out of her way? Just keeping to yourself, and enjoying your husband and children?

Biomom and I rarely talk, other than 'hi how are you? how's the baby' etc... It helps.
post #6 of 13
Wow, 'hi, how are you?' would be a major step forward for us - I'm envious (and that's after 6 years!!).

I think it's great that you're raising your stepkids as your own. So far as the evaluator goes, I think that's a plus, so long as you acknowledge the 'special bond' that kids naturally have with their mom, wanting to facilitate that, etc, so that it doesn't sound like you're eager to elbow her out of the way. If it's all from the POV of the kids having more loving adults in their lives, I can't see how that can be viewed as anything less than positive. It really depends on the evaluator though - early on my dh and I had a terrible time with a government-affiliated mediator who thought he should agree to the ex's demands that I never be left alone with the kids, solely on the basis of ex's dislike. She wasn't an evaluator though, she was trying to 'negotiate' a solution and her idea was to give whoever was most belligerant everything they wanted. It didn't fly, though.
post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
Oh yes!!! I have done everything to avoid that woman. When we are near each other I stay clear of her. It is her who tries to get as close to me as possible then gives a look as if she's constipated. If my stepdaughter comes to me and goofs off with me, she immediately calls her to her then tries to hug an kiss her (on the mouth, yuk!!). Of course I know this is going to happen so when my stepdaughter goes in her direction I look at some paperwork or look off into the opposite direction as if I saw or heard nothing.

This little girl is 9 years old and her mother still picks her up and holds her like a baby and carries her around the Gym where she has practice. She only does this when I'm present. My stepdaughter says her mom doesn't do anything like this when I'm not there. And this is with me minding my own business. I would hate to see her behavior if I tried to get noticed.

Okay, when I go to the evaluator I can stress that I too am a mother of a child that also has a stepmother and I can relate to this mom. I can also say that I am doing for my stepchildren what I would expect my son's stepmother to do for him.

Oh man...I feel like Rodney King..."Why can't we all just get along!?"

Funny thing with this mom is that she told the mediator that she wishes she could call me and chat with me. I wish people could see her for what she is.

Thanks so much for the advice. At least its good to know I'm not alone and I'm not doing anything differently than others.

This is an awesome website!!

post #8 of 13
Dss's biomom also picks him up, although just for a hug, not to carry around... I'm uncertain if this happens when he's at her home, but it always happens when she drops him off here (he's also 9). The only time she didn't do this, was during her pregnancy, otherwise she now says it's cause she wants to lose weight and is lifting him *rolls eyes*

Honestly, it seems like you're really bothered by this woman, and what YOU can do to help this, is try to let it roll off your back. So what if she calls her daughter over when she's hanging out with you? Might hurt your feelings and might be juvenille of her, but it's not like calling you names or any of the number of other overly nasty things I could think of... Make sense?

Guess I'm saying (compared to the things you're pointing out), it could be worse... Try to go with the flow..
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
oops, I don't think I finished that thought which gave the wrong impression.

Mom does all that stuff (hugging, kissing, picking up) in my presence and I don't react. Then my husband gets an email from her the other night stating that it is I who is trying to act like my stepdaughter's "real mom" and I should stop because it is upsetting all the other moms and staff at the practice.

I do everything I can to ignore this woman. Yes, she's done so many things to me and my son in the last few years the I will probably never forget, but I do eveything humanly possible to let it go. The problem is just when I've let it go, she does more and blames me for it.

Basically, if I weren't around, then she wouldn't do it, which makes it my fault.

I've been walking on egg shells for the past 4 years to avoid upsetting this woman to no avail.
post #10 of 13
You would upset her no matter what you did. if you acted like you loved them she would despise that and if you remained neutral in her sight with the kids and waited till you were in the car to give them a hug and praise them where she couldn't see, she would say you hated the kids then. It will always be something with people like that. She needs to realize you are a part of their life. I think maybe she doesn't want to be a huge part of their life but yet she doesn't want you to either because that would make her look even worse. Don't worry or stress over this...do what is best for all the children and don't fret over her.
post #11 of 13

Her Issue - Not Yours!

