Stepmom Conflict by Proxy: What Every Woman With Stepkids Needs to Know by Wednesday Martin, PhD
If you have stepchildren of any age in your life, you—I would wager—have arguing and even fighting (by which I mean arguments that go ballistic—with criticism, contempt and stonewalling ruling the interaction) in your life. Perhaps, at certain points, particularly the first five to seven years of your remarriage or repartnership with children, lots of arguments and fights:
over-the-top, screeching, screaming, gut-wrenching, I’d-like-to-storm-out- right-now-and-never-come-back, here-we-go-again-and-I-just-can’t-take-it-anymore, I-think-I- want-a-divorce, get-out-and-don’t-come-back-you-insensitive-*%$@&! fights.
The women I interviewed, as I researched my book “Stepmonster,” told me things they were sure would surprise me about the arguments they had with their partners who have children. Usually, these fights were about—or seemed to be about—his kids (of any age) and how they interacted with her. They ignored her, they called her rude names, they treated her poorly, and her partner never came to her defense. That was the recurring theme and one I understood all too well from my own stepmothering experiences.
In hushed, embarrassed tones, these women told me of fights that recurred over and over and made them feel ill every time. They told me of fights in public, fights in front of in-laws, fights during which things were thrown, terrifying fights in couples therapy. One woman, a therapist herself, described ripping all the leaves off their couple therapist’s potted plant because she was so beside herself. They told me of feeling humiliated and out of control. They told me that they only fought about his kids. …To read the rest of this article log in to your account and download the July 2016 issue. Don’t have an account? Click here to subscribe.