I’m done trying to make peace with the other woman. Now what?

Photo credit: nuttakit

 

Some of you have already done this, and some of you are considering it. You’ve reached a point in your life where, for whatever reason, you’ve decided to take a break from trying to make it work with the stepmom or ex-wife.

You’ve taken back your olive branch and tucked it away for safe keeping.

So… now what?

Well, first, I’d like to congratulate you on making a decision that feels right to you. I know it’s not an easy decision to make, especially because as women, we just want the conflict to end! And we think WE’RE the ones that can make it happen.

If we just try harder.

But, as you might have found, trying harder isn’t always the way to a peaceful existence. When the results of “trying harder” are continuous emotional stress, constant rejection or harassment, the way to a peaceful existence is to actually stop trying.

And as many of you have described in your comments to my post “Are we sabotaging ourselves?,” you’ve seen the benefits of what “not trying” can look like.

We could also replace “not trying” with the words “refocusing our attention.” It’s a little more positive. :)

Now, lets get clear on what “refocusing our attention” does and doesn’t mean.

It does not mean:

  • You’re selfish
  • You’ve given up
  • You’ve been defeated
  • You’re a failure
  • She wins
  • You don’t care enough about your children or stepchildren to continue trying
  • You haven’t tried hard enough
  • You’re not cut out for this
  • You’re the same level as her if you give up
  • You’re powerless

It does mean:

  • You love yourself enough to remove yourself from a situation where you are continually abused, harassed or just plain disappointed
  • You love your family enough to know they’re better off when you’re at peace and not filled with anxiety and anger
  • You’ve reached a limit and are willing to set a boundary
  • You’ve decided to take back your power and be in control of yourself
  • You find it costs you more (in emotional upsets) to keep trying, than to step back
  • You’ve learned when to say “when”
  • You’ve seen the toll it’s taken on your marriage and family life and you’re not okay with it

Oh, and let’s get rid of any guilt you might be feeling.

Your goal is to someday have peace with this woman, but there’s nothing wrong with deciding to take a break from the drama and conflict. And as the Roman poet, Juvenal, put it,  “Peace visits not the guilty mind.”

Once you decide to detach from the conflict between you and the other woman, a few things might happen.

1. She still might try to contact you. Or she might still try to get a reaction from you.  If she’s polite, you may choose to respond in an equally polite manner, with the minimal communication necessary for the situation.

If she’s not so polite, as hard as it will be, try not to respond.

I know, I know — you’re asking, “How do I just sit back and not do anything, when she’s verbally attacking me?!”

Well, there are a couple of things to keep in mind.

First, try to remember, words are just words until we give them meaning. You have the option to give them meaning or to not.

Second, try to imagine the sequence of events if you DID respond. Sure, you’ll feel better for about 3 minutes, but then what? You’re almost guaranteed another response from her.

And on and on it goes…until you’re right back where you started.

Wasn’t the whole point of you detaching from this to gain your inner peace and sanity? Will defending yourself lead you to inner peace? Or will it lead you on a path in the opposite direction?

2. You’ll probably still be replaying in your mind all the awful things she’s ever said or done to you.

We can spend our entire lives reliving the past in our minds or worrying about the future. And what a waste of time that is, because we can’t change the past and we don’t know what the future will hold.

Meanwhile, we’re missing some wonderfully special moments that are happening right NOW!

So pay attention to your inner dialogue. Catch yourself replaying the past or imagining the future and bring yourself back to this moment. If you need some help coming up with techniques to help you become present, the March Mastery Challenge in the Member’s Community, has some very useful tips.

3. Life won’t suddenly be all rosy and full of rainbows.

It’s true — just because you’ve decided to step back and focus on yourself and your family, instead of the drama and conflict, doesn’t mean you’re suddenly free of all negative feelings.

You’re still left to deal with the aftermath that came from being in an extremely stressful situation.

Realize that this might be a daily battle. Like with any growth process or change we attempt to make, it doesn’t come easily. It might always be a struggle. But trust your decision and notice your growth.

