Stepmoms: Always the outsider

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lonely stepmom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why do stepmoms often feel like such outsiders?

Because they are.

Non-stepmoms won’t understand this concept. But if you’re a stepmom you know exactly what I’m talking about.

 

  • The kids walk into the house and ignore you
  • You answer the phone and they say “Is dad there?” – No “Hi, how are you?”
  • You’re sitting on the couch next to your partner, but the kids only say goodnight to him
  • Your stepchild offers to get his dad a drink while in the kitchen, completely ignoring the fact that you might be thirsty too

You’ve never been so ignored and felt so insignificant in your life. Welcome to the stepfamily.

Why is this such a common occurrence in stepfamilies?

There are a couple of possible reasons:

  1. There’s a common conflict in step families. Blood bonds vs. love and/or marriage.
  2. Its unintentional; kids don’t even realize they’re doing it. And this I know from personal experience.

It’s true. I have a stepmom that I love. And I didn’t realize it until I was an adult, but I never included her. I would always call out for dad, address dad, ask for dad, and not even notice that I was ignoring her. If someone would have pointed it out to me, I’m sure I would have been shocked – as shocked as I was when I realized it as an adult, and I would have made more of an effort.

I’m sure it felt awfully personal to her, but it wasn’t.

And then there are bond conflicts.

There’s a natural tendency to reject what’s foreign. That’s why a person receiving a new organ has to be put on special medications – so their body doesn’t reject the foreign object (organ).

Same principle applies in stepfamilies, and it sucks. Your partner and his child pre-date your relationship with your partner. They have rituals and memories and inside jokes that don’t include you.

Home is supposed to be the one place you feel safe. The one place you can relax and let the worries of the world fall away. But that can’t happen when you feel like a stranger in your own home.  Ignored. Treated like a maid. Surrounded by draining, negative energy from kids that you didn’t birth.

Luckily, there are some things you can do to ease that feeling of isolation. 

  1. Stop feeling like a freak or thinking it’s your fault. Acknowledge that, unfortunately, it’s a normal occurrence in stepfamilies. It’s not personal. It’s not about you. 
  2. Your husband’s support is vital. He can’t force his kids to like you, but he can demand they treat you with respect (see #3). He can also verbalize his appreciation for you and show you in little ways that you matter to him and to the family.
  3. Create some house rules around common courtesy and basic manners (hi/bye/please/thank you).
  4. If the kids already have an active mom, even if you don’t agree with her parenting, focus more on being a wife and less on trying to “mother” your stepchildren. You can still nurture and show love, but remember that they already have a mom.
  5. Let the kids set the pace of the relationship. The harder you try to get love from them, the harder they’ll resist.  Let the relationships evolve naturally and remember it can take years to form a bond.
  6. Invite your friends or family over for holidays. You’ll feel like you have somebody on your team and will be more comfortable being yourself.
  7. Create a kid-free zone where you can escape from the awkwardness, decompress and recharge.
  8. Be your big, beautiful self. Don’t shrink because those around you treat you like you’re insignificant.

It’s easy to get your feelings hurt, but walking around with hurt feelings will only intensify Outsider Syndrome, because the way most of us behave when we’re hurt will only serve to increase separation – instead of leaving space for connection.

Focus more on your own life and other aspects of it, enjoying your marriage and friends and focus less on the kids. Chances are, as the years go by and they see that they’re not in competition with you and that you’re actually kinda cool, they’ll naturally start integrating you into their lives. But give it time. And remember that time in a stepfamily moves at a snail’s pace.

© 2012 Jenna Korf    All Rights Reserved

Need help getting clear on your role as a stepmom? Join me for the 2-week, online Intensive: Role-Clarity 


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42 thoughts on “Stepmoms: Always the outsider

  1. Hi Jenna,

    Buckeye BonusMom posted a link to you article “Five Ways to Make Your Marriage the Priority”. I read that, then this one. I can’t even believe how much these are hitting home with me right now! Now I want to read all of your articles!

    Thank you,
    Jessica

    • Hi Jess, thanks for the comment. I’m glad you’re finding my articles resonate with you. It helps to know you’re not alone in this difficult journey, doesn’t it? 🙂

  2. Jenny,
    Would it be inappropriate to say ‘i love you!?’ Thank you so much. Sometimes I feel so alone being a stepmother…
    Chris

  3. Oh my gosh ,I needed to find this site today! I have been feeling all these things, and now do not feel like I am defective… what a challenge step-parenting is, so many issues creep up, and I have been looking for resources to help me navigate being a stepmom. Thank you!

