Detaching and Disengaging
A Stepmom’s Guide to Letting Go
BY MARY T. KELLY, MA
Let it go. Let it be. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Chill out. Surrender. Release. Detach. Back off. These are all reminders to harried humans that it’s time for us to release our death grip over the “need” to control. To drop our ends of the rope, in the constant tug of wars. To take deep breaths, relax and take an active role in ending our own suffering.
This is particularly true when it comes to trying to manage the other people in our lives.
You’re tired. (Let’s make that exhausted.) You’re angry, resentful, confused and stuck. You’re not sure how to get out of the stepmom chaos you’ve found yourself in. You’re tired of being so damn lonely and you’re tired of walking on eggshells with your partner. You’ve experienced—far too many times—his defensiveness, anger or tendency to close up when you try to talk to him about how you’re feeling when it comes to his kids, his ex and your relationship.
You’ve tried. You really have. You were so determined to be the best stepmom this planet (if not universe) had ever seen. You dove in head first with a good heart and the determination to make a difference in his kids’ lives. After all, you had a lot to give! You’re a good person. You like kids, in general. You even liked or loved his kids. How hard could it be, anyway?
Wouldn’t it be great if letting it all go were simple and easy? Hey, I’ll say this: It’s simpler and easier than fighting like hell to prove you’re right, prove your point or prove to everyone else that you alone hold the keys to success in your stepfamily. That’s because the only person you can control is yourself. By detaching, you take responsibility for yourself and gain control over how you experience life within your stepfamily. It’s very freeing. You no doubt have legitimate questions about how to do this. Well, I have answers. …To read the rest of this article, log in and download the September 2018 issue. Don’t have an account? Click here to subscribe.