Friday, October 29, 2010

The Teen Years have Begun

In the past, it was more that my oldest stepdaughter encouraged and even incited her mom to have massive freakouts or reasons to fight us, send nasty emails, make horrible phone calls, accuse us of completely strange things.  She left out information, elaborated, expanded, and just plain lied. It was sometimes to protect herself at our expense, but it was for many years because she wanted to please her mom. She had somehow reasoned that by keeping her mom mad at us, it made her mom happy or kept their bond. Maybe she thought it meant she would be in less regular trouble with her if she provided her mom with fake dirt. Not really sure, and not really sure that we'll ever know "why" she has kept her mom incorrectly informed for so many years.

We told her that the lies and left out truths just led to high conflict that she was making everything horrible for all of us, especially her and her sister. We were not only trying to teach her that lying was making things more complicated and her life worse, but also trying to get across to her that she was literally often causing these big huge flare-ups that led to court and anger.

She hasn't been causing the flare-ups as much lately, or their mom just hasn't cared. Not really sure, can't really know. But things have seemed better mostly. Then in one week, we get two nasty communications with their mom. But one was clearly triggered by my stepdaughter, and was completely unnecessary. It's clear that this time, it wasn't to avoid punishment or bond with her mom in the perverse way. This time it was to get mom mad at dad in order to get what she wanted. So literally, the brand new teen, has just done what I usually read about children of divorce doing- using the parents to get what they want.

It didn't work very well, of course. But this was the first time where my stepdaughter was directly involved and caused the fighting and nasty communications by going to her mom, in order to not have to do something when she was in our custody.

I'm pretty pissed about it. Before, she was emotionally confused by her mom's messed up mind and easy anger. Before, it was to please mom. We're pretty used to that old story. This, though, was to selfishly try to get out of something by using her mom's ever-present anger against her dad. I see this as worse, but I guess the good thing about this kind of behavior for us is it is much easier to attach repercussions to. And we've found that to be a lot more effective then trying to reason with them about the logic of playing their mom's emotional games.

Friday, October 15, 2010


What you see is what you get.

Stepmoms, we fell in love. How horrible is that? Why do we have to be someone we're not, because your husband's ex thinks whatever she's made up about you and then has impressed that upon the kids? The more it gets to you, the more it makes you crazy and self-doubt. You start to question whether you should change, and if you do change, the resentment starts to build....

It's one thing to believe in self-improvement, but constantly ask yourself if it's self-improvement or trying to live up to another person's standards- whether it be your husband's, the kids', your in-laws'... You need to maintain your own standards. Let your stepkids learn from your standards, which is why your husband fell for you in the first place.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

They don't like me, but they learn from me

The weirdest part to accept when you're a stepmom is that even when the kids don't like you, mock you, ignore you, and hurt you- They are still learning a ton from you.

I learn that lesson over and over again. My stepkids aren't that bad to me anymore, though sometimes they hurt me a lot more than they know and it's usually not intentioned now. I guess it could be more related to age, maturity, and the person who's primarily raising them now.

But still, I see them pick up things from me. They may have resisted me as much as they could those years that their mom was manipulating them the most, but I was still there, a lot. They're still going to pick things up from me, just because I'm an adult in their lives. Now that they're on better behavior, I'm seeing a lot of that seep through.

Once again, I'm seeing my oldest stepkid copy things I do and say. My husband and I have also noticed a continuation and increase of the girls seeking my approval or help before their dad's. Sometimes the youngest will turn to me and ask for something, even though her dad is right there. His shock is quite funny, and I have no idea why she does this. She could tell you that I very often tell her to ask her dad about most things, yet she comes to me first. (I'm starting to think it's more because she knows that if I disapprove, I'll probably win out later... She's a smart cookie sometimes.)

I took my oldest stepdaughter to get some new jeans that fit whatever style she wants this year. Most of her jeans were family hand-me-downs from her cool beach cousin, and she's been quite fine with those. But she's now the same height as that cousin, so we've been taking her out for new things more and more. I told her she just picks what she wants and I'll buy it, just as long as it actually fits and she won't outgrow it in only a few months. I specifically told her she didn't need to "show" me what they looked like- just tell me what's good or not. Yet, sure enough, I hear my name being called. For both pairs of jeans she picked out, she wanted me to see how they looked and tell me why she liked them- and I noticed it seemed like she was trying to convince me. I really couldn't care less- I even told her she could get jeans her dad would complain about if she wanted. Yet, there she was, showing me jeans and looking for my approval.

I know that their mom is pretty much all that really matters to them- with her love being somewhat conditional, they have to get her approval first and foremost, even at the cost of others like their very own dad's. But I am glad to see them be comfortable enough with me to at least act like they want my approval. It does show that my female role-model and "other mother" role is legitimate to them, for right now.