I Hate Feeling So Resentful!

stepmothers, mothers, stepmom, stepfamily, stepchildren, remarriage, divorce, parenting, gossip, ex, ex-wife, Stepfamily help, Barbara Goldberg
Stepmother Lament: Why Do I Feel This Resentment?

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 been taught are “bad”.  Maybe, you can relate to some of these:

“I really don’t look forward to my stepchildren’s time with us.”

“I don’t want to keep cleaning up after everyone.  The children don’t seem to have any responsibility, yet I have no say in how things are done around here.”

“I have enough to do.  Why can’t their parents deal with the children and leave me out of it?”

“Sometimes, I don’t like any of my family members.”

When you read the above feelings, you might think, “I would never admit to feeling like this.”  Can you relate?

If you can relate at all, I am willing to bet that you have only expressed these feelings to your best friend, if anyone at all.  After all, who would want anyone else to know that you are a “bad person”.  Who could possibly understand?  Your mind will answer and say, “No one will understand.”  The irony is that biological parents feel like this at times.  But, when a step parent feels that way, it seems to be especially heinous.

Here is one of the secrets of resentment.  Whenever any human feels that they have been treated unfairly, judged or wronged, we feel those emotions very deeply.  It is part of our human DNA.  When we hold onto our resentment and that resentment goes unexpressed, that resentment gets worse. Our feelings tend to grow roots and become more intense.  If human emotions are not released in a healthy, effective and timely way, those resentful thoughts ruminate in our minds.  Resentment becomes hard to shake.  In fact, resentment becomes stronger the longer it is ignored.  Like a parasite, resentment starts to feed on our negative emotions.  We start to see things from a very unbalanced perspective.  Every part of our life is seen through a veil of resentment.

We start seeing ourselves through this veil of resentment.  The anger emanating from the resentment starts getting pointed towards ourselves and not towards the person it was directed towards.  Why?  Many of us were taught that feelings like resentment were “bad” and so we bury them.  Anger starts to grow towards ourselves and towards our partners and their past.  “It’s true.  I am a bad person.”  Then, we wonder, “Maybe, this relationship is a failure.”

What you resist, persists.  As scary as it may sound, you have to start expressing these feelings and showing your vulnerable side to your partner, perhaps, the children and, perhaps, the ex.  Although we would be outside of our comfort zone, the way we communicate makes the difference.  Talk about how you feel.

“When no one does the dishes, it makes me feel as if I am the maid and not valued here.”

“I feel unloved when the kids are here and you allow them to be disrespectful to me.”

Give yourself and your partner the gift of forgiveness.  Don’t be so hard on yourself.  Lighten up on your partner and the children.  Everyone is doing the best they can at this particular time.  Forgiveness and resentment cannot live in the same space.  Your thoughts are just that…thoughts.  They do not define who you are.  The same goes for your partner.  Give each other some leeway.


**Note: This blog about resentment holds true but the advice may change for those of you that have a high conflict, narcissistic family member.


9 Responses to I Hate Feeling So Resentful!

  1. Resentment is precisely what you have highlighted, and a person very much DOES get to feeling particularly heinous and guilty. I think you hit the nail on the head with your article. I think giving things some leeway is a great idea, however, I often wonder when “letting something breathe” and allow something to go on for too long, might overlap. I am new to the world of pseudo-step parenting, as I am not married to my boyfriend yet. However, I read these articles about “Disneyland Dad’s” and “Uncle Dads” and I feel as if I am dating one of those guys. The particularly difficult sticking point is the lack of structure in his household with his children. I ask if they have homework and he begins to defend them as though he’s the oldest of all the children and why don’t I stop nagging them already. So, I begin to feel as though it is not my role to review their homework or be sure they’re teeth are brushed and then I feel very torn about just sitting idly by while grades are failing and teeth are rotting. After all, I don’t allow my own kids to go without doing homework, so why would I dismiss it in his children? But it seems in my method of “caring” for his children and desiring to have structure, he has found it to be very intrusive and I believe it will be the demise of our relationship. But a true partnership is one in which we respect each other, listen to each other, and try to view things from the others’ perspective. Allowing some breathing room is always a good idea, but sometimes it’s just not going to work.

  2. Resentment is something that took me a long time to accept. It is supposed to be ‘bad’ to be resentful, as though it is my fault I am resentful and I should be perfectly loving and accepting all the time. It is hard to care and be involved for years, only to have your partner and children seemingly not care. Well, in my case anyway. I have had to detach slowly from caring so much. I finally realised, I do not have a say. Like the commenter above, I came to realise my interference is not wanted even if it comes from a good place and is only going to benefit them. For a long time I was resentful, maybe I still am, but as you say in your post if it’s not addressed it just grows into something worse. Unfortunately responses to,“I feel unloved when the kids are here and you allow them to be disrespectful to me” result in ‘don’t be silly’ or ‘ you’re crazy’… so seeking understanding is not that easy.

