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?

Feeling resentment towards my SS & can't connect
Question:  My stepson was a product of infidelity 5 years ago. He now lives with us full time and I'm having a very hard time with feeling resentful towards him and not being able to connect with him emotionally. His mom is not in the picture and I really want to be that "mother figure" in his life, but our bond is no different then two strangers meeting for the first time on the street. I find myself treating him differently than my own child and feel like I'm being the evil step mother at times. I hate it. 

When I do try to hug him or be excited with him or have fun with him it feels so forced and stiff. I wish I could learn to love him and accept him as my own. I will express my feelings to others and they don't understand. Their response is to usually look at me like I am the worst human being on earth because I can't love this child or they'll tell me, "Don't worry, it will get better with time". 

I almost feel hurt that he doesn't seem to depend on me for anything. He would rather go off with a complete stranger than be with me. That is most selfish statement. I hate admitting that. How can I work on my feelings of resentment towards him? Can we learn to bond? Is is completely my attitude that's forcing the separation between he and I?

Cathryn's Reply:

Hi there,  It's a tough situation when we're willing to open our hearts and the "Other" isn't interested, or in this case doesn't appear to be interested.  I'm hopeful you will join our group, at least as a Guest member at first to check out the member article which will help you understand that it is NOT your fault.  Can you do some things to help you both?  Sure.  Can you reduce your stress and his by trying some new approaches and reframing the situation?  Sure.   Let's talk about a few today. 

As stepmoms, it's always a good thing to take an inventory of our beliefs about what a "good stepmom" is supposed to do, not do, say, think, feel, etc.  When you did this, you'll discover that your beliefs come from a society that doesn't value the role of stepmom and clearly puts stepmoms in the subservient  disempowered, less than bio-parents role. Looking at our beliefs also gives us a chance to question them, change them, delate and add to them based on the woman you are and the situation you are facing.  This is a good use of your time and taking the time to do this will show you the source of many of your emotional pressures. 

On the site both public and members only, there are many articles and case studies about resentment.  I urge you to read them.  You're right on about feeling resentful.  Right now there is not a balance between what you are giving and what you are getting.  Resentments tell us where we are experiencing a lousy deal in a relationship and is a great emotional alert system..once we welcome the feelings and choose to work on things. Your feelings are trying to help you see that things need to change.  Usually on the outside and very often on the inside.  Also, please take a look at the article about expectations, I think you may find some new ideas there also. 

Your stepson: Every child who has lost a birth mother is deeply wounded emotionally. How people support this little one after the loss will impact how they view life, how they survive life.  Connecting with you, means opening his little baby heart and his baby brain may just be too afraid of this pain. Screaming inwardly with the desire to be loved and the fear of being rejected again.  Each child responds to the loss of a bio-mom's love in different ways and I believe that they are all tactics to avoid, numb, deny pain and the fear of devastation.  I'm guessing that his resistance to connect with you is also triggering some of your emotional wounds whether you see that or not..yet.  This is how I've noticed it works. 

If you look back into your life at his age and ask yourself how you were feeling, you will likely find some interesting memories and feelings coming to your awareness. Feelings that were not allowed, honored nor processed at that time. Right now,  He's a child and you're the adult.  What I mean by that is that you have access to resources he doesn't.  You have skills, abilities, talents, processing and thinking talents that he doesn't have...yet.  With this knowledge, you can make the choice to embrace this experience as a healing opportunity for BOTH of you.  The BOTH part is very important, otherwise it can generate even more resentment, hatred and martyrhood (let's not do that.)

Story:  One of my friends fosters abused dogs rescued from horrible situations.  He has an amazing love for these dogs AND he is compassionate about their pain.  He is patient and when I ask him about how he does it, he told me that he works consciously to consistently show them it's safe to be around them and then...he waits. He trusts them to make the choice to connect on their terms so it is their choice.   One dog, abused from a pup by an evil man, didn't come near Joe for almost a year.  Yep, he cared for, fed and loved this dog from afar for almost a year before the dog allowed himself to be pet or lie near my friend Joe. Joe said he wept the evening that King came over to his recliner and put his head on his leg.  That was almost 10 years ago and this beloved dog has changed my friend's life and helped a several other dog's heal in their home too.  I hope you can see the reason I share the story. 

As stepmoms, we come into the lives of our stepkids because they have been disempowered by their bio-parents (via divorce without any say) and now thrown in with other parenting people, also without any say in the matter. This generates rage to the max but the little ones don't usually know how to process this. Your stepson has lost so much and that has had an impact that has nothing to do with you yet seriously affects you. can you let yourself off the hook? So, w

On a metaphysical level, hat if you got together with his dad so you could help him heal?  
What if loving your own child, caring for him from afar and giving him the space to heal, as you and his father love each other deeply is part of the divine plan?  What if you look at all the ways this child is making you feel right now and turn your attention to healing the parts of you who are impacted?  
Can you imagine how you could feel if you can made the choice to look at your situation as an opportunity to grow, healing and increased wisdom? 

We come into our stepmom roles with such "happy family dreams" and when things don't work out as we hoped, it is going to trigger inner emotional fireworks. All your feelings make perfect sense and each one is going to lead you to more self-awareness, false beliefs to chance, new boundaries to create IF you are willing to get curious, creative and hold all your feelings in a loving compassionate way.  

Right now, loving him from afar may be the greatest gift you can give him.  Kids are very sensitive to our energy.  They feel love, anger, etc.  

What if you tried all kinds of new non-contact tactics to connect with him with a genuinely loving heart for a child who's been abandoned by his bio-mom?  
What if connecting with him means creating a happy safe place for him to just be, right now?  
What if connecting with him means leaving him funny notes under his pillow, creating happy songs or stories he can find or read or hear whenever he's in the mood?  
What about giving yourself the gift of freeing yourself from expectations about how it should be and trust in your ability to make things OK for you?

You're not being selfless to admit what you feel. He is going to choose strangers over you because the stranger isn't possibly going to leave him again, like his mother did. This really isn't personal to you. It is about the void that his mother ripped into his heart and it may well be that you trying to fit in there is just too painfully raw for his little heart and brain at this time.  Can you find it in your heart to give him more time in a loving way?  Can you see the sweet Soul who was devastated and take the longer term approach to loving him?  In the meantime, can you give yourself, that child you used to be and yourself some extra TLC and attention? I wish this for you all. I know this is hard. 

This role of stepmom can really bring up feelings that scream for us to love ourselves in new ways.
We were all kids once and however we were treated and felt as a kid is likely to surface when the kids, skids, bio-mom and our partner don't do as we expect.
The good news is that you can create a new mission for yourself.
There are ways you can help yourself no matter what the others in your life do.
I know this from personal experience.
I know this from working with others over the years. 
You can make choices that bring you to a new level of awareness, self-love, wisdom and help you claim more of your rights and power as the wonderful woman that I'm sure you already are. You're not doing anything wrong, it may just be time to try something else and take his reactions (and yours) as feedback for change. 

This is a mission. 
This is our mission here are "Stepmoms on a Mission."
It it feels right for you, I hope you will join us. 

May something here be helpful.
From my heart to yours, Cathryn

Copyright 2016, Cathryn Bond Doyle. 
Cathryn's Mailbox
Stepmoms on a Mission®
PO Box 7, Medford NJ 08055
609.206.2009
Cathryn@smoms.org