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Drepression in Stepmotherhood

(23 Posts)
TheStepmumsClub Thu 07-Dec-17 20:35:02

As more awareness is brought around mental health I understand that I have become more anxious and want to isolate myself when my stepsons come over. This is No fault of my Stepsons but I think ive worked out its more because of their mothers (two BM's). Anyone else feel like this journey impacts their mental health?

NorthernSpirit Thu 07-Dec-17 20:50:36

I was there at first. The BM would routinely stop contact to punish the father (despite a contact order) and knowing that my OH would get upset I found it all very stressful.

As the children have got older (and they ask more questions) and since social services got involved and a judge threatened to take the children off her and they would live with the dad she is much better behaved (there’s a regular vitriolic email) but we’ve learnt to detach and I now don’t give her any space in my head.

I’ve learnt that you can’t control another persons actiions but you can control how you feel and react.

Don’t give her any space in your head, she doesn’t deserve it.

Magda72 Thu 07-Dec-17 21:19:27

Hi OP - I manage stress very well & am quite a chilled person in general. However I will admit that I am definitely less relaxed since getting with dp three years ago.
He & I are great. He & I & my kids are great. But the stress the situation with his ex & kids brings into my/our life is awful. Dp copes by ignoring it which in turn makes me over stress as I'm always waiting for the next issue to kick off!
Dp is my choice & a part of me knows it comes with the territory. However, I've actually gone back to therapy to try & get to grips with this.
I'll get flayed alive on here for saying this but I have gotten to the point where I dread his kids being around & I really don't want to feel like this. I see so little of dp's personality in them that I feel like I'm in the company of his ex by 3 when they're around. The eldest is most like him but the other two are their mother's sons - they don't even look remotely like dp.
I HATE feeling like this but know I will have to take a massive step back if I can't master my feelings as they can't help it & my feeling like this won't be fair on them in the long run.

TheStepmumsClub Thu 07-Dec-17 21:57:07

Oh man. I really do ache for you. It was that deep for me when i was pregnant with my husbands baby. I didn't want his sons around because they lied and acted up often. I just need space to be free and happy and not have their mothers children around me because i knew they displayed their mothers characters. No im anxiety is focused just on the mothers. Its tough.

TheStepmumsClub Thu 07-Dec-17 21:57:58

You are so right. I know this but i guess i just need to get a handle on it.

Bananasinpyjamas11 Thu 07-Dec-17 22:29:30

It’s taboo to say, however we are letting our DPs Ex into our lives through their children, and boy that is a tough pill to swallow.

At first I wasn’t bothered at all, tried to be amicable to DPs Ex, made a conscious effort to treat his daughters as their own people, individuals.

However there was a barrier that just never went away, always there, more from them. I realise looking back that their mother had a huge amount to do with this barrier, she fuelled it. I would have my step daughters criticise me for things that were words directly from their mother. They didn’t realise half the time they were doing it. My step daughter who lived with us was constantly telling me not to do things a certain way because that’s not how her mother did it.

Way too suffocating. The girls have become very us and them, them and their mother, with me and their Dad and step siblings on the other side. It’s affected my mental health with really high anxiety, and DPs too. He keeps being made to feel guilty by his Ex and daughters for just being with us through a thousand small mean comments.

It’s really tragic. I hope you don’t end up like that stepmumsclub. Put as much emotional and physical distance as you can between you, and build up some strength in your own relationships. You might make it.

Magda72 Thu 07-Dec-17 23:03:24

@Bananasinpyjamas11 - that's the route I very much feel dp & I are in danger of heading down. The amount of stirring his ex does is unreal & she is relentless in stoking his guilt. Just when he gets on an even keel she kicks off again. She's just started mucking around about Christmas & it now looks like I'll be spending Christmas without him (we've never had a Christmas together) & New Years alone as my kids will be with their dad. Luckily I have great family & friends & so I have a very full life outside of dp & I'll have options on NYE if I so wish. I know that's also hard for dp as I often make arrangements to do things on my own or with my friends - but if I didn't I'd end up spending a lot of time trailing around after him and his kids knowing that they don't want me there.
That barrier you mention is always there & no amount of trying on my part can breach it, & tbh I'm exhausted from the trying. Dp sticks his head in the sand and comes out with the "they really like you they're just reserved" speech but he's a useless 'liar' - can't make eye contact lol.
His youngest corrects me NON STOP & the other two just sit in silence. I was feeling like a total fool prattling away constantly in order to fill the gaps & so eventually I just stopped. Now if they do talk they just talk to dp about sport knowing that I know very little about sports.
I KNOW it's not all their fault & I know they are being conditioned by their mum but I do feel the eldest (nearly) 18 could make some manner of an effort & in doing so encourage his brothers.
On the flip side my kids are great with dp & are so careful about including him in conversations etc. I'm so proud of them that they do this.
Rant over lol - I'm just so worn out with everything being an endless negotiation with them & their mum.

