Blending families and adjusting to a stepparent is one of the most difficult things you can deal with, I know. I always say that it took me 10 yrs to finally like, respect, and appreciate my stepfather Andy but I finally do. Chrissy sent me the following email about her struggles with her stepmother.
My step mom has been married to my dad since 1994. We got along when I was younger, but as soon as I turned 15, she started to really try to compete for my dad’s attention. I am naturally daddy’s little girl and my dad always provided me with what I needed and MORE – never using her money that she earned. She was always so jealous, and always tried to sabotage our relationship, or our daddy daughter outings. My dad and I would go to the movies and dinner and she would call every 30 mins.
Even to this day, grown up at 25, I still have to deal with her jealousy of my dad. I can’t even go into the house without her being rude. I try to spark up a communication with her and she gives me one worded short answers. I hardly ever go over there now, and its unfair to me and my dad. How can I make this work ? its getting out of control at this point.
C – You are amazing…I love that you’ve already identified that really this problem isn’t about you but its about your stepmother. Don’t you almost feel sorry for her, that she’s been married to your father for close to 20 yrs and is still so jealous of your relationship with him? I think the hardest part with a stepparent is often times WE have to be the adults instead of the actual parent figure…that part sucks.
What I have found in my own situation is you have to be the conversation starter, the olive branch, and the bigger person. So let me ask you this…have you ever asked your stepmom to lunch or doing some activity with her that she enjoys? When you can totally be of service to someone else amazing things happen. Call her up and tell her you’ve been thinking about her and could you treat her to a glass a wine. I like to have conversations away from the home. I think people feel very territorial in their homes and changing the environment can open people up.
With any luck she’ll respond to your invite and that gives you a chance to open the conversation. I would even practice what you want to say so it doesn’t come from a place of anger. From the heart what do you want to tell, ask her, and what would you like your relationship to be.
The other thing that took me years to understand, and I think this is really difficult, is that my mom and Andy’s relationship isn’t about me. The same thing goes for your dad and stepmother. Can you begin to be grateful for her, be happy that your dad has someone who cares and loves him? Even in your mind if you think she treats him horribly remember if he didn’t like it he would do something about it.
I know when you read this you’re probably thinking…where do I come into it? What about my feelings. So much of that will be resolved when you keep exploring being of service, being the bigger person, to your father and stepmom. Its sounds crazy but the more love and well wishes you can give them the more incredible you will feel.
You have nothing to lose by speaking from your heart and inviting her out. Keep reminding yourself that you have the best intentions for her and don’t worry about the outcome. No matter how she reacts keep sending her kind words and compassion. Also, don’t stop going over to your dads. We only have our parents for a short time in life, he’s crazy about you. Whatever it takes go over, walk into their house with a huge smile and enjoy your father.
Please keep me posted and I’m thinking of you. I have felt that deep hate, anger, and feelings of wanting to tell my stepparent to fuck off (and have:() but there is hope. It might take 10 yrs but the other side is amazing.