This is your choice, you are in control.

Every day, you might have to remind yourself that what you’re doing is right for you. That you have a right to protect yourself. And that’s okay.

You may even want to remind yourself that she’s probably hurting too.

Some other things that might help:

  • Have a friend remind you why you’ve decided to refocus your attention
  • When feelings of frustration come up or you have the urge to defend yourself, write them down
  • Draft an email and then don’t send it. I repeat, do not send it.
  • Write out your thoughts and feelings in a journal
  • Make a list of the benefits of refocusing your attention from conflict to yourself and your family

Lastly, remember that every new day brings new possibilities.

Nothing is forever, and the only constant is change. So while today this might be the right decision for you, who knows what tomorrow will bring?

For those of you who have already walked this path, please share your experiences with us: What was it like? What did you learn? What would you have done differently if given the opportunity?

© 2011 Jenna Korf     All Rights Reserved

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Comments

  1. I win! I win! I win! “Refocusing my attention” as you called it makes me feel like a winner every day. It feels so good to “do the right thing” and not care what she does or doesn’t do. I have committed to always doing what I feel is right regardless of how she does or doesn’t respond/react. It has given me great peace. I am only sad that I know from her responses/non-repsonses that she still hasn’t reached the same level of peace and acceptance that I have attained. But that is her own journey and responsibility.

  2. Not so, you got it! I love how you recognize she has her own “journey and responsibility”, and that yours brings you peace :)

  3. PeaceMaker says:

    Oh, I’ve been done for quite a while and I wish I’d done it sooner! Would have given me more strength for the crazy court battles I had to deal with.

    If a woman is constantly putting you down, spreading lies about you, lying to you, to your husband/her own children, involving her children and yours in sick twisted games, attacking you verbally and physically, threatening lawsuits constantly, just an overall trouble maker…let it go! Let the woman go through her misery alone, and stay away from her. Save yourself! RUN the other way! It is not YOUR job to deal with insanity!
    I would say if a woman did one of these things once, bless her, lift her up in prayers to God and let her be!

    I hope I’ve made myself clear, lol. Honestly, the sooner you realize that you cannot reason with insane behavior, the better off you are. Don’t be a martyr.

  4. Another great article, Jenna!

    I think the point of detaching until you understand, is to separate yourself from what the conflict is really about. Is there even any truth to your place in the conflict? Realistically, is there going to be resolution by you or the other woman? Some things are truly found in the need to search for internal peace, mental solitude with purpose, it’s an individual experience. And if one isn’t ready, than the truth is, one just isn’t… but there is no reason to perpetuate unfound reasons for hatred that only destroys the self. Timing, the other person has to be in the same place at the same time, willing to make peace.

  5. Peace and Nancy, I couldn’t agree more!

    Peace, it’s true, the only person we can change is ourselves, so while the other person might be struggling with the situation, it’s not our job to stand by and be a punching bag for them.

    Nancy, I love what you say about separating yourself from the conflict. This goes back to what some call the stepmom’s mantra; “it’s not personal”. Because in reality, whatever is going on with the other person, unless you’ve been a total jerk, isn’t about you. It’s about them.

    We are each responsible for our own happiness. Putting it in someone else’s hands is just reckless!

  6. What a fabulous post! I have broken up with my ex’s new wife. Same story just different slant! Sometimes you have to take out that negative energy so you can breathe!

  7. That’s right, Lee. It gives you time to breathe, space to get a broader perspective and a break to the awful pattern!

  8. This is great. It’s exactly what I had to do to move forward. I have refocused on my family, my household, my career, and social life. I realized that the tension with BM was affecting every other part of my life. I felt that I practically had no control over what happened around me (when it pertained to SS and BM) in my own home then the epiphany came………..Set boundaries and step back. It was a process and once the “let go” was complete, things increasingly changed in time within my marriage, and relationships (in general). I was/am happier. I felt/feel at peace. I was/am no longer in the “middle” so to speak. And I marvel at it. ;) I’m working on not reliving the past so as to stay peaceful, and I’m also working on learning to see BM as someone who is hurting. I want to have compassion for her. I genuinely want to FEEL that I want her to experience happiness as well. There are times I can feel that, and other times I blame karma for the things that go wrong for her, and I don’t want to do that. It’s been almost 3 years since we’ve talked and I occassionally struggle with this. It’s becoming less and less though and I guess it’s true what they say. Time does heal. I have moments I want to reach out again, but then…..I remember and an affirmative “no” ecompasses me, so this is where I am right now, and I’m ok with it.

