My Resentment is All-Consuming

Resentment, stepmothers, mothers, stepmom, stepfamily, stepchildren, remarriage, divorce, parenting, gossip, ex, ex-wife, Stepfamily help, Barbara Goldberg
Resentment is like that chocolate cake that you can’t stop eating.

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 unappreciated doing.  What makes resentment even worse is that we are not supposed to feel it.

To make matters even worse, resentment is married to its evil mentor called ‘the need to please’.  Do you find it difficult to say ‘no’?  Do you feel as if you are obligated to do whatever is asked of you? (Not illegal things, just favors!)  The need to please is the perfect precursor to a life of resentment.

Will you pick up the kids?  Yes.
Will you take care of the kids while I’m at work?  Yes.
Will you have dinner ready?  Yes.
Can you help the kids with their homework?  Yes.
Will you take the kids to the doctor?  Yes
Will you agree with me that the ex is a bad mom?  Yes.

Oh!  AND BY THE WAY….You have no say in the raising of the children.  Okay.
Your income is included in calculating child support.  Okay.
The children have to come first, then my job and then you.  Okay.
I really don’t want to discipline the kids when they are with us because I am afraid they won’t want to visit.  Okay.

OH! AND BY THE WAY….If I say that I don’t want to do any of these things, my partner will think that…
I don’t love the kids.
I am selfish.
I think only of myself and/or my kids.
I don’t love him/her.
I fear that he/she will leave me and I will be alone the rest of my life.  I will be a failure.


Is that true?  Doesn’t it always come down to a feeling of lower worth?  Perhaps, that complicated feeling of resentment comes down to one simple perception:  our own value.

I know it sounds like a cliché.  If you don’t love and respect yourself, no one else will.  Love and respect does not come from saying yes, yes, yes.  It comes from pure honest answers that comes from your pure honest self.  If this blog resonates with you and you want to change your circumstances, start with an honest conversation.  Once you are clear with what you want and what you are happy to do, express your thoughts to your partner.  Make an appointment to talk.  Pick a quiet, calm time.  Be sure to explain the ‘why’ behind your decisions in a fact-based way.  Here is an example.

“As you know, I am an introverted person.  I need a certain amount of alone time.  I find our big family to be very draining for me.  I need time to rejuvenate to be my best self.  I’ve said ‘yes’ to doing too much.  I’d like to make adjustments.”

It is scary and, yet, you will find that being honest will free you. Yes. Free at last!  Free at last!

20 Responses to My Resentment is All-Consuming

  1. This sounds so familiar. BM tells kids they don’t have to listen to me. Kids are hateful, and husband won’t tell them to be respectful to me. I don’t feel that it’s fair expect me to watch kids that I can’t discipline.

    • This is my life but my husband has joint custody a week on a week off. His schedules has him home after bed time two nights a week. I know it may not seem like a lot but my step daughter is 8 not and I have been with her since she was 2 so you would think it would be good to go right…. NO her mom told her I am the helper mom.. I have been told I can not discipline or when I do have a consequence for bad choices I am told I pay to close attention and see every little thing and expecting too much from her. Now that has all been for the last 3 years.. SO I am sitting her at my office job since 1:00 am crying my eyes out because my husband will not try anything and now I am the nag, rude, and one who wants to fight with him about her. He says I hurt his feelings when I suggested that my step daughter stay with her mom on the nights he works late. His daughter only misbehaves at school on the two days that she knows she will be with me. I am not making this up. My sister and niece have watched her be disrespectful to me and my husband says he never sees it. I have a son who is 23 and I have been married before so I have experience with being the step mom… I don’t think I know everything BUT I do know what helped and what did not before… I am losing my husband and I am a wreck right now..I know that I love my marriage and my husband and step daughter and I know it will take time with her but what about my husband? He told me he would rather not come home to me because I tell him about the struggles his daughter had and he thinks I am just being mean.. So I guess I am suppose to not care, but how can I do that when she lives with us a week on and a week off… I feel like I am going to have an extreme anxiety attack… Help anyone

