Cathryn's Mailbox
Stepmoms wrote in, Cathryn replied​.
Cathryn's Mailbox
A- I love my partner, but I also wish his daughter didn't exist! (8/11)

A-About ready to throw in the towel! (4/12)

A-About to become a stepparent and am terrified!(5/12)

A-Are you in the mood for Stepmom's Pep Talk-read this! (3/15)

A-Clarifying Mission Statement for SMOMS. (11/11)

A-Do I love my stepson? Sometimes I don't know.(8/12)

A-Don't know where I went wrong. Please help me!(6/12)

A-Ever Feel Like Leaving? (5/11)

A-Feeling like invisible parent to stepson- help! (12/13)

A-Feeling like the enemy in my own house. Yes I have a teen stepdaughter.(5/15)

A-From BB: Self-awareness can hurt...why is that? (10/12)

A-Holiday traditions? Some ideas from sister SMOMS. (11/113)

A-How can I find the right balance & boundaries? (4/12)

A-How do I deal with all the hurt and anger? (1/12)

A-How to let go of the single life versus being stepmom?(8/15)

A-How to step back in after stepping out? (8/12)

A-I need some better coping skills and I'm open to new ideas.(7/16)

A-Invested so much love, time, energy & $$...seems it's never enough. (2/16)

A-It's too much work- I need help from my partner & Family!(7/12)

A-Not a step mom yet but need some guidance (7/12)

A-Right now, I HATE being a Stepmom!!! (10/13)

A-Self-Pity-an emotional numbing,energy draining tactic-find a new option. (7/15)

A-What about the rage! I "Lost it" last night. Help! (10/11)

A-What are reasonable expectations? (3/11)

A-When to call it quits? What to do? (3/12)

A-Why am I so jealous? What about my irrational fears? 7/15)

A-Why don't I matter in this stepfamily? (12/11)

B-Dealing with SD at my young age (7/15)

B-Feeling resentment towards my stepson and can't connect with him.(2/16)

B-How can I handle my stepdaughter(8) who loves negative attention? (8/12)

B-How do I deal with a bio-mom who doesn't want to get along with me? (9/13)

B-How do I handle my feelings when my stepchild stops saying I love you? (4/16)

B-How do I help her understand chores/rules don't mean that I don’t love her?(1/12)

B-How to help my stepson, when his mom encourages him to lie to us? (10/11)

B-How to make the transition between homes easier for stepkids?(12/17)

B-I am frustrated with my stepkids 99% of the! (5/14)

B-I feel left out and invisible with grown SDs (4/12)

B-I have issues with my teenage stepdaughter and the car...Ugh! (4/12)

B-I have two stepkids I can't control.(9/11)

B-I want a better relationship w/ teen stepson. (6/12)

B-I want a Closer relationship w/ stepdaughter (5/12)

B-I'm at the end of my tether... Stepchildren don't seem to like me. (12/11)

B-It feels like my 5-year old stepson throws his mom in my face! Help! (10/11)

B-Just jealous or maybe time to leave? (6/11)

B-My 3 yr old stepson seems to be crying all the time!(9/12)

B-My husband stays at his mothers when he has his daughter for the night. (10/12)

B-My stepdaughter chooses her bio-mom for school play-it upsets me. (6/11)

B-My stepkids don't recognize how much their dad does for them. (6/11)

B-Struggling w/ a jealous stepdaughter (3/12)

B-What to do about disrespectful 20 yr/old stepson? (4/11)

B-When your stepkids are away on Christmas Day. (12/12)

B-Why do things my stepkids say bother me so much? (11/11)

B-Why does my stepson idolize his bio-mom? (4/12)

B-Why does my stepson's rudeness bother me so much? (12/11)

C-Bio-mom assaulted me & told stepkids it was the other way around. (8/11)

C-Bio-mom back & I'm hurt by her impact-what can I do? (8/11)

C-Bio-mom doesn't want her kids, then does-what's going on? (8/11)

C-Bio-mom doesn't want me present at any of my skids school events.(8/15)

C-Bio-mom is badmouthing me to my stepson & he tells me and my kids.(6/16)

C-Bio-mom used me, I drew a line, she’s angry--now what? (9/11)

C-How to accept bio-mom's "bad" choices? (6/11)

C-How to deal when bio-mom returns into the picture. (1/16)

C-How to handle bio-mom who keeps asking for more $$$? (9/12)

C-No matter what I do, bio-mom still hostile. I feel hopeless and scared.(3/17)

C-What to do when bio-mom turns my stepdaughter against me? (9/16)

C-When bio-mom sends stuff from life w/your partner-what to do? (5/11)

D-How do I cope w/DH's need for perfect family? I'm more realistic. (4/12)

D-Husband still has divorce guilt and his kids are in their 30’s--ugh! (10/14)

D-I think the problem is my partner. Why is he fighting my efforts?(6/15)

D-My partner doesn't understand why my feelings are hurt. (7/11)

D-My partner feels divorce guilt so lets his ex interrupt outlives (6/18)

D-My partner w/3 bio-kids is not trying to bond w/ my 2 kids.(8/11)

D-Partner sets no Boundaries for SD20-what to do? (8/11)

E-A bio-mom worried about her daughter's new Stepmom. Will we help? (2/12)

E-Bio-mom is online stalking and has issues w/ pictures of stepkids. (6/12)

E-Dealing w/ Deceased Bio Mom's Extended Family (5/12)

E-Dealing w/ unkind stepkids, ex-wife, MIL costing me my relationship? (2/12)

E-Help w/situation that dad, biomom & stepkids all agree on but not me! (3/11)

E-How do I change my attitude towards my new inherited family? (4/12)

E-How do I stop SD from lying to me, DH, BM, and BM's boyfriend? (8/12)

