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#1 of 39 Old 06-15-2009, 11:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Ugh, I hate that I'm experiencing this, and I have avoided bringing it to this forum because I don't want to get flamed... My problem is not my DP, or his ex, or DSD. DSD is loving and pleasant to me, gets along great with her baby sister, and her mom (DP's ex) is also very pleasant and non-adversarial with me. DP is a loving and caring father. The problem is ME.

I just really have a hard time when DSD is here. (EOW. she's 7.) I battle feelings of depression and anger and resentment and frustration when she is with us. When she leaves, those feelings lift and I feel like my normal happy self again. I have known hundreds of kids and can't remember ever feeling this way about any of them. Everything about her bugs me. Her overweightness, constant buttcrack showing, loud/mouth open chewing, the way she talks badly about people and gossips, the way she refuses to eat food that is healthy, her TV and hannah montana obsessions, her stinky feet, her lack of grammatical correctness, small vocabulary, doesn't like reading, etc etc etc.

I am aware of all the angles which paint this as an issue of ME and not her.

1) Control?-- maybe I am frustrated that I am not in control of her upbringing

2)Misplaced anger which should really be directed at DP?-- His TV loving, book-hating ways annoy the $&#t out of me too.

3) Having trouble handling the constant responsibilities of a baby, so maybe the presence of another person who could really use my mothering (no one reads to her or teaches her words, etc, and I could be great at that) is hard for me because I feel overextended already?

4)Jealosy? This seems like an unlikely culprit because I am always relieved when DP's attention is off of me for a while.

5)Elitism? That theory paints me as the elitist snob that only likes really smart creative kids and looks down my haughty nose as kids who are only into tv and material posessions.


The list goes on and on.... point being that it's clearly MY issue. Sometimes I "fake it til I make it" meaning that I act loving and motherly despite my feelings until it actually feels real. But usually all my bad feelings resurface within a few minutes...

How do I flip the script on my evil stepmother feelings????? ANything you can say to flame me, I've already told myself. Yes, this is why some stepmothers get a bad name. Yes, I must be the most selfish person in the world. Yes, I need counseling. Yes, this poor little girl does not deserve to have me be less than loving and helpful to her. Yes, I'm making my DP unbelievably stressed out by thwarting his desire for a "big happy family" when she's here. But then again, I doubt very my much that he is suffereing more than I am in this situation because my misery when she's here is compounded by my crippling self-hatred for being such an a$$hole. WHAT'S WRONG WITH ME?!? I just want my old nice self back who has bountiful mounds of love for all children. This is my daughter's sister, shouldn't i feel like she's my bonus daughter?!?! Instead I feel like all the effort I could ever muster would not be enough to make her into the healthy, intellegent child that I wish she was.

Ugh i'm the worst. Please flame me, i deserve it. :::ba wl
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#2 of 39 Old 06-15-2009, 11:44 AM
 
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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.

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#3 of 39 Old 06-15-2009, 12:31 PM
 
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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 well said I think. And very true in a lot of ways too. It doesn't sound you are acting out on the dislike, OP, so be more gentle with yourself. *hugs*

It is HARD having a baby with someone who already had children. I still can feel resentment rearing it's ugly head at times because I never got to deal with just one child at a time.

You know it isn't really your DSD. And I think that is an incredible sign that you do love and care for her... it is likely different than what you feel for your own DC, and I don't think you should beat yourself up about that.

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#4 of 39 Old 06-15-2009, 01:03 PM
 
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There's nothing wrong with you. I admire your willingness to be honest and desire to work on it. Please, stop hating yourself.

Quote:
2)Misplaced anger which should really be directed at DP?-- His TV loving, book-hating ways annoy the $&#t out of me too.
This stood out to me. You need your partner's help, you don't rely on DSD and so maybe it's safer to deal with these feelings only when DSD is present.

