Dear Stepmother

I try to love you, I honestly do. You make my dad ecstatic, you are an amazing cook, you are a talented craftswoman, and you have a fabulous sense of humor. I like more things about you then I dislike, honestly.

Yet you get angry. Correction, you get passive aggressive. You mutter under your breath about how I can be useless, you blatantly insult me. I am not stupid! I can hear, just as you can see me shake my head. You get jealous of the fact that I am close to my grandmother. I am sorry, but in my entire life, she is the only member of my family who hasn’t hurt me. Of course I am close to her. Yet I stopped talking to her to make you feel better. I am not close to many people. I only really talk to my best friend, grandmother, and father. Yet I don’t talk to my father about how you make me feel because he is your husband and I would rather you and him have each other and lose me then watch a marriage fall apart because of me. When I talk to my best friend on the phone you get mad because you say you can hear me through the floorboards as I insult you. As I vent. Tell me stepmother, how the hell am I supposed to live without talking to anyone because it upsets you?

I know what you will say. Hell its what you said to me yesterday, driving me to work, “You suck at communicating and you treat your father and I like we are your slaves.” Right before work. I didn’t cry in the car but I was bawling the break room. An eight and half hour work shift and all I could think about was what you said. I sang to myself and my coworkers who barely know me noticed that something was off.

I cleaned before work. Did you see? I swept, mopped, vaccummed, dusted, clean the windows, and did a load of dishes before I left. I am not trying to pull a Cinderella here. But I wonder if you see what I do. I also work and go to school. I don’t spend my money, I put it in savings. I try to do laundry weekly, but most of the time I have to wait a week and half because it takes you forever to get laundry done.

So I don’t communicate in our house. I am liberal democrat in a house with staunch republicans. I like foreign films and you guys cannot stand them. I misheard you the other day, as I was getting sick and working non-stop, but you get offended without considering the situation. You are in the perfect place.

You can insult me and I won’t say anything. You can cry and I won’t call you out. I don’t communicate because talking does me no good. Even friendly conversation you don’t say anything. “How was your day?” “How was the party?” I ask these questions all of the time. I am begging for the day when I get asked these questions in return. I get blamed for not communicating. You never ask questions. You hate that excuse. You call it evil. Remember when your brother moved and never told you? You got mad because you felt like he just should have told you, but I am guessing that you never asked what was going on in his life.

You call me all the names, selfish, poison, evil. I will never refer to you those ways. I know you. Faults and all and I get angry. You love your nieces, but cannot stand me. I am the bad one. A straight-A student who is in college and has a great job. Who saved your marriage. Who helps around the house. Who babysits. “Three chores.” You scathingly say when I forget one, yet you forget the dishes, the help. I do more then my chores. I am evil. I destroy your family.

You cannot talk to me without sounding like I committed a crime. You don’t inquire, you accuse. You wonder why I jump, because you feel that it is unwarranted. I feel that I do not warrant being accused of helping out. How horrid.

Something is wrong about us. I care for you, I really do. You say to fake being nice but I don’t want to. I really care. When you came out with you having cancer I cried so much. At work, and my best friends house. I could not stop crying. I care for you! I love you! I just don’t want to be accused.

You can vent all you want yet I say nothing. I cry when I write this because I know this is the communication you want but I am to afraid to give. You will tell me “What more can I do!” For starters you can stop acting like I attack you and then you accuse me. You have support. Go online, there is so much help for you. There is nothing for me. Stepchildren are evil to the internet. I guess you were right.

So I will continue to love you. I just won’t say anything. Its not worth the ridicule and accusations. I will clean, work, and study. I don’t know what our real issue is. I honestly don’t. Some say that you are jealous of me and compete with me. I have no clue though.

All I can do is get used to the new norm.

Your Step-Daughter.

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~ by Stepfamily Letter Project on November 22, 2011.

8 Responses to “Dear Stepmother”

  1. Wow, a step mom, I can say it’s step mother’s that are evil on the internet. Step kids are the center of the universe. Maybe it just depends on where you go to ask for help.

    I am sorry step daughter that you and your step mother don’t get along. My guess is that there is a lot of history that your step mother remembers well and you don’t remember at all. I have biological children and it stuns me when they can’t remember major things that they did that were pretty bad but they remember something I said that made them feel fat. So I already know my step daughter will not remember all the hateful things she did to me that destroyed our relationship. I tried so hard to reach out to her and was treated like dirt time and time again as my husband watched helplessly because he did not know how to discpine the nasty, hateful, self entitled creature he had created and who’s jealous mother (with two other kids and boyfriend when I met him) was fueling the fire of hate and hurt she perpetrated against me with her lies–all with a smile. I was left to discipline her and so I did minimally just so he and I could stand being around her.

    My step daugher is actually not have bad today largely as a result of my discipline. I am polite to her. She lives in my house. She’s also a college student but doesn’t do chores or pay for anything. I don’t care. I just want her to leave and I can barely stand being in the room with her.

