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My 'shameful secret'...I have a love/hate relationship with steplife

hollyissad's picture

Never in my life have I felt so up and down about anything as I do about my relationship with my SD7 and being a part of a “blended” family in general. The biggest problem I find is that nobody is “doing anything” to me. It’s this feeling of being an outsider that I hate. The feeling of not knowing what I’m doing, and feeling out of control. After three years, I thought I would know what I’m doing, but I certainly don’t. Sometimes I think I have it down, and things are sailing, and then something throws me for a loop and I feel like I’m back at the start line again.

I always thought that entering this situation with a deceased BM, while unbelievable sad, would be easier as far as my relationship with SD7. In some ways, that is true, but in other ways I think that it is astronomically more difficult. With a BM in the picture, I feel that there are lines and boundaries that I could respect and not cross. With my situation with SD7, I feel that there are still boundaries but they are so undefined and ever-changing. She goes through phases, like right now, where she wants her mother. I encourage her to talk about her mom if she wants to, and have told her that she can talk to her dad at any time about her mom, as he can answer questions about her and help her remember the things she is trying to remember. Most of the time she just says she really misses her, and that it’s not fair that she doesn’t get to see her anymore, but that’s about it. I don’t know how to help her, but maybe I am not supposed to. The hardest part is that she wants a relationship with me that is mom like, and wants to call me mom, but I am not her mom and in a way she wants that recognized. She wants distance and closeness all at once, and I don’t know how to do that.

I am expecting a baby in July and will be staying at home with him. The other day I took her out to lunch and we were talking about how long before she was out of school, and how long until I am done working and get to stay home. And she says yeah, you’ll get to stay home with (baby boy). I said “and you”. She said “you’ll get to stay home for (baby boy) and daddy”. I felt hurt by this.

I feel like sometimes my relationship with SD7 is exceptional, and I feel like a second mother to her, and other times when I feel rejected. I also fear she will pull away more when my son comes. I know she will cling to her dad, which is a good thing, because at least she feels she has someone. I guess I just don’t know what to do in this situation. I am trying. 


NoWireCoatHangarsEVER's picture

Hugs to you. My best friend and neighbor is raising her now 8 year old step daughter. Biomom isn't dead but is out of the picture entirely. Dad was in the military and he met this woman in Germany and she doesn't speak English. He got called back from active duty overseas because they found the car wrecked with the infant inside and BM off on a drug binge. So she's been raising this little girl since the child was about four and she has a baby girl now. In the beginning my friend's step daughter showed extreme jealousy towards the baby and I see this little girl all the time. But now the baby is a year and a half and I think this has further cemented them as a family. She's the big sister and the jealous is gone and has been replaced with pride and a protective attitude. But she definitely gave her some trouble when she was pregnant and when the baby was born.

She talks about her "birth mom" and parrots what she's been told as she no memory of her and there is no one in this country who even knows BM. She does call my friend mom. Since she's my neighbor and our kids are the same age and we both have babies, I pick up this girl from school with my daughter since neighbor's baby is napping at school pick up time. Other kids ask her "Is that your mom?" and she tells them no and tells them always about my friend, not the long absent woman in Germany. I'm sure its different though for a child whose mother has died and one who remembers their birth mother.

hollyissad's picture

This sounds a lot like my situation. SD7 will tell other children that I am her mom, and makes no mention of her deceased mother. On the same token, I'm "mom/mama" at home, but I am not her mother, and she recognizes that. I think her feelings are conflicting. Sometimes she even talks about her mom, but then adds that if she hadn't died, she wouldn't have met me. I think everything is very confusing to her, so I try to be supportive. It's just such a hard situation.

NoWireCoatHangarsEVER's picture

I am sure it is. I lost my father as a child but my mother never remarried. It will always hurt. But I did long for a stepdad. I wanted someone to replace him.

My childhood neighbor friend lost her mom at 5. Her mom was a celebrated children's author of those Katie Did books. Her father remarried and brought a stepbrother into the picture. I have lunch with her all the time. She loves her stepmother desperately who has raised her and she loves her stepbrother and they are thick as thieves. She calls her stepmom mom and they eat lunch once a week and do wedding stuff and just all the normal mom stuff together. We are 40. She doesn't think of them as steps at all but she has this pride still and curiousity for a mother who loved her so and takes pride in those books that are named after her. I think yall will probably be just fine. I sense the love and caring. She's going to have to work out her own feelings about her mom. I'm 40 and still working on it with my deceased parent.

Journey Perez's picture

First off, don't feel shame or guilt for having valid feelings. None of us are born knowing what to do in a blended family situation. Every blended family is different. You are definitely not alone here so that is good.

We are all "winging it". Learning as we go. On the job training.

One thing that I was not prepared for is being rejected by a child. It happens. It happened to me and it was very crushing and devastating. You think as an adult, that if a kid rejects you, its not biggie, they are young and don't know ish about life. But as a stepmom, you want nothing more than your blended family to work, your DH to be happy and his kids to love and accept you. When that doesn't happen because the kids are angry or brainwashed by a toxic parent, its really hurtful.

Your SD has suffered a real loss by losing her mom. She will always feel some type of way about that. Whether you are in the pic or not, she will still miss her mom. I encourage you to continue treating her and loving her like you always have.