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Resenting Past Behaviour?

Barry Cassidy's picture

Hi Guys, Do you think step parents have a tendency to hold some sort of resentment towards their step kids over past bad behaviour? In my own case I tend to feel angry the moment they enter the room, even though most of the poor behaviour is in the past. I wonder if I'm holding some kind of grudge, while bio parents natrually forgive and move on a lot more easily? Either that or I'm just a miserable, grumpy old basta*rd!


MaryBethC's picture

There is definitely resentment on my part but I've never gotten an apology either for what was done and they are all still a-holes.

JRI's picture

How could you help being resentful?  It's human nature.  I agree, the bio parent will always forgive more easily.  I hear "That's all in the past", "She's different now". Uh huh.  I guess as a bio mom I'd do the same.  The difference is my kids didnt make anybody's life miserable.

failuretolaunch's picture

Correct me if I am wrong but what I think you are more than probably feeling is that you don't really want to be a step parent and all the little things that happen just annoy you????

I've been through some stuff, like we all have, I wouldn't say I hold a grudge though. I'm just done with it all. I've done my best and was thinking this morning that when my skids especially SK2 have kids, maybe then and only then will I get some appreciation. He will realise that having kids is bloody hard, so it must have be even harder to have kids that aren't yours. Believe me, I've done my best to treat them like my own, but obvisouly they aren't.

A month or so ago I just couldn't even bare to hear the monotonous tone of SK1 or look at SK2. I still don't look at SK2 or speak to him now.

What is it that has happened for you to feel like this, how long have you been a step parent, how old are they?

Don't feel guilty for how you feel is what I will say. I have and did and I feel it caused a lot of pain for me. Be open and honest about how you feel with friends and family / trusted people, not with your partner, not yet anyway.

Wicked stepmo.'s picture

I wouldn't call it a grudge. When you have been burned over and over again, you lose trust and that's hard to fix. It requires a lot of work from the person who violated your trust and the chances of ever getting that from am SK are slim to none 

failuretolaunch's picture

It requires a lot of work from the person who violated your trust and the chances of ever getting that from am SK are slim to none 


I hear that Smile

diver111's picture

I think it will take time with them behaving nicely to build trust. SD has never acted nicely to me - I have no positive memories of her - so it's hard to get past what has happened. In fact, she threatened to kill me when she was a teenager. Now even 10 years later, I have no interest in being around her; don't feel safe. Thankfully, we live in different states! 

SeeYouNever's picture

The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. Sounds like you're just being prudent.

Bioparents are optimistic about their kids, they choose to only see the good because if they focused on the bad it would wound their ego. 

Ispofacto's picture

I agree with others who've said the skids didn't apologize, change their behavior, and you probably don't have any good memories to draw on.

I also think it takes introverts a lot longer to get over drama, and if the drama overlaps and goes on for a long time, it builds up and takes a very long time to get over it.


hereiam's picture

It's a good thing that most of your steps' bad behavior is in the past, but what do you think was the root cause of the bad behavior in the first place and what did your partner do about it?

Maybe some of your anger is with your partner for not dealing with it, letting them get away with it, or not getting them the proper help they may have needed.

Anger can also be ones go to emotion (it is usually a secondary emotion), when the real emotion is something else that we don't want to feel (or admit that we feel), or deal with (hurt, betrayal, fear, etc.). You may feel anger because you felt that you had no control when they were acting out and seeing them reminds you of that.

Anger and resentment are bad for us to hang on to (physically and emotionally), but also hard to let go of. There are some good articles online on how to work through them.




failuretolaunch's picture

Struggled here with this for a while and for me your words ring true. I thought I disliked the skids but now I realise I resent the mum for allowing the behaviour and not correcting it. She's not been correcting it for a very long time.


Why didn't you get skid to do this. Her response was I asked, what more can I do. My response, you can follow up on him straight away and then get him to do it. She looked shocked by that way of thinking. He rules the roost, not her.

CLove's picture

Im in the process of breaking off and distancing after a good 7 year relationship with SD15 Backstabber/Munchkin. So, now I am resentful and feel anger when shes around - even when she isnt! SD22 Feral Forger - she used to bug me just hearing her stride through the house, and the sound of her baby-talking to "dadddy" when she wanted something.