      • I would suggest to just put your foot down. If we have my husband’s girls over a break where he needs to work and they are in my care, we always try to do something girly and fun together. Maybe try something like that, let her do your makeup before bedtime, or paint your nails or just something fun. I’m assuming theirs some badmouthing on bio moms end, prove to that little girl that you are not evil, and that you care about her! Anyway If they are disrespectful I discipline. It’s my house, and if I’m expected to watch them well then guess what your just going to have to deal with me not tolerating disrespectfulness. There was a point in time where I thought one of his girls was going to be the end of our marriage. He babied her so much, it was annoying, and she was a brat! She got away with literally everything. I brought it up multiple times, and still have to bring it up occasionally, but me being truthful and not allowing my husband or his girls to walk all over me and take advantage of free babysitting services was the best thing! Imo him allowing her to be disrespectful towards you is equivalent to him disrespecting your marriage. Maybe you need to sit down with both parents and discuss the issues, if neither one is on board then maybe you need to do some serious reconsidering. I would mention that your not her parent and you shouldn’t have to take of issues like that, but if you help take care of her you should at least be able to nip the disrespectful attitude.

        • I agree a lot with Tara’s response. Also, most men are not good communicators so when you try to talk to him about, his natural response is to be defensive. Therefore, you need to be PROACTIVE. Don’t wait for permission from him, the bio mom or the daughter. I agree that you should try to do some fun things with daughter. And, yes, you should gently but firmly discipline her if she gets out of line. You don’t have to ask someone’s permission for that. And – maybe you can find a class to take or another jobs/activity to do on those evenings that your husband has to work late. You are NOT the babysitter! Maybe he’ll have to find other arrangements for his daughter on those nights! Either way, you have to take charge of your life, stand up for yourself more, become more independent and your own boss, and start to make your own plans! You don’t need to ask permission!! You just need to start doing some things you want to do!! Good luck!!!

        • You actually are one of her parents; you are her stepparent. A happy home needs some order and boundaries, how are you expected to have that if you aren’t supposed to facilitate that with your child? I view it as she is yours; you still cloth, feed, bandage and shelter her (same goes for me with my full time stepdaughters, 8 & 9). How is she supposed to respect you as a parent, someone she can look up to, if you aren’t supposed to discipline her? That doesn’t seem healthy to me.

  2. I have a step-daughter and a biological daughter. My husband wants to have a say in everything that I do with my biological daughter. But, he doesn’t have a say. He has an opinion that should be said to me in private and I as a loving spouse take it into account. I do the same with his biological daughter which at times I GREATLY resent my husband not doing what is best in my opinion.
    My advice – Get over your adult issues. You married someone with a child (their blood, not yours). As a stepmom, I do more for my step-child than I do for my own. Stop complaining and show your husband that you love his kids (no matter the terrible decisions that your husband and his ex-wife chose). If not, you will be divorced and alone and your step-child, the ex-wife, and ex-husband will blame it all on you. Someone who has lived thru resentment and has learned ALOT with finally 2 adult children (Praise Jesus, my husband and I made it through those awful years).

  3. I am writing to encourage you to embrace your emotions because they are very real. The down side of all these feelings and thoughts is they come and go a million miles an hour on every hour all through our day. So recognize they are there but do not make any decisions based on them.You mentioned how much you loved your husband, children and marriage. That sounds like a strong value you hold close to your heart. Get some paper and a pen and write down your values when it comes to being a wife and a mother. Write down couple of goals you would like to achieve that fit into your family values and focus on that. When ever those unhelpful overwhelming feelings show up recognize them but act on your values. I wish you all the best during this time.