  9. Celisa, it sounds like you’re in an ideal place :). If peace between two people isn’t possible, it doesn’t mean it’s not possible within ourselves. And it’s so true, that inner peace has a positive impact on all other aspects of our life. I hope more women can make it to that place, eventually :).

  10. This has really helped me realize that I need to stop trying to make things work. I would rather focus on the good, of watching my step daughter grow up and the good times we spend with her rather than focusing on the crazy drama that the ex brings. We are still in a custody battle with her that seems to never end. I’m trying really hard to keep myself out of contact with her, and with a cease and desist order she put on me, it was made very clear we will have no contact with one another. I just hate hearing the verbal abuse she gives my husband. Anyways to deal with that other than just being supportive of my husband?

  11. Hi Amber, a couple of suggestions for dealing with the verbal abuse against your husband, I would tell him that you want to be a supportive wife, but that it’s very hard for you to hear all the details when it comes to the verbal abuse. Ask him not to share that with you anymore. You don’t need to know the details in order to be supportive of him. Right? Let him know that you want to be a positive and hopeful with him, and can’t do that when you bogged down with all the negativity from his ex.

    How does that sound?

  12. Amber, I have struggled with the exact same issue. While I have so far managed to apply appropriate boundaries (even when the ex wasn’t respectful of them) and remain “above” the continued harassment directed at me, it is almost as painful to have to stand in the wings while she aims all of her violence and vitriol at my husband within earshot. I did try Jenna’s advice and found that it was simply to hard for me to be in the dark – I felt impotent and unbalanced and became concerned that perhaps I was not receiving critical information in his attempts to protect me from the madness. My advice? Keep your perspective and accept the woman as she is. Sounds simple. But it isn’t, and it takes some practice. We are so predisposed now to immediately taking everything said and done to us by this individual personally, even in those rare instances (if we were truly being fair) it isn’t intended that way. I have found that the less I examine every detail and nuance of the abuse and simply accept that this is a person without the self-control and moral center that I possess, the better able I am to provide the voice of reason for my husband, and be a more focused support system. He already has one unstable woman in his life, he doesn’t need another. :) The fact is she will likely never accept me and you know what? THAT’S OK!

  13. Last Fourth of July BM gave me the finger and stuck her tongue out at me. I was totally appalled and thought of her as a pathetic human being who must be very unhappy with her life. I sat pondering over it, called her and asked if we could talk. She was reluctant but told me okay. About an hour before our meeting she cancelled. A few months later my husband ended up doing therapy with her and the boys because the boys were really affected by everyone’s hostility. She basically told the therapist that I don’t matter and I shouldn’t have any say in how the boys should be raised in MY house. She also told the therapist that I was the one who had a problem with HER, not the other way around. Hmmm…..okay?! Her thought process must not be working well. That was months ago and it has eaten me up inside ever since. Last week I wrote her an email, waving the white flag, apologizing for any hurt I cause her. I have not gotten a response and probably never will, my DH says. I am trying so hard to make things work and getting no cooperation whatsoever. I am left feeling desperate and at odds with myself and what my step-sons must think of me or what their mother must be telling them at her house. I want my life back. I want to stop obsessing over her and the need for her approval. I think about it 24/7 and I am exhausted. I cry myself to sleep because my brain just won’t rest. I am sorry I sound like a pity party but I am just tired of all this turbulence in my life.

