Cathryn's Articles for Stepmom Issues and Relationships


Resentment Case Study #2
Resentment Case Study #2

Cathryn Works with a SMOM on her issues around resentment


SMOM#2 WRITES TO CATHRYN:

Hi Cathryn, I've been trying to get past the resentment I feel for a long time now. Maybe telling my story and getting your advice is the way to go.

I've been a stepmom for almost 13 years now. DH and I were married shortly after SD was born, he only dated BM for a short time and he broke up with her and then found out a few weeks later that she was pregnant. There was never a blood test and she cheated on him while they were dating but DH claims SD as his, whether she is or not. We have 3 biological children together and I have no other children than those 3. THe oldest 2 bios are only 1 and 2 years younger than SD. DH and I met and fell in love and started our family pretty fast but that part has always been just fine.

The resentment part started when SD was a baby. I'll give some examples but there is too much to name everything that happened back then. BM would call DH up or come straight to our house and tell him that she needed money for diapers or formula and he would give her extra money, he paid CS as well from the beginning. I said nothing to him about giving her the money because I thought SD really needed something. DH and I were both working full time jobs each and we both worked part time as well, so 2 jobs each and 2 kids at our home full time too, just to make ends meet. He gave her this extra money for months and months until BM's mother called him and told him to stop giving it to BM, she said that BM was just going out every weekend(SD was with us every weekend usually) and partying with the extra money. SHe said the CS was plenty and that SD had everything she needed, she told him BM was lying to him about needing things for SD. So the extra money finally stopped but I still feel angry that she took from us like that, here we were working our butts off and she worked a little part time job and we could have spent that extra money on things for our kids or ourselves. It felt like she robbed us, it wasn't just DH's money either, it was my money too he was giving her because our money was all together.

Next part. DH didn't go to court for visitation rights because we were broke, we lived paycheck to paycheck working those 2 jobs each. Instead, he tried to just work out visitation with BM. This meant that DH did everything BM said so he wouldn't be denied seeing his child. We had SD every weekend usually because that's when BM wanted to go out. DH had no choices on when he got to see her.

We actually made plans once to go to the movies, it was VERY rare that we got to do something like that, just the two of us. DH's Grandmother was watching one of our children and my Mom was watching the other, we had 2 bios at that time that were both toddlers, as was SD. Our families didn't like to keep both of them at once so we had to split them up to be able to have any time alone. DH had not planned to get SD that night and he hadn't heard anything out of BM so we thought everything would be fine, remember he didn't have any visitation so there was no set plans, ever. So we had just sat down and the movie was starting when DH's phone starts vibrating and BM had left a message on it. He listened to it right then, BM's message said that she had dropped SD off at his Grandparents house because she went by our house and we weren't there. SHe had never talked with DH about this, this is just what she does. DH tells me we have to go RIGHT THEN. He said his grandmother can't handle both of the kids on her own like that(she is in her middle 70s now). So we leave and go pick up one child at my moms and get SD and DD from his grandmother and go home. Lost the money for the movie ticket and the evening was over before it even began. I still feel resentment for all of that.

This was not the only time something like that happened, it happened many more times just not exactly the same way. When BM wanted her free time she would just show up at our home and drop SD off and if DH wasn't there to get her he would be in hot water for it. Another time we had drove over to DH's mothers home because she asked him to check her washing machine, it was leaking. We took the van over because DH's tools were in it but our other cars were home. BM had come by our house and knocked and called the house phone while we were gone, not sure where his cell phone was then. She left messages on the phone that DH BETTER open the door before she busted it down. Then she went over to his Grandparents home(they are our closest neighbor) and she walked right in their home and started blessing out his family. Our 2 bios were there with them while we were at DH's mom, we were only gone maybe 1 1/2 hours. So not only did she do that to his family(and they had other company over there, Aunt and uncle) but she did that in front of our kids too. More resentment.......

Many other things happened like that but I'll move on to the straw that broke the camels back.

