To my step daughters’ Bio Mom

Before you ask yourself, why would I be emailing, I will answer that upfront; because someone has to do something.

I have watched all of this back and forth happen for the last 8 years and I always knew what the outcome would be. Now I can see what the next 5-10 years will be like and I feel that by not saying anything I contribute to that outcome.

I am not out to blame, accuse, embarass or shame you in anyway. I would like to assist in clearing the fog that seems to be getting thicker as the years pass.

Bmom, in life there are constant forks on the road, you make a choice of which road to take.  Once you take the road, you can’t go back. But by observing what has happened in the past, you can make an educated decision on which road to take when the next fork on the road appears.

From the day you left your girls, the first fork on the road you encountered in this ordeal, you have done countless things to bring your daughters to absolute tears.  I have seen it for years. Yes, your life is yours to live.  Decisions cannot be taken back nor is it necessary to apologize for these decisions, but apologizing to those who were hurt in the process can do alot of good.

Your daughters have always loved you and still do. In the past it was assumed that their father spoke badly of you, he didn’t, he doesn’t and quite frankly does not care to. It is now being assumed that others speak against you, but the truth is that no one has to.  You have hurt and pushed your daughters away all on your own, no one can do or say anything to make it any worse.

For years the girls have held on to those things you have done, each of those things festering within them as well as manifesting in relationships. Finally they have started to talk to you about them. This is what they needed to do in order for them to let go of the hurt or anger and move on. Understand that in order for them to get past it, it needs to come out, only then will they heal and grow.

What has hurt them most is to see that you have yet to apologize or even take responsibility for the hurt they have lived through for the past 8 years. On the contrary they are accused of being selfish or trying to making you feel guilty. They just need to heal. It is in your power to help your children heal, but you don’t let them.  Your actions simply continue to open up the wounds.

I know that you have accused them of seeing you as the evil one and their father as the ‘Angel’ in all of this. You may even feel at this point that they choose their father over you.

But let me clarify. Number One: they love you more than you have EVER given them credit for.  And just like I am sure you love both your daughters equally, you also love them individually because of the individual relationship you have with each one. In the same way they love you and their father equally, but they also love each one of you as individuals based on the personal relationship.

Why do they have a certain level of respect for their father and/or me?

As parents, their father and I have assisted them every step of their growth into adulthood. No, we did not give it to them, we guided them. We provided them with the basic needs (food, shelter, etc..) which created the safety net all growing children need to feel secure. We provided them with guidance, helped them work out their personal kinks and helped them adjust their thought processes into mature perspectives. It’s not about whether we were right or
wrong, we did our best, it’s that we have been here for them.

Their father has always encouraged their respect for you, regardless of what they say or do they must always respect you as their mother, and never has he swayed from that. Aside from that we occupied ourselves with making sure they have goals to look forward to and a path to get there.

You have thanked me for being there for your daughters, but in reality the one you need to thank is their father. He never gave up on them. He made sure to pick a partner that would help him raise his daughters. He chose a career that would provide for his daughters. He took everything upon his shoulders, your absence, their emotional ups and downs, their constant tantrums because he knew he had a job to do. That job was to raise his daughters as best he could. If you ever want to thank someone for making sure they are young ladies planning to finish school and become
themselves, thank their father.

Now they are pretty much grown and have to develop into their final stages of self actualization. Now it is up to them as to who they finally become.

Their father and I have been here all along the way to move them through life. You have popped in and out, trying to pick up where things left off, but the train left that stop a long time ago. You cannot reap what you didn’t sow. Their father and I have put their needs before our own. We have put their future, hence their education before our own desires. We have treated their development and growth as a one shot deal, we did our best because we knew that there is only one chance to get them off to a great start in life.

Please take a minute to ask yourself did you do the same?

– did you put their development and growth before your own desires in life? (you set off to live your life, but forgot that the job of raising your girls was not finished, they were only 11 & 13 yrs old)

– did you ensure they had the basic necessities? (You never offered a single cent to ensure there was food on the table for them. Nor any other form of child support )

– when you spent their college money(over $16,000), did you make an effort to replace it? (Of all the things you did not do, this was the only court ordered responsibility that you had and you couldn’t even do that for your children.)

– when you and I spoke about saving $100/ month for their school you agreed to it, but never did it, why?

– what have you sacrificed for them?

Their father and I finished raising them. So the respect they have is also a level of gratitude. That gratitude is because there was a sense of security in knowing their dad would come through for them no matter what. They never worried about being out in the street, or going hungry. They knew without a doubt that their father would make sure that this was taken care of.

I remember when I had to leave the state for a contract job. We were both out of work and I had to live away from home for almost a year, while we waited for work to come through. We had spent both of our retirement accounts and we had nothing else to take care of the kids. I worked 10-12 hours a day to help us get out of the hole and not loose our home and continue to feed our family. One day while speaking to the girls they told me how grateful they were for what I did. But the words I remember the most was “…we know that our own mother would never do the same for us”. Although I was flattered I also felt sorry for the fact that you have limits as to what you would do for your own children.