    What I am saying is that there is probably a lot of history there that your step mother remembers that you don’t. It’s hard to mend a relationship when so much damage has been done. I wish I had an easy answer but I honestly have to say it may be a long while before your step mother would even be willing to try if her hurt runs as deep as mine.

    Forgive her for your own sake so you can move on. Once you move out and do well and she’s had time and space to heal maybe the two of you can try counseling to understand each other’s perspectives. You’ve sound like you’ve grown up to be a nice girl and your step mother may even see that already but feel hurt that you like everyone else but her.

    Try and understand this is a common step mother-step daughter relationship and instead of trying to heal the relationship right now, work on becoming the woman you were meant to be and eventually I think your step mom will be able to forgive you too. Or maybe not but do not let this relationship with her define you or take up so much of your emotional energy. I bet the more you can let go of the past, maybe she will to. Or maybe not. But being the better person and taking that step will make you feel more empowered I think.

    Take care. I know it’s hard on everyone involved but eventually your family can heal but it takes one step at a time.

  2. Wow Mimi, write your own letter. This girl doesn’t deserve you dumping your baggage on her. A bitter rant about your life doesn’t a “comment” make.
    Step-daughter, you sound lovely. I hope it gets better and your stepmom probably has issues that have nothing to do with you. Sometimes stepdaughters bring up painful things for a stepmom, not your fault, just our own “stuff”. Hugs to you and you’ll be on your way soon enough.

    • I was not dumping my baggage on her, just trying to give her insight into what the step mom might be feeling.
      Of course if you would rather do what most people do and villanize step mothers and commiserate with the victim step children–go ahead. It’s not going to help her though.

      Casting the step mom as an evil witch and the step daughter as the innocent princess is just playing into the fairy tale. Her step mom is a great wife and a great aunt but she is a terrible person who persecutes this sweet innocent step daughter? I don’t believe it.

      Unless the girl is willing to take some responsiblity for her own part in this drama, the situation will not improve.

  3. I loved this letter and my heart goes out to the writer. You are a brave and strong young woman to go through what you do. Hold fast to your values and ideals. With your compassion, love, and strength you will go far in life. But please, don’t keep this stuff in. Find someone you can trust. A therapist from your student health center. You are experiencing so much stress in a toxic environment…you need support. Thank you for writing and I wish you and your family the best.

  4. Mimi- I am a step mom and if we’re honest, we must admit that we do contribute the “issues” with our stepkid’s. Perhaps not solely but now that my stepdaughter is grown, I see my part and it wasn’t all her. I loved this letter and while we stepmoms may be waiting for apologies that never come, many of us could offer up some apologies too.

  5. OP – I am so sorry for your current situation. I hope you find the empathy, comfort, and peace you seem to be lacking. To echo the other responses, you seem like loving and responsible. You absolutely do not deserve to feel marginalized or called names! Name-calling by an adult (especially when the target is a child!) certainly speaks volumes about the adult’s emotional maturity!

    Amy -I couldn’t have said it better myself – Amen, sister!

    Mimi – I agree with you that both Mom and Step-daughter ccontribute to their circumstances, thus, have some responsibility in the conflict. I have no doubt that the situation seems quite different from her Step-Mom’s perspective. Yes, she should take responsibility for her behavior – this post makes her actions seem very responsible – but her Dad and Step-Dad bear a larger responsibility as her PARENTS and the adults who chose to create this blended family. I don’t think it’s unreasonable for this girl to expect empathy and encouragement. The absence of any reference to her Mom, the fact that she posted on this site (which tends to be dominated by Moms and Step-Moms), and the content of her letter all seem to speak volumes, here.

    One last thing, OP – I hope you find great people to surround yourself with and to make you feel loved and valued! As rough as things seem – and may very well be – right now, they WILL get better. You seem to have your life in order more than most teens, that alone will take you farther than you can imagine!

  6. First I want to thank you for sharing this letter. It is an eye-opening one for me, as I’m sure I put off this vibe to my stepson. You’ve made me think, and I hope I can provide the same insight for you.

    It was very painful to read this letter. To read your words that describe you feelings while at the same time probably understanding how your stepmother feels. It seems to me that you both are hurting and are unable to express how you truly feel.

    I think that most likely your stepmother does care. She wouldn’t be involved in your life (driving you to school, doing things for you, etc.) if she did not. She’s probably gotten into a habit that I’ve gotten in, and, thanks to your letter, and am working my way out.

    Step families are very difficult things to navigate. It’s hard not feel misundersood and unseen. I’m finding that I don’t always say what I truly feel to my stepson because I’m afraid of his rejection. He doesn’ reveal much to me either. The seperatiion causes pain, and often times his emotional distance causes me to feel resentment. Resentment can cause the unpleasant things that are said and done. I’m not saying it’s right. However, people are not perfect and mistakes are made, especially where matters of the heart are involved.

    If I had a wish for you it would be that you and your stepmother could express what you truly feel about each other and get past this.

    You have my love and respect. Thanks so much for your words.

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