Is your husband's relationship with his D bringing up concerns of what kind of dad he'll be to your baby? Are you worried about DSD's influence on your baby? Just some ideas to consider.
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#5 of 39 Old 06-15-2009, 03:55 PM
 
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[QUOTE=Thisbirdwillfly;13940611



Is your husband's relationship with his D bringing up concerns of what kind of dad he'll be to your baby? Are you worried about DSD's influence on your baby? Just some ideas to consider.[/QUOTE]


The above quote stood out to me-I know this is a concern of mine that makes me frustrated with dsd at times! I don't want dd picking up certain habits, hobbies, likes, etc. (like TV shows, etc.) and I have to really work to not make dsd feel like it is her fault or she is doing something wrong-it is really hard to give up control over my dd's upbringing, because there are a things that dsd does/has experienced that I wouldn't want for dd. Unfortunately, there is not a lot I can do about it besides expose dsd to the things I DO want dd to be around and hope for the best

It sounds like you also have to contend with a dh who is exerting those same influences on dsd though, so that is certainly makes things more difficult.

Good luck!

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#6 of 39 Old 06-15-2009, 04:21 PM
 
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I think 1, 2 & 3 on your list are all involved. How could you not be annoyed at your dh when you see the "result" of his parenting and know you don't want your own child to turn out that way? IMO, you need to have some serious conversations with your dh, and possibly in a counseling situation. You need to agree on what is important as a parent. You need to have some common goals and respect each other's values. Is your dh aware of just how much your dsd's behavior and lifestyle offends you? If not, he needs to know.

Your feelings aren't bad or evil. I hear a lot of fear and frustration in your post, and in all honesty, I can totally understand your feelings. But suffering through weekend after weekend in silence is not helping anyone. You and your dh really are going to have to work through this together.
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#7 of 39 Old 06-15-2009, 04:55 PM
 
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[QUOTE=MeloMama08;13939968]
I am aware of all the angles which paint this as an issue of ME and not her.

1) Control?-- maybe I am frustrated that I am not in control of her upbringing

2)Misplaced anger which should really be directed at DP?-- His TV loving, book-hating ways annoy the $&#t out of me too.

3) Having trouble handling the constant responsibilities of a baby, so maybe the presence of another person who could really use my mothering (no one reads to her or teaches her words, etc, and I could be great at that) is hard for me because I feel overextended already?

4)Jealosy? This seems like an unlikely culprit because I am always relieved when DP's attention is off of me for a while. [quote]

I wonder if the issue has more to do with your dp. I bolded a couple of statements that really stand out to me. May I ask what attracted you to your dp? When you're a parent of a little one, it's easy to lose track of your partner, especially since you may not have time to do things you used to like to do.

I really don't think you can change your dp and that might be something you have to work on. If he's not interested in books, he's probably not going to change at this point in his life.

One other thing, your dsd is still very young. Many kids aren't reading at her age. She may not be ready to read on her own yet. My oldest ds wasn't reading at that age (and he loved tv), but now he loves to read.

ETA: I was rereading your post and this quote jumped out at me.
Quote:
Originally Posted by MeloMama08 View Post
Instead I feel like all the effort I could ever muster would not be enough to make her into the healthy, intellegent child that I wish she was.
I think this says a lot. You are not her parent, she has two parents already. I understand you don't agree with their parenting choices, but there is nothing you can do.
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#8 of 39 Old 06-15-2009, 05:42 PM
 
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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.
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#9 of 39 Old 06-15-2009, 06:09 PM
 
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No, you don't deserve to be flamed, and you're not a bad person. Everyone said it already, but you just have feelings and you're being SO responsible with your actions. Good job!!

Besides what others have said, I wonder what your life was like when you were 7? Sometimes kids trigger unresolved feelings from our own childhoods, hence everything seems out of proportion and unrelated to the actual child. Does that make sense?

Best to you. Your DSD is lucky to have an emotionally aware DSM!!
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#10 of 39 Old 06-15-2009, 08:10 PM
 
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I looked in your signature and your baby is still really little so still lots of work. I know when my DS was born and little I was often really stressed out about my DSS but now that DSS is 5.5 and DS is 2.5 I am so grateful to have him in our lives and I remeber how I use to feel relieved when DSS went home now I feel relieved when DSS comes over.