Anything she did like that though, DH couldn't say anything to her. If he did then he couldn't see SD at all any more. If she asked crazy things of him then he did it. Once she came over to our home and he went outside to see what she wanted, he came back in and informed me that he was going with her to get the truck she wanted him to drive over to her mothers house. BM and her boyfriend had gotten into a fight and she had financed a truck for him and she wanted DH to ride with her to the guys house and drive the truck while she drove her own vehicle over to her Moms. I told DH, NO WAY are you doing that but he told me that he had already put OUR kids in BMs car and that he wasn't going to go get them back out. I was even more floored! He left anyway. I tried to call his phone and he wouldn't answer. I left before he came home and drove over to a friends house to cool off, I didn't want to fight in front of our kids when he got back. He did say he was sorry later but that wasn't enough. That was my last straw, at least for that period in time.

SD was 8 years old then and I had had enough. I had kept my mouth shut and just tried to be a loving wife and mother but it didn't matter what "I" did, he was never going to stand up to BM or for our marriage as long as BM was holding SD over his head like she did. I realized that I couldn't count on him at that point and if I wanted to save my marriage and my family then I had to do something about it myself. The day after the whole truck deal, I called BMs phone, no answer so I left a message. I can't remember exact words but I told her that she could not use my DH as her shoulder to cry on(she was crying that day she got DH to go get that truck for her) and that he was there for SD but NOT for her. I said that he is MY husband and to stop using him! I was stern in my tone but did not yell or curse. Of course she flipped out and showed up at my house, DH wasn't there so I called him and he told me not to answer the door. He rushed home and BM was calling our phones over and over and over the whole time. He answered his phone and she was cursing and screaming at him. WWIII did break loose. Then she tells him he can't see SD at ALL anymore. He then finally borrowed money from his Grandparents and got a lawyer. It took 10 months before he was able to see SD again.

Things were better for a while because now she couldn't stop DH from getting SD BUT it didn't stop her from trying to control his whole life. She still kept showing up at our home whenever she felt like it and he wouldn't speak up STILL. I thought the CO would change things but they really didn't. She was calling his work so much at times that he was getting in trouble for it. If he didn't answer his cell phone she would call his work over and over and over. Uggg! More resentment...

So I dealt with that for 4 more years until I blew up at DH in the end. He wouldn't tell her NO about anything and he was still letting her control his life and mine by then too. I didn't want another WWIII. My one request was that he stop her from coming over here and coming in our home. She had walked in the house while I was here with the kids multiple times and I was SICK of it. She had no boundaries. She would call his family and curse them out anytime she felt like it. It was nuts.

I told him I didn't want BM in the house and he told me that if I wanted her to stop that I needed to tell her that myself. Yet again, didn't want WWIII so I did nothing. THe next straw came when she walked in our home on new years day, of all days. I was sick with pneumonia and could barely walk, I didn't know what I had until weeks later when I finally went to the ER(I have no insurance on myself). I was sick and hurt. I felt totally betrayed that he wouldn't stand up for me concerning our home. I broke down and told him that I was feeling like I loved him less and that really pained me. I really was feeling this way. I told him that he cared more about keeping a good relationship with BM than he cared about keeping a good relationship with me, HIS WIFE! I told him everything I was feeling and then some. Just let it all out, well...most of it anyway. He FINALLY set boundaries with bm then. He had to call her up, he waited to SD was here for the weekend. He told her that she couldn't come here any longer and that he needed to stick to the CO and take SD home like he was suppose to.
BM was never home at 6:00 when he was suppose to return SD, she would always say that she would come buy and pick her up when she got back to town, which would end up being past all the kids bedtime. It was ALWAYS whatever time was convenient for BM.

Anyway, things have been better since then. The boundary talk happend in January and things have been pretty smooth since then. /fingers crossed

I know I have the power now that I need to protect myself from that situation and that feels great! My problem now is trying to get past all the resentment I feel for all the years that I feel like I was put through hell because of BM. There was so much more that I didn't write on here but I know this is getting really long already. I CAN protect myself but still...those feeling of resentment pop up any time I see BMs # calling DH's phone or pretty much anytime she is mentioned. I'm trying to let it go but I cant stop the memories. I can't forget the hurt I felt for so many years and the resentment that carries with every time she ran over my life yet again. I'll never forgive her, but I want to forgive DH and let those horrible feelings go. I feel like he brought that into my life and let it happen.

Looking forward to learning more about this!

CATHRYN REPLIES TO SMOM#2:

Dear SMOM#2,

Hello again and thanks for participating in this work with resentment.

