Recently, a family member implied that I need to open my heart to the children. I only receive comments tied to assumptions that I am cold or unwilling from extended family members when I share completely logical thoughts or my very valid feelings. Yet my friends and people I talk to everyday- most of whom live here- are constantly saying how much I give, how they can't fathom my depth of compassion in this situation, and also understand the constant pain I deal with. The day-to-day of my life and the bravery I've shown impresses everyone I know, including my husband, except for the extended family of my stepchildren. They seem to readily believe the children's complaints, rather than recognize that children in a stepfamily situation where their mom guilts them and severely punishes them for disloyalty may possibly effect their statements about a stepmom who tries very hard. I was told yesterday by a psychologist and a stepmother of 3 herself that it is actually a compliment- that the children are able to complain about me but can't even voice thoughts about their mother, out of fear. In other words, they fear her but not me.
In the meantime, the children's comments or strongly influenced beliefs continue to hurt our relationships with them, our marital life, and my husband's opportunity to simply be their father. My heart is open. And hearts that are open, can also be bruised, scarred, and should be allowed healing time.