A Stepmother Wall! And The Family Will Pay For It!

stepmothers, mothers, stepmom, stepfamily, stepchildren, remarriage, divorce, parenting, gossip, ex, ex-wife, Stepfamily help, Barbara Goldberg
My Stepmother Wall has a long couch. I’m setting boundaries.

If you have ever been told that you do too much for others, this blog is for you.  Do you feel that you can’t say ‘no’ to people?  Are you sorry you said ‘yes’ and then resent it later?  Welcome to the club of people that know what it feels like to be used.  The motto of the club is that being ‘liked’ takes precedence over all other considerations.  It is like we are human Facebook pages.  We judge ourselves by how many ‘likes’ we have.  Instead of having a place to ‘click’ on us, we do favors for people and buy them stuff.  It is an unending search for love and acceptance.  I am exhausted just writing about it.

If you are also exhausted, it is time to build that wall around yourself.  That wall or boundary is going to teach others how you want to be treated.  You can let in those that show you respect and shut out those that do not. Only you have the keys to your wall. Once you become encased with your private barrier, you no longer have to answer immediately.  When requests come in for your time and resources, you can say things like, “Let me get back to you.  I’ll let you know.”  Now, you can breathe and think at your leisure.  Now, you can deal with the anxiety that is sure to arrive as you learn how to say ‘no’.  Now is your chance to watch as your true friends strengthen you and the fake ones leave.  Now, you can lessen the load!

You can decorate your wall.  It can be any color of your choosing. Any pattern.  Any image.  It can be plain. Your wall is built with your confidence and your happiness and joy.  Terms like “I have to” and “I don’t have the time” ring alarm bells within your private world.  When these alarms go off, there is a good probability that we are about to say yes to something that we do not want to do.  Or, worse yet, we are about to turn down something that we want to try.  Maybe, it’s time to do the opposite of our gut reaction.  “No thank you”.  “Yes, I’d like to try that.”

As you place each brick, the uncertainty will grow. Am I doing the right thing?  I’m scared.  I’ll be left all alone.  No one will like me. Time to take a hard look at the wall’s foundation.  It is built upon the lessons of childhood.  Parents. Teachers. Observations and interpretations.  All the stories that we were told and that we believed were right.  “Children are to be seen and not heard.  Do as you are told.  Listen to authority figures and do what they say.  You have to do things for people.  Good people do things for people and give them things.  If you give people things, they will like you.  If you say, “no”, you are not compliant.  You have to do what you are asked.  No = a message of dislike to the other person.” Actually, it just means “no”.  Are these lessons from your childhood a mantra for the future?  Have you changed? Are you exhausted?

Someone has to pay for the wall and it will be your family. They will have to adjust to the new ‘you’ who makes mindful choices.  The family may see you more often now.  They may see you reading, playing tennis or taking a private retreat.  “Who is that woman with the wall around her?” they may ask.  “It’s me!”



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