Stepmoms and Loyalty Conflicts: How and Why We Engage in No-Win Competitions by Brenda Snyder, LCSW
One of the most frustrating things about stepmotherhood is the positive regard our stepchildren have for their biological mothers. No matter what. A cognitive understanding of why they love their mothers simply isn’t enough to help us heal the wounds—real or imagined—which we endure in the name of parent-child loyalty. Too often, our response to our stepchildren’s need to protect and defend the love they have for their mothers takes the shape of redoubling our efforts to “win.” But what are we competing for?
The term loyalty signifies devotion and attachment, which is usually aimed at the people we love. It also refers to where we choose to put our allegiance. In stepfamilies, people generally place their first loyalty with their biological family members. This bond generates the commitment to each other, which motivates us to care for and nurture our family members.