  4. My step children are 15 and 16, and I’ve been in their lives for 2 1/2 years now. During our first year of marriage, I started a new job, sold a house, moved into their house (which was their mom’s house–yikes!), lost my sister suddenly, and was diagnosed with breast cancer. Plus all the other “normal” stuff. I struggled with all the ways I had to rewrite my “wife/mom” scripts to adapt to being someone’s second wife/stepmom. I felt intense resentment, loneliness, and deep disappointment because my husband and I weren’t the partners I thought we would be. And I felt ashamed of my feelings. Reading this blog (and others like it) has been so healing for me and helped me start to make better choices, starting with my beliefs about myself and my role. I feel like a different person now! My husband and I have learned to try always to see the best in each other (even when we don’t get each other’s feelings or choices), and to focus on our common goals. I feel like we’ve covered as much in 1 year as most people cover in a decade, and I feel incredibly blessed. I still have days that I want to get in the car and drive far far away, but I’m learning ways to cope with those feelings, too. (Having cancer has really helped me with this.) The best nugget I can share: I have learned to find peace in reminding myself that my step children have parents whose job it is to do the heavy lifting. This works for me and has given me the freedom to discover what I WANT my role to be, and how I can bond with my step kids in my own way without trying to be something I don’t need to be or something they don’t want me to be. For example, when I try to get too much into rules, consequences or agendas, I sometimes set myself up to be misunderstood, mistaken or just plain rejected, and my marriage and my self-image suffer. Um, not good. So, instead, I now focus on where I get the best response from my step kids and my husband. I have found that I can notice, comment, and even warn with get genuine respect. Even better is when I notice the positive, encourage, and support. This gets me respect, plus what I think might just be the beginning of love. This role suits me, and brings my husband and I closer. Yes I get frustrated when chores aren’t done or no one asked me before making sleepover plans, but we are getting better at talking through and about those things, and I am happy. Mostly, I truly love every mom out there (esp my stepkids’ mom). We all deserves so much more compassion and support than we sometimes get.

  5. I am new to this and it is so relieving to see that others feel the same or have similar situations, I spent days feeling horrible like I was the worst person on earth, I recently moved to Brazil to marry my now husband which was a long distance relationship allowing us a maximum of 4 or 5 months together each year adding to it the language already as it is is a massive challenge, between the space of January until April I have been spending less time with my husband due to many stresses that fell on us with the move, within that time he took his ex to court for visiting rights to his daughter which he won and now we have her every weekend and wesnesdays, this is a massive change for me, we live in a one bedroom flat which was his to live alone hence the size so when his daughter stays here it’s us 3 in the same room which I feel is a little awkward considering this is really the first time we have actually been able to live together or see each other permantly. Although she is relatively well behaved she lies all the time about anything and everything and when he is not around she disobeyes me. I came from a very strict upbringing and she gets what she wants and gets to do what she wants all the time, my husband says I am allowed to discipline her but it does not necessarily always happen like that, when she is here it is like I don’t exist, although I do understand him wanting to make up for lost time with her but to make matters worse he recently told me after the marriage that we will not be having children of our own that he doesn’t want more children as he too has a son with another woman, I have no kids and have always wanted, I feel everytime we have her she is a reminder of what I can never have, sorry for the long story but I had to get it out, I feel so guilty for being resentful and not loving his child as I should

  6. It’s recently occurred to me after 15 years of being the evil stepmum, no matter what I did or how I behaved, that I’m really not to worry about all this and indeed the BM (in my case) should bear the brunt of the blame. This has come about following a letter from the now 23 year old SS who depicts me as the problem and pointing a finger at his dear dad for many failings. But nothing for the BM – the woman who told his dad she didn’t love him; the woman who stripped us of nearly every penny we had; the woman who handed him over on many, many holidays poorly and inadequately dressed; the woman who disappeared on holiday on the day he received poor A level results leaving us to mop up; the cold fish who told us, aged 8, he had to clean his own bathroom; etc, etc…..

    I am not responsible for his inability to cope with his misgivings now. She is. She was the one who should have supported and guided him. Not me. I’ve managed with my own biological children in the split marriage situation. So she should have too! There – said it!!!