BioMom, please do not take this as me beating down on you. I simply want you to see from this angle what has been happening for the past 8 years. You have to understand that the things you have done as well as the things you have failed to do for them have simply caught up. These are the things that create a relationship. These are the things we lived through as a family. You cannot expect to pop in here and there and have this type of relationship with the girls.
Your relationship with them is a direct result of what you do with them or for them.

This is not a total loss. See the beauty of love is that it is also forgiving. Everytime you visit, they try to love with what they have left. With each visit comes a new story of what you did to leave the wounds open AGAIN. You cannot expect any more than you put into your relationship with them.

All they need to know is that you made decisions in life that may or may not have been the best, but what you did not intend to do was to hurt them. That is all they need to know. But they also need to know that you will not continue to hurt them. Which seems to happen pretty frequently. For Example;

Just recently you left without saying goodbye, your reason was because you felt that they did not give the same level of import to your family as they do to mine. Would you say that the way you handled this is a way that creates a close, bonded relationship with your daughters…. ?

Just recently you went to Cancun, which you have every right to do considering your Husband was leaving, but you chose to disappear without a trace. You didn’t even tell them you were leaving and chose not to call them for about a month. (Daughter#2) was starting to make up all kinds of scenarios on how you may have been hurt without anyone
to help. When you finally reappeared they find out through other means as to where you were. Would you say the way that you handled this is a way that creates a close, bonded relationship with your daughters…?

Just recently while your sister visited, you lashed out at both daughters infront of a person they had not seen in over 10yrs. – Would you say that the way you handled that is the best way to create a close, bonded relationship with your daughters…?

The point I am trying to make is that if you want this cycle to stop… you are in the drivers seat… STOP IT.  You are in control of your relationship with your daughters.  You can either make it grow as beautifully as you do with your plants or you can tear it apart.

It is important for you to realize that they love you. And the way they love you is directly related to the way you love them. Do not expect anymore than what you put into the relationship. The past cannot be changed but the future is still not here. You can’t change what has happened, but you can change how you deal with them in the future. Stop competing with their father for their love, they already love you. You just need to see it.

I can only hope that you do not take this letter as a way for me to hurt you or in any other negative way. You do not know me very well, but rest assured that the words I say to you would be the same way in which I address a concern with a friend or someone I hold near. I know we are not friends, but the fact that you are their mother means that your well-being impacts my family. So we do desire the best for you always. So I can only hope that you use what I have written to help grow your relationship with the girls. It isn’t too late.

(Daughter #1) is a very forgiving person and she is willing to start over. She will be pleasant and go about things as if nothing has happened. But, do not underestimate her feelings. She may seem like everything is o.k.,but you can tell in certain details of her life that some of the things you do are having a negative impact on her.

Your relationship with (Daughter#2) is falling apart at the seams. You can change this, but you have to want to. The decisions to not be there the other day when she went to see you was not the wisest thing to do. (Daughter#2) as you know has the tendency to be stubborn and stick to her guns (that is the shell), but when you get past that you’ll see that she is simply hurt(that is what’s really inside).

She is reacting, in other words she is responding to your actions. If you do not want to see her she will not want to see you. If you want to see her, then she will want to see you. If you want to call her she will want to call you, etc… You may call it a game, but you are the other player.

For years, they have dealt with your emotional games, now you want it to stop, at your convenience, because you don’t want to play. It’s not that easy. The effort will have to come from you. You need to rebuild your relationship with (Daughter#2). She doesn’t have to put effort, because she responds to what you do. I have seen it for 8 years. If you wanted to love them unconditionally, you would be suprised to see the love that has always been there for you.

I am fully aware of how you may respond to this e-mail. But what I can tell you is this. It doesn’t matter from what avenue you receive this type of feedback, what does matter is that you get it in time to save your relationship with your daughters. So I hope you get past the feeling of who am I to tell you what to do, because I am not telling you what to do. I am simply pointing out that you at a fork on the road again. You have a decision to make. Either you
continue to go down the road you have been on these past 8 years, that up until now we have seen has done nothing to improve your relationship with your daughters. Or you can go the other way.  I am not telling you which road to choose, I am simply pointing out what has happened on the road you are on and how you do not have to continue choosing that route.

With (Daughter#1), she just wants to be seen for who she is. She feels you don’t see her. She has accomplished so much, yes in some cases with assistance or guidance.. but look how far she has gotten and how well she has done.  She doesn’t use drugs, not an alcoholic, she’s not a single mom, … these are due to the right choices she has personally made. She just wants to know that you are proud of her choices. She just needs to feel that from you.

Your daughters need you more than you seem to understand. Stop trying to prove yourself. There is nothing to prove, but only time to waste going on the same road to nowhere.

I write these words with intense sincerity and desire for your realtionship to improve.

The step mom

~ by Stepfamily Letter Project on August 20, 2010.

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