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Books/resources for parents-step parents getting along -- BM doing unstable things / control

lessnewstepmom's picture

Hi there, my personal crazy BM situation is now in mediation, hurray. She chose this family counselor / mediator, and she is a master manipulator. I wondered if she would somehow have exerted any influence on this mediator prior to my husband getting there, and they had spoken on the phone already, which to my understanding is not done by more established mediation firms I have called to check about this stuff. She's a one-woman shop, and her web site features a gigantic photo of her using her name as the doman name to her site. Seems wholly unprofessional in general.

So, the first thing BM asks for in this "mediation" is that I, SM, have zero communication between with her. My husband travels a great deal, and I'll take this for face value, but what struck me is a) the impracticality given I'm at home and the husband travels often (tho she has demanded custody any time he is out of town also) and b) I was very surprised that the mediator basically rolled over on this one and just said fine, that makes sense.

Now, I can take or leave being emailed by her, but in some instances it seems potentially injurious in terms of loyalty / alienation things when, for example, BM is also going through my husband alone to get the message over that kid A left a retainer at our place while my husband is in another country and I live a mile from the school (BM is an exec and works 20mi from schools).

From everything that I have read, it's demonstrated that bio and step parents all are recommended to get along. However, I've been looking all day and find no good publications touting this, over simple Web sites and Dr Phil, not that there's anything wrong with him, bless his heart. Wink

Does anyone know of any blended family books that my husband could use as a reference?

The fact that BM goes through the kids with all messages lately while putting me down if I don't let her know about various things in their household and complaining that she does all of the kid-errands etc, and allowing only her nanny to help out never me of course (which is generally fine with me, though we offer), and now is also going into firm alienation land with her twisty manipulations and claiming the kids have a "horrible" time with us... has me questioning this mediator and her competence.

If my husband had some real references to indicate there are BM issues, I think it could be useful. If anyone knows of some, please get in touch or post here. Thanks so much! :

lessnewstepmom's picture

Sorry! That was an overly long as well as poorly written post!

Okay, I'm looking for any book recommendations noting that all parents / step parents ideally should maintain good communications for the sake of raising healthy kids.


Kilgore SMom's picture

I haven't read it but alot of the people on this site refer to a book called stepmonster. Good luck.

Rhyleighblue's picture


I have NEVER met, spoken to or had ANY contact with my skids BM.

I insisted on that before I agreed to marry this man.

Just my opinion.

Freedom2005's picture

I have read 2, Stepmonster by Wednesday Martin and The Smart Stepmom by Ron L. Deal and Laura Petherbridge.

I liked both. Now that does not go with out saying that they both don't always meet up and agree.

One thing I did NOT like about Stepmonster is it talked a lot about "natural" families vs. the "step" family. It did comparisons using birds and bees. It also mentioned other animals. Baiscally saying that the issues in a step family are the same in most species! Uh, I am not a bee. LOL

It did have a lot of good advice though I thought. It did explain a lot of things so I understood it better.

However, I have even gotten more books from the other authors of the other book, The Smart Stepmom. I like it better.

Free advice, take what you want and leave the rest.


Dory's picture

"No-One's the Bitch" - written by a BM and an SM who BOTH wanted to put an end to the friction between their households. There is also a website It's a very interesting concept, but it seems it can only work if BOTH women are on board to change matters.

lessnewstepmom's picture

Thank you Dory!! That one looks REALLY great... and would be ideal, if the BM I were dealing with weren't a, um, lunatic. I pray (except that I am not religious!) for anyone rational over there, either her or her nanny. Oddly, but delightfully [even though he's never in town, alas], the guy she cheated on my husband with [her ex-boss] and is married to now, is actually the most decent apple in the bunch. Odd, but I am grateful for his comments and for what he notices, on the rare occasion I can interact with him. *sigh*

I want to ask the so-called mediator how she views that book, though she [still] sees BM as someone rational, I believe.

Thanks for your suggestions though, noonesthebitch looks great. Worth a read even if BM should be in a straightjacket.

lessnewstepmom's picture

Hi NoSteppingStone, thanks for your encouragement.

Yes... sounds like you and I are dealing with the same thing. The thing that's harder for me is that her "controlling" nature still reaches my husband, which... while he acknowledges it, it still affects him, which yes, bothers me.

Anyway, the mediation is over, I'm no longer "allowed" to email her, and my husband as she well knows, is just over-swamped at his work, where she calls or emails him, so his getting logistics notices to me, even, rarely happens, so I'm just in the dark. Sometimes frustrating. Removing myself from this whole family is of course difficult, as I thought I was getting married to sort of have a family. I think that unless I/we adopt any kids, there won't be any bonding here with me. I was slightly en route to bonding with kid 1 when BM stepped in and we barely speak now which she is of course blaming me for. Kid 2 is okay for now, though... I feel certain BM won't let that one bond with me either, controlling [and short-sighted] as she is. In week 2 of our marriage kid 2 was super-excited to be doing an activity to me, said BM's nanny, yet BM had to take her to get a, ahem (9-y-o) pedicure on BD's (our) custody night. Less of that of late, though some things fall out of kid 2's mouth letting us know she is at "work" with parental/houshold alienation at every chance she (BM) gets. So sad, for these kids. I think that my moving into an apt me and dad can share, his visiting his kids elsewhere, would be best for them given BM's ... issues/illness/lack of concern for her own kids, for pete's sake. I'd be relieved, too!

I'm looking forward to seeing her at the next sporting event, hopefully with her husband, so I can make note of this mediation agreement out loud with witnesses, as I'm sure her [relatively] decent current husband doesn't know about this mediation, her insistence I never contact her, etc. He's been encouraging her to meet with me I think.

It's all so tiring. Kid 1 getting home almost just stresses me out as BM is calling and texting him almost continuously while he's here alone with me.

Anyway, thanks for your note! Thankfully, I've not yet encountered negative-nellies on here, yet. *Is there any way to set that I be notified when someone responds to any notes? Thanks so much. Smile