It’s been a journey for me as I’ve been writing and writing for days. Did you know it is harder to write less than more? I’ve certainly been reminded about that over the past 4 days. Anyway, I’m so glad you decided to write in. I hope you got some ideas for your situation from my other post. I’ve read your post a few times and here are some comments to ponder:

Let me start out by saying how sorry I am for all the pain, rage and hurt you’ve felt over these last 13 years. I’ve had a similar experience (for 13 years also) so I know how having a DH who’s fears force him to be controlled by his ex-wife can shred a SMOM. There really aren’t words but I feel a kinship with you after reading your story.

Now, in your quest to move forward. What can you do? Asking this question is a good place to begin.

Realizing that your DH has lots of fears and guilts, you are also probably seeing how it caused him to lash out at you unfairly. When a man feels ashamed of his fears, guilty about his actions and doesn’t understand why his wife can’t endure the same things he’s had to endure for years it an lead to a lot of misunderstandings.

Hopefully he is working on his side of what’s happened in the past because getting over his fears and learning how he can stand up for himself, his life, his wife and his rights is going to make a huge difference in your life, as his wife. I wish that for you both for his pain and fear must run very deep.

Since you’re the one writing to me, let’s focus on what you can do now.
You’ve stood up for yourself and it sounds like some things have changed in your world. This is good. I bet it felt good to release all that pent up rage and anger and say, “Enough.” Well done.

While nothing can change what’s happened, some kind of healing occurs when we learn from the past and make a promise to ourselves that the same thing will NOT happen again, or impact us in the same way. Seems you also know that and are determined to move forward in a new way. This is also good.

Regarding hostile Bio-moms impact on you. Have you considered that you are experiencing post traumatic stress symptoms? Now that you’ve set up some boundaries, can you give yourself some extra TLC, therapy, nurturing, etc? It’s like the war lasted so long, you were so strong for so long and now that it’s let up a bit or changed (we won’t say over) there’s got to be massive warehouses of grief, hurt and anger surging to the surface because there’s a break in the crisis management. Does that make sense to you?

It sounds like there were dozens and dozens of times that you DH asked you to share in his demeaning, demoralizing, shaming experiences of being blackmailed by his ex. at a great cost to you. It also sounds like DH is now admitting this so my question to him would be… “DH, what are you going to do to try to make amends to your lovely wife for all these years of forcing her to endure what you’ve chosen to endure?” Even if he is still fearing the loss of his daughter (since bio-mom did take her from him for those 10 long months) there are still ways he can work to honor you and the impact of his choices versus expecting you to prove your love for him by enduring right along side of him. (Please see my example of how we came to a new ways of dealing with my Dh’s fears in the smommentary about helping DH’s with divorce guilts and fears.)

Once he is willing to work with you so you feel a part of his decisions and not at the mercy of them (which you were all those years), to two will be able to mend some collateral damage. Have you read my relationship article “Are you ledger-keeping?” there might be something there for you two to work in, IF you’re in the mood.

With all that you’ve been through, can you articulate (to yourself) what you’ve learned from this nightmare experience? I ask, because as I went through my long list, I found that the pain I felt was not just from whatever they did, but was stomping right on experiences from my childhood that I wasn’t even aware of. The book, “Drama of the gifted Child,” will help you with this is you aren’t seeing any relationship and would like to more about this.

I recommend this book to so many SMOMS because I’ve seen it apply time and time again. It can bring such emotional healing and awarenesses, yet I also know that when someone is in crisis, it’s hard to ask them to reflect on the past. Check it out if/when it feels right for you.

He’s been making a lot of fear-based choices. You two have been at the mercy of a hostile bio-mom. It’s not fair or right or OK in any way. (I just wanted to say that and may repeat myself.) The rage at the powerlessness you must have both felt and are still feeling is off the charts. I hope you are getting lots of support for that in as many ways as you can. She seems more than a narcissist but with a few other issues mushed in there. I’m not a therapist so I can’t give you more than my compassion for the nightmare.

