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.


17 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!

    • You sound like such a strong woman. I feel like such a spoilt brat after reading your account. I’ve got it very easy compared to you and I still feel resentment. You sound very level headed and I’m sure good things will come for you. Stay strong.

  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.

  8. I feel so guilty for feeling like a dark cloud is coming over my life every time my step daughter visits. Yes I use the term visit because it is as if an alien has invaded my otherwise normal life. I hate and dread the moment I am once again confronted by an unruly child that basically has no raising. I am a single parent to a 24 year old graduate student I poured my life into. I was part of huge group of friends that did not yet have children. I always raised her to be courteous, seen but not heard and welcome to come around again. It’s really the worst experience and I am willing to walk away from the best relationship of my life to not have to live this way…..

  9. Make a list of what behaviors you want your spouse to change. Be very precise. Be very clear. Put your emotions on the shelf. And then present the list and demand each one of the changes to be made. Why is there so much fear about advocating for the specific behavioral changes that you want in your household. If you want homework done then tell your spouse that homework by the child will be done. If you want respect, tben figure out how respect should be shown and provide the detailed list to your spouse. If you didn’t want a relationship with somebody who is a parent, then you should not have dated someone who is a parent. On the other hand if you wanted a relationship with a responsible parent and you believe your spouse is not being responsible, then you need to lay it out in detail. In the long run all of the kids will learn that boundaries matter. Consequences matter too. Just be as detailed and unemotional as you can when presenting your list of actions. Because although this is a relationship it’s also just business. The business of growing a family and teaching young people how to become adults.

  10. I feel resentful toward my step daughter and her husband. We are used by them and it has become clear over the years that my husband would choose his daughter over me if I voiced my true feelings. I know this is true because of arguments we have had in the past. I used to care a great deal about my step daughter but she got involved in drugs and alcohol and we offered to help her get clean. Instead of being grateful for that, she treated me poorly and her father defended her. We have never been the same since, even though she has cleaned up her act. I am treated as if I don’t exist in my own home and I am sick of the friction it has caused. I would leave but unfortunately, I am in my late 60’s now and it would be financial suicide to leave. I do not like feeling this anger and resentment and I feel trapped. It is to the point that I don’t want her in my life at all.

  11. Yes this is all to familiar feeling
    I think the resentment stems from different core values I’m a mum of two older boys who are 27 and 25 both are young successful men who get on with their lives and I se them where possible
    I’m in a situation where for four years with my new partner we’ve had to deal with a toxic ex who shall we say is very different to me complete opposites I was working full time as support worker flogging myself as well as partner working hard she didn’t work as one of her kids has special needs now this person decided to up and abandon her kids in October 2017 and now I’m primary carer as my partner was higher wage earner and this was the only choice left I gave up my jobfor 14 year old who has SEN needs and 18 year old which goes to uni and has social disorders and other things going on this . I’m left picking up the pieces of it all my partner had to literally be told to help talk to his kids as parenting doesn’t come easy to him so I’ve got that to deal with two kids angry and grieving for the loss of their mum who by the way won’t give out her new address thinks everything revolves around her and her needs she’s seen them once before Christmas ! Has phone contact till she can get her act together! I could write a book on the stunts she’s pulled and now here we are resentful having two children that aren’t mine who are very different to how I would look after my two in past .. I have to becareful how I speak to them because of their needs I want to scream at having to clean up after them and the way they go on generally I’m caught between having to be a friend a step in mum and organiser of everything whilst having to keep having a discussion with my partner that he needs to step up with his kids I think he reluctantly parents them after all the trauma of his ex living with her for 18 years he’s got depression and anxiety due to this woman! Resentment is a word that just doesn’t cover how I feel but at end of day we are in a situation where we have to get on with our new life it’s just as well we have a strong relationship but at times I often feel like walking away myself I’ve had enough of the fall out drama this ex has created towards our life !! She is now living with a man who hates her kids so she’s dumped them to live with him but lied to the youngest about where she lives that she is at a secret address and when she feels better they can visit! 18 year old has cottoned on to the fantasy lie and at present wants nothing to do with her mum ! They only got to meet her near Christmas because me and my partner had contacted ex’s parents for the kids to visit! They took present for their grandparents ! And card all sorted by me I might add and the grandparents didn’t even want their own daughter (his ex) anywhere near their house case she caused trouble ! It’s not a good sign is it ? Anyways they got a few presents from their mum but nothing big the kids must of felt very hurt by this situation and by the constant hurt their mother and her tactics in the last year of pushing them away from her and putting a man above their needs then still being with this man and they are with us ! They don’t want to go back they are happy with us ! To stop resentment you need time for yourself as the nonbio parent boundaries and communication and house rules for new family ! And if you feel resentment rearing you have to talk about how you are feeling with your partner even if it cause upset your feelings have to be validated about what’s going on and what is not working for you !

