The Ghost of Stepmothers Past
The other day my SIL comes over to pick something up, we're talking about stuff in general then out of the blue she's starts ranting about her ex-step mother that DIED over 8 years ago! She talked about how she was a b*tch who spent all her father's money and didn't care about her or her siblings. Said she'd tell them all about things she did with her own family in another state but didn't even pretend to like my SIL or siblings. This rant went on for about 5 minutes while my DH nodded in agreement and joined in saying "SM set up the relationship between her and SIL to be antagonistic!." I just stood there shocked. I couldn't believe that there was no respect for this woman who had passed and that even long after death she was still being hated on.
My MIL, who I love and is now elderly, was not the angel she is now when she was younger. She cheated on her husband with a man who was the same age as her oldest daughter, then they got married and ran off to live a few states away. She took my DH and his two sisters with her. DH's father remarried, stayed in the state his ex and family left him so he could work and send them money, then proceeded to be happy for several years with his new wife. He sent money and visited often, making an approx 16 hr trip to see his kids.
Later I talked with DH about this conversation. I took it personal that DH and SIL were attacking their own SM. I know it wasn't about me but I am now in that same role. Since I am the stepmother in this family I asked DH if he felt that I was that way and that I was a horrible stepmother treating his grown sons terribly, being antagonistic and spending all of "his" money (even though we are married and have joint assets that we both contribute too)? He said no, of course not but that I did have a short fuse with ss30. I told DH that I have a short fuse with anyone that is rude or abusive to me and that it's not personal to ss30. We talked about step mom, me, my role, his role, HIS responsibility with HIS grown children and he said "wait ss30 is ss30's responsibility now not mine." BINGO!
It was horrible how SIL still talks about her deceased step mother but it helped open an honest discussion about what's been going on in DH and I's situation for over 2 years.
What I learned is that some people will hate just for the sheer fact that you married their parent. They will blame you for all the wrong in their life even years after you are dead. If you are going to be a step parent then be strong, do your thing and know that it's not personal. Set firm boundaries, don't overly invest your life or emotions in your step children since the overwhelming majority of them do not appreciate it. Step it up for yourself and your life!
I feel a bond with all you "evil" stepmothers out there.