  14. Emilina, the blog post I’m publishing tomorrow addresses exactly this predicament – waiting for her approval. I hope it helps give you some perspective. In the meantime, I would suggest stepping back and not giving her any more of your power. Stop trying to make amends with her. Each time you try and each time she rejects you, adds to your hurt. Please turn the focus back on yourself and what you need to do to take care of YOU. Her resistance to you has nothing to do with you. Trust me! :)

  15. Emilina says:

    Thanks Jenna. I will definitely being reading your post tomorrow.

  16. Emilina, Jenna’s post was hopefully insightful to you. I can’t put it nearly as eloquently as she has, but I have been there. I know the place you are at. That was the beginning of the turning point for me. For about 2 months I started having very strong feelings that I wanted to leave my husband and just go back to my life before him with just my girls and our son. I just couldn’t take it anymore. I was also so depressed that when I was PMS I started getting overwhelming feelings that something was medically wrong with me. I thought I was sick somehow and that I was going to die. And/or I had feelings that I wish I would just fall asleep in the tub and drown. I have always been a strong person and the thought of suicide is forbidden in my mind so when reality hit me that I was so depressed out the situation I was in that I wanted to die, I know I had to do something. Forget about fixing HER. I NEEDED DESPERATELY TO FIX ME. That’s about the time I started reading Stepmonster and started a local meetup group so that I could meet other stepmoms. PHASE 1 – Knowing that I wasn’t alone and that others were going through the same thing as me. PHASE 2 – Cutting off all of my communication with hubby’s ex-wife and putting all the responsibility back on hubby. PHASE 3 – resisting the urge to fight back, defend us, or retaliate when she (in actuality or in my mind) had served us an injustice by violating court orders, saying negative things to the kids etc. PHASE 4 – releasing the anger and finding something else to focus my energy on. That’s how I got to my happy place. “Life appears to me too short to be spent in nursing animosity or registering wrongs.”
    – Charlotte Bronte

  17. This article is brilliant. Thank you so much! I feel a burden lifted off of my shoulders after reading this. LETTING GO of my angst & emotional stress concerning my husband’s ex will be the best thing for me ever. Thanks again- keep doing what you’re doing!

  18. Great article..sometimes peace can only be had by no longer caring, and realizing the only actions you can control are your own.

  19. Thank you, Joanna and Maria! I’m glad you’ll be able to find some solace in stepping back and turning your focus inward :). Good luck and keep us updated on your progress!

  20. Ah, I love this article so much I re-posted it on my facebook page, no doubt the ex will see it! I made this decision about 6 mths into my relationship. My partner has 2 (14 & 4yo) children to 2 different woman, and I knew both of them before as my partner and I were ‘bestie friends’ for 25 years. Thank god we were, as I have told him any other woman would probably run a mile from this sort of situation.

    We got together after second BM left him when the bub was just over one. Due to his teaching schedule, I did the cooking, bathing and bed time for him, we shared the night shift. When we decided to let her know we were together, bub was nearly 18mths. I tried my hardest to communicate and make things easier for us all, to no avail. She was, and still is, 3 years later, determined to isolate me from her child in my own home – to the point that she will no longer allow overnight visits and only allows him in the house when she thinks I am at work. My partner, did not tell her I no longer work full time and hasn’t for 2 years – she lives under the impression I have very limited contact with her child. (it wont last, although nearly 4 he has speech delay, but the day will come when he tells her I am home) Naturally I got peeved at this, how dare either of them try to control when I am in my own home!

    Then I decided, who cares what either of them do or say to each other? I love my partner, but he is an adult, as is she, and I will not carry the burden of guilt for both of them. So, I leave them to their petty games and emotional issues, whatever they will be. I have set VERY firm boundaries on my house and home and I only speak up when they are breached for whatever reason. I don’t care what the reason’s are – no exceptions or I sell up and move(the house is mine, although both our names are on the mortgage). This has worked so far.

    I grew up in 3 separate step families and know what it feels like from the childs point of view – therefore, I concern myself only with my stepsons wellbeing, and even then, only that which is in my control.