  3. This is a great blog! I am finishing up a book that deals with the whole idea of blending a family. As a woman who married and blended a family, I can tell you firsthand about resentment! My step children spend every first and third weekend with us. Sometimes I don’t want to be bothered! Not because I have an issue with them, but I’ve worked hard all week and I’m tired! My daughter who lives with us may be with her dad for the weekend and I want a child free weekend! But noooooooooo, because my husband agreed to 1st and 3rd weekend his ex-wife pretty much tries to force it on us!

    I’ve had to learn not to get my “panties’ all in a bunch. It is what it is. I do what I do when I need a break and my daughter is at home. I go in my room and I close the door and relax. I let my husband deal with them! I was able to let go of resentment once I realized that my feelings were normal parental feelings and not that of an evil witch! Who cares what others think! If I’m tired I’m tired:)

  4. I’m very much in this situation. We have his 2 boys every other week. They have no structure, respect, or discipline. My husband wants me to perform the motherly duties and raise his kids; but if I try to set up guidelines, rules, fuss about grades and dish out restrictions, the tide quickly turns. I’m the bi*ch. Just last night, I was talking to the youngest one about school work. He is apparently missing 14 out of 16 assignments in one class. He has 3 F’s in his classes. He swears he has turned everything in and doesn’t know why his on-line grades are reflecting missing work. I tried to talk to him that he needs to communicate with his teacher and find out what is going on. I got the nasty stink-eye look and the “whatever” thrown out to me. I told him just to go sit with his dad, who was on the couch. Dad gives a roll of his eyes and a big huff over the situation. He doesn’t want to deal with his kids. He caters to them because he’s scared they will go live with mom full time. I dread it when it is the week’s they are to come here. I’m almost in tears and having panic attacks knowing the mess I have to pick up after them; the arguments we will go through; the nasty looks and disrespectful tones. I love my husband but I just don’t know if his kids are worth my sanity. I’m so tired.

    • I have been married less than 5 years. We each have two kids and one of his youngest and one of my youngest still live with us full time. They are less than a year apart and ones a boy ones a girl. My husband and I only fight about him not treating the kids the same… His kid does nothing but stay in the bedroom on the computer all the time and my child works and is in school activities. He treats his kid with kid gloves and never sees all the things his kid does bad but thinks my kid is immature. When my husband treats them different for the same thing and I bring it up he gets mad, leaves and won’t talk to me for days…threatens he can’t deal with it. My husband says people shouldn’t fight or bring up things because it does no good. Have been to counseling but he doesn’t tell the whole truth about what goes on. I don’t know what to do?????

  5. My husband and I married 2 years ago. He has 4 children. 3 of them live with us every other week for the full week. They are ages 11,13,15 and the 2 oldest are girls which are quite a bit more complicated than the 11 yr old son. Their mother became an alcoholic after the birth of her 3 rd child, then had a couple of affairs while in rehab, one of them with a registered sex offender, whom she left my husband for and continued to date for 3 more years. My husband gave her the equity in the home, and all the contents, along with the car and pays 100% for All the kids expenses along with several hundren dollars a month, all in exchange for the restraining order to keep the pedophile away from his children. His ex did not want the divorce and have now completely alienated his children from him so they act awful when they are in our home every other week. It is so sad. He is an incredible father and husband and is generally loved by everyone he has ever met other than his ex and the children. We are on a constant roller coaster every other week. The girls are very disrespectful and downright mean to him and each other most of the time. The stress has sent my fibromyalgia thru the roof and it has altered my entire being….we are in counseling and continue to pray we will find some common ground and solutions but it has taken a pretty big toll on our relationship. He works alot of hours so I am left with the bulk of the responsibilities for his kids and the household. I am tolerated barely by the kids but now the 13yr old has started to make it clear she doesn’t want me to speak to her since I am not her mother, unless of course she needs something from me. This journey is not for the faint of heart. I am grateful I have found this site and can learn from the experiences of you all!

  6. As a step mum of 10 years I have learned so much about myself. All of the above is overwhelmingly familiar to me. I have learned 3 values I have embraced over the years that have helped both myself and my husband.
    1. Be optimistic and positive about my ability to have power over all the situations in my life. Powerlessness breeds pessimism and a sense of failure.
    2. All decisions are made around the values my husband and I have chosen together to emulate in our home.
    So when there is an issue with one of our children it does not start with my emotional state but is this what we want for our child?and does it reflect the values we expect our children to live by whilst with us.
    3. Self care is most important in dealing with all the stresses feelings and thoughts that go with that. Self care looks different to all of us. I have alone time, good friends, and a counselor that I see when needed. I hope this is helpful to someone .

  7. I think resentment is really a powerful emotion especially among step mom’s… we resent the bio fathers favoritism of the kids, we resent the loyalty binds, we resent the ex and how she tears us down, we resent getting stuck doing things with little or no appreciation or gratefulness, we resent the step kids and the privilege’s they get yet us or our kids are left in the dust. Yet If I were to tear down their mom, I’d be looked at as wicked or mean. This is such a rotten life. I would never do it again.

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