Cathryn's Mailbox
Stepmoms wrote in, Cathryn replied​.
Cathryn's Mailbox
2 Youngsters I can't control.

3 yr old SS crying all the time!

A bio-mom worried about new stepmom in her daughter's life- can we help?

About ready to throw in the towel!

About to become a step parent and am terrified!

Bio mom badmouthing me to my stepson & he repeats to me & my kids.

Bio-mom back & I'm hurt by her impact-what can I do?

Bio-mom doesn't want me present at any of my skids school events.

Bio-mom is online stalking & has issues w/ pictures of skids.

Bio-mom physically assaulted me & telling skids it was the other way around?

Bio-mom used me, I drew a line, she’s angry--now what?

BM doesn't want her kids, then does-what's going on?

Clarifying Mission Statement for SMOMS-revised

Dealing w/ bio-mom who doesn't want to get along with me?

Dealing w/ Deceased Bio Mom's Extended Family

Dealing with SD at my young age

DH finds out he has a daughter-I feel terrible

DH sets no Boundaries for SD20-what to do?

DH w/3 bio-kids not trying to bond w/ my 2 bio kids.

Do I love my ss? I don't know.

Does the BB help or hurt with issues?

Don't know where I went wrong

Ever Feel Like Leaving?

FDH feels guilty about leaving BM & allows her to excessively call/text/email him.

Feeling like invisible parent to stepson- help!

Feeling like the enemy in my own house: Teen SD

Feeling resentment towards my SS & can't connect

From BB- A Ritual for you & your beloved

From BB: Self-awareness can hurt...why is that?

Help w/situation that dad, biomom & skid all agree on but I don’t feel is best

Holiday traditions? Some ideas from sister SMOMS

How can I find the right balance & Boundaries?

How can I handle my SD8 who loves negative attention?

How do I cope w/DH's need for perfect family when I'm more realistic about it?

How do I deal with a lying SD, her bio-mom & the ex-step mom?

How do I deal with all the hurt and anger?

How do I help her understand that chores and rules don't mean that I don’t love her?

How do I stop SD from lying to me, DH, BM, and BM's boyfriend?

How to accept bio-mom's "bad" choices?

How to deal w/ unkind skids, ex-wife, MIL costing me my relationship?

how to deal w/SD choosing bio-mom for school play?

How to handle bio-mom who keeps asking for more $$$?

How to handle it when skids away Christmas Day?

How to help ss, when BM encourages him to lie?

How to help when bio-mom returns

How to let go of the single life I thought I saw going to live versus being SMOM?

How to make transition easier for skids?

how to step back in after stepping out?

Husband still feels guilty, his kids in their 30’s

I am frustrated with my skids 99% of the time...help!

I feel jealous of DH's ex & unheard by DH-Help!

I feel left out & sort of invisible w/ grown SD’s

I really love my FDH, but really wish his daughter didn't exist?

I want a better relationship w/ teen stepson

I want a Closer relationship w/ stepdaughter

I want my bed back

I would like to know how to change my attitude towards my new inherited family

I'm at the end of my tether... Stepchildren don't seem to like me.

If you're in the mood for SMOMS Pep Talk-read this!

Invested so much love, time, energy & $$...seems it's never enough

It's too much work- I need help from DH & Family!

Jealous of sister-in-law & Skids-what can I do?

Just jealous or maybe time to leave?

Local support stepmom groups???

My DH doesn't understand why my feelings are hurt

My husband stays at his mothers when he has his daughter for the night.

Need better coping skills but..how to do so…

Not a step mom yet but need some guidance

Open for your Questions in March 2015

Right now, I HATE being a Stepmom!!!

Self-Pity-it's an emotional numbing,energy draining tactic

Someone to talk to when things come up or whenever?

SS5 keeps throwing his BM in my face! Help!

Struggling w/ a jealous stepdaughter

Stubborn DH and sexually active teenage SS

teenage step daughter & car...Ugh!

the problem is my partner...why is he fighting my efforts?

Transitions and Coparenting Struggles

Trouble coping w/BF's newborn & ex.

Venting Guidelines- A Requested approach

What are reasonable expectations?

What are these letters?

What boundaries do I need to set with husband and sd?

What can we do about the rage! I "Lost it" last night. Help!

What to do about disrespectful 20 yr/old SS

What to do when Bio mom starts turning step daughter against me?

what to do when step child stops saying I love you?

When bio-mom sends stuff from life w/your DH?

When BM causes drama, how to prevent that impacting my relationship w/ the skids?

When to call it quits? What to do?

When winning more important to bio-mom than getting along

Why do things Skid's say bother me so & what to do?-Updated!

Why does it bother me that my skids don't recognize how much their father does for th

Why does my ss's rudeness bother me so?

Why does my stepson Idolize his bio-mom????

Why don't I matter in the family?

Why so jealous? What about irrational fears?