    My partner is slowly divorcing himself emotionally from his ex – it is harder for him than for me as it is his journey to deal with her.

    As for the ex? She still plays her games. Its infuriating to her that I respond to spite, abuse and manipulation with love, consideration for her mental welfare and more often than not, nonchalance. She is in my opinion, a fool, and why should I worry about what or how she stuffs up? She’s not the only mother with questionable parenting and social skills around – there are plenty out there.

    My partner says that at times I can be a condescending and patronizing bitch to the ex. Perhaps, that is a valid point. Do I care? NO!!!! Why should I worry about how she views my behaviour when no matter what I do, it will never be right, simply because she thinks I have what she wants?

    You cant concern yourself too much with the ex. You really do, have better things to do. Like living your life well, happy and healthy. Roll model how to live the ideal life for the ex. Maybe, one day, she’ll understand. Maybe not. Ask yourself, do you really NEED to care???

  21. I am the biological mother of four children who were taken from me by my ex-husband, after he openly declared that I would get nothing from him but the divorce. He proceeded to turn my children against me, and shortly afterward to make his new wife feel sorry for him so that she would take over the children and care for them as if she were their own mother.

    I tried for years to get along with her. I was nice to her. I extended olive branches frequently, thanking her for caring for the children and so on only to have my hand bitten off. She frequently spreads lies or half truths about me through the internet, and I know my kids see these things, and think they’re true. They take offense though if I say that it’s not true, because then I’m calling her a liar. The last straw was when she accused me of trying to starve my kids to death on a 3 hour visit where I gave my son the only thing I had in my purse to eat, and I didn’t have any money. She yelled at me, calling me names, and verbally assaulting me after I had just said a friendly hello.

    I finally gave up, and it was so nice to see this post that helps me not to feel so guilty that I finally gave up trying to get along with her. I did my best, but she is toxic and I can’t deal with her. My ex is just as toxic and they’re turning my children into them. I often feel hurt about this, but I deal with it the best I can and try to avoid them whenever possible.

  22. Hey all, I’m new to this blogging stuff, but I really need some advice from some other stepmothers/second wives… I met my fiance, I’ll refer to him as JT, 3 years ago and yes, it started up during a very confusing time. Basically, his wife, TT, had an affair during their marriage, asked him for an “open marriage” and then asked for a divorce after their daughter was 3 months old. Now of course I did not know all of this right off the bat… I was told at first by JT that him and his wife were seperated…come to find out a few days later when TT walked in the house and found us together…well lets just say it wasn’t pretty. Of course I was confused at that point and unsure of what to do exactly. I really liked JT from the start and I wasn’t sure what was going on in his mind. Well, anyway, after him and her had a heated discussion while I waited in the bedroom, she left and he assured me that their marriage was over as far as he was concerned. I guess a week after she asked for a divorce, their was a huge fight and she ended up packing most of her stuff and their 3 month old daughter and fled to her parents house… Naturally after years of this type of behavior, JT was finished.

    So I guess this all makes me the “other woman”. For months there was A LOT of obscene things going on between all of us. Things being posted on the internet, ridiculous lies and false accusations being thrown during the divorce process. Of course I wanted to remain in JT’s life and I helped him all the way through his nasty divorce and it was very trying to witness his depression not only from the divorce, but he was VERY limited with visitation to his daughter. For 8 whole months he was only allowed superivised visitations on Sundays for 4 hours! He had felt that TT was witholding their daughter simply because he no longer wanted to be with her and virtually he picked me over her. I can see how that would not sit well with any woman. However…

    While I can empathize and sympathize to the best of my abilities, it’s been 3 years now and I have found it increasingly difficult to communicate with the ex. She absolutely refuses to have any kind of interaction with me what so ever. I feel very sad and frustrated about this because caught in the middle of all of this is the most wonderful little girl who I have helped raise since she was 9 months old. We have a very close bond (not a mom bond, just a very good friend bond). I’ll call her AT. I have been very careful about over stepping my bounds as a “stepmother” type. I do love her so much and I consider her definitely family.

