Stepmothers, were you shocked to find that you have been ‘left out to dry?” If you have ever felt this way, this blog is for you:
“No one seems to care about what I feel. I planned this beautiful event and the stepkids did not come. Yet, they went to their mother’s event. I do all of this work, but no one seems to notice. I’m taken for granted and I’m tired of it.”
I feel like a piece of raw meat.
I am hanging from a string in a cold environment where anyone can slap me. My nerves are exposed. A mere touch sends me screaming into my pillow. Remember that scene in Rocky where he was punching the raw meat? Sometimes, I feel punched…by everyone.
All of a sudden, everything hurts. It is like every nerve is exposed. When you are raw, you hurt easily and you are on high alert for any action, word or facial expression that might touch a nerve. The thought of that resonating pain makes you fearful and a touch crazy. So, we (stepmothers) try to do everything right, to avoid the pain of our exposed nerves.
The more we try to hide our vulnerability, the more we live in a world of fear. We fear that our insecurities and our weaknesses will show. We fear our hurt feelings and broken hearts. We click into that win or lose mentality.
“Why is everyone ignoring my wishes? Why doesn’t anyone care? It’s them or me.”
Dr. Brene Brown wrote in her book, Daring Greatly:
“Vulnerability is not knowing victory or defeat, it’s understanding the necessity of both; it’s engaging. It’s being all in.”
Stepmothers are ‘all in’. We’re so ‘all in’ that the stress and fear of it has overcome our brains. This stress results in the blood moving away from our prefrontal cortex portion of our brains. Logical thinking weakens. The mind wants to focus on the part of our life that is out of control. Let me repeat that. The mind wants to focus on that part of our life that is out of control.
Now, every invite that is declined, every birthday that is missed and every greeting that isn’t given becomes a huge focal point. Every lack of acknowledgment holds intense meaning.
“They don’t like me. My heart is breaking because they didn’t come to my party.
The skids don’t want to come over. It’s because of me.
I didn’t get a gift for Mother’s Day. I feel so depressed.”
The real truth is that it is not about us. The rest of our family members are in their own worlds. It is our interpretation of what is happening and our sensitivity. It’s like our emotional system has been put into overdrive. Everything hurts….like those exposed raw nerves or a piece of raw meat.
Let’s take pride in our vulnerability and that we are ‘all in’. We’ll stoically keep hanging in there. Although we hate feeling weak and exposed, we recognize it for what it is: our minds focusing on that which feels unmanageable. These reactions are learned, but really have no meaning. We’ll close up our open wounds by continuing to do what we feel is right. We’ll stand in our own strength and courage while having tremendous faith in ourselves.