    • I
      am so happy I found this my husband is a Captain on the river he is only home 6 months out of the year,and when he is home his 28 dayss his 2 daughters ages 17 & 14 might come a total of 4 0r 6 days and yes they stay overnight ,but when they come he totally ignores me and doesnt even talk to me. I’m miseable the whole entire time that they are here,then we get in heated arguments when they leave because of the way he treats me….any suggestions?

  4. Thank you Jenna and all of the step-Mom’s and soon to be step-Mom’s out there. Everything you are saying is resounding with me and it’s such an incredible feeling to not be alone in this!

  5. Hi Jenna,it makes me find same peace when I read what you have wrote,I’m now 27 years old,I have 2 stepkids,and a wonderful husband,My husband is the most understanding guy ever,but his kids not so,they are now 18 and 15,I’m with their father 7 years.I have to say they it is not easy raising stepkids,they can be a nighmare,I have had the hardest 7 years in my life with them,I’m a people pleaser,and I have had troubles because of allowing other take advantage of me,and my stepkids never acknowleged me,I hate being with them cause they never give me any love or care and seem 2 gossip,bad mouth and hurt me,they no long stayu with us,but still manage 2 try their faulty ways 2 hurt us,but we are now much happier

  6. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine my step kids turning against me. Well, their mother turned them against me. Her insecurity of them liking me more frightened her. She doesn’t even care about the fact that her children are suffering too. We all feel awkward in my home when they are here every other week. Thank God I never did that to my kids and their stepmom. We all get along well.

  7. My situation is alittle different, my husband and son BOTH treat me like an outcast. They make negative comments about me (that I can overhear), they make degrading comments about me, they ignore me most of the time. If I say something trying to be funny, they look at me like it was the dumest thing they ever heard, but if one of them makes a joke or comment they both laugh liek crazy. I work a full time job with 12 hours shift work and still do most of the big chores cleaning and yard work. They will lay around on the couch or even just sit and watch will I do hard labor jobs. I am quite frankly fed up and getting no support when I try to tell me husband how this makes me feel. When it is the two of us he treats me much better, but when his son is around he almost goes out of his way to make me feel unimportant and out me down. Any ideas>??

    • Outcast, I’m so sorry to read what you’ve written. I would venture that perhaps there is more going on with your marriage if your husband treats you so badly when his son is around. That’s just disrespectful. How can your stepson be respectful when his own father treats you that way??Have you considered telling him how his behavior makes you feel and asking him to stop? Or would he perhaps be open to some couples counseling? My husband is my biggest champion and supporter, so I would be broken if my husband treated me how you described. That type of behavior wears the marriage down significantly.

      • I have been very forthright with my feelings and said that I feel that he values his relationship with his son but not our marital relationship. He puts his son on a pedestal and I am treated awful. I used to adore his son but this behavior has built a huge amount of resentment. His son is 22 and pays for nothing while my husband makes sure I cover 50% of all the bills. I asked why his son is allowed to live with us “free” as an adult while I am always responsible for 1/2. His response is that he is a good kid and going to college, he can spend money and have responsibilities the rest of his adult life… But this is the time in his life to enjoy! This is detrimental to the an also as I feel it does not prepare him at all to be an independent adult. I follow the recommendations of Dave Ramsey, but my hubby does not. Other than our disagreements about his son, oddly our marriage is solid!

        • Outcast, I hate to say it, but as long as you *allow* yourself to be treated this way, it will continue. There’s nothing wrong with letting your husband know that you won’t subject yourself to this treatment and that you’ll simply leave the room or house when it starts. The respect has to start with yourself.
          Same goes with the financials. If you’re not comfortable paying for 1/2 of everything, then don’t. If your husband doesn’t like it or isn’t willing to listen to your concerns, then the marriage has problems that need to be addressed. The problem is not YOU. It’s the behaviors occurring. Good luck. xo

        • Oh Outcast, I know you say the rest of your marriage is solid, other than disagreements about his son, but I would think your marriage overall cannot be solid if that is how your husband treats you. You said yourself that you don’t feel he values your marital relationship. That comment alone indicates to me that there is something terribly wrong. Any man who disrespects you like that and does not value you as his wife and partner cannot have a solid relationship with you. I would venture a guess that your stepson is really a lesser problem. Could you consider getting some outside help? It’s one thing to have your stepkids act disrespectfully or be rude to you. It’s a whole different story when your husband does it and condones the child doing it too. I’m so sorry you are experiencing this.