    Even though, JT and I aren’t technically married, I really feel this desire to get to experience certain things like family school events particulary and JT is very hesitant about my attendance to such events. This really frustrates me and makes me upset even though I know he doesn’t intend for me to feel that way. I understand that he worries what TT will do if she sees me attend a family school event. Who knows how awkward it would be, but I really want to go just for AT. I REALLY do want to get to take pictures and see her in performances with her friends and just get to experience something like that that makes her happy. I understand that it’s not about MY desires… I have no parental right to AT, but it’s just really hard especially when I have tried so many times to reconcile with her mom. I have apologized up the ying yang and I know that we don’t need to be friends, but I at least want to be civil enough that I can attend a couple school events! She just refuses to have anything to do with me and continues to blame me for the demise of her marriage. I have a lot of resentment too towards her though for not taking responsibility for her part in the divorce.

    Anyway, I know this is long, but this is just really difficult and I just need some advice about what to do… should I be able to attend school functions or bday parties or whatever? Maybe not all, but like 1 or 2? Is that so wrong of me to want that? Also, how do I deal with AT (who is almost 4) asking me to meet her mom? How do I respond to comments like “my mommy is mad at you”?

    It’s very hard to just accept that this woman refuses to even speak to me… I feel like I have to pretend I’m invisible at drop offs and when AT is at her moms house, she is not even allowed to speak my name! That is just so wrong! I have been in her childs life for 3 freakin years, obviously my continued presence is going to affect AT’s life… yet she just thinks that everything is none of my business.

    Any advice or comments would be helpful and appreciated, thank you for listening to this over due rant, lol.

  23. I totally feel your pain, and would also like to hear anyone’s advice on this subject as well. I have been a part of my SD life since 9 months old as well. BM refuses to deal with me in any way, even when it comes to stuff as far as the heath of her daughter…You could probably say SD and I have a great bond, as I’ve helped raise her basically…She’s 2 year old now. My husband and I have been married for a year and together for almost 3…

    “Of course I wanted to remain in JT’s life and I helped him all the way through his nasty divorce and it was very trying to witness his depression not only from the divorce, but he was VERY limited with visitation to his daughter. For 8 whole months he was only allowed superivised visitations on Sundays for 4 hours! He had felt that TT was witholding their daughter simply because he no longer wanted to be with her and virtually he picked me over her. I can see how that would not sit well with any woman.”

    –I know exactly how you feel…BM would only allow 1 hour every Wednesday for my husband to see/hold/spend time with his daughter…I never thought about the withholding thing until now…But I feel that’s what she was doing…My husband moved on because BM left him before they were even married, they were engaged, but she broke it off. I think there is some form of jealousy from both BM towards me and me towards her…I have no children with my husband yet, and somehow BM has something with my husband that will connect them forever.

    I too have tried to apologize for things, and try to be somewhat civil for the sake of my SD, but sometimes I feel like I’m talking to a brick wall…And that BM will never change. I’ve tried to ignore BM and her family, but it makes it hard to have a normal life when she’s always seeming to pop up in our life even when SD isn’t with us.

    “should I be able to attend school functions or bday parties or whatever? Maybe not all, but like 1 or 2? Is that so wrong of me to want that? Also, how do I deal with AT (who is almost 4) asking me to meet her mom? How do I respond to comments like “my mommy is mad at you”?”
    —-I would talk to JT and see if there can be something put into a parenting plan allowing everyone to come to school functions…That’s what we had done to prevent our BM from letting me and my family come watch SD in school plays/recitels stuff like that. As far as birthday parties, I would do seperate parties. We’ve done this for the past 2 years and honestly it works out better for my SD. That way there’s no drama, or the potential for you and TT to get into it in front of AT.

