Category Archives: Setting Boundaries

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!”

 

 

The Three Magic Words that will Save Your Stepfamily

Join us for our 2017 Stepmom Retreats! Stepfamily life is tough. The only thing that is tougher than blending the family is keeping your marriage intact.  Statistics vary from a 50% to 75% divorce rate in a marriage where there are children from a prior relationship.  Anyone who is a member of a stepfamily will… Continue Reading

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

The Stepmother Who Blames: Is That You? (Yup!)

Do you find yourself blaming others for your life situation? See if any of these ‘stepmother’ statements strike a chord with you: “These kids are a nightmare because their mother and father don’t discipline them. It is their fault. Our marriage is a nightmare because the ex tortures us. It is her fault. I cook,… Continue Reading

A Stepmother Asks “How Do I Stop Myself from Asking about the Ex-Wife?”

Do you ever find yourself asking your partner: “What did she/he say?” “No, really, tell me what happened.” “I don’t care what she does.” Next moment. “Tell me what she did.” Do you feel as if you can’t seem to stop yourself? Does it feel as if you are addicted? So, why are we talking… 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

Stepmother Boundaries. Is it the Ultimate Self-Care?

You have to be willing to take care of you, first. Dr. Maya Angelou said, “I have to be a ninny to ask someone else to take care of me, if I’m not willing to take care of myself.” Yet, isn’t that one of our core frustrations as a stepmother? No one seems willing to… Continue Reading