      • Oh I know how this is. My step kids 15 and 18 just spent a week here telling us how we suck, our choices suck and always treating me like furniture. They act like my six year old is a dog that should be kept on a leash and that she’s favored not that she’s six. My husband has picked up this habit of fitting in with my stepson who is constantly trying to prove his penis is larger than his father plus all three of them are selfish. It is jus so overwhelming. And because we are nice people, we end up feeling like we are the bad guy for having hurt feelings.

  8. Thank yo CK and Jenna. I agree with everything you have said. This past week, I have really been firm about what I will and will not tolerate and although we have never “fought” my husband and I had a very open, and heated conversation about all these concerns. I hope it lasts because since the “discussion” his attitude as well as the bonus sons attitude have really changed. I usually eat alone in the evenings and they are now sitting down WITH me and turning the TV off so we can talk and have family time. Instead of them watching golf/basketball etc all day long they are contributing with more household duties. I REALLY pray that this change is something that will be lasting and not just a knee jerk reaction to our conversation. Thank you for giving me the push I needed to stand my ground. Husband has also agreed to pay for more than 50% since her and his son “consume” 2/3 of our household. :o) I know my husband is a great man, he just lost focus of how badly he had been treating me. Having been single for 14 years, after leaving a physically abusive marriage, the problems we were having seemed insignificant in comparison, but I needed to accept the fact it was not OK. Thank you again!

  9. I’m glad I found this article, as it makes me feel less alone in this situation. I’m afraid it doesn’t make me feel better, though. My husband and I have been married for 3 years, together for 8. My children are adults and do not live with us. We have my husband’s 12 year-old son every weekend. My step-son will barely speak to me, will not ask me questions directly, but instead uses his dad as an “interpreter”, will not let us have even a 3 minute coversation without interrupting with anything he can think of, and does not include me in any questions or conversations. He is never rude or unpleasant, just quietly and passively blocking my existence. My husband continually corrects him, but it just never improves. I make sure to leave them plenty of one-on-one time, but then end up feeling lonely and resentful by the end of almost every weekend. I’ve selfishly asked if we could have one childfree weekend every 4-5 weeks, just to be able to enjoy each others company on our days off, but this has gone unresolved. I, too, spend my weekends feeling like an outsider, even though I try to fill my schedule with activities with friends or outside exercise. I catch myself being nit-picky or a little harsh and I’m feeling more and more like the evil-step mom, as the resentment grows. I know I can’t change the way his mother and father are raising him, but I need a better way for me to handle it, for my own sanity.

    • Hi Robin, it sounds like your husband is trying, but failing here. He’s constantly correcting his son, but does he enforce consequences? It doesn’t sound like it, or else his son should have learned by now. Interrupting is not okay. It’s a power play. You and your husband also need some alone time, even on when his son is there. Planning 30 minutes alone together connecting could make a big difference for you. I would, however, be thankful that he isn’t rude or unpleasant to you. If he’s ignoring you he may just not have figured out how to relate to you yet. I recommend some one-on-one time for you and him doing something. Anything that would be fun for him, even if you don’t talk during it – and it can something that only takes 5 minutes. Driving him to/from school, cooking a meal, playing a game – whatever he’s into. It will help start the bonding process between you two.

      • Another thing similar, my stepkids get open ended threats… your not going to basketball. But if he doesn’t go you let the team down so that never happens. My 15 yr old stepson can mock and be rude. But my son 9 was rude before vacation and my husband took away thee iPad and computer for three days. Fine, I want my son to be the better person but do you think the 9 yr old doesn’t see that the older two can do whatever with no consequence. He’s going to end up thinking he’s hated.

    • You are not alone. Nased on your description, it’s almost like you just spent a weekend living my life.

  10. This completely hits home. I have been with my husband for 4 years now and we both had 1 kids getting together. I don’t allow my daughter (8yo) to disrespect him in anyway but he constantly lets his son (6yo) be rude and disrespectful. He often asks something I give an answer and he will ask his dad because he didn’t like my answer or we will try to get my younger daughter (3yo) to be rude and disrespectful. I tell my husband about it and he gets mad and shrugs it off. Then I’m the bad one when. It hits the weekends that we have his son and I have an attitude. I’m just tired of dealing with it. I just feel as it disrupts everything.