E-How to deal with a lying stepdaughter, her bio-mom & ex-stepmom? (1/12)

E-I feel jealous of my partner's ex & unheard by my partner. (10/11)

E-I want my bed back! (5/11)

E-Jealous of sister-in-law and my stepkids. What can I do? (8/12)

E-My partner found out he has a daughter-I feel terrible (10/12)

E-Stubborn partner and sexually active teenage SS (8/12)

E-Transitions and Coparenting Struggles (3/16)

E-Trouble coping w/BF's newborn and his ex-spouse. (7/12)

E-What boundaries do I need to set with husband and stepdaughter? (11/11)

E-When BM causes drama, how to preserve my relationship w/ stepkids?(6/12)

B-I have issues with my teenage stepdaughter and the car...Ugh! (4/12)
Hi Cathryn,

I've been a step mom for almost 7 years now, our daughter is almost 15 and will be getting her learners permit soon.  We do not have a close relationship, we actually don't have much of a relationship at all.  I'm basically Tory, dad's wife.  There was another "dad's wife" in between me and her mom(she was little when they divorced, so doesn't have any memories of her mom and dad together).  

I don't have any biological children, we don’t agree on discipline at all.  I believe there should be some and he doesn't (sorry for the sarcasm but it's true)  The most recent situation is over a car of all things.  My husband showed me a picture of a car on an auction and told me he wanted to buy it for me, I was there for the auction and he won it.  The minute we get the car (a BMW) home, he tells me he thinks it would be a good car for our daughter.  I don't know how to explain it but we've had a BMW before(not new) and it caused big problems because our daughter ALWAYS wanted to take the car everywhere we went and bulled up and pouted if we didn't.  

My husband would even leave work in his truck, come by the house and get the car to pick her up at school, bring her home and then get back in his truck and go back to work.  It's really embarrassing to admit that he did that, but he did.  Now she's seen the car (not new by any means) and she doesn't think it's good enough for her.  

She told her dad that she wanted a new $40K SUV and expects it.  Like she expects him to give her EVERYTHING she wants.  IT's unbelievable.  You would have to know the whole situation to get it, but when she was little her mom left them both and he spent tons on her, she even asked him lately why he used to buy her anything she wanted and now he won't.  He told her that back then $100 would please her and now it's thousands.  

I just can't believe it even as I live it and write this to you.  We got into it over this car, because I'm human and have feelings.  He told me that the car was for me (i drive a Cavalier) and don't mind.  It's just that I don't feel appreciated or that my feelings matter.  

He told me I was acting like a 2 year old.  Excuse me, who's acting like a 2 year old?  I have bent over backwards for them both the past 6.5 years and feel taken for granted.  He also told me that I've never had to walk... I told him I wasn't walking when we met(i had a new car that I bought myself. Neither him nor her liked it so we sold it.  

It's not about material things, it about respect, honesty and love.  I feel he never intended the car for me (it's a 2 door and he's told me now that I can't have a 2 door car) it just seems that he had this in mind all along.  He won't deny or admit to this.  

I don't want to fight but feel sick inside over all of this.  I've been having anxiety attacks the past 2 years and don't sleep well at all unless I take something.  

Help, is there anything that you can advise me?
I really appreciated it.


Hi Tory,

It’s so hard to describe everything that happens when we’re writing to someone isn’t it? It’s clear that this is not the first time you’ve felt hurt, disrespected or disregarded and I can certainly understand why you would feel sick about it.

I’d like to encourage you to read the long article about feelings resentful, it’s in the Mailbox forum but I think I have the link here so you can go right to it when you’re finished with this. It’s

Below or above it is another post with 5 case studies (Soon to be 6) about stepmoms who’ve shared their personal stories so we could go through them in some detail. I believe you will get some ideas from what they’ve shared and hopefully suggestions from what I’ve offered to them-FYI.

Back to you and your situation: Seems to me that this car thing is a collection of many other things that have been bothering you over time. The proverbial Car that broke the camels back, in your case.

For him to tell you it was for you, change his mind, expect you to go along with it, make you wrong for having feelings about it, then refuse to openly share his thoughts during the process...sounds like a DH dealing with some big divroce guilt and fear. It’s so very painful for us SMOMS and the issues run very deep for them. When the guys are unwilling to acknowledge their impact it causes distance in our connection with them which is also painful (as you know.) When you have a chance, take a look at the Smommentaries as there’s an article about one way to work with your DH about this divorce guilt. It’s not going to address all your issues but may a few.

When divorced Dad’s suffer from this guilt, then feel ashamed about it and/or don’t want to acknowledge it, they can turn into a completely different guy over a car, car-pooling or whatever the issue. I won’t repeat myself here, please see the article for much more about this and how to help you both.

As far as your anxiety is concerned, I get that also. Who wants to feel that our needs are always expected to be ignored or overlooked when they conflict with a stepkid’s? This kind of fathering is really hard on a relationship, so it makes sense that your emotional self would be upset and out of balance. Anxiety is often anger we anticipate but dread having to deal with. from what you’ve shared this is a pattern.

Do you feel that he is never going to address this situation with his daughter?
Is he willing to get some help about this?
How do you think he’ll react if you ask him to set some boundaries with you about what he promises you? Meaning rather than making it about what he does for his daughter, make it about him being better at keeping his the future?

Let’s try this. Would you be willing to read the articles I referred to, then write back to me about where you are after reading all that stuff? Then we can focus the balance of this letter on exactly what you want to do going forward. There’s so much to say and so many possibilities.

If you want to do this, write back and we’ll continue. I’ll pop you to the top of the list whenever I hear back from you so you won’t lose your turn in line.

Looking forward to working with you again, Cathryn
Cathryn's Mailbox
Stepmoms on a Mission®
PO Box 7, Medford NJ 08055