Mom VS. Stepmom: Free Yourself From
Competition With the Ex by Brenda Snyder, LCSW
If there’s a relationship more fraught with emotion than that of the stepmother and the ex-wife, I have yet to hear about it—and I’ve made a 20-year career of counseling people about their relationships.
It’s really unusual, even if you’re not sitting in a therapist’s office, to talk to someone for any length of time about life as a stepmother and not end up discussing the ex and her role in your life. Consider the time and energy you put into describing her latest manipulations, inconsiderate actions or poor parenting decisions.
In the process, it’s often important (but difficult) to help others understand just how vilified you and your husband have become— and how awful it is to deal with exes who behave horribly yet wield incredible power. Yet, is it worth it? Is struggling with the ex worth all of the emotion it stirs up? And where does all of the struggle come from?
It’s a hard thing to admit, but many stepmothers put themselves in competition with their stepchildren’s biological mothers. Even as you read this, you might be thinking, “There’s no way I’d compete with her for anything! I hate her. I don’t give her the time of day. And, anyway, I’d win hands down. She’s horrible. Let me tell you what she did just last week.” …To read the rest of this article, log in to your account and download the November 2015 issue. Don’t have an account? Click here to subscribe.