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)

A-Don't know where I went wrong. Please help me!(6/12)
Hi Cathryn,
I’ m a 25 year old smom of 3, my husband and I recently had a child of our own.  I
have been in this relationship for 3 years and married a little over a year.  

At first I had no issues besides a bio mom trying to split us up and speaking badly about me to the children.  I still have bio mom speaking ill of me, but the kids are getting old enough to form their own opinions.  The oldest lives with us ALL the time.  He was dh child who bio mom adopted when he was 5.  When they divorced she abandoned him.  At 23 I had to become full time mom to an 11 year old.  The problem isn't the oldest, it’s when the two younger ones come.  

DH has serious divorce guilt and pretty much ignores me and older son when 2 younger ones come.  I’ve never been one of those needy women that has to have all the attention, but I don’t appreciate being ignored.  I always felt left out when 2 younger ones came over and then I got pregnant.  I thought "Alright I’ll definitely be apart of the family since I’m having their sibling."  Well my dd arrived December 31, 2011 and I was on cloud nine.  

I got to stay home and be a mom! (Which is ALL I ever wanted to be!)  At the end of March, my dh lost his job so I had to return to work.  He assured me this was temporary and I would be back at home asap.  Here we are 2 months later and I’m still working while he’s at home.  By being gone all the time, sometimes I feel like I want time with my dh.  Not a lot just one night a week.  

Unfortunately, if his middle son(who is 8) doesn't want to go to sleep then forget our time together it’s ss8 time.  DH is absolutely in love with ss8 because he thinks he’s just like him.  Sometimes he forgets he has 3 other children.  I’m not thought about or considered in decisions made by ss8 and dh.  

Things that need to be done get pushed to the side to satisfy the child.  I was raised in a very strict home where NO child ran the home.  It kills me that this one does.  When I bring up the subject I get told I don't know what I’m talking about and to leave it alone.  DH actually threatened me with violence while I was pregnant for bringing up my opinion.  

I’m at my wits end.  I’m not one of the heads of my home even though I’m the "bread winner."  I’m just ready to give up on this marriage all together but there’s my daughter to consider.  I do not want her to grow up in a broken home.  

Please help me!


Hi there,

I want to start out by saying I don’t think you did anything wrong. It may be that you’re waking up to the reality of things that you couldn’t see in the euphoria of the “honeymoon” phase of your relationship. Not sure exactly but I hope you will not beat up on yourself. If you were here, I’d want to acknowledge you for all the effort you’ve already put into this family situation and hug you for all the hurt you’ve endured so far.

Your situation is very painful and it makes perfect sense that you would feel terrible and ready to leave. As you are thinking about your decision, I want to offer a few things to think about:

Have you read the post (in Cathryn’s mailbox) entitled, “Got a narcissist in your life”? Check that post out and you may know a bit more about who and what you’re dealing with. This will be important whether you decide to stay or leave. The book I recommend (and is excerpted in the post) will help you TREMENDOUSLY.

About your daughter...what if you think about how to create a life where you can model for her what she has a right to expect from the man she loves and the family she serves and supports? What if you think about all the tension floating in the atmosphere (which she is MOST sensitive to now and unable to make sense of-since her brain is still developing)? When you consider her, can you look at the quality of her everyday life and what you are teaching her to accept or reject, in terms of how to be treated?

Seems you and your DH need to have a conversation about boundaries and perhaps even basic manners...If you feel afraid for your emotional or physical safety, please get some support (professional and/or friends and family) and get yourself to a safe place. This is nothing to take any chances deserve to be in a safe place. I know most of you knows this, I’m just speaking to the part of you who feels you need to prove your love for him by enduring his bad treatment and who rationalizes whatever he does because of his emotional duress or lack of self-esteem, or whatever.

It’s a sad thing when the man we love is unwilling to see his impact or to self-reflect. He’s having a negative impact on all of you in very different ways. if he is indeed a narcissist, then you will learn all about this when you read the book. (You can order it through the Amazon link at the top of the BB and the site will earn a small commission. It’s got to be very small because in 8 years we haven’t even earned $25 yet but every bit helps.)
I believe your feelings are all telling you that things are not as they should be in order for you to feel loved, safe, respected, valued, honored, etc. This doesn’t make your DH wrong, it just makes your relationship “not right” for you. Either he is willing to grow, learn, change and step up to being a loving, responsible husband and father...or he is not.

Whenever the choice for our happiness lies with someone ELSE, it is a scary thing. This is where courage, self-love and self-respect, along with a lot of TLC from friends and family is going to be very helpful. If he’s willing to work with a good therapist, that’s a good thing as well. We all bring our wounds to our love relationships. This is an unconscious thing. What’s key is when our wounds start grating up against each other, are both parties willing to help each other become conscious of what’s happening and heal ourselves and each other?!

Whatever you do, this is a big choice point.
I hope you choose yourself and your right to feel loved, safe, respected, etc.
I will hope that your DH is willing to “wake-up” and open up to his need for introspection and healing.
And, as an objective advocate for your baby daughter, I hope that you will do whatever you can to protect that dear, sensitive, innocent, sweet baby girl who is unable to understand or protect herself from all the energy that is swirling around her. For her sake, I hope you will show her, by how you act, that she is so precious that you will do whatever you can to make her life, from day to day, wonderfully filled with love and safety. She can’t “crock” what is going on, but she is being impacted by it. Read “Drama of the Gifted Child” by Dr. Alice Miller and you will learn a lot about how to help her and yourself in this turbulent time.

May you trust that you CAN have a wonderful life.
May you find the courage, strength, wisdom and energy to create that happy life you and your daughter so deserve, Cathryn
Cathryn's Mailbox
Stepmoms on a Mission®
PO Box 7, Medford NJ 08055