    Does JT have regular visitations? Has all of that been decided on through the divorce? Trust me it’s so much easier to get it all in writing and have a solid plan with EVERYTHING spelled out even who’s allowed to pick up and drop off at school. I was banned from BMs front door by her, but now I’m allowed to pick up my SD from BM’s house becasue of our parenting plan. It makes it a lot easier for holidays as well. Trust me I know it’s hard to want to be so involved with you SD life, but having a controling BM who basically hates your guts, it’s best to let her me miserable and you enjoy the time you spend with AT at your house. TT can’t control what you do on your time with AT….I’ve learned this the hard way too. And don’t let her control what goes on in your house. Tell her the important things she needs to know. Let your house be the fun house that AT loves coming to…You’ve tried so many times to make AT’s mom be civil to you….I would just give it more time, and maybe she’ll change. I feel for you because it seems like we’re dealing with the same BM almost.

    “It’s very hard to just accept that this woman refuses to even speak to me… I feel like I have to pretend I’m invisible at drop offs and when AT is at her moms house, she is not even allowed to speak my name! That is just so wrong! I have been in her childs life for 3 freakin years, obviously my continued presence is going to affect AT’s life… yet she just thinks that everything is none of my business.”
    —Again I know how you feel, everything that’s discussed with my husband and BM are between them…according to her….But the thing is this is my life too, and I have helped raise this little girl…I’m sure BM doesn’t like for my SD to speak my name in her home either, but the way I look at it is why do I care what goes on in BM’s house? I’m not a controling person and I could really care less about what’s going on there. I’m never allowed to speak to her either, and if I do I get something nasty back, so I just don’t talk to her anymore…She’s not worth my time. But I do feel bad for AT because she is the one this is going to affect the most and it’s not fair to her to have 2 people fight over her basically for her love when you both love her very much. I think there’s some jealousy there on your end too, and TT might see how wonderful your life is as a family and she knows that she’s missing out on that. You’re potraying a happy family and she’s hates that because maybe in some way she wishes that was still her, JT and AT….
    Hang in there I know it’s tough!! Definatly look if you have a parenting plan set in stone, you may want to get one done if you don’t or revise some things to allow you to be a part of ATs life, and not have to hide in the shadows. Look forward to hearing back from you!!

  24. Amber and Megan, we have a private Facebook page full of both moms and stepmoms who can support you and give great advice as well as a different perspective. Click on the link and then request to join :). https://www.facebook.com/groups/212073038865213

  25. Bridge Spiker says:

    I too have “broken up” with the BM, but I don’t know how the let go of all of the pent up anger!!! So much has happened and 5 years of constant crazy train shenanigans, I was quiet for most of the those years until I finally snapped! I know that none of what was said between us and finally blocking her from my FB and cell phone has helped, I want to just coexist for the sake of the SK’s. I do not EVER say anything about her in front of the SK’s….

  26. Thanks for the comment, Bridge. It’s difficult to not be angry after all those years, I’m sure. Try to remember that her reality is just that, it’s how she sees the world. That doesn’t mean it’s the truth about you or the world, but it’s true to her. And she’s allowed that reality. Sometimes when the gap between two people’s reality is SO large, it’s better just to walk away. Your stepchild will benefit more from you being peaceful and separate from her, than trying to make it work but being angry and spent. Good luck and take care of YOU. :)