Also I don't always like the media that DSS is exposed to and the lack of reading but instead of fighting it I will get books about star wars or robots or whatever thing I hate and he loves and we will read those books. He is really starting to love to read books but I had to introduce things that he already loved. Good luck your first kid is really shiny and new and so it seems really important to control their environment. I remember with DS feeling so emotionally attached to what he ate, was exposed to ect. as they get bigger the shiny wears off and you still care but it doesn't seem so tragic if they are exposed to junk occasionally.

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#11 of 39 Old 06-15-2009, 09:09 PM
 
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Don't have time right now to read all the other responses, so sorry if this is redundant.

Your feelings may be stronger than average, but I suspect the ugly secret of MOST step-parents is that love for a child that's not "yours" is not as instantaneous, nor as blind to imperfections as the love that springs up for a child that is "yours". And by "yours" I don't mean just coming out of your body. I've seen adoptive moms bond with their babies just as quickly as biomoms. It's about the knowledge that you are the primary person in the world responsible for this child, regardless how you came to have him/her. Biologically, we are programmed to just love under those circumstances - to rather quickly develop deep, crazy, irrational feelings that make us think the wrinkly, discolored scrap of human in our arms is the most beautiful thing that ever existed!

Well, you're not the primary person responsible for your step-daughter - you're not even second-in-command. Nor does she come to your house for short visits, like a neighbor's or friend's daughter might (i.e., just enough time for you to see all her charm, then she goes home to take off her stinky shoes and eat dinner with her mouth open...) It's not easy to be you. But the fact that you feel guilty means you have the right intentions.

I can only think of two bits of advice:
1- It's difficult - and can make you feel resentful - when you try to be physically affectionate with someone toward whom you don't feel affection. Your step-daughter presumably does not lack cuddling and snuggling from her parents? It's not necessary that you pretend to have the exact same relationship with her that they do - and the same level of love for her - when you and she have not reached that point yet. That can feel just as phony and unwelcome to a child as it does to you. Of course I'm not giving you license to express every critical, nasty thought that comes to your mind about her - she, like any child, deserves your patience, niceness and consideration of her feelings. I'm just saying that as long as your true goal is growing to love her, you're not required to go to extremes pretending you've already arrived there, when you haven't. When you and she (hopefully) get to the point that affection feels natural, it will be so much more comfortable and meaningful - to both of you - than trying to force it, now.
2- You simply have to make every effort you can to notice her good points. She's a child. I guarantee you good points are there. Notice how she expresses her love for your husband. Remember it when you see her do something kind. Try to liken her Hannah Montana obsession to something you loved when you were little. She's young, so you'll have plenty of opportunity to subtly shape how she develops, by reading to her, etc., but I really think you should not focus on how you might improve her until you get to the point that you can actually appreciate who she is. That may take a year or two, especially since you only see her twice a month.
Oh, and 3- Try to figure out to what extent you're afraid that your own child will end up like her because your husband is father to them both. Banish that thought from your head. You will shape your child much more than you'll shape your step-child and you should have no fear: you'll find your child easy to love. It's natural.

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#12 of 39 Old 06-15-2009, 09:56 PM
 
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I don't have any step kids, but I do have a 7 y/o DD. And sometimes she makes life realllllly difficult, so maybe some of it is just the age? I do very well with younger ones, but older kids... not so much.

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#13 of 39 Old 06-16-2009, 12:32 AM
 
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I think it's great that you are aware that a lot of the problems are yours not hers. That puts YOU in the drivers seat in terms of addressing them.

My primary reaction to your post is that love isn't something earned. It just is. And maybe you already love your step daughter, or could. You just maybe don't like her that much. Which is different. I love my kid all the time. There are times I don't like her as much as I could. Like is earned, love just is. Maybe try to get to love in a non-judgemental way first. Love that simply says, "You are a valuable human being and I cherish you because you are unique and special and part of my family." Maybe later you will get closer to liking her, enjoying specific activities together, etc... But love makes it all easier.
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#14 of 39 Old 06-16-2009, 01:00 AM
 
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I don't have any stepchildren, but a good friend of mine does. In fact, her DSD is 8, but was 6 when they married. She confessed to me awhile ago that she didn't ever feel any real fondness towards her DSD, but that she felt that she provided a stable home-life and was consistently kind and responsible, and that was the best she could do.