    • Hi Julie, when a child and parent align themselves against the other parent that’s called a “cross-generational coalition” and can be very damaging to the marriage. I’m sure your husband doesn’t realize the damage it’s doing and probably doesn’t even realize that it’s happening. Hopefully you can find a way to come together as a couple – maybe with some couple’s coaching/counseling?

  11. My wife and I have been married a year and a half. She has 2 girls; 10 and 13. I love both of them and they love me. We are a same sex couple and the girls are accepting and loving. Spanish is my wife’s first language, so she often speaks to the kids in Spanish. I only know a little Spanish, so I don’t know what is happening the majority of the time. I feel like a complete outsider most of the time and sometimes the kids ask her to speak English. This is obviously frustrating to me and my wife just says I need to learn Spanish. Another issue is, the kids come first in everything. I can’t even say anything that might seem negative about them, otherwise my wife treats me like crap and stops taking to me. She expects me to wake them up while she is at work for school, but if I ten on the light because they are no getting up, it’s not acceptable. If the girls are doing something I think they shouldn’t do and I ask her about it, she is sarcastic and rude. Recently the 13 year old has a jr high ball coming up and my wife said she didn’t like any of the dresses. She took her and found a dress that costs $130.00. I said, I hope you kept the tags to return it because that’s a lot of money for something she will wear only once! Of course my wife heard something completely different and wouldn’t talk to me for 2 days, claiming she isn’t mad. I try really hard to not resent the kids because I know it’s not their fault. But most of the time I just don’t want anything to do with them because I can’t do anything right Wehrmacht it comes to them. I’m feeling depressed and overwhelmed by the constant feeling of not being good enough. Anyway, just needed to vent.

  12. Thanks you, thank you, thank you. You said everything that I’m feeling and I feel so insignificant and lonely. He dosent get it, he dosent understand. He understand how his children feel but not hiw I feel. We said we knew it would be hard. But he don’t get the pain and tears. Thank you for helping me in this space see I’m not selfish are crazy

  13. Thank you for this arcticle, it really hits home. My husband and i have been together for 7 years. He has a, now, 13 year old son, and we have 2 children together (ages 3 and 1). My relationship with my step son has always been a point of conflict between my husband and i. My ss avoids me until his father comes home and really only comes to me if he thinks he is going to get something (which hurts my feelings in itself). My husband thinks the relationship is unhealthy and it upsets him. He thinks it is my responsiblity as the adult to create a better relationship with my ss. I have tried, and nothing changes. I have even grown to dread the week we have my ss, because of how his father treats me. I feel like if he wants the relationship to be differant, he should get involved. How can i tell him that he (my husband) is actually the one that makes things so much more uncomfortable by alienating me the week we have my ss?

  14. Jenna, I literally sat at work and read through your blogs all day. I’ve been reading Brene Brown books and one of the many things I’ve learned is that I’m never alone in whatever struggle I’m experiencing. SO, I took to google and typed in “struggling with being a stepmom.” Reading through your blogs and hearing from the women brave enough to share their story really helped me to feel better about what I’ve been struggling with in silence.

    My partner and I have been together for a little over a year. My “step” daughter was 11 when I entered the scene. I moved in after four months of dating and all three of us agree to this day that it was way too soon. As adults, I believe my partner and I were trying to feed our lonely bug and didn’t really think it through properly. Needless to say, we’re not married and I’m the third woman to live here in the six years they’ve lived here. With that in mind, it took me awhile to adjust… and I’m still adjusting.

    I never wanted to date someone with kids because of everything discussed here and in your other blogs. I’ve always wanted a family of my own. I’m a teacher and for the past 12 years I’ve always had to deal with someone else’s kid. I can’t tell you a number of times I saw more, or quite frankly less, in a child than their own parent did. Or got children to comply in ways their parents could not. Or build connections in a way parents could not. I always felt like I’d be a great mom, but it wasn’t a role I was willing to share with anyone other than my partner or spouse. I simply didn’t want the ready made family or the ex drama.

    Last year, however, at 32, I found myself feeling lonely, vulnerable, and mad with the world. My friends ALL had children and families of their own and everyone I was meeting had at least one child. I figured it was time to just bite the bullet and cross ‘no children’ off of my list of dating requirements, in other words, I unchecked the “No kids” box on my dating site. LOL…
    Whoa did that open up the flood gates! I met and started dating someone I really liked and when the kid bomb was dropped, I handled it with as much grace as possible. I tried to look at it as I can be an asset. I figured I’m a great teacher and I love kids! This should be easy!

