Stepmoms and Resentment: What It Means and Why You’re Not Alone by Wednesday Martin, PhD
In the course of researching my book, “Stepmonster: A New Look at Why Real Stepmothers Think, Feel, and Act the Way We Do,” I was reminded time and again that there are a handful of emotions that are just too taboo for those of us married to men with kids to admit having.
Often an interview with one of my subjects would have to go on for 30 or 45 minutes before the woman speaking with me felt she could express feelings she feared I might judge her for having. More than once, I had to pave the way to disclosure by going first: “There were days I was so angry at my husband and his daughter for shutting me out that I wanted to leave.”
After that, the floodgates opened: Women with stepkids are hungry for understanding and compassion, particularly when it comes to the Feelings That Dare Not Speak Their Names. But they are also wary: The confessions I heard were invariably prefaced with a plea for understanding, along the lines of, “You have to understand, I really am a nice person. I’m the type who helps blind people cross the street, but my stepdaughter …” or “I can make friends with a person in line at the grocery store. I swear I am that friendly. But with my stepkids ….”
Jealousy is one of the biggest taboo emotions—there’s nothing uglier, it seems, or more shameful to us, than embodying the cliché of the green-eyed stepmonster. Unless it’s being a petty, resentful stepwitch. …To read the rest of this article about stepmom resentment, log in to your account and download the January 2016 issue. Don’t have an account? Click here to subscribe.