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Interesting essay from a step daughter's perspecitve

TwoOfUs's picture

So, in my regular life I teach English.

Today, I graded a personal narrative from a student who admitted to greatly disliking her step mom. I'd love to post an excerpt of the narrative here for general knowledge...edification? But I'm not sure of the ethics of that.

The gist of the story was this. Step daughter greatly dislikes stepmom. Doesn't know why. Just...dislikes her for no reason, by her own admission. After several years, her stepmom moves out. Step daughter is "utterly devastated" (her words) and can't understand why she is having these feelings. This person who she has disliked and tried to avoid for years is leaving...and she feels hurt and abandoned by her. A few months later, before step mom and dad can reconcile, step mom dies in a terrible car crash. Step daughter goes into counseling and therapy because she is in such grief. She realizes that she loved and adored her step mom...that her step mom was always there for her in ways big and small...and her biggest regret is how she treated her and drove this supportive, wonderful person out of her life and her dad's life.

So...cathartic? I wonder if any other skids find themselves "surprised" by grief and feelings of loss when their step moms have finally had enough and move out. And...I wonder if there's a way to convince Disney Dads that they don't want their kids losing another union / losing a stepmom....


LikeMinded's picture

Sally, I'm so sorry this happened to you. How painful and unfair.

In the end, we're often the Cinderellas of the story.

LikeMinded's picture

Toxic people... it took me over 2 decades to figure out how to screen them, and I'm still too slow about it. I think quite a few women on this board have not yet come into their power.

TwoOfUs's picture

Interesting. I do think that some skids do remain distant out of resentment...and many out of fear, as well, I'm sure. They've been shown in many cases that marriage / partnerships aren't why get attached to someone who may not be around in ten years...five years...

Also, I agree with Seue that often, kids don't understand what they're feeling or why...they have depth of thought and emotion but can't they just react and act out. That's why boundaries and good parenting are so, so important. It actually makes the kid feel more cared for and loved after a divorce and remarriage.

The thing I don't get is the ADULT stepkids who are vicious and nasty about their dad / mom remarrying after death of a spouse. I mean, I guess I do to an seems unfair that your dad can "replace" his wife but you can never replace your mom...but still. I am friends with this very sweet set of four sisters. I've always loved them and admired them from day one. Younger than me...mid-twenties...I'm early thirties now...but all adults. I've never known them to be anything but kind to everyone. We bonded quickly because their mom died on the exact same day that my dad died. We were out shopping once and I asked about their stepmom. Reply was curt, snapped back: "I don't have a stepmom! That's just some woman my dad married!" I was so shocked. Really? So I said: "You do know I'm a stepmom, right?" They were so embarrassed because they'd forgotten that...and things were a little tense for the rest of the trip...

2Tired4Drama's picture

Two, IMO I look at that essay as a sign of a narcissist. I don't think this girl "felt" anything but negative emotions towards her SM and her actions showed it. But once SM died, she turned it into "Woe is me, I'm so hurt and upset! I know I was bad, but don't you feel sorry for ME!?" in order to gain attention for herself - including you, as the teacher/reader of the essay.

Don't know how old this kid is, but if she's old enough to understand and be so filled with regret, it would be interesting to know if she was proactive in asking for her father's forgiveness for driving SM out of their lives (including HIS) and if she did the same with any of SM's family and friends - they were probably aware of the havoc this skid created in SM's life.

But to answer your question, no, I don't think many skids (at least the ones that get discussed on StepTalk!) would have any real regret over the death of a stepparent. I know there are others who have wonderful relationships with stepparents, but that's not the issue in this case.

TwoOfUs's picture

Well...I guess I've never seen a stepmom have any regret over leaving her skids / step-hell either!

If I were to leave, I would certainly feel regret and wonder if I'd made the correct choice. But I feel like I'd also feel so would make up for it Smile Too bad I'm in love...

As for this student. She's a senior in high school. I would agree with you, except that she wrote about it so deeply and well. I don't have any reason to doubt her feelings...and she admitted at length that she was awful and expressed genuine confusion over her hurt when stepmom left. I guess the tone of the essay wasn't "woe is me" but rather "this is a deep grief and regret I have...I really messed up." I think that's a lot for any teen to deal with and be feeling. I'm sure she blames herself for SM's death, though it was in no way her fault.

robin333's picture

Keep at least one of your kidneys, I bet one of mine so you can live with your single kidney and gloat about being right.

I smell manipulation. How old is she?

stepinafrica's picture

She is NOT genuine at all. This is just her trying to make it all about her as usual.

moeilijk's picture

Well, people are complicated.

Long ago I was in counselling, talking about my dad. At that point, I don't think my dad had spoken to me for a few years. The counsellor said, "Look, you're in a relationship with a wall at this point."

Colour me confused.

"Sure. First, you were leaning against the wall for support and encouragement. Then for a while, you were pounding fists and kicking and screaming at the wall. Now, you seem to describe yourself in relation to the wall - I'm in the shadow of the wall, I'm too close to the wall, I'm too far from the wall, Oh no! I'm just like the wall!"

There was more to it (obviously, otherwise I would have wanted my money back!). But basically, I think that's this SD's perspective. She's looking at her relationship to the SM without any true understanding of either herself or the SM as fully-functioning individuals. She only understands herself and SM as polarizing forces.