Stepdaughter/Stepmother Jealousy

Okay so this is a bit of a taboo blog. I appreciate that I may be feeling some things right now which aren’t very adult or mature and that has been putting me off writing about them, but I need the release and so I would really appreciate it if readers didn’t leave any comments to tell me to to grow up because I already know I need to! ha!

For background my fiance has 3 children. We have been together 3 and a half years and I get on pretty well with the kids. I get on with the two boys very well – its very easy with them but things with me and his daughter its been a bit trickier.  On the whole we get on well – sometimes very well in fact but if there has been any hard times, its been with me and her.  She is nearly 12.

Fast-forward to now and our engagement and I am really struggling.

Last weekend she turned up with a face like thunder and was refusing to look at me or was staring at me blanked faced when she did (this happens randomly).  I HATE it when this happens and it makes me feel very awkward in my own house. Within ten minutes she asked my fiance for “a private chat” and they went upstairs for about an hour.

When they came down, it was clear she had been crying and they spent the rest of the evening cuddling on the sofa, I was in the dark about what had been said (and still getting the frosty treatment from her) so I wasn’t feeling particularly great.  Eventually when the kids were all in bed he told me what she had said which was basically that on the wedding day, she wants to be with him and she doesn’t want to have to leave his side.  She wants to be our bridesmaid but doesn’t want to be with me and my other bridesmaids in the morning (she wants to be with him and his best man and ushers) and that she was worried we would break up and he would be sad again like he was when he broke up with her mother.

So those are the facts.

This is where I am struggling – despite knowing I am being childish and unreasonable, this is bringing up some huge jealousy issues for me and I don’t know how to deal with it.  Her wanting to be with him on our day is making me angry.  She is bad enough on a normal weekend – god forbid she doesn’t get to sit next to him at the dinner table or something.  I feel so stupid but I have so much anger and jealousy at the fact that she seems to pull his strings and then he bends over backwards to keep her happy (I know, she is a child). It is irrational.

So why can’t I handle this? Why do I feel so angry with her? Why isn’t the knowledge that she is clearly struggling herself with our engagement enough to help me have sympathy and compassion for her? Why am I feeling quite so angry and resentful and childish over a little girl?

She is jealous of me taking her daddy away and I am jealous of her taking my fiance away!!  It’s horrible.

I think there is some of my own “dad stuff” in this. I think there is a lot to it for me and I really want to hash it out with T tomorrow if I can. I shouldn’t feel threatened by a child and her father – I do not want to be like that.  Is it as simple as me seeing him give her what I was never given is so painful for me that I am getting angry instead of sad????

I also don’t want to be like my mother who pushes her child aside for a man and I don’t want to be cold-hearted towards a little girl who is clearly worried.  I really, really don’t want to feel like this – but I do.

I am struggling that she spent the weekend laying all over him – sitting next to him constantly, laying her legs over him, holding his hand – generally keeping him away from me and marking her territory. I’ve even tried to reassure her by being nice to her despite how I am feeling and I’ve told my fiance things to say to her such as that nothing will change when we are married and that she has nothing to worry about….

My fiance said that he thinks we are both jealous of each-other but naturally he has more understanding and compassion for a child than a fully grown adult.

I just want one day.. one day where it is just about me and him and not the kids  – not her. I just want one day where I can kiss him and dance with him and hold his hand and smile in photos but the reality isn’t like that. Even the seating plans have been dictated by the fact that she has to be sat next to him at the top table “because he would like that” (read: he better or she will strop)… I even picture her pulling at my dress when we try to have our first dance (I know, dramatic much). When we went on holiday last year in a caravan she suggested that “me and daddy sleep in the double bed and you on the sofa”…

Is it because I didn’t have this relationship with my Dad? Is it that I am scared she will take him away because surely I am old enough to know better?

Help!!