I have had enough time to work through my anger and resentment from dealing with HER. Now I kind of feel sorry for her, because even though she is a lying, manipulative, thieving (HEY failure, seems like your skid and my skid have a LOT in common!!!) because Toxic Troll BM has created and perpetuated a household chock full of narcissistic triangulation, she has become the scapegoat. Not a huge amount of sympathy, just a few ounces, as she also perpetuates this triangle.

numb87's picture


Yes I feel like this is a thing. I resent my SD as much as I would resent anyone who put me through hell. She's not my cup of tea even though her behaviour has improved. It makes me feel terrible because I dont have that love for her. But I try and add value to her life by giving her something she doesn't have - not parenting through guilt and correcting her when it needs to happen. Managing your own resentment is tough. I find it easier to be triumphant and when they enter a room think to myself how far they have come because of me. Patting yourself on the back is easier than punishing them. 

Rags's picture

Past behavior being the best predictor of future behavior..... being cautious is smart.

If they actually  change and learn to avoid the past toxic behaviors.... great.   If not.....meh.

LittleCloud9's picture

Old sins cast long shadows.

when someone hurts you it takes a long time to heal and trust again even if they are making positive change and you are a forgiving person. 

There is much to be said for letting go of resentment for your own well-being. That doesn't mean condoning what happened or trusting them again. It might just mean indifference, and strong boundaries to prevent more hurt

Rags's picture

In my experience forgiveness has to be earned every singe day by those who have perpetrated past infractions.

Both my professional career and my personal relationships have proven this as an absolute truth.... at least for my life it is an absolute truth.

For many years of my career I am the guy that is sent to recover a failing organization, business, etc....  Upon arrival the issues that are driving the failure start to rise fairly quickly.  Invariably what I find is that the individuals who are driving the declining performance are known and have been known for an extended period of time.  

However.... there is no record of their influence on the failure.   They all seem to have been shuffled to a single work group/location/etc...  and when a new leader arrives and determines that they have the team of shit birds the distribution is shuffled and the shit bird team is broken up and and the poor performance is more broadly distributed within the broader organization rather than focused.

Long story short..... every one  on the the shit bird team is known, they have all been previously reprimanded, and the reprimands are removed from their personnel files after a  probationary period is served for the latest infraction.  Then once the reprimand is shredded... they go right back to their usual shit.

The low hanging fruit to recover the performance of the organization is to make both memorandums for the record and reprimands a permanent part of a personnel/HR file.  Then ..... the shit birds know that one more repeat incident of their past crap and they are gone.

The same model has to apply to the shit birds in one's personal life IMHO.   Crappy behavior and performance will never be forgotten and if it resurfaces..... a state of abject misery will immediately rain down on the person resurrecting their shit bird history.

They must be continually provided clarity that they are the common denominator in their own outcome and state of abject misery. If they gain clarity and get their shit together... great. That is the hope and the goal.  But only they can earn forgiveness on a daily basis.

Later............ rinse.............. repeat.

Blended4213's picture

Yes, I'm guilty of this. I know we should be the bigger ones and try to forgive and forget, but it is hard when DH doesn't hold his own kids responsible. It's hard when the stepkids don't even try to apologize and seem to feel no remorse. It's hard when stepkids don't try to change their bad behavior, knowing how it negatively affects others. And I think we are just being protective of ourselves figuring the same bad behavior will continue. I would like to know how to work on this, personally.


I also agree with those who say part of their anger and resentment is actually towards their partner for not taking care of things with the stepkids. I feel anxious and upset around Middle SS because he has the most behavioral issues and DH is blind to them. My other two stepkids are disciplined and corrected by DH. They still get on my nerves but I don't mind them nearly as much or feel irritable with their mere presence in the house like the other one. So it's really more on our partners than the kids.


And my other two stepkids have shown some improvement with past negative behavior while middle SS has not. Probably largely due to DH not enforcing correcting him.

Texashley33's picture

I get instantly pissed off the second I hear my SS18 come downstairs. He's a liar like his mom and purposely walks around mute now bc hes always getting into trouble and even his own Dad can't stand him. He hides in his room and when he hears us go to our rooms or go outside, he comes downstairs to eat.  He has also tripped my daughter and laughed and she hit her head and he lied about it. His BM lost custody and I had to help raise him since he was 2. I wish i would've said hell no .. We have 2 children of our own now and I forgive them quickly. Must be normal if other people can't stand their step kids or get over their past mistakes. It would take a miracle from God for me to like SS18 and his BM.

failuretolaunch's picture

It's strange isn't it. If you had a lodger living in your house that behaved like a lazy ass, didn't comunicate with you or pay rent / work then you would soon get rid of them. This is applied to kids, they'll soon learn... As I learned here, when kids get to 18 it is then a contract between you and them whether they stay. If the can't play by the rules....Bye Byeeeeeeee. I will honestly do this with my own kids too otherwise I am teaching them nothing.