    Fast forward, it has been an emotional disaster for me. She’s the student that I usually wouldn’t like. Spoiled, always in “adult business” as they say here in the south, and way too opinionated for a 12-year-old. From day one she reminded me of every student I’ve had who were masters of manipulation. Spoiled and whiny students have always been my least favorite and here it was unfolding in my household. In my classroom, I feel like I’m in the proper position to correct such behaviors and set clear expectations, but at home I feel powerless. I’m constantly scared to say the wrong thing in fear of things ballooning out of control with other family members (she’s an only child and only grandchild, so she gets doted on A LOT). When I come home my patience is worn thin and I hate having to hear the whining especially when we are literally the same size (height & weight).

    I feel mad with myself for being so annoyed. I especially feel bad because I’ve been able to make a connection with 12 years worth of children and can’t seem to make a connection with the child in my own home. The other day my partner said I’m not loving enough because I don’t initiate hugs and I probably don’t like kids. That hurt. I don’t feel comfortable doing that when she is my size. A 4 – year old, sure, but if it’s not initiated by the ‘grown looking’ kid, I don’t feel comfortable. Even at work!

    She’s shared that she feels excluded, but she is always in everything!! I grew up as an only child as well so I make a valiant effort to ensure she is included. Conversations, trips, out and about you name it and she’s right in the middle! Things the bio wasn’t willing to include her in. It would almost be physically impossible to include her in more things, yet it still isn’t enough. This makes me feel like the only remedy is for me to leave and let her have her space back. It causes me way more anxiety than it should.

    Worse yet, my partner and I argue about it all the time. The sentiment is that I should take the reigns in letting her know that I can’t take her place. I don’t feel like the ownness on such a convo should be on me… but maybe I’m wrong. My partner feels like since I’m a teacher this should be a cake walk, but it’s just not. I also feel like some of the blockages in between my ‘step’ daughter and I come from the bio’s controlling personality. Everything I try in order to build a relationship is trumped with the “oh I can do that for you, you don’t have to ask anyone else” kind of attitude. I pull back as a result, but then I’m accused of being distant. I just don’t know what to do or how to find the happy medium!!

    I’d love to hear your thoughts.

    • Hi Steppingstone, first, I can’t tell you how many teachers I’ve coached who have the same struggles as you. It seems that being a teacher doesn’t make being a stepmom any easier. 😉 If anything, your expectations were probably pretty high as far as how well you’d be able to handle this. But it’s really not YOU, it’s the nature of stepfamilies, they are inherently difficult. Before addressing your stepdaughter, I’d get really clear with your partner what your role is. You said something about not taking her place, if you’re going to have that conversation with her, you need to be able to tell what you ARE here for, what your purpose is in regards to her, so I’d have a conversation with your partner and get on the same page about that first. Then you could have that conversation with her, or you and your partner could both have it with her. You also don’t need to be affectionate towards her to have a close relationship. I totally get that she’s the “kid you don’t like.” I mean, really no one (but their parents) likes spoiled kids. But you can create boundaries with her. As a teacher, have you heard of Love & Logic parenting? You can use their tools to help you get closer to her and create behaviors that are more appealing. Such as “I’m ready to make brownies with you as soon as you’re done whining.” You can maybe take one step towards doing something special with her every now and then to help ease her feeling of being left out – even though she’s actually involved in everything. My guess is it’s probably more that she can sense your dislike of her and that feels awful. We all just want to be liked and accepted as we are, right? 😉 Anyways, I hope that helps or is at least a start for you. If you’d like continued help and support, you should consider joining the Stepmom Revolution community. That’s the most affordable way to continue working with me and to have the support of other stepmoms too. 🙂 http://www.stepmomhelp.com/fees-and-services/stepmom-revolution/

    • I just want to add that it can take years to feel like an “insider.” And any sort of trying to rush it usually backfires. But when you’re alone with the child, you do naturally, although temporarily, become the insider, so if you can find some activities to do just one-on-one with her, that will be helpful for your relationship. It doesn’t have to be a lot or for a long time, even 10 minutes in a day will serve to help you bond over time. And don’t be afraid to use the love and logic tools – it’s OK to not want to listen to her whine or be bratty. You just want to make sure you’re not coming on too strong and that you’re kind when you use the tools and are creating boundaries. 🙂

    • I would love to chat with you. I’m finding myself in your exact position. Maybe we can help each other through this?