SciFiG33k Fri 08-Dec-17 02:43:00

I suffered from severe anxiety in the first few years of being a step mum, to the point where i have spent the last year on medication to combat it. This was mostly due to the constant messages DSDs mum would send after DSD went home criticizing everything that had happened or not happened while DSD was with us. Or 5am messages in the weekends to wake us up about whether we had a top or pants or some other unnecessary thing. Every Sunday after noon was a waiting game of what on earth have we done now. I couldn't cope with the constant interference in our lives. I also used to get very anxious before DSD would come over wondering what the backlash of this visit would bring.

Thankfully DSD is a wonderful little girl who i love very much. DSDs mum also had a new baby in the last year and is now much more concerned about the new baby than DSD and therefore doesn't bother us anywhere near so much.

ElChan03 Fri 08-Dec-17 07:18:52

Oh gosh I know this feeling all too well.
I was 24 when I moved in with DP over a year ago and he has full custody of both children. One 12 yo girl and one 11 to boy with severe SEN, low functioning autism, non verbal, global development delay, blindness etc. I had been involved 2 years prior to moving in so thought I could handle it regardless of how challenging both children were in their different ways and how utterly soul destroying the DM is. But after 10 months of struggle and tears on my part, I would find myself sitting in my car outside the house after work not wanting to go home and I felt so low and miserable. The big moment for me was when I realised that I was trying my absolute best by the children so much; and all I wanted was to love them like my own like everyone on this site bangs on about. But I didn't. It doesn't stop me from doing my best by them and always putting them first but it's ok that I don't love them. And then the depression eased up for me.

TheStepmumsClub Sun 10-Dec-17 00:05:01

Wow. We too get petty messages so i can empathize. My OH often keeps things from me to hide just how mean BM is but in the end i always see the messages. Ours isnt as frequent as yours were but i get it

TheStepmumsClub Sun 10-Dec-17 00:09:50

It really is Ok! I care for my Stepchildren but there are very real barriers stopping me from loving them and that is souly because of their mums. Look even maternal mums struggle to love their own for whatever reasons. It annoys me that ppl can be Frank about how they feel. Your response is so soothing i swear because i already knew it was ok/understandable not to love your stepkids but im glad im not alone! Thank you! Are you based in London by any chance?

TheStepmumsClub Sun 10-Dec-17 00:11:45

Goodness its just so hard. Thank you for sharing/venting with me lol!

Samesituation Sun 10-Dec-17 22:55:25

Wow !! I thought I was the only one in this situation. I've never come across a thread like this before as they all seem geared to having no bad words said about SC's mum's or SC themselves. My DH and I have had a horrid 12 months of exactly this type of behaviour from my SC, it really has driven us down to some very low times this year. My DH says his children's behaviour has been carbon copy of their mum and like a PP said so unlike DH. I have felt so sorry for DH this year his children have text because they NEVER actually SAY anything to his face such horrible, rude, cheeky and inappropriate things to.him, which all the more makes him think EW is behind a lot of the content. Although this has been denied of course. But it's just so obvious. He's been incredibly upset and to be honest shocked at some of the content. We're 8 years in and this has just intensified in last 12 months. Its so hard to see these 2 children treat their dad the way they do, and if I stand up for him I get spoken to like they've stepped in me !!. I have been at the point where I dread the time they are here with us and it's not a nice atmosphere in the house. But very very sadly it is becoming the norm confused

TheStepmumsClub Sun 10-Dec-17 23:35:51

That is crazy! I cant stand what ive just read. Urgh!! Listen for me im all about speaking your truth! I do not love my stepchildren. I care for them yes but do not love them so i am less tolerant to the naughty things they do. Im blessed in the sense that OH has low tolerance too. What really troubles my soul is how restricted i am to remedying situations that involve my peace of mind.

Freyanna Mon 11-Dec-17 01:31:39

I had a terrible time with my Ex Fiance's children. ExF didn't get on with his ExW.
The three girls were utterly vile to me, rude about everything I cooked and wore and utterly condescending and unpleasant.
It even got to the stage they would hiss when they saw me! All this done out of sight of ExF.
I became so depressed.
My Mother became unwell and I went home to look after her, and never went back!

SunFlower222 Mon 11-Dec-17 16:38:30

It’s so nice to read a supporting thread, I remember posting about similar problems a few years ago and I got flamed confused

I’ve struggled for years with anxiety and a lot of it stems around DSC and their mum.