You talk about starting a WWIII by calling her out and telling her how you felt and what was and wasn’t OK and then that she took your SD away from him for 10 months (so very sorry for what you all had to endure.) Have you two worked through that so there is no blame between you about that? Have you two worked through that so you can forgive each other for the pain you have put each other through is trying your best to deal with hostile bio-mom in your own ways? To me the key seems to be finding a way for the two of you to be on the same team against this hostile bio-mom.

This may take some time and work but I can tell you from experience it is worth the effort. When a DH cares more about his fears, than he does the impact his actions cause on his wife and his marriage, you know this is a man in severe pain and a highly justified survival strategy that;s been in effect for decades. I’m not saying this so you should feel sorry for him, just so that you can have compassion for him. He’s hurt you tremendously and it can’t be undone. However, it can be healed when he’s ready to be different.

Lots of DH’s feel they have no choice but to endure. They’ve been worn down over the years so much that, aside for the time they open their hearts to let us in, they feel powerless and since many aren’t willing to dive into their feelings, the rage leaks out (or pours out) at us. This is not fair either.

When I was writing the other post, I kept thinking about your story and about how many times he let you down, making a fear choice that created even more problems. (See article “Are you choices based on fear or courage?” for more on this dynamic.)

I believe you can’t get over so many of the things that happened because there is still something you need from your DH and you’re not going to get it until he admits just how much his fear has impacted both of you. “What choice do I have?” is a common DH reply when they give in to the manipulations of the hostile bio-mom. Many DH’s put themselves in the middle, as if they can’t side with their wives, as a way to numb their shame and deny their fear (because it’s not manly or justifiable.)

I don’t think you should feel you ever need to forgive her. Forgiveness is a state of mind and there are lots of theories about the pros and cons of forgiveness. What I want for you is peace of mind. What I want for you is a healed heart and a renewed sense of closeness with the man you have loved and lived through so much with over the years.

When you review the other post I wrote about resentments, you will figure out, how much of your resentment fog clears away and how much hangs around. Whatever is left, I feel, may need to be healed, which is a bit different than resolved, especially since so much of your pain has been caused by this hostile bio-mom and you know she is not going to change, restrained maybe, but unlikely to change.

To me, it felt like I had been in an emotional war with a terrorist for years and at some point, when I was out of the line of fire, I just had to heal from all my wounds. Giving yourself permission to focus all your loving attention of whatever you need to heal is another way to resolve resentments. A teacher told me this at a very hard time for me, She said, If you were injured and broke your arms, legs, back and needed heart surgery and brain surgery to repair all the damage that was inflicted on you, wouldn’t you give yourself the best care possible and made your healing your priority?”

I remember feeling, “Yeah buts” before she even finished.
Yes of course I would, but I have to run a hoursehold right now.
Yes I would but if I was that injured everyone would see that and I wouldn’t need to explain taking time to heal. I offered up a few others I’m sure.

You get the point. What can you do for yourself now.
You have 3 kids. They need your attention, but how can they help you heal in new ways?
Your DH may not be in touch with his issues, but what can you two do to generate some of that “Love” from the past that heals when you share it?

It feels to me like you are going to have to look to yourself for lots and lots of inner healing through the act of reflecting back on what you went through, now that you can see things more clearly, giving the woman you used to be, tons and tons of acknowledgment, TLC, patience and compassion.

This hostile bio-mom stole years of life from you and your not going to get them back. That’s incredibly sad and unfair. Even if she were tar and feathered it wouldn’t make up for her impact. That’s so frustrating, but true so what else can you do with your imagination? How can you can do things to minimize her impact on you and your marriage because of what you’re learning?

Oh yes about her not respecting your time or your right to not be bothered by her calls, etc. Can you all do some radical things? Maybe you shouldn’t look at DH’s phone anymore, maybe he shouldn’t talk with her, just set new rules like..Emails and texts only. She’s clearly got issues. Yes I remember what you wrote about what she’s done in the past, however, I also believe that you and DH, his employers and family are all smart enough that you can figure out every possible way to work together to stop her impact...as best you can. Then have a plan for when you can’t stop her. I bet everyone is ready to be done with her. How can you the power of the group to your advantage?

Hopefully your DH will be open to learning and healing his issues as well. I have a few more pages of notes but i feel like I’m already going on and on. I risk boring you or overwhelming you and you know that’s not my goal.