Oh and to make matters worse, we are heading to another caravan holiday Friday for 4 days. Right now I am absolutely dreading it. I don’t know how I’m going to cope.

To o

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Revelation?

It’s Sunday afternoon. 4.11pm as I start to type this and I feel good. I feel good because I saw my mother last night and have got that out of the way. I survived it. I came home this morning feeling sick (which seems to be happening a lot at the moment when I am in touch with my feelings about her or/and my Dad). But my wonderful boyfriend gave me a hug, we had a huge chat and I cried a little and now I feel good.

My boyfriend said some amazing things and for the first time in a long time, I feel like I might just be believing some of the things he said.

We spoke about my Dad. I have written a lot about him recently and the whole holiday situation so I won’t go over it again here.  My mother brought him up last night as expected (she hates him, he hates her – it’s been 28 years, get over it). Anyway, I got sucked into talking about him which I shouldn’t have done because I had been drinking and it’s a very sore subject for me and because, and I hate to say it, for some reason I still fall into the trap of telling her what she wants to hear about him – which is that he’s still being shit.

She loves to hear he is still being shit despite the impact that obviously has on me and I fell for it and launched into a speech about the holiday, about my brother’s texts Friday night, about how he signed my birthday card with his name instead of Dad. Obviously she loved all of this because, I guess, it makes her feel less threatened and makes her feel less of a shitty mother (if only she knew).

But then she said “I don’t understand why you are still upset by this? Why do you still care? Aren’t you used to it by now? When are you going to get over it? I don’t know why you allow it to bother you? Why don’t you just stop begging for his love?”

OUCHHHH.

Ouch because it’s true, isn’t it?

Why aren’t I “over it” yet? I’ve had my entire life of being dissapointed, let down and rejected by him. He’s been vacant for huge amounts of it… he has never changed despite many promises to try… why does it still hurt me so much?

I told her that I didn’t know why but that I can’t help the way I feel. That if I could stop feeling like this then I would, but that I can’t.  She went on to say that he is only my father in terms of biology and that she doesn’t understand why I feel it so important to be loved by him just because his title is Dad.  She said she doesn’t get it and said how she told her Dad to f.off when she was my age and has never thought about him since.  [Obviously I have a VERY different idea about that – her lack of caring about her dad could very easily have contributed to her extreme narcissism, but she’s too defended against her feelings to feel that]. And because she is narcissistic, she wants me to have the same life experiences as her, not better and so me having a decent dad or me having a decent relationship with him is NOT what she wants for me. Oh so lovely.

Back to today, my boyfriend mentioned this and said she is wrong. That of course it still hurts and that he understands that completely. I told him that when my mother said that if I hadn’t contacted my dad 2 years ago (after 3 years of no contact) that we still wouldn’t be talking… I said that really hurt me because it was true. I knew it was and I HATED that fact.

My boyfriend said that I didn’t actually know for a fact that was true. I said I did. I said that I had asked my Dad at the time whether he had intended to contact me, whether he would have done at some stage and he didn’t literally say no, but he meant no. He said he would have left me to it.. so that’s pretty much evidence isn’t it?

He said that it truly is my Dad’s issue and that it isn’t a fault in me. Cue me breaking down in tears because I truly believe it is me that is the problem. My poor boyfriend must have the patience of a saint because we’ve had this conversation soooooooooo many times. But then my boyfriend said this…

“Okay, give me 2 examples of why you are such a bad person your Dad doesn’t want to love you?”

And I froze. I thought and thought and I thought to myself for the very first time ever “I’m a decent human. I am a NICE person. I truly am”. I thought about different character flaws that I have, I don’t think for a second I’m anywhere near perfect, but even they didn’t seem to be applicable in this situation because we all have flaws and besides, my dad wouldn’t even know those flaws because he doesn’t know me enough!!! I did offer one suggestion:

“I remind him of my mother” but my boyfriend said, quite rightly “is that your fault that you remind HIM of someone?” and no, of course it isn’t.

