I have an absolutely toxic, negatve, insecure, jealous, debbie downer, bossy, controlling stepmother. Nobody in my dad's family can stand her and I know thats hard for her, but if she wouldnt be such a difficult person to be around people wouldn't dread being around her. She is only tolerated at best. Everytime I see her she starts crying about what a horrible life she's had cause she was a single mom, she had to work, her exhusband left her, ect. She's always looking for sympathy and i don't feed into her pity party and she can't stand it when she doesn't get attention from doing her pity party. My dad ignores it, and I avoid her as much as possible during the year cause no amount of telling her how its difficult to be around her negativity and pity party has ever made a difference, so keeping her at arms length has always been the best solution.
I have to say I like giving her a little of her own medicine. She's controlled how we do holidays for years. Now I'm calling the shots and she hates it. My dad has even called me pleading with me to do holidays her way the way we've always done them cause she's making him miserable and they've been in huge arguments cause I won't do holidays the way they've always been. Too bad she's making him miserable, but its not my problem. Sorry but I'm a grown adult now, with 3 families to see. We'll be seeing my Mom Christmas Eve, Inlaws Chistmas Day, and Dad and Stepmom can stop by Christmas evening. Dad has even said that if Christmas isn't at their house, then Stepmom has been threatening not to come. Really? How lucky can I get!!! Her refusing to come cause Christmas will be at my house and not hers is just icing on the cake. I have a baby girl who I prefer to keep her away from my baby cause of her negativty that i don't want influencing my daughter, so really who cares if she doesn't come. Its not like i'll miss her annual crying about how awful her life has been. And really does she think threatening not come will make me give in and do Christmas her way cause its not going to. For someone who keeps on saying how she's a "grandma" to my daughter and how wonderful that is, its interesting that she'll let a little thing like where Christmas is hosted keep her from coming over to see my daughter who she says she cares about so much, or maybe thats just talk to get relatives to think she cares so much about family. Some people like my stepmother just don't do well unless they are in complete control, and I refuse to let her dictate how we do holidays anymore.
I feel for your Dad, stuck between the two of you. :(
Hi Allie 74,
I think you are doing absolutely the right thing. You are setting your boundaries, and the balance of power is shifting from one generation to the next. You seem to have a good handle on your step-mother's problems. The main thing is to try and keep yourself sane and happy enough not to retaliate or be mean to her. When she learns to accept your new boundaries then perhaps you could move forward to a relationship based more on your terms, and then your Father will be able to continue to enjoy a relationship with you and his grand-daughter, instead of being isolated from you by his wife.
No advice but I feel for you. I go through this with my parents every year. When my oldest was born, I told my parents and my ex's parents that anyone who wanted to was welcome at our house any time on Christmas day but I was not going to drag my children all over town trying to visit everyone that day. We'd do visits before or after but on Christmas day, we were going to be at our house enjoying our family. Every year, my parents came to our house but ex's family just refused to see us at all during the holidays. When we divorced, it meant that my children had to split the day, which I hate. Last year, my kids were to come home to me at 2 p.m. My mother wanted to do Christmas at my sister's house (1. 5 hours away) that evening. So the kids would wake up at their dad's house, open presents, leave at noon to drive 2 hours home, open presents with me, jump back in the car and drive an hour and a half to my sister's, open presents there, drive another hour and a half home, and by then it's bedtime. Sorry but no. I got repeated and ongoing guilt trips from everyone in my family about being selfish and ruining the holidays for everyone. Mom told me a month ago that she's talked to my sister about their family plans and the only possible time for everyone to get together is Christmas evening so I'm just going to have to accept that. I told her that my kids are leaving at noon, my stepkids won't be here at all that day, and even if they were all going to be here I made the rule almost 10 years ago that I will not spend Christmas day running around so she's just going to have to accept that. My dad and my sister are telling me that I'm breaking my mother's heart. My mother is telling me how selfish and immature I am. Right. I'm selfish. I arranged this divorce and custody agreement where I would not get to spend Christmas day with my family just to spite my mother and sister. Right. My Christmas gift to myself is that I've told everyone the discussion is over and I will hang up the phone immediately if Christmas day is even mentioned. And I'm sticking to it.
I feel for my Dad as well, but he never stands up to his wife and has allowed her to control him for years so he is partly to blame as well. I don't believe in giving into people just cause they throw a fit. That is giving into childish behavior in adults and being controlled by them cause you fear them. I will no longer fear my SM like i used to where i would just go along with whatever she said cause i was terrified of her wrath. You have to have boundaries with people. I even mentioned about how i didn't want to be dragging my baby around on Christmas, and all SM cared about was hosting Christmas at her house where of course she gets to be the hostess and show off all her cooking. So its not about family to her, its about being in control and being the center of attention as always. I've worked at the best solution for me. Mom comes over for Christmas eve, then Christmas day we go over to inlaws, and then evening Dad (and SM if she chooses) can come over Christmas evening. That way we're only taking my baby out to one house for Christmas as opposed to 3. I may have divorced parents, but I will not have my daughter suffer and have to go to multiple homes cause she has divorced grandparents. My stepmother can deal with it and come over, or choose to throw a fit and not be part of it cause she didn't get her way. SM just has always assumed cause she has always hosted holidays then she always would be able to, and hates it that i will not be coming over to her house for christmas anymore. She does not adapt to change at all. Sorry, but its not about her. I have a baby to think about now, and my baby comes before anything in the world. Dad has told him he's still unsure if SM is going to come over, but he'll definitely be over Christmas evening to see DH and me and our baby. I do feel really bad for my dad, but at the same time I'm not dragging my baby to lots of different houses just cause SM is throwing a fit. But I do feel badly that my dad suffers from SM's wrath when she doesn't get her way, but he's the one that allows that to happen and its been going on in their marriage for years where he has allowed her to control him so much, but she can't control me or the decisions i make anymore. I will always be cordial and polite to her (even though i do truly hate the woman) the few times a year i see her, but she'll never be a person i go out of my way to have a relationship with. Its sad though cause she's been in the family for over 20 years, but her controlling and bossy personality pretty much ruined our relationship from the start. She's just an extremely difficult person to be around. You are always having to walk on eggshells around her to not offend her. I just don't do well with people no matter how they are related to me who have the belief of its my way or the highway like my SM.