Could You Turn Into a Wicked StepMother?

If you had asked me this when I moved in with my boyfriend (now ex) who had children, I would’ve laughed. It would’ve seemed like a joke – a play on the many fairy tales we all heard as children. Of course, I never expected for it to be a smooth ride. My parents divorced when I was young, so I had no illusions. Yet, I still didn’t have a clue. Most step moms don’t (step dads too).

I could probably write a book titled My Road to Becoming a Wicked StepMother. It would be easier than trying to explain in 1 blog entry how it happened. Yes, that’s right. I was a Wicked StepMother (tongue-in-cheek). I hear the shock and awe coming from those who know me (my friends, family, past clients, colleagues, etc). They can’t possibly believe that I’m really wicked, or that anybody would really believe that. The students I tutored would be surprised as well. I get a long with everybody… well, almost everybody.

Interestingly, I just came by this realization yesterday. As many problems as I had as an acting stepmom (we were never married), I didn’t think of myself in that way. I didn’t even think they thought of me that way… until my ex’s daughter posted comments about me on my FB Fan page a few days ago. They were lies, but that’s not the point. In her mind, I was the worst thing for her dad. So much so that she made it her mission to try and break us up. That’s why she started the lies in the first place. That was many years ago, so I was surprised that she’s still holding on to her anger toward me.

Did she always feel that way? No. I’m sure she didn’t feel that way when she declared that I would be the only one allowed to teach her to drive a car. That was after both of her parents had given up. I’m sure she didn’t feel that way when I helped her with all the admission paperwork to get into college. I even drove her around to pick up and drop off her transcripts and get her ID picture taken. I’m sure she didn’t feel that way when I helped her and her sister with their financial aid paperwork, or when I gave her sister $250 for prom when nobody else had any to give her. These are only the highlights. There were other things.

So what happened? What changed? It’s hard to point out one thing because everything that happened played into everything else. Every one thing affected at least 2 other things. For one, her dad and I argued a lot. We were brought up differently and had different perspectives on many things, but especially parenting. Additionally, he parented like a Holiday parent. We also argued about money and how to handle just about any problem that came up. I mention a few of them in other entries. We broke up and got back together multiple times. We were never able to resolve the conflict, so the tension mounted and mounted. By the end, it was constant. Somewhere in that mess was a changing point in his daughter.

I don’t claim to be perfect. I never have. I definitely made mistakes. I made mistakes mostly out of good intentions. I made the wrong decision on at least 1 occasion. On all occasions, I needed objective and knowledgeable guidance from somebody who understood stepfamily dynamics and could see the bigger picture, and then give clear direction. I didn’t have that. My boyfriend needed the same thing. You do, too, if you’re in a high-conflict step family.Otherwise, you may find yourself to be perceived as a wicked stepmother someday.

It’s important to note that your husband plays a big role in how his children perceive you. I talk a lot about this. In my case, my boyfriend didn’t perceive my parenting skills to be very good. By continually undermining me in front of them, not keeping rules after making them, and staying silent when they expressed their discontent, he gave the impression that he was displeased with me. That gave them more reason to continue misbehaving, and then using me as a scapegoat.

As sad as it is that she feels that way about me, I can’t bring myself to hold it against her. Don’t get me wrong; it bothers me. It hurts my feelings, but I’m not angry at her. Here’s the deal. I hated my dad’s girlfriend. For a very long time, I hated her. In my mind, everything that happened was her fault, even though I know my dad was no angel. Only after my experience as an acting step mom did I re-evaluate my feelings toward her. Stay tuned for my next article on why step children often hate step parents.

Adults do not discuss adult business with their children. Sure, some do. But mostly they don’t, especially the really private stuff. My ex’s daughter doesn’t know everything that transpired between her dad and I. Even if she did, she wouldn’t be able to objectively acknowledge her dad’s mistakes, just as I didn’t know my dad’s mistakes.

If you’re interested in more topics like this, click the links below to read a blog entry from my other blog (not imported to here) and an article I wrote on Examiner. Clicking on them will open a new window.

One Thanksgiving in a High-Conflict Step family

Transform from Evil Step Mom into a Positive Role Model

Why do my step kids hate me?

Maybe you can relate to part of this story.

How did you feel about people your parents dated after they divorced?

Were you able to be objective?

Have you ever disliked somebody intensely, and then a long time later realize there was no rational basis for your feelings?

Is there a lot of conflict between you and your partner? Do you disagree on parenting issues?

Do you think you could become a wicked stepmother?

Do you know of somebody who has a wicked stepmother? Did you have an evil stepmother?


Could You Turn Into a Wicked StepMother? — 4 Comments

  1. Hi Terry,

    I appreciate you taking the time to read my post and comment. You’re welcome to share it on Twitter, FB, or any media you wish. There should be a share button easily visible and usable underneath each entry. You can use that to share.

    I’d love to hear what specifically you liked and thought was “amazing”. I’m always eager to hear what helps or triggers others, because that gives me more insight into how to help more people in the future.

    I hope you visit my site again. If you have any personal questions, you can post them as a public comment, or reach out to me personally via my “contact me” page.

    Many blessings to you,

  2. Your article is so good to read. Amazing!!
    Many thanks for sharing, may I post it on my Twitter to share to my families?

  3. Hi Phaedra,

    I’m so very sorry to hear about your tough circumstances. This is an emotional time for all of you.

    This is not an easy fix. Complex situations like yours never are. Every consideration needs to be made for all the individual personalities within your family, specific behavior issues, what’s already been tried (by both you and your husband), and what kind of support each of you are getting by a grieving counselor. These aren’t all the considerations, but I think they are the main ones.

    With that in mind, I’d like to ask you a few questions, as well as give a few suggestions:
    1) How is your husband handling your stepsons’ anger and emotional outbursts? Is he trying to correct it and not succeeding, outright ignoring it, or isn’t even aware it’s happening?
    2) How aware is he of what you’re feeling and experiencing? If he’s not very aware, how have you tried to enlighten him?
    I ask the 2 questions above because he should be the main person you’re able to lean on and get support from. If you’re unable to get support from him, you’re going to continue to struggle. Because his boys are also needing him to guide them through the grieving process although they’re not mature enough to understand that. That’s all the more reason he needs to be a support system.
    3) Are you all getting grief support? If not, I highly recommend finding a counselor who specializes in helping people go through the grieving process. There are still stepfamily dynamics at play here, but grieving support supersedes the stepfamily issues, in ways.
    4) Was the kids’ behavior mostly under control before their mom’s death? If not, then I’d like to set up a time to talk with you in more detail about your situation, in order to see if there are more specific suggestions I can give you. If all of their behavior issues started after their mom passed away, then grieving support alone, for each of you, may be enough.

    My ph # is 623-850-8084. My e-mail address is Feel free to contact me directly if you’d like to set up a time to talk personally about your situation, and so I may be able to give you a few more relevant suggestions.

    Every family is unique. With so little information to go on in this post, it’s hard to cover all the bases in order to truly help you move through this.

    I hope this helped, even if in only a small way. You will be in my thoughts and prayers tonight. Whether you choose to reach out to me or not, please consider getting grief counseling for your husband and stepsons, as well as yourself.

    With prayer offerings,

  4. Hi,
    I am currently a mother of 3 boys who married a man with 2 young boys. My stepsons mother died May 2014 of alcoholism. My stepsons are very emotional and angry. Very very often. I want desperately to understand them, but the constant lashing out on me has left me with little or no patience.


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