as the society and humans develop, new minorities, inequalities, injustices and vulnerable groups emerge who at some point when being oppressed for too long, dare to speak up. And the society responds first ignoring them, then trying to shut them down before they are willing to listen.
Gradually, with lots of confusion at first, I got quite close to a group, not in the most pleasant way, that has been existing probably for a tale as old as time and still continues to be, silent all these years. Step mothers. Until not long ago I used to be one. For 11 years.
This group is traditionally marked as “vicious” or “wicked” or “evil”. Like in the lovely story of Cinderella. And I have felt it on my own skin what it’s like to be labelled as the one who:
- Took away the daddy/husband
- Is a gold digger
- Has ruined the family
- Is the reason everything went wrong
- Has impacted or even disabled the healthy development of the children by being toxicIs crazy
- And so on.
For 11 years I tried to cope, understand and be supportive, cooperative and tried to change things, but got dismissive and rude behaviour in return over and over. Until I realised that it was never me who was the core problem of family issues, but even so served more than a handy culprit who came at the right time to take blame and guilt for everything that ever went and continues to be, wrong.
Being a stepmother or the other woman in a relationship also comes with huge responsibility where she is expected to understand and put others’ needs first, especially children (of course, they get hurt the most) and yet will still get in the way, but no-one will ever pay any interest in her needs or wellbeing no matter what she does or doesn’t do. And if she gets tired or leaves, she will be blamed again for doing so. In my example, I came in the middle of family secrets that had nothing to do with me, but yet was the main suspect for the scandal. I got blamed for being successful and creating a life where I blossomed, I was even looked down upon when my husband got ill as if I had a magic wand to make it better or as if I should get ill myself in order to show love and dedication, but on the other hand, it was still too difficult to get any sign of appreciation, but not even show basic respect and manners for any of my efforts.
Having lived through this experience, I learned that the less hard I tried to understand the other perspective, the more opportunities arose in my life until I started focusing only on what mattered to me and areas of life where I could thrive. Don’t take this wrong – it was an awful journey with lots of societal pressure on what I should do/say/feel and nearly all of it came from people who have never experienced anything similar or had done anything to help. And at some point I discovered that there was whole world of women out there who were going through exactly the same. Fellow “gold diggers”, “family breakers”, “twinkies” and the like, maybe it’s time that we reconsider the story of poor Cinderella and vicious step mother and create the story of all those step moms who got in the middle of a muddle that wasn’t even theirs, but even so tried their best to lend themselves to humiliation, non recognition and non representation. Step moms are not villains. Nor are others, to be fair here, but the lack of recognition and reputation of wickedness, craziness and evil is not doing step moms justice. It just isn’t fair, so before you label another step mom, at least try and ask her about her experience and efforts. You might be surprised to discover that you actually might have a lot in common.
I came because of love. And got blamed for breaking the family apart, a family that was already broken.
I stayed for a long time. And got blamed for breaking the family apart, a family that was broken.
I walked away. And again got blamed for breaking the family apart that is broken still.
Dear step moms of the world – you are not alone in this and it is likely that you did nothing wrong. I’ve done lots of research and spoke with many step moms of all ages, with or without their own kids and I heard the same stories over and over – stories of not wanting to speak up for they were the ones that were vicious, evil and guilty. I also spoke with those step moms, who travelled the journey of liberating themselves from those invisible chains, many of which were probably put on by themselves, willingly, hoping that love will make things right. Those were stories of journeys that were hidden and no-one was willing neither to tell nor listen to, but I have and here we are – you are not alone and you are probably a completely normal lovable loving person who is doing her best. I hope you never forget this and don’t let be persuaded otherwise by anyone. Those that try to do so have their own issues and battles to fight and remember, their issues are theirs, not yours. Do get in touch if you could use a listening ear or even support. We have been running occasional support groups so – you are definitely not alone.
And dear ones who are wanting to ignore, shush or judge – I wish that you or your children will never have to experience anything similar. There is great love out there for all of us. So look after each other, closely or from a distance, but don’t turn against yourselves. I’ve a life to live now and so do you. There is so much love there for all of us. Love that will come in a shape of being able to fully hold you, without ever denying you or making you a culprit for someone else’s laundry. I stayed for love for a long time. And am now letting go for love that I was in the way of to flow, while I’ll be letting the new love in.
A bow to you all, keeping head high up, wishing you nothing but the best and stay in good health and spirit.