Category Archives: Resilience

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!”

 

 

4 Tips to Avoid the Summer Divorce Schedule Blues

Oh, boy!  The school year is ending and for many of us it means that the children’s schedules are changing.  We may have the kids for half the summer or camp schedules are starting.  First tip is to remember that every time there is a change, even if it is minor, it will get exaggerated… Continue Reading

My Resentment is All-Consuming

When you feel resentful, do you feel disappointed in yourself?  Feel as if you are a bad or selfish person?  If you feel any of these things, know that you are not alone.  Resentment is that feeling you have when you are doing something that you just don’t want to do or that you feel… Continue Reading

I Hate Feeling So Resentful!

Don’t you hate feeling resentment?  Resentment is that feeling of doing things that you just don’t want to do, yet feel obligated to do.  When I feel resentment, I feel as if I am being childish. I feel guilty and I feel bad about me.  Usually feelings of resentment center around thoughts that we have… Continue Reading

Stepmoms: Are We Too Harsh on the Ex?

Haven’t we all said it or thought it.  Here is the rant. That ex is insane! I mean it. Really insane. How can a mother treat her children that way? That ex is so mean to my partner.  She is completely unreasonable.  What the hell, Bitch? The question is whether or not we are being… Continue Reading

Stepmother Lament: I Will Always Be An Outsider

“This family makes me feel like an outsider. I do all this work and I am still an outsider. When will I ever feel like I belong?” It’s a common stepmother lament. We cook, clean, run errands, pick up kids, buy them clothes and, yet, we feel like a third wheel. It is just this… Continue Reading

Where Do I Draw the Line? I Am the Stepmother, After All!

One of the most annoying things about being a stepmother is that it brings hard subjects up. Often the thing that we don’t want to do, comes up in stepparenting. You know what I mean. Issues like: Drawing the line on issues like self respect, your role in the family and in life, how you… Continue Reading

Stepfamilies Are a Fertile Ground for Passive Aggressiveness

Passive aggressiveness runs rampant in our stepfamilies.  I hypothesize that there is a minimum of one family member who exhibits these behaviors.  Are you one of the passive aggressive family members?  Or, are you living with passive aggressive people who drive you insane? Passive aggressiveness is when someone is agreeing with someone, but really doesn’t… Continue Reading

A Stepmother Looks at Nelson Mandela’s Life

At the time of this writing, it is the day of Nelson Mandela’s funeral.  Nelson Mandela was the past president of South Africa and is credited with bringing the end of apartheid to that country.  Mr. Mandela spent 27 years in prison.  He entered prison at the age of 44 and was released when he… Continue Reading

Every Stepmother Needs a Cheat Sheat!

There are a thousand situations, but I thought it may be nice to have a cheat sheet for just a couple of the more common situations.  It’s a start!  Let’s face it.  There are rules for sports.  Rules at work.  Rules at school  What about rules for the stepfamily.  As I always say, “Stepfamilies are… Continue Reading