1. What happened to you all was wrong and hurtful and now the question is can you pick yourself up one more time believing that you are going to find new ways to help yourself?

2. Can you give yourself the full force of your lovingkindness and compassion so you can heal and grow stronger from what’s happened to you?

3. Can you learn from this and teach your children how to set boundaries and stand up for themselves in healthy ways because of all that you have learned?

4. Can you find a way to turn everything that’s happened to you into something that makes you wiser and stronger for your future?

From what you’ve shared, you’ve already done the hardest part.
You say you want peace.
I say you deserve peace.

Perhaps resentment is going to hang around until you’re sure you know that there’s nothing hostile bio-mom can do to hurt you, DH and hopefully SD anymore.

I pray there’s something here that helps you on your healing journey.
Thinking of you, Cathryn

SMOM#2 REPLIES BACK TO CATHRYN

Hi Cathryn,
I read part 1 about resentment and this post also today. I didn't want to call it anger. I think I was in denial that it was also anger I was feeling. I can't change the past, so feeling angry about it didn't seem right. I am angry about it though, deep down I am and I didn't want to admit that. Before your post I couldn't put a finger on exactly how the resentment and anger felt so raw. I thought I was putting it right there at the surface and making it feel that way, but it really does feel like all of this just happened, even though some of it was over a decade ago. Some of it was only a couple months ago also, all of it gets mixed together and the feelings come out as one.

I would love to talk with my DH about all of this but for him it's still too raw. He does still get defensive if I bring up the past. I only address things with him that are happening now because he feels like I am just unloading on him if I bring up other things that happened before. I'm not sure how I can approach this or if I should approach this with DH. I do blame him for most of it, I know he can't control BM but he never even tried to put a stop to it. I don't feel guilty, which I guess is good in a way, but I don't feel like I did anything to make the situation worse. I was miss "yes girl" who didn't complain and fuss at DH for many many years(8 years to be exact), up until they took off with my kids that day so DH could rescue BM yet again. That was the first time I got involved in anything dealing with DH and BM, not that BM didn't try to pull me into the mix many times. I feel like BM tried and tried to get a rise out of me but I didn't give in until that day. I do feel bad that DH didn't get to see SD for so long while we waited on the courts but I don't regret standing up for myself, my family, and my marriage. I would do it again in a heartbeat, my "self" needed that for me.

I say all of that because I see how my feelings won't come across as trying to help one another if I were to talk to DH about all of this now. I can't bring anything to the table accept anger and pain. DH went through a lot too and I know that, he was being forced to put his wife and other children second, BM and SD had to come first in his life or he couldn't be in SDs life at all. My thinking is, couldn't he have borrowed the money earlier in all of this and got visitation rights? Or Couldn't he have taken the time to go to the courthouse and try to get it all done himself? Something...anything....to put a stop to what BM did to our lives. He went with whatever was easiest for him...he always did and he knows it. I think many smoms have dealt with that, the husbands know that we love them so they use that and take the easy way out so they don't have the fight with BM(she isn't going to care about their feelings, but the wives do). Is that fair to us though? Should we really just sit back and take whatever BM throws at us too? Many people will say, oh you can't say anything to BM, you just have to keep quiet and take what you got yourself into. I like how you wrote about what others expect from us and what we think we HAVE to do because society and others tell us that's how it has to be. I came to the same conclusion that you stated, that it doesn't have to be like that.

Things have changed here and that has been wonderful. The war was HARD but we made it! DH, the kids, and I had a great Easter weekend. We are a happy family finally after 13 years of wondering if we would even make it together. Picking up the pieces after this long war is the hard part. What you wrote about needing to heal now feels exactly right. I do need to heal and I'm working on that part now but just not sure what I need to do to get there. I don't have much "me" time like you stated, with 3 kids of our own it's hard to get any of that. I think it's the good experiences that we are having now that is helping to heal me some, like the great Easter weekend. My family(DH and the kids) help me to heal, it's also creating some really nice memories together that we will all treasure.