  7. I have 3 teenage step children and my partner and I broke up for a year following the loss of our baby.. And he got someone he casually slept with pregnant. We are together again and the baby is 4 months old. He visits him weekly. I find it SO hard to not be drowned by resentment.. Things have been great between us but when we fight… Oooooh it’s bad! I want my own children desperately and putting up with all of this.. It’s tough. The teenage children are enough it now this baby, with a woman of questionable morals…. It’s incredibly hard to cope with. But of course, I find my self hiding my true feelings for not wanting to be the one with the bad attitude, the one who is always upset when those two are happily getting along and doting on the baby. I parent his children. They are fantastic kids but… Ive ever been so flooded with self doubt and pain in my life. I love this man so much. He is trying to do the right thing by this crazy woman and her child but I feel so stuck in this situation. Just feels so great to say it out loud! Thanks for reading.

  8. I need some advice! I live in a 4 bedroom 2000 square foot ranch house with my husband, our 2 dogs and 2 cats. Our 2 20-something year old children recently moved out. I just found out that my husband invited his 40 year old daughter, her 45 year old boyfriend, his 18 year old son, her 13 year old twins, their 9 month old baby, their 2 dogs and 2 cats to move in!! And his daughter said yes! Oh, and all of the adults are unemployed!! They don’t have any illnesses or disabilities that I know of; they just want to move from a northern state to where we are in a nice southern state. Plus my husband hasn’t really discussed it with me or told me many of the details. When I expressed my shock and reluctance, he became very defensive and said that she’s his daughter and I should accept her into our house. However, 3 unemployed adults, 3 children and 4 animals is a little much!!! My husband doesn’t agree and just informed me that they’ll be arriving the end of next month. I am livid, especially because he hasn’t included me in any of the plans or decisions. HELP!!!! What should I do????

    • Pat, you should talk to your husband and discuss with him why you feel the way you do. This is your home too and he completely disregarded your position in the family by not discussing this huge change to your life. He was selfish by making this decision himself. What are these men drinking or smoking to decide huge life changes like this without consulting their partner in life? Honestly, if he continues to push your opinions aside, I would move out the minute they arrive and make it clear you’re not supporting ‘his decision’ to bring in another family into your home. If I’m honest with you, you should run away from this man who did not consider you at all in this decision. None of this is OK and you can tell him you don’t want them there. Who’s going to look after the children and their animals? – YOU. Who is expected to cook and clean for them? – YOU. Run away as quickly as you can.

  9. My issues have never stopped, it’s just gotten worse or say, different now that the kids are older. We’ve been together 7 years now. Both on our second marriage, both have kids. The BM is another story. I’ll keep it about the kids. I can honestly relate to every single comment written on this website. It’s hard not to care, It’s hard not to get involved, it’s hard to just simply shut the h#@@ up.. it is! But you have to try. You have just let it be. There is nothing, I mean absolutely nothing you can do to make things change. He will always have guilt that the kids have two homes, he’ll always want to be the fun parent. Of course the kids need structure, discipline, and everything that shapes them, But he won’t be the one to make it happen, because he wants to be the fun parent. He wants our home to be the so called “vacation home”. So he leaves that part to me. Kinda of a good cop, bad cop situation. So I did it until this day. And what did I get? A troubled marriage , I’m here crying, drinking, blaming myself, feeling disrespected, unworthy, not lovable, everything in the book that you can think of. Hurt of all things. My hear is broken. However, to want him to discipline his kids, the way I do mine, is not how I should have handled it. When you’re upset or hurt, you say things that you shouldn’t. Basically I was telling him, you are a shitty dad, and your kids are a freaking disaster. How would I feel if someone told me this, all the time? I wouldn’t like it. My son isn’t the easiest. He’s turning 10. And to be completely honest, the few times my husband has mentioned to discipline him, is like, What??? are you serious right now? like, you of all people? The audacity.. lol…. Well, there you go. I think we need to let them parent the way they see fit. All kids lie, all kids do dumb things. Unless they are in harms way, or harming others, I think we should just step back and focus on each other as a couple.