  27. Downward Spiral says:

    How do I deal with the anxiety of being villainized/ sabotaged by the bio mom?
    1) When no one’s around and I’m home from work, I burn incense that smells great and open up all of our doors and windows.
    2) I listen to Jawbreaker (and Modest Mouse, RHCPeppers, and Genesis) really loud.
    3) I have imagined water boarding her on occasion…
    4) When she is in “attack mode,” and standing on our front porch screaming inaudible things through the locked double set of doors (which I had installed just to deter her), I relax knowing that she can no longer enter our house through the front entrance. (Yes, cops have been called; yet, she’s still walking around and breathing our same oxygen.) This last Thanksgiving was odd, for sure.
    5) I park my vehicle off of our property and out of sight frequently.
    6) I installed double keyed entry locks on the front and back door. They can only be opened with a key that stays with me all of the time.
    7) I lock the house down every night.
    8) I had new windows installed with wonderful latches and double panes. She can break one or all if she likes, chances are I will hear the breaking glass. I also obtained a permit and *protection.*
    9) When she drives up into our yard to scream threats, I know that there is usually a warrant for her arrest. I keep the local police and sheriff on speed dial. She doesn’t stick around to scream or do anything very long.
    10) When her girlfriend threatened me two days ago in the parking lot at my step-son’s baseball game, I did become afeared. The girlfriend is hella-large and very agressive and manly. I simply kept loading the car afterwards, and telling myself it would be over soon, and it was. There were witnesses anyway. Not much she can do in broad daylight with an audience around us.
    9) I am a county employee and protected by other people at work and in the parking lot. There’s no hope of her penetrating the boundaries there.
    10) I had our mail forwarded to the post office closer to my work.
    11) I reported her new address and provided an updated photo to the CarMart, RAC (Rent a Center,) and Aaron’s Rent a Center, and two of her previous landlords she’s been running from… that’s been trying to find her for 2 months. I also have the tow truck driver’s name & number…again, she won’t be hanging around our house very long to do much of anything.
    12) In three years, I never gave her or the kids my phone number. No hope of phone harrassment, see?
    13) All social media is set to impenetrable. LOL! Yes, I’m a chicken at heart.
    14) I deal with the pain of having two children hate me by smiling, cooking dinner, & making sure things get done. I do all that I can to keep myself together. Yes, sometimes I crack and defer to “water boarding” imagery.

    The bio mom is a hydrocodone addict. She’s transient, and only verbally aggressive. In 3 years, she’s never once done anything to me physically. She keeps the kids upset and hating everyone and despising the people that love and care for them the most (all family, even persons from her own.) Yes, she’s been through Quest, lost her job(s,) traded down in the lover ranks, and burned every bridge behind her. She’s growing tired and weary of being arrested and having to pay fines and deal with the legal stress.

    Still… I’ll never let her “in.” There’s not enough space here to describe the hell we all here experience because of her.

    Rock on, sisters!!

  28. Downward Spiral says:

    Note: on #1, I only do that when I know there’s no threat of doing so. I know her sleep schedule, travel times, and there are enough eyes and muscle on our farm that I know that she will only come around at certain times. Be advised that it’s good to know the habits of your predator.

  29. This article is fabulous! I started (way too early I might add) trying to be friends with my now husband’s ex very early on. I just wanted her to know that I was a good person and to start things off of a good note. Needless to say after almost three years, more stress than I could have ever imagined, late nights into early mornings of trying to figure this very difficult person out, and finally reaching out to make peace and leave the past in the past, only to have her berate me for basically existing, I let it all go. I wanted things to be peaceful and friendly, on a genuine and sincere, not a fake basis, for my two precious step-daughters, but that is not what she wants. So I have cut off communication and given my husband back the reigns entirely. He is not affected by her, so this works so well for us. I don’t have to worry anymore, my children have their mom 100% not stressed anymore and my husband does not have to listen to me try to analyze the situation anymore, which he is eternally grateful for, lol :) The best advice I can give to stepmoms is to let her come to you if and when she is ready. And if that never happens, it really is ok. My husband always says, ‘We have to be better and always strive to do the right thing for the children, always’…and yes moms, even when we don’t want to :) So each day we focus on what is the right thing to do, and allow that to guide our decisions, our behavior and the way we run our family, and our faith is what gives us the strength to persevere, the wisdom to know what to do with each approaching challenge. We have not perfected the system yet (ok, my husband is pretty close, and I am working diligently :) ) but we are stronger and happier today than ever, and that is after going through months and now years of the mud slinging that came from a very unhappy and mean woman. My husband says, ‘She can throw mud at our house, but we don’t have to open the door and let it in. Eventually the rain will wash it away and our family remains strong and unscathed.’ I am so blessed, he has kept me sane, and gave me the strenght to let go and walk away from the ex-wife and enjoy the amzaing life and family we have been blessed with. I feel better today than ever and have no guilt. I tried, for years…at some point, you are allowed to close the door…

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