Stepmother Woes

13 Dec

Letterbalm Wicked StepmotherDear LetterBalm: I can’t catch a break. My husband’s daughter is 10 years old and has been indoctrinated by her mother to hate me. The child believes I’m the horrible person who destroyed her parents’ marriage, even though her mother and father were divorced a year before I even met her dad. But the child has been fed a steady diet of malicious lies by her mother, so the air is poisoned, and I’m the loathed one. She’s sullen and barely civil during her visits. I try to amuse her, but no luck. To make it worse, my husband gets annoyed and says I should “try harder to like her.” I need to break the tension, but I don’t know how.

–Ulcers from a Kid

This is a two-parter. First, you need to talk with your husband. Ms. L.B. notes that this is no fairy tale; you can’t wave a magic wand or produce an enchanted apple to create the perfect scenario. You and your husband need a few family counseling sessions to gain the insights and skills to deal with his daughter. He needs to know he can’t force togetherness. Second, you need to relax with the child. Be patient, be yourself, don’t react to her negative behavior and be kind. Eventually, she’ll see you for the nice person you are, even in the face of her mother’s maliciousness. But first, her father – a quiet talk when the child is off the premises:

Anthony, we need to talk about Susie. But this time, not her attitude or the negativity that Marcia has fostered. That ship has sailed. Darling, you’re pressuring me to try harder to like Susie. I already like her. You can’t force togetherness or hurry it along, especially involving a child who’s the product of a divorce. So, may I suggest something that I believe will relieve the tension? I think we should have a few sessions of family counseling to give us the tools and insights to make our times with Susie more enjoyable. Meanwhile, I will continue to be as kind and patient as I can with her. She’s being fed lies that are painful and confusing for her, and she needs a lot of time and no pressure to see the truth for herself. You and I need to be patient and work together to break the negative cycle for Susie’s sake and for the sake of our family.

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One Response to “Stepmother Woes”

  1. Xiomara 12/18/2013 at 3:02 am #

    Very good blog post. I definitely love this website.
    Thanks!

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