    Now I love this man beyond my means, I’ve decided after reading the blogs and comments, not to let this ruin us. For all of you that have young ones, don’t tell yourself it’s only until they leave to college. Kids are forever!! Find a way to make things work. Pray, meditate, do whatever you believe in. If you love him enough, stay and figure it out. And when you do talk to him, don’t talk about how terrible his kid(s) are, talk about your feelings. If he loves you enough, you will both figure it out.

    Those aren’t my only issue by the way. I have BM issues, and my daughter who in her own way feels left out, hurt, when his kids do things and don’t include her. But that’s another story.

    I haven’t figured it out, But I’m willing to put in the work to finding a happy solution. Good luck to all you step mommies. Indeed it’s a tough situation.

    • Kay your comments are a dream I too am struggling and after reading this you have give me hope to keep going rather than running! Stay strong sister

  10. wow, does this resonate with my soul. I walked into a relationship with a man that has a 10 year old daughter with no mother in the picture. I thought “how hard could it really be? He’s the dad.. I’ll just help when I can”. Oh how wrong I was. My work schedule is less demanding and it matches up very closely to her school schedule. I wouldn’t feel right coming home hours before him and expecting him to come home and cook, clean, do homework with her, make sure she does her chores, washes up, and goes to bed on time while I do nothing. We are a team. We do things together. But slowly I feel myself taking more and more of the responsibilities for myself. We make dentist appointments around my schedule. I am the tracker of what has been done/not done, the warden of screen time, the helper of all things needed (homework, chores, friend problems, finding lost items, etc). Now my summer vacation has been with her. Every day. This is my first summer vacation without a real vacation. It’s a whole different ball game with kids. She’s very well behaved but its not the same. Spending a whole day running errands is different with kids. They still talk and ask questions and make requests and want things. Errands are exhausting enough without the added stress. I can’t say anything. He gets defensive. I don’t need him thinking I don’t want her. I don’t need him thinking I regret taking this on. But how do I find that balance? I want time to myself without feeling selfish. I want my freedom back. I went from zero to 60 and there arena breaks to come up for air!

  11. I need an outside point of view! I am a mother of one, and almost step mom to one as well. Me and my boyfriend have been living together for a year and half and both of our children ( he has a girl and I have a boy ) have chosen for themselves to call us mom and dad which we are both very happy about (our ex’s aren’t of course, understandably) c0-parenting with our ex’s has been really difficult even though we tried for about the first 8 months to make it work. it has gone down hill from there. our ex’s have both stated they are jealous of how we are with each other and how its better than our previous relationships with them. his ex-wife tries to tell me horrible things he’s done or gross habits and tells me she wished she could have made it work for him and that its not fair that he does all of these things for me that he didn’t do for her. I try to tell him that she says things like that to me but to him all she says is oh that’s great, I really hope you guys work out!” is it just me or does that sound completely two faced?! I have stopped talking to her bc we tried to be friends but she just kept talking to me like that and I couldn’t take it anymore. on top of that ill try to help with problems our 6 year old is having ( bc she asks for my advice) and even if she knows what she’s doing is wrong (bc she says she does) then she does it anyways (then if I get upset she says she doesn’t give a shit what I think??) I’m so confused! I have no idea what to do and my boyfriend says he doesn’t believe me that she says those things bc “its not like her” he then told me after a few days of me being so overwhelmed and depressed that I shouldn’t worry about it anymore and that he would just talk to her from now on, which is really sweet and I know he cares but she still is so fake with him it makes me sick. ive given up on trying to make him see it and realized that I cant let it ruin our relationship but how do I change how I feel about it?

  12. As a step-parent there are so many things that have in a sense become expected of you. Maybe because as the article says you want to please others and there are always good reasons why your step=child or partner needs to be pleased.
    But if you are going to have a good, healthy partnership it is so true that you have to look out for and stand up for your own needs. This is something your partner should be considering also. It’s not one way traffic and if it is the prognosis is not a healthy one.

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