Why does my stepson Idolize his bio-mom????
Hi Cathryn,
I’ve been a stepmom for three years now.
My step son is 10-1/2.
He lives with us full time and visits his mother twice a month.
She abandoned him when he was 3.
I have two kids ages 13 and 11 from a previous marriage.
We have two of our own, ages 2 and 1.  
Here (home) is structured. we have chores, responsibilities and are accountable for our actions. This home is filled with love and appreciation of each other. We don’t watch TV or play video games, we interact with each other outside on bike rides, swimming in Grama's pool (she lives right down the road and is my stepson's paternal grand mother)

We take walks together, play basketball, soccer, whatever.  We make a lot of effort to invest in our children and make them priority. We all support and encourage each other.  My oldest two are thriving. they love this environment. My youngest two are happy and content, but my stepson resents it.

He says he hates it here, hates his life, wishes his dad and "other mom"
would get back together, though he can articulate the negatives to that as well (a new divorce, etc) - his bio-mom's house has yelling, scolding, negativity - he has a baby sister there who is 2 and she gets yelled at constantly or left in her crib for hours on end crying. He is only allowed to watch TV or play video games. He can’t go outside even when it is gorgeous out. His bio mom does NOTHING with him as far as spending time.

So my question is, WHHHYYYYYYYYYY does he idolize her so?
He comes back and talks her up and down, she said this, she did this, she made me steak for dinner. if she does one iota of good, he makes it out to be like she is the best mom ever. I am the one who loves him and cares for him and picks him up from school when he is sick or takes him out to ice cream one on one, or we shop for new clothes or go rollerblading around the block just the two of us. I invest, nurture, love, care for, set up structure, we talk together about his future, about his concerns, etc ... but it seems like he just loves her and hates me. He gets SO mad when i remind him not to forget his laundry basket upstairs or remind him he still has homework to accomplish. My husband backs me up and has even started being the one who reminds him of his daily responsibilities so that he doesn’t think I am the one nagging him. the three of us talk openly about what’s going on in his life and how when he is grown, the kind of man we want him to be and why we’re trying to build those attributes and character traits into his life right now..

so why does he resent it and hate it and idolize his mom so much!!!!!!!!!!!!???????????????????

CATHRYN’S REPLY:

Hi there, Your family situation sounds like it should be a reality show about how to do some many things right. It's so wonderful that you're able to integrate so many into a loving home in so many ways.

The short answer to your question about your stepson idealizing his bio-mom is this: Your dear stepson was thrown away by the one person who was his whole world and this is a pain too great for any child to handle. So...they make have to tell themselves something about what happened that they can accept and the story is drawn from their minds at the age of the wound. It's not a conscious thing, it's a survival thing. It's what we do.

He knows that he is ½ her and therefore it's scary to some part of him to let in her flaws. How could she do that to him? What's wrong with him? Etc. This is true with so many stepkids, after a messy divorce (even a smooth one because they are looking at it from their young mounds perspective) but so often the adults in their lives don’t understand the feelings from the child's perspective.

He needs to build her up for every single little thing to try to help himself feel better or balanced because of all the things he’s beginning to be old enough to see and understand. He's doing whatever he is doing to try to quell his own anxiety. Can you see this has nothing to do with you?

You’ve already given him the greatest gift you can give him, which is the experience of being loved for whom he is. Here are two more things you can do for him AND yourself.

1. Read Alice Millers’, “The Drama of the gifted Child” and you will understand more than why he’s doing what he’s doing. You’ll learn how to help him in ways that will change his life even more grandly than you already are. It’s a short life changing book.

2. You can help HIM feel good about his observations about his mom in any way that HE needs by putting aside your feelings of comparison (that’s not what this is about) and reflecting back whatever good thing he comments on. This means a sincere smile (at him) and ”How about that!” or “That sounds like fun” or “What did you like best about that?” “Bet you enjoyed that!” He’s looking for YOU (the one he knows loves him even though you aren’t his bio-mom) to endorse that there’s something good in her. While he can’t say it, he knows he is part her and he’s unconsciously looking for some redeeming quality so he can feel OK about himself.

There are a few other issues but the book will give you lots of support to understand that all children, even an infant have issues with their parents because of the childrearing behaviors that have been justified for generations. Add to his emotional wounds being abandoned and you will understand, with even greater awareness than you already have, just how much your willingness to help him feel OK about his mom can help him heal.

I totally understand why this situation would upset you.
It’s not a logical thing.
I believe that once you understand WHY (as you asked) he’s doing these things, you’ll see it is a heart breaking attempt to temper his pain and fears.

Also, please KNOW that his willingness to be angry at you is a testament to how much he trusts your love for him. It makes me feel like crying. You’ve saved this little boy’s emotional life and if you’re willing, you can begin to heal the deep scars his mother’s actions have created within him. He’s one lucky, lucky boy. You’re one wonderful person!

Please read the book.
I’ll buy it back from you if you aren’t 100% pleased with it’s value.
My Best to you, Cathryn
Cathryn's Mailbox
Stepmoms on a Mission®
PO Box 7, Medford NJ 08055
609.206.2009
Cathryn@smoms.org