Looking back on the past it's hard to remember any good times like this. There was much more bad than good for me. I'm happy that after so long we are finally in a place where the good times outway the bad. BM didn't overshaddow our holiday and ruin it for us this time. I'm making sure she doesn't ruin any other holidays for my family either! I think the positive attitude that WE CAN DO IT! is helping. I didn't feel that way until I found your site, everyone here is helping me see that it doesn't have to be like it was. I'm hoping that after more of these good times that I will be able to let go of the past, that it won't feel like all of that happened yesterday. I want these nice memories to overtake the bad ones, does that sound right at all? Is that even possible?

I hope one day soon that DH and I can sit down and talk all of this out. He isn't one for talking about serious things but I do think it would help too. Maybe I can just simply ask if he would like to discuss it all and maybe help one another move on from all the pain of the past. I know it would help me to talk about it with him but I'm not sure it would help him at all, I really don't want to put MORE guilt on his shoulders than he already feels. He is really a great husband, I can't deny that. He thought he could always make it up to me when he went along with the craziness BM inflicted on us. He would be SOOO sweet to me, try to do things for me, so I wouldn't be angry or hurt or upset. It didn't really help....just made me feel like I couldn't be mad about it. Like I had no right to be angry at all. I'm sure you probably experienced something like this as well, many smoms probably do.

I'm taking all of your advice and I will be doing some reading that you suggested too. The part I fear most is bringing this up to DH, not that I fear him, I just worry that it won't go over well with him. He likes to just put things like this away and never talk about it again, bury the truth I guess you could say.

Thank you so much for all the time you took on this subject. It's one of the things I have been seeing more and more smoms talk about. The resentment that we feel is so hard to understand and overcome. I will try to use it to my advantage in any way that I can to put a positive light on it. My first step is knowing that this resentment has gotten me to the point of standing up for myself and allowing only good things to affect me. If it wasn't for that feeling of resentment that carried on for so many years, I wouldn't have felt the need to change things here so that we could all be happy. I didn't even think about it like that until you wrote about that part Cathryn. It makes me so happy to know that at least the resentment was there for a reason.

Thank you again! SMOM#2

CATHRYN’S REPLY TO SMOM#2:

Dear SMOM#2,

You're very welcome and Thank YOU for taking the time to be so clear about your process. Each SMOM who shares here on the BB gives those reading a chance to witness what "Could" be true (or not) for them. It is gracious of all of you to share your process and I am so happy to help you all along the way. It's the work I plan to spend the rest of my life doing...but enough about me.

Let's get back to you now.
Of all that you wrote I want to comment on one thing right now.

The issue of blaming.
Have you read my article about Blaming?
It may be helpful.
Blaming is one of those emotional anesthetics (like judgment, self-pity and guilt) that while it seems better at the time, it is never changing anything. It interferes with our ability to truly process and resolve our feelings. Your hesitancy to NOT talk to your DH yet, is a good instinct because when we're in the "Blame" mode, a part of us is still wanting to punish the other. It's not safe for your DH to open up while part of you is wanting him to feel pain. It's a very understandable (logistically valid) rationale but it's very damaging to the other person and to the relationship. Good Work honoring that "niggle" and pausing.

I'm composing a couple more posts and one is going to be about this. It's frustrating to want to share so much and not have the time and I wish I could spend 24/7 writing here to everyone about everything.

SMOM#2, everything you are reflecting upon about your husband's choices and what he could have done, etc is true. AND every time anyone does something they always have reasons for it that make sense to them. Have you noticed that? SO being right, often needs someone to admit being wrong and that's a sutmbling block for human nature. (Have you read my relationships article about shifting right and wrong to ineffective? That may offer more ideas for you to ponder)

Can you reframe your position to recognize that he IS VERY Responsible for his choices without having to take "your pound of flesh" from him now? Can you find a way to differentiate being responsible from needing to accept blame (punishment that's intended to hurt)? Can you give him th ability to own his impact, apologixe for it and make ammends and be different without him having to suffer as you did?

When couples go back through what happened, it's a complex emotional obstacle course. When a couple can agree to a "Nobody's right, nobody's wrong but we're both responsible for our impact" approach, both parties are more likely willing and able to come out from behind their shields and defensive structures and open up to their contributions and impact on the other. It is very healing is both parties are willing.

