Stepmothers Wonder “Will I Be Abandoned?”

stepmother fears, stepmother, stepmom advice, stepmother help, divorce, remarriage
Stepmothers May Fear Abandonment

A common lament among all of us stepmothers is “When will this all end?” or “When will this get better?”  I ask myself that same question and I have reached a new conclusion.  I think it is us.  Stepmothers are a fragile tribe.  We are hard working and focused, but our hearts are easily broken.

Even as I write this line, I can feel the pain of my broken heart.  It feels as if I have been stabbed in the heart.  Do you know the feeling that I mean?  It feels as if your heart is deflating. I get those feelings when an innocent comment is made, but it means isolation to me.  Recently, I was at a graduation party where I overheard remarks being made.  The guests were talking about a stepmother who was attending the event, even though she was divorced from her husband.  The woman loved and adored her stepdaughter and wanted to support her.  Those around her seemed incredulous that she would attend.  I glanced over at her with great admiration.  I wanted to pull up a chair and just thank her.  I decided that was too weird.

I wondered.  If I divorced my husband, would I be invited to my children’s events?  I heard someone say, “It would totally be up to the children if they wanted their stepmother to be a part of their lives.”  When I heard these words, my world crashed in.  I guess I never even considered the idea that I would no longer be welcome.  I never considered the idea that I would no longer be loved.  My heart stopped beating.  I was crabby the rest of the evening.

My head was saying. “Let me get this straight.  After all of my hard work and love, I just get tossed aside.”  Even though I knew I was being ridiculous, the thoughts continued to swirl in my head.  I thought, “Why am I so obsessed with this thought?”  I knew that I was afraid. Then, I realized an embarrassing thought.  I don’t feel safe in my stepfamily.  By definition, stepmothers are replaceable.  After all, aren’t we replacements?  I could be replaced at any time, at any moment.  Or, I could be forgotten.  Tossed aside.

My heart was thinking, this previous paragraph sounds like the words of a heartsick young girl.  “Will that boy like me and go steady?  Will those cool group of girls let me into the sorority?”  In fact, the feelings are quite similar and are rooted in our childhoods.  It is about time that we let those inner children grieve and move on.  A therapist would say to write your anguish in a journal.  Let yourself cry.  Write a blog. (Ha ha!)   Comfort yourself.  Watch a great chick flick, wrapped in a blanket while eating ice cream.  Get over it.

Here is the bottom line.  Our heart breaks around pain that has been unresolved, most likely from our childhood experiences.  These unresolved issues, like abandonment or lack of attention, are the source of our brain’s thoughts. No need to believe those childhood thoughts.  We are all grown up.  At the same time, our families, friends or other tribes in which we belong, do not define us. It is our ability to react differently to an event that will save our broken heart. Don’t attach more meaning to them than is really there.  Will I be left alone?  It doesn’t matter.



6 Responses to Stepmothers Wonder “Will I Be Abandoned?”

  1. I think about this often. I’m a full time step-parent… my husband has custody of his children, so I do soooo much for them since they live with us full time. I’ve often told people that if my husband dies, I’ll suffer the death of three people… not only will he be gone, but the children will be taken away and go to their mother… or some other family member… highly doubtful will they stay with me and then what am I entitled to? visitation IF they let me… other than that? they’re just gone.

    • I can relate for the most part Heather. I do sooo much too for my step-son, and he lives here almost full-time, his mother is not very involved, but when she is involved, the problems seem to get worse for me. I know it’s true, we will never replace the real mother, I’m not wanting to, but I don’t want to always feel like the bad guy either. My step-son treats me so good when he is here for more than a week at a time. When he sees his mom regularly, the evil games begin. I’m the evil step-mom to him, and he shows no respect. It’s very aggrivating. I keep trying!

      • ITracy maybe you should tell everyone how you screwed up your 15 year old daughter by abandoning her for your new step son. How this is your 3rd marriage that is based on lies and deceit. You reap what you sew andI am laughing at you.

  2. OMG!!! I LOVE YOU!!! You hit the nail on the head!!! This was totally a Godsend to stumble onto your blog! Every single paragraph, every word I can relate!!! This is one of the happiest days of my life. I thought my marriage was over, doomed for complete failure, but now I know it isn’t. There are others out there who need to hear your words of encouragement. I am going to sread the chear around. My favorite line was Comfort yourself. Watch a great chick flick, wrapped in a blanket while eating ice cream. Get over it. THANK YOU from the bottom of my HEART!!!

  3. I have felt the same… I consider myself a stepmom despite the fact that my boyfriend and I aren’t married yet. We share custody of the boys, ages 13 and 15 and we live in my house.

    The biomom supposedly has moved on. I saw supposedly because despite the fact that she’s engaged and getting married she still makes remarks about what was. I know divorces are sad and very painful. I see pictures of my bf and how happy he was and it makes me sad to think how things fell apart… My biggest issue is that my bf doesn’t know if he wants more kids but I’m only 29 and I do at least want one. he told me that marrying me had a condition-that i wanted kids. I feel that he’s being unfair and selfish or maybe I am.. But nonetheless I was honest before we started dating 2.5 yrs ago.

    i fast forward to later on in life and if we are still together, what if the kids don’t want me in their life? After giving my all to them I might be left with nothing… No kids of my own. I feel sad and I’m truly trying to be patient with my bf but I’d like to know what’s next for us… Sometimes I feel like running away but I feel attached to them already.

  4. I wondered and it happened. Doesn’t seem to matter how much time, effort, and love you put into your relationship with your step children, they toss you aside in the end. Especially if they have moms and/or other family members influencing how and what they should feel for you. My stepkids are now 20 and 17 and I just feel totally numb to them and their hateful/deceitful ways. I still love them, but I let go of controlling any aspect of anything to do with them and stepped aside to let my husband take care of his children, whom he had full custody of. I have a 17 year old daughter and I have my hands full with her. I know this makes me sound like a bad mother, but I’m not. I’m just tapped out emotionally because they took and took from me, and I have nothing left to give.

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