Bloody Nora. In the words of Jamie Lawson… I wasn’t expecting that.

My boyfriend was laughing at the fact that for the first time in my entire life, I really believed this. I AM a nice girl. I DO deserve to be loved and treated well. That I genuinely do not “make” my father unable to love me. That it ISN’T my fault. It isn’t about me.

Jesus… it isn’t about me. Wow.  This dude should be a therapist LOL.

I’ve replayed this conversation over and over in my head since he said it this morning. He is so right isn’t he?

We then spoke about this fantasy I have of him being a great dad to his 3 boys and my boyfriend said:

“What makes you think he is such a great Dad to the boys? Does he take them out? Does he go to football matches with them? Do they go down the pub for beers? Do they go out on Sundays together?”

You may have guessed that the answer to all of those things is No.  He asked me what it was that he does that made him such a great dad in my head.  I said

He’s there.

And my boyfriend said he is there yes, because he lives there – and so do they…. it isn’t that they’ve all moved out and he is regularly contacting them, popping to their houses or having dinner with them on Sundays. They share a house so they just happen to be together.  He also told me that my fantasy of them all chilling together every evening watching tele probably wasn’t accurate either. He pointed out that the boys are all in their early twenties and have girlfriends so probably weren’t at home much! And as I write this, I am thinking that they hadn’t been on a family holiday in 14 years before this one and that says a lot, doesn’t it? I’m sure they could have done if they had wanted family time enough, even camping if finances were tight. This holiday happened because my brothers suggested it and probably pushed my dad into booking it.

I said he was right. Of course he was/is. I’ve distorted it all so much in my head all of these years. It has always been me that made him a shit dad to me. This was backed up and evidenced by the fact he was such a wonderful dad to the boys when the truth is, he probably isn’t! My boyfriend said when the boys all move out, it will probably be them or their mother doing the contact and he is probably right. Admittedly there is still a voice in my head that is thinking “nah, he will be great” but even I can see that the history speaks for itself, how likely is it that he will be great at keeping in contact with them when he’s allowed literally years to pass between us?

I cried again after this conversation. I think out of relief? Some strange feeling of ease has been in me since this. I wish this was something I had felt all of my life. It could have saved me from so many sleepless nights, so many tears and so much pain!

I also cried a few tears about how if I had a decent mother she might have been able to have helped me internalise a solid sense of self, some self-esteem and she might have been able to make me feel lovable growing up (like my boyfriend makes me feel now as an adult). It strikes me as very sad that she didn’t do those things for me (whatever her reasons) and that I’ve never felt this way before and I did cry a bit for myself in that I will admit.

My boyfriend asked me how old my inner child was right now. I told him she was 6. She’s always 6 (just as my 25 year old teddy has always been 2! LOL).  He asked me what I would say to her if she were here in the room with us and I said I didn’t know and so he started to talk “to her” which I literally cannot handle so told him to stop. But he said that he would tell her she was amazing. That she was not only what he wanted in a girlfriend, but in any person in his life. That he loved me and that I was a fantastic, kind, loving person and that no decent Dad would have missed the chance to parent me. (More tears!!!).

I then said to him that I had got choked up during Cars 3 at the cinema yesterday because someone said “the best thing in his life wasn’t racing… it was you.  He saw things in you that you don’t even see yourself” and my inner child cried a little at how she has never had even one parent think that way about her. To be the best thing in a parent’s life. To be the apple of someone’s eye. That someone had so much faith in you, they “saw things” that you didn’t… wahhh.

I don’t mean to sound like I am feeling sorry for myself from every angle here, but the true force of all this shit is suddenly very obvious. The mum and dad wounds are very prominent right now and I am not going to repress it any longer. This shit has to come out.

Could today have been a breakthrough moment? I hope so. I hope it doesn’t fade into the background and get overtaken by my critical inner voice.  We will see.