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!

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 to do so…

No matter what I do, bio-mom still hostile. I feel hopeless & scared

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?

Bio-mom doesn't want me present at any of my skids school events.
My question:The bio-mom doesn't want me present at my skids kindergarten orientation. She has requested to meet up with my fiancé which he has told me is weird. However, he mentioned he was going to go. Though it doesn't seem my fiancé is setting boundaries nor does the bio mom cares... It does hurt a little to know that the ex does not want me present and my fiancé is going along with what she want
I’m sick about this and I just want to know what the right this is to do. 

Is it okay to let them meet-up together and I'm not present? 

I don't want to share the full story, but his ex wants nothing to do with me. I have a great relationship with my skid who is now 5. I just need to know what is the best thing to do and how to not feel the pain of knowing my fiancé is choosing to do what his ex wants and not even talk about it with me. I need to know what is the best right thing to do regardless of my feelings and how to have peace with it.

What do you think?  Feeling awful now.

Cathryn’s Reply:

Hi there,  When I read your letter it brought me back to the beginning of my life as a stepmom.  Those of us who have inherited bio-moms who are not willing to be civil or kind to us, we call “hostile” and that covers a lot of behaviors. 

Ideally your fiancé and his ex will be able to communicate about their child ways that you can learn to accept. Ideally they will do it civilly with respect for the role & rights they BOTH have in their child’s life.  To me, it is not a bad sign that he wants to meet or talk with her without your present.  Many bio-moms are triggered and often un-resonable just because of our presence.  It's about doing our best to look at the bigger picture.  Caring for the child and having as little conflict with bio-mom as possible with our dignity intact. (Yes, I said ideally because many of us never get to experience it but keep shooting for it.) 

Because it feels uncomfortable for you not being there, it's enough to make it worthy of your time and attention to help yourself. Why? Because this is going to be a long term dynamic and while things may change, if you can be OK with the way they are now, you will save yourself a lot of delusions and maybe even present sacrifices on the hope it will make a difference in the future.  The sooner you can find ways to truly feel comfortable that they will connect without you…the much better it will be for your mental and emotional well-being.  

Please Note: You’re not bad or wrong to be upset by it at all.  We get it!  Most of us have felt it deeply! It’s just that trying to assuage your upset feelings by getting HIM to do something different is a control-based, never going to work tactic that I readily discourage.  It’s such a loving choice if you can keep your fiancé out of feeling that he is trapped between the two of you.  Seems hostile bio-moms know how to play that painful game and because of his child, we stepmoms usually lose that tactic and our partners feel terrible, even if they hide their humiliation behind anger or logic. 

About her not wanting to have your there…I get the pain of that totally and just want to take a moment to acknowledge that pain.  I went so far as to stay away from school his entire kindergarten year to show her how respectful I was going to be as her son’s stepmom.  She said she “needed time to accept the new circumstances.”  I obliged…sadly it didn’t help and in retrospect all I did was show her that I was a decent person and easy to manipulate with pleas for compassion. (Which was true.)   She brought her partner to everything, my DH never objected.  It was a double standard from that moment. 19 years never changed. that is my story but it doesn't have to be yours.

You ask about the “right” thing.  Good for you.  High five to all of us who are trying to do the right thing for everyone involved.  The hard part is that rarely are the feelings of the stepmom included in this mix.  Rarely are the rights of a Stepmom considered and this is where creativity comes in.  This is one of the missions of new maps for the rights of women in the role of stepmoms.  (Oops, I almost got on my soap box.)

I wish there was one right thing but sadly there isn’t. In the role of stepmom, you’re going to find that the a common dilemma. To me, the best thing for you is consciously work with your fiancé to find strategies, approaches, skills, that the two of you can use to stay connected in a loving way no matter what the bio-mom does.  This is very hard AND very worth it.  The sooner you and your fiancé can find ways to manage her (not manipulate, but manage her by understanding her and getting very creative together) the better. This is a HUGE understatement.

Thanksfully, email, texting and voicemails (all save-able) off divorced spouses lots of options that many of us didn’t have in past years.  Be creative with your fiancé.  Share your feelings and fears.  Support him in being creative so he feels he is making choices and not just being emotionally tormented and blackmailed by his ex.  The sooner you two can set reasonable boundaries, the better.  (This may be the most important message for you two now.)

Being left out of things touches us at deep emotional levels. The pain and rage is very real so the sooner you can learn some skills for how to help yourself process these feelings, the sooner you will be less impacted by whatever this bio-mom does.  It is a worthy goal.  If hostile bio-moms knew that we were able to get stronger and closer to our partners because of their actions...well, it sure would take away a lot of their twisted pleasure and motivation. 

It’s good to understand that stepmoms with hostile stepkids or hostile ex’s is a very hard journey AND it is also a tremendous opportunity that can reap a lot of personal growth benefits…if you’re willing to do your work. You will find that there is much to learn about yourself, based on your feelings and reactions to whatever happens.  All that you can learn, will help you become even more of the wonderfully loving and empowered woman that your fiancé fell in love with.  We welcome you to join us as sister Stepmoms on a Mission.

There are many ideas and articles about this on the member site.  Please remember  you can become a FREE Guest member for 30-days to read everything and get the opinions of others to see if our approaches resonate with you. 

May something here be helpful to you.
Kind Regards, Cathryn
Cathryn's Mailbox
Stepmoms on a Mission®
PO Box 7, Medford NJ 08055