Does this make sense to you?
Both of you are probably wanting the other to give each other healing compassion for how you were hurt and/or suffered at the hand of bio-mom and choices and circumstances, yet there's often a fear that if we take responsibility, we're going to get another dose of devastating pain. Pain that NEVER fixes anything and often reinforces one person from wanting to take responsibility so the process shuts down and trust if further damaged. It doesn't have to be that way. It doesn't have to be about reliving the pain over and over again. It doesn't have to be painful to heal from the past.

NO amount of your DH suffering is EVER going to make up for the pain you suffered at his actions. He knows that (at some level) and he also knows he can't change it and the remorse and regret he probably feels often gets shoved aside when shame and punishment comes with the admission. Do you understand what I'm saying?

We are each and all responsible for our part of every interaction in a relationship.
We either do things or allow things or don't see things or have different unspoken beliefs or assumptions. There are many reasons why and how couples hurt each other. Everyone involved is responsible in some way.

The bio-mom too.
The issue is she's not likely to ever take responsibility but that doesn't mean she's not responsible.
This is where I pray Karma is as real as I believe it is.
This is where I realize that if SMOM/DH couples are going to heal from the nightmare that was imposed on them from hostile bio-moms, they are going to need to do that in the safe place of mutual responsibility, empathy, compassion and both parties seeing how they contributed. Why? So that both parties can heal, be known and understand each other in new ways that allow them to protect and love each other in clearer more aware ways.

It's not always equal. But if they can take down the blame scoreboard that so many of us have kept going all these years, there's an even better chance for growing and healing and learning more about how to love each other more deeply.

We all have this chance and it can happen for all of us. My husband and I are living proof after 13 years of excruciating ciscumstances and 3 more years of very difficult delving and introspection we are on the other side, almost anyway and we're eager to share the process. Actually I'm already imagining the weekend workshops we're going to hold...but I'm getting ahead of myself.

You're doing great work.
What's your reaction to what I've written?
I'm willing to continue on this BB with you so we can help you, your DH and everyone reading it move forward.

Can you imagine how great it feels to one day realize that in the nightmare of the bio-mom's actions, you and DH have healed so many emotional wounds (some from the experience and more that you each brought to the relationship) and that because of the work you do together, you're now closer, more deelpy in love and more rock solid in your connection that ever before. Wow! It's possible. You're doing the work and the more you heal, the more your DH will feel the shift in your energy. Not because you're talking yourself into anything, but because you're really feeling differently.

Keep up the good work.
My Best wishes to you, Cathryn

SMOM#2 REPLIES TO CATHRYN:

Thank you for your response Cathryn.

I'm happy that you said that we weren't quite ready for that talk yet. I haven't talked to him about it at all but I'm still trying to work on myself about all of it right now. It's only been since January of this year that DH set boundaries and BM doesn't come here any longer. I think my resentment and anger is still so strong right now but I hope that time will help.

I've been working on understanding what DH was feeling and why he did what he did. I think I would love to hear him say that he was just so scared of loosing SD but I have it in my head that he just wanted it to all be as easy for him as possible. My head and heart are still so confused. I think he will have to explain it to me for me to really be able to know why it had to be like it was for so long. He puts the blame solely on BM and for many years I did too. I only started to put the blame on him once he had the CO for visitation and STILL did everything BM told him to and still let her run our lives. Now I am blaming him for all of it in my head because he could have done something from the beginning and we would never have had to go through all of that. Like I said, my head and heart are still all confused.

I have read all of your smommentary lessons I believe. I can see the hurt my DH felt about what he was doing, he could see the pain in me as well. The problem was that he expected to just do it anyway and make up for it later, by treating me really nice or doing something nice for me. Then I felt bad if I said to him that I was still upset by his actions. In a way he was already taking responsibility I suppose by acting different for a short time but he never would actually say that he was responsible for any of it, he would say that he HAD to because of BM and the way she is.

I will go through again and read the ones you suggested. I'm hoping that I can get to a point where I can talk all of this out with him without hurting him even more. I think I really need him to acknowledge that there was a problem in the way it was and that I went through a lot because of it. Whoever was to blame doesn't really matter. It happened, it wasn't all in my mind and I think I need him to just say that and really hear me for once.

Copyright 2012 Cathryn Bond Doyle All Rights Reserved.
Stepmoms on a Mission®
PO Box 7, Medford NJ 08055
609.206.2009
Cathryn@smoms.org