Am I an Evil Stepmother?

A woman seeks advice about her disrespectful stepdaughter.

Just Another Manic Mommy

Evil Stepmother?

Dear Manic Mommy: I have been married to my husband almost six years now and prior to our marriage we dated for three years. When we met my daughter was two, and his daughter was nine and his son seven. A year after our wedding we had our daughter who is now 4. My question concerns my relationship with his children.

His son and I have never been close, but his daughter and I were very close up until about 10 months ago. A lot has happened but it basically comes down to the fact that she has become very religious (I am not) and acts disrespectful towards me and righteous. I don’t like being around her anymore because I feel I can’t be myself and I don’t like for her to be around “my” girls because I am afraid she will turn them against me too!

My husband has mentioned his children coming over for a few days over school breaks and even having his oldest daughter “babysit” the younger kids while I go to work. How do I tell him that I don’t want her alone with my kids? Am I an evil stepmother for feeling this way? Do you know of any other women going through such stepparent issues? I feel like a horrible person but I just can’t shake these ill feelings, please help!

Manic Mommy: Oh, this is such a tough one! And it’s such a shame that you both got along so well up until just a while ago. I really wonder what happened to your relationship; she’s religious now but disrespectful to you? How does she get along with her stepsisters? Has she ever babysat for you or would this be a totally new experience? Does your husband see the tension between the two of you when you and your stepdaughter are together? Do you talk to your husband about your feelings? I think first and foremost that is something that you need to do – tell your husband how you feel.

And no, you’re not an evil stepmother for feeling that way; you’re probably like every single stepmother in the entire world. To become part of another person’s family has got to be an adjustment no matter what stage you’re in, and there are changes all the time along the way, so don’t blame yourself for feeling the way you do, and you can’t change the way you feel, so don’t even try.

My best advice would be to tell your husband honestly you don’t know what happened (if you truly don’t) between you and his daughter, and while you’re not happy about how or why the relationship changed, you just don’t feel like you could relax with her in charge. You can’t NOT have her in your home though (you do know that) so when she’s there, open your heart, and try to find the parts of the relationship that connected you two in the first place. Ask her about the religion she’s found, show an interest in what she’s doing, and maybe you two can find some common ground again. Wouldn’t that be a nice way to start out the New Year?

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