I blogged out some frustrations about step-parenting yesterday. Thank you to everyone who offered support and empathy.
After a lot of contact with one of my step-daughters over the last 24 hours, I want to review some of what I said. I don’t intend to delete the post because the feelings were real. In the end, they have moved myself and the step-daughter concerned on to a better degree of understanding of each other.
The fact is that the post hurt my step-daughter and I am not at all proud of that. She does acknowledge that I told no lies in the post but I want to revisit what I said.
One of her big hurts is that it gave a bad impression of her mum who she loves. She has learned to forgive her mum. I am starting to believe that although I will always disapprove of her mum’s actions, I may be able to be more understanding. It’s a tough one as I hate what was allowed to happen to my step-daughters but my step-daughter is helping me to see that perhaps her mum was a victim and was being controlled too by her then partner. I can never see myself putting a partner above my own children but I have not had the same life experiences as their mum.
What I can say is that although their mum has never acknowledged the good things I did for her children, she is pleasant enough with me on the rare occasions we are in the same room together. I thank her for that.
I have to admit to a degree of something approaching envy that they love their mum so much and can never have such depth of feeling for me. There. I have said it. Pathetic but true. My step-daughter says she does love me so if anything good has come of these 2 days, that is one wonderful thing to treasure.
What I did not get across in yesterday’s post but is very relevant is that my husband and their father is never very proactive about seeing his older girls. When he or we do see them, it is usually because I have taken the initiative. They are as bad as each other in this regard but as the parent my husband is, even in my view, most at fault there. I have told him this over the years. He knows how I feel.
I worry sometimes that they will think that it is me who stops him making contact regularly with them but that is so not the case, the exact opposite in fact.
Part of yesterday’s emotion in that post was all the years of feeling like piggy in the middle. When I met their Dad, I became aware of their awful situation and was ill-equipped to deal with it all. I had no idea how to support them with the abuse they had suffered and no help was given to me to do so. Social Services carried out a CRB check on me at my request and when that came back clear left me to it.
So we have a mum who is viewed as a victim and may well be so who is on good terms with her children.
We have a father who has yet to sit down and talk to them about what happened to them at the hands of their step-father. I think this is because he knows if he had not left there mum. none of the abuse could have happened. That must be a tough one to live with. Once again, he has received no help to deal with his feelings.
Regarding Christmas arrangements, I can accept that some of my step-daughters are not rolling in money. I just sometimes get fed up of hearing about it especially as I am not asking them for anything. I tend to keep quiet when I have financial hassles, a matter of pride I suppose. It does seem or so I am told that one of my step-daughters has real nerves about travelling to areas she does not know. I perhaps need to be more sympathetic and aware that some of this trauma may hark back to childhood or other bad experiences.
You don’t ask for child abuse to impact on your life but when it does there is a ripple effect and many people get hurt along the way. In no way does it all end when the children escape the perpeterator.
I am proud of two women (myself and my stepdaughter) who despite not fully understanding each other continue to try to make things better between us even when it hurts like hell and the other players stand by and leave us to it, ill-equipped as we may be. It would be way easier to leave each other alone but we would both be the poorer for that.