Basically every human being comes a road where each must deal with his or her own issues. It happens everyday. I avoid being any kind of THREAT at all to my oldest's "real mom." Simply because I can't be bothered with that kind of drama. I don't make a big deal when she hugs me, or kisses me, or sometimes she just walks away when her mom comes to the door to pick her up (which is a rare occasion). I just stay neutral. I don't expect, push, drag out what I want or can, or simply state facts because I know I am right. I just let it go. You cannot possibly do anything for her, just as much as she isn't willing to do anything for herself. Yea sure, she is jealous, fear of being replaced. That is a very valid reason. Jealous? Hell yea, your child that you bore and carried, and gave birth to is looking to someone else as a potential parent? All of which, I am aware of. I have been through a step-family myself. I was in the never ending battle from day one. The dinner conversations revolved around my mom. What my mom did, what she did wrong, what they were going to do, how my mom treated me. When I got home, I got the short end of the stick. Where was your dad? What did Sue (my step-mom) do? Why didn't they take you there? It's a toss between competitiveness and jealousily. I don't like what my oldest daughter's mom does, but would I bring it up to her face? No. Would I bring it up to my daughter's face. No. Do I bring it up to my bf? Absolutely! If she did have a problem with me. Maybe she needs to take a good look at herself. As to WHY she does have a problem with me? I am not forcing her child to do anything, she doesn't want to do, I am loving her, caring for her, I am not overstepping my boundaries, I don't foce being "MOM" on her. I let her come as free as she wants. She does what she feels that she wants to do. I don't ask for a kiss, she gives me one. Infact when her real mom dropped her home that night from the family pictures, and I was closing the door. I said," Honey, don't dont you want to give your Mom a kiss and a hug goodbye?" She said," Yea." I told her to go do it then..and I opened the door. She needs NOT to feel uncomfortable that I am going to be jealous, because I am not. My love has no ties. She doesn't have to feel pressure, or tension. She just needs to accept that I will love her no matter what. There is nothing that her real mom, her dad, or anyone else in the world can do to make me stop loving her and being there for her. So, you see in all reality. It's not your issue, it's hers. You are in some aspects making it your responsilbity for her to deal with it. Don't. It's her problem. She needs to deal with it. Time to grow up. And accept what you simply cannot change.
post #12 of 13
Originally Posted by stressedstepmom
. If my stepdaughter comes to me and goofs off with me, she immediately calls her to her then tries to hug an kiss her (on the mouth, yuk!!). Of course I know this is going to happen so when my stepdaughter goes in her direction I look at some paperwork or look off into the opposite direction as if I saw or heard nothing.

This little girl is 9 years old and her mother still picks her up and holds her like a baby and carries her around the Gym where she has practice. She only does this when I'm present. My stepdaughter says her mom doesn't do anything like this when I'm not there. And this is with me minding my own business. I would hate to see her behavior if I tried to get noticed.

Oh, yeah. And ex leaves messages like "Meet mommy outside the gate tomorrow. . " He's 10! He understands pronouns!

The ex in our life got a little less crazy when we made a effort to include her. I'd take dss to the store to pick out mothers day cards, or help him make her a present, give her copies of photos, copies of school work, ask her opinion on things, invite her to his swimming lessons, tell her a cute story he said about her.

I have to say that the thing that made her the most sane was that she had a baby with someone else and now is pregnant again! No more leaving 10 messages in a row on our voice mail, or being so obsessive! Not that that helps you much .

I always felt that all the mediators, courts, never saw how she really was. A mediator actually told dh that she sounds like "a good time girl" when he complained about her drinking!

As far as being a non-parent, dh always said he couldn't make any decision without his wife. He wouldn't buy a car with out my imput, so he's not going to set up a custody schedule, or make any other decisons without me. It's half my house, money, time, too, so I have to be involved.
post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 
Sounds like the same ex. My husband's ex used to tell my stepdaughter to sneak down to the end of the street and she'll pick her up. She was only 4 and thought mom was serious. When we confronted mom, she laughed and said it was just a joke between the two of them.

I had hoped that when mom had another kid she would slow down, but that didn't work. Her new husband hated his stepmother for "trying to act like his mom". He said he moved out of his dad's house when he was 13 because of his stepmother. So he's no help in this situation.

She also has a 1 year old now that she pays no attention to. Everytime I see her someone else is tending to the baby. She walks ahead with her arms folded. Weird one there.
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