It started when I was pregnant, I suffered with pre-natal and anti natal depression, really struggled to cope with simple things, at times I couldn’t even leave the house, shower myself, take care of my baby (and DS from previous relationship).
It was a really hard time, DH needed to care for me, I couldn’t stand the extra stress of two extra kids around and having to try and put on a brave face. I thought about leaving DH as I couldn’t be a stepmum to his kids but I needed him and I loved him.
Then to make things worse DH’s ex was constantly criticing us because we weren’t doing enough with the kids/I wasn’t being a good enough step mum/sometimes DH was staying at his mum’s with the kids or needing his mum to help us out.
So DH ended up telling his ex what was going on and then she decided she didn’t want her kids around somebody with mental health problems, making him chose between his wife or kids at weekends.

5 years later things are now much better, I do love my DSD she’s just the loveliest, funniest girl and we have lots in common.
I’ve never really bonded with DSS but he is very much like DH and I care about him a lot and really want the best for him.

But it drives me crazy when they have a lovely weekend with us and then go home and complain about something and then BM has a moan at us.

Their mum is a royal pain in the arse, absolutely control freak who likes to make our lives as difficult as possible and criticise us constantly.
It’s that which causes my anxiety, always having to watch what I say and do because I know it will get back to their mum and never knowing what trick she’s got up her sleeve to cause us more stress.

ElChan03 Mon 11-Dec-17 17:05:54

We can't do right from wrong. Even if our mental health suffers it's probably our fault.

Bananasinpyjamas11 Tue 12-Dec-17 18:37:24

Wow Magda that is almost word for word what my DP says to me! I’ve never thought anyone else had this! Just goes to show it’s a shared experience many of us, if not all SMs face.

Dp sticks his head in the sand and comes out with the "they really like you they're just reserved" speech

That is after years of being my step daughters main parent after their Dad time wise, so I put the hours in! Just gained nothing, barely tolerated. They can’t even look at me when their mother is around so there is stoked up ill feeling for sure.

I think our step kids probably do think we are OK people, but with active ongoing hostility from their mother towards us they are not able to form a connection. I guess even if the mother wasn’t hostile it might feel disloyal to be in any way connecting with a step mum.

Bananasinpyjamas11 Tue 12-Dec-17 18:50:54

I’m sorry to hear all of your stories, Elchan, sunflower freyanna samesituation I’m glad that some of you have some relationships with your step kids over time, or you got out and saved your sanity!

Magda it seems horribly unfair that you have to spend Christmas on your own. I feel for you, you sound nice and trying your best. Wish your DSCs would extend a tiny bit of kindness. And Ex back off!

Sunflower I know I nearly moved out while I was pregnant- it was just so stressful with the weekly dramas. DP like a lot of men just would rather appease his Ex than stand up her, but he got better when he realised he needed to put me first! He kept saying he was in the middle - translation = Ex is being a cow and I’m scared of her anger!

My mental health was damaged, I was struggling with being criticised and my relationship constantly meddled with. My step kids have all got more selfish over time unfortunately- they turned into their mother! I think resentment is a horrible insidious and damaging emotion - and they all resent me because I eventually started standing up for myself and my kids.

Stepparent25 Mon 25-Dec-17 18:06:55

I know this has been a while ago but how are you doing now? I feel compassion and sympathy towards you because I myself am in the same boat as you. Being a step mother sometimes ruins my happiness, energy, and hope. I've asked myself recently if this was the right choice..I could use a friend to talk to this about.

Notquiteright74 Fri 29-Dec-17 23:02:44

Earlier I joined this page as I felt so alone especially when on a earlier post the person said she was struggling with her SC got so much NEGATIVE posts I was like I am leaving this group.

but this post is exactly how I feel. Thank you ladies

Margaritaanyone89 Sat 30-Dec-17 03:53:23

My DSD bio Mum was extremely abusive towards both me and my DP during the first 3 years until she finally got a partner. They have consistently tried to make things as difficult as possible together, I can see enjoyment in their faces when they find another way to be cruel and hurtful. And worst of all they play the pity card, compulsively lie and make out that we are awful people.

I love my DSD with all my heart although I do admit I would feel anxious, stressed and depressed whenever we had her in the early stages as I knew we'd have to do the pick ups and drop offs. Bio Mum would demand that I come to the door not my partner so she could belittle me and also try to give my partner as little say as possible regarding his daughter.

I wish there were such a law/court order in place that punished malice, using children as a weapon etc. And helped to put the child's needs first.

Step parents have the biggest hearts and are often critiqued unfairly, taken advantage of and overlooked by society. It's a big move, taking on someone else children, especially when their bio parent's goal in life is to try to ruin yours. I applaud all step parents who look after their DSC. Bloody hard job with little appreciation but worth it.

TheStepmumsClub Sat 30-Dec-17 04:06:45


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