I have delayed writing on this post because its made me do a lot of thinking. I am 55 years old and have a BS who is 21, and a SD, 17. SO took custody of SD when she was 8 because of BM’s neglect. We all moved in together when BS was 13 and SD was 11. SD and BM always thought that SD would go back to BM when BM got her life together. That never happened, although their belief that SD’s living arrangements were temporary definitely shaped our family dynamics, and was a major instigator in the problems we have had over the years. I was not aware of that belief until a few years after SD moved in, and in hindsight, it explains why SD, SO, and I have had so many difficulties. SD, thinking she was leaving at anytime (her friends would write in her yearbook, every year, “so sorry you’re moving, I’m going to miss you”, and then she would be back). SD never felt it necessary to bond with anyone in the family, and year after year, BM would never get her life together enough (like having a job and a place to live), and let SD down.
This is what I would do differently:
1. Not believe that I can fix everything. I can’t fix SO’s and SD’s relationship nor can I fix them. They are who they are, and its up to them to get along or not.
2. Not bad talk about BM to SD. Yup, I broke the golden rule, and I’m not proud of it. The woman is everything I worked not to be, and when I think of her, disgust comes to mind. I let it get the best of me. I should have been better than that, and its something I will always be sorry for, no excuses.
3. Not believe that by just my existence, being a role model of a woman who can be successful in her careers and be self sufficient financially and personally would have more influence with SD than a loser of a BM. When I write this I sound so full of myself, but I really believed it. Shame on me – I should have known better.
All of this either blows my self-confidence to Hades, or puts me in my place (probably both).