  15. Great article! However, I disagree with one point. I think by the time a child is 10 for example, they know exactly how they are treating someone. They have a sense of kindness and using manners by that age. They also have a sense of the opposite behavior.

    • Hi Tara, it’s not really about not knowing how they’re treating someone. It’s not about them having bad manners either. It’s about the stepfamily dynamic and certain aspects of that not entering their consciousness. I can tell you that this is true, because I lived it. I was a polite, friendly kid. AND, I never went to my stepmom first. I never called out her name first. It was always, dad dad dad. It had nothing to do with me not having manners. It had to do with the fact that I couldn’t have known how that felt to her b/c it never entered my consciousness. Kids generally go to the biological parent. And kids are self-centered, teens are too – developmentally that’s just true. If someone would have pointed it out to me, I would have been able to recognize it and probably would have felt awful. But that didn’t happen. So it’s not always about not having manners. 🙂

  16. Hi Jenna,

    Very well written, you describe a lot of things that I have to dealt with today and in the past.

    It is so confusing to be a stepmom! I have been reading so much that we should put our relationship as a first priority but my husband says from time to time the kids are his priority. Lately they have been staying here more and more and this just messes up with my feelings. I love his kids but lately I have no desire to interact with them, just the necessary like – brush your teeth, dinner is ready, clean your room… no bonding activities, even the tv shows we used to watch together they lost interest… Mixed with the feeling that all in my house for the kids you know, and they are not the only ones to blame, our 2 year old is so demanding (its 4 kids under 11 all together). Its just a weird feeling sometimes. I don’t feel like being affectionate to the kids when their dad is around, only when he is not home. i have no idea what they really feel towards me specially, when their dad is here, and just recently got over that i am in their way, and at the same time I feel relief for isolating myself because I try not to care – I am tired of caring so much and it feels its for nothing!

    Thanks for reading a bit of my story,
    Wishing you all the best

  17. Hi jenna
    Being a stepmom is the hardest thing i have ever done
    I have 2 step kids that treat me like a piss of shit but i love them because you can’t love a man without loving his seed The first is almost 18 years of age he beat me up at any giving opportunity. 5 days after i Marrried his father he Saïd the reason only his father married is for me be cleaning cooking and taking of the dog. I always find shit in his pant when i want to wash them. For Months now he had never spoken any word to me. When he’s going to bed he tell his father goodnight but Will never say anything to me. If i Cook and he like it instead of telling me or asking me for the recipe he Goes to his fahter to ask him and he Will come to me to ask. hmmm i have to make rules but my husband doesn’t want rules anytime there’s an argument or flight between us i Megan my husband Son then my husband stop talking to me for days then i am all alone i don’t have friends heer becuase i moved from belgium to be with him sometimes i feel my husband hate me with way he react when we are not in good terms. I need your advice i am really really lonely

    • Hi Faith, first of all, loving your husband does NOT mean automatically loving his children. Love in these situations takes a LONG time to grow, and sometimes that never happens. Which is fine too. I recommend you back away from your husband’s children until they show a basic level of respect to you. That doesn’t have to mean talking to you all the time, but it means not insulting you, not saying mean things to you, etc… And I would definitely stop washing clothes for an 18 year old. He needs to know how to do that himself. You are NOT a maid or housekeeper. I taught my stepson how to do his laundry when he was 11 and he’s been doing it himself ever since. 🙂 It ruins your self-esteem when you keep providing nice things for someone who treats you so poorly. It’s unnecessary. I would also highly recommend you make a great effort to do hobbies and activities you love – outside of the family, and find friends in your local area. I know that can be difficult, try meetup.com to find people in your area with similar interests. 🙂 It will also help to increase your self-esteem. 🙂

  18. My 30 year old step son totally ignores our three year old. He doesn’t come over often but when he does he won’t even say hello or goodbye and my toddler has reached the age he is starting to notice.

    I don’t know what to do. Stepson says he doesn’t like children.

    We could teach him to be more respectful but I am beginning to think I just keep him away from my stepson.

  19. Step Moms: Always the outsider describes my life to a T! Reading the comments here and realizing I’m not the only one going through this offers some comfort. Feeling “invisible” in your own home is horrible. Expressing this to loved ones and having your feelings dismissed is even worse. I never knew how difficult this would all be.

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