  12. I feel trapped. I have no bio kids. Never wanted them. We can’t do anything for long periods or make a plan because of visitation. I used to take off whenever I wanted. I don’t care if people say I’m selfish. That’s why I didn’t want kids. When I married my husband it was under the premise we’d stay in the location where we met and got married. Then we moved to a horrible state to be near his kids, two of them only call when they need something. I get it. I married a guy with kids, but it isn’t what I signed up for. I miss my freedom. I feel so alone and like I can’t breathe. I hate this.

  13. I feel somehow reassured that I’m not the only one who feels this way. My stepson will be 19 in 2 months and has, so far, achieved nothing in his life. He came to live with me and my partner when he was 16 and I bent over backwards to transfer him from the college he was in whilst living with his mother, to a local college near us. I work at said college, so through my sheer determination and good relations with colleagues, I managed to drag him through his course.
    He then proceeded to do nothing. My partner seemed quite happy to let him do nothing. I told my partner that if this was the way things were going to be, that I was only prepared to pay one third of the bills and that he would have to make up the short fall from his son. This spurred my partner on to talk to his son about responsibilities and so on. My stepson’s reaction to this was to move back in his mother. I was so happy he was leaving.
    Unfortunately, it didn’t last long before he was on the phone to his dad wanting to move back in, which he did.
    This pattern has repeated itself 3 times in 3 years.
    Last April, my partner and I got pregnant. I was so looking forward to having my own child to focus on. Devastatingly, I lost my baby boy. He was stillborn at 38 weeks.
    My stepson is still living with us and does less than nothing. He doesn’t work, he doesn’t help out round the house and most days, he doesn’t get out of bed till my partner gets home from work at 4.30pm. My partner doesn’t care!
    I resent my stepson so much. He is living in my house; spending his days tucked up and warm in his bed with all his tech gadgets to keep him company; eating my food and leaving his dirty washing in my basket whilst my precious little boy is lying at the bottom of a freezing cold grave in the church up the road. It’s so unfair!
    I have asked my partner a thousand times to make his son sort himself out. I have pointed out that by not guiding his son into becoming a responsible adult, he is doing him more harm than good. I have explained to my partner exactly how I feel and yet, the situation persists. The problem is that my partner and I have very different ideas about parenting; he treats his son like his best mate but in doing so, he does not lead by example; he does not set good standards for his son to follow and his son just copies his dad’s bad habits and vices, believing them to be OK. I even think that they have a good laugh at my expense behind my back sometimes. I teach 16 to 19 year olds in college and sometimes have 30 to deal with at the same time. I love my job! I know a thing or two about what makes teenagers tick and I almost always manage to help them to make progress. In the classroom what I say goes, I’m in charge, if I wasn’t in control, I would have a riot on my hands. Unfortunately, this is not the case at home. I’m outnumbered by 2 men and I often feel uncomfortable in my own home.
    Enough is enough, I am now left with one last option, the one I really hoped I would not have to use. I love my partner dearly and would love to try for another baby with him but I just can’t deal with his stepson anymore. I am going to ask him to take his son away from me. I’m not going to ask him to choose because I fully understand that he will not pick me and I would never expect him to, but I need his son out of my life! He hurts my already broken head far too much.
    I have lost my own child and I’m going to end up losing the love of my life as well but I resent my stepson so much, it’s a price I’m prepared to pay. Plus, as my partner is still content in letting his son abuse my good nature and my bank account, it’s becoming very clear that he really can’t care about my feelings or care about how fragile I am due to the death of our baby, that I’m beginning to resent him too.
    All this negative feeling is so unhealthy and it’s preventing me from grieving for my baby boy, let alone trying to heal from my loss and get my life back on track.
    I will never, ever get into a relationship with a man who has kids again. At 42 years old and never married, it’s also looking like I’ll never have any kids of my own either. Oh well, I’ll just devote all of my love and attention to my 2 beautiful dogs instead!

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