I just wanted to relate this story to let you know that you're not alone, and it sounds like you're dealing with it really well.

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#15 of 39 Old 06-16-2009, 02:08 AM
 
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One thing I would say is that it's really hard to develop a full appreciation or understanding of a person based on 4 days/month, especially when you feel a ton of pressure to "love" that person or consider them part of your family. Obviously, your goal is/should be to develop a loving relationship with this child but it will not happen overnight. I think it's very possible that you might not know this girl in her entirety.

My daughter is tv and internet obsessed and spends way more time than I care to admit watching often pointless video shows. It would be easy to see that as a cornerstone of her personality. She can appear, and in actuality be, quite slothful, self-indulgent, etc. She is ALSO incredibly empathetic, an avid reader, concerned about politics and social justice issues and will out of the blue occasionally decide to take out all the garbage or clean the whole house. But it can be easy to get impressionistic about the crap and miss out on the good stuff. I can only imagine what that would be like if I didn't have a history with her and only saw her 2 weekends a month.

I know this may sound counter-intuitive at this point, but is there a way to spend more time with her or increase custody time or at least time spent. Perhaps you could ease her into an activity that you two could do together that introduces her to something you feel passionate about. You like the arts right? Perhaps a music class you did together? Bronx River Arts Center has really cool free classes for kids that perhaps you could take her to once a week - even on her mom's parenting time. This could simultaneously allow you to get to know her better and allow you to introduce her to new experiences. I think that could be a fine thing.

And I think it's worth letting go of some of your prejudices (I don't mean that harshly, really I don't) and trying to see things through her eyes. For example, watch some of her shows and try to see what she sees in them. I am really not a fan of Hannah Montana, but iCarly, for example, I find really sophisticated and funny. Perhaps you could find a television show you live with and watch it with her - and talk to her about it. Talk about what different episodes mean or what you think about different characters.

There's a lot of ways to reach out. You will not be the final arbiter of this girl's life - for that matter neither will her mom and dad - but you can be an influence. She is still quite young. You have time on your side. Don't beat yourself up, but also don't give up. Instead give yourself some time and space to work things out and then work a plan.
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#16 of 39 Old 06-16-2009, 09:12 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Thisbirdwillfly View Post
Is your husband's relationship with his D bringing up concerns of what kind of dad he'll be to your baby? Are you worried about DSD's influence on your baby? Just some ideas to consider.
These are definitely issues that I have myself. I get very annoyed and resentful because my DSD is another one that is only happy when watching TV or playing a video game. There are constant complaints about not getting to watch enough TV when she is with us (her mom lets her watch TV almost constantly). On Sunday, we threw her a party at a park to celebrate the end of school, and the only thanks we received was a meltdown at the end of the day because she didn't get to watch any TV that day.

This may sound terrible, but I don't want DS to be anything like her. She is very negative - always sees only the bad side of things. If I buy popsicles, she isn't excited because I bought popsicles, she throws a tantrum (at 6.5) because they aren't the right kind of popsicles. I want DS to appreciate things. I also want him to be grateful for the things that he has instead of complaining about what he does not. I don't want him to be addicted to TV and constantly complain when he isn't watching it. I don't want him to pout and throws fits every time that things don't go *exactly* his way. it scares me that he will watch her behavior and imitate it.

These things cause fights with DH because he feels that this is just the way things are and that I am criticizing his parenting. Well, I am a little. His expectations for her were very low for years, and now she is living up to them. I refuse to let DS grow up like that.

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#17 of 39 Old 06-16-2009, 06:50 PM
 
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If her feet are horribly stinky, buy her some decent non-synthetic shoes and get her a Hannah Montana deodorant stick to apply to her feet every morning before she puts her socks on. Your stock will go up even though you don't like her HM obsession and her feet will smell sweeter.
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#18 of 39 Old 06-16-2009, 09:05 PM
 
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DD is 7 1/2, and I know that DH dosn't always adore her (he's her stepdad). The reality is though, I can't force him to love her. I can hope that with time they form a closer bond, but I don't want him to have to pretend.

He treats her well, and he is a great stepdad, but there's a very big difference in how he interacts with our son together and with my dd. I'm sure that there are families where everything blends instantly and they can all love freely and so on, but it's not the majority of what I see.

I admit that sometimes it infuriates me to see him closer with DS than he is with his dsd, but how is it fair to expect anything else? It's ok for him to have a different relationship with her, he accepts her for who she is and nurtures her, and really, that's all I can ask. They have grown closer with time, but it isn't instant, and when we all accept that, we're ok.
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#19 of 39 Old 06-16-2009, 11:49 PM
 
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Being a stepmom does mean not having control. I used to fill my SD's bookshelf with books I felt she should like,--trying not to push them on her beyond that-- but years later, it has had absolutely no effect. There are only three books--ever--she has read that she liked! For a booklover, this is painful. My stepson did become, eventually, a reader, and credits me with it, to a degree. So, you win some, lose some. There are lots, lots, lots of things I would do differently--and that DH would have differently if he had more control over their upbringing.
But the bottom line is, they are decent kids who aren't headed for jail. They still, after years of PAS, love their dad, and they have retained their sense of humour. They do well in school, even if they don't have the same passion for learning I did.
I wouldn't try to make her something she isn't, or isn't yet. How sophisticated is the average 7 yr old? Didn't you read Nancy Drew or watch Scooby Doo? (I'm dating myself here!).
Don't worry about the love thing. You will never have the same depth of feeling toward her as to the child you suckled, etc. But you can still have something very precious, in a way even more so b/c it required effort.
I'd focus on doing something with her. If she likes to eat, perhaps she'd like to learn how to cook a little, how to prepare snacks, etc. This can be your subtle way of making healthy eating more fun. Children always like to eat what they make. I know it can be hard with a baby, but at least babies nap.
Start slow--just one one-on-one activity per weekend. Make it a ritual, and you'll find, hopefully, that you both look forward to it. (Maybe this can be a meal you make for the others?). There are lots of great kid cookbooks out there. I was a reluctant eater, but I still remember these great meals my sister made for me, where the food made up a face.
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#20 of 39 Old 06-17-2009, 12:09 AM
 
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One more thing: going through my daughter's "difficult" stage(s) and her as much more of a separate, individual human being who does things that can be infuriating and then being with my infant son can be very disorienting. With infants they are so new and precious and unformed in many ways and they actually can't do "bad" things or make wrong choices. They are sooo easy to love. You don't imagine them 3 or 6 or 8 years down the road grappling with growing up and becoming their own person. And by the time you get there, you have this stock of love and attachment to get you through the rough patches. I think it's harder if you step into a situation without that attachment and have to deal with the difficult stuff.

I hear people saying, "I don't want my kid to be like that". Maybe they won't. But maybe they will because honestly some of this stuff is developmentally appropriate and when you get to it with "your kid" you will understand. So I think it's important to cut the older kids some slack. You can attempt to guide and influence, but you cannot control who they are or become.
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#21 of 39 Old 06-17-2009, 12:19 AM
 
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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

Mommy to 7 yr old son and 5 yr old daughter ~ Homemaker ~ Cultural anthropology student ~ Partner to the world's hottest tech nerd ~ Lover of culinary arts
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#22 of 39 Old 06-17-2009, 01:30 AM
 
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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.
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#23 of 39 Old 06-17-2009, 03:15 AM
 
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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
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#24 of 39 Old 06-17-2009, 03:00 PM
 
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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.
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#25 of 39 Old 06-17-2009, 03:02 PM
 
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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.
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#26 of 39 Old 06-17-2009, 10:55 PM
 
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These negative feelings are very common, ime.

 

 

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#27 of 39 Old 06-18-2009, 04:07 AM
 
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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.

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#28 of 39 Old 06-18-2009, 11:49 AM
 
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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.
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#29 of 39 Old 06-18-2009, 02:17 PM
 
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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.
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#30 of 39 Old 06-18-2009, 10:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

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