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Living in the shadow of a mum who died !!

(34 Posts)
Coll Thu 24-Feb-05 12:27:56

Help! is there any one out there living in the same situation as me !! i have two stepchildren aged 12 years and 14 years. their mum died of breast cancer and although i have been married to their dad for 7 years i an constantly living in the shadow of their mum not just only as a mum but also as a wife and it just don't seem to be getting any easier!! which i hoped that it would? i am pulling my hair and am DESPERATE!! to talk tp somone living in the same situation!! i also have a lad from my first marriage aged 14yrs and we have a little girl together aged 5years PLEASE PLEASE CONTACT ME SO DESPERATE TO TALK TO SOMONE!!

toomanypushchairs Thu 24-Feb-05 12:33:01

Sounds hard, sorry things aren't going well, hope you find someone who can help.

anorak Thu 24-Feb-05 12:33:14

Oh, coll, you poor thing. I don't have any stepchildren myself but lots of mums here do. You have come to the right place if you want support and someone going through the same things as you. Do keep bumping this thread until someone in your situation sees it.

Caligula Thu 24-Feb-05 12:34:35

Much, much harder than having a living mother with all her faults. No experience at all of this, just sympathy for you and I hope you'll find the help you need here.

motherpeculiar Thu 24-Feb-05 13:19:32

Hi Coll

no experience of this as a mum myself, but I did lose my mother to bc and when my dad remarried found it tricky to adjust to my step mum.

I don't know all the details of your personal situation. In my case I was in my early 20s so older than your step kids and probably a bit better able to rationalise things. DId you marry their dad quite soon after their mum died? I ask cos my dad remarried within 18 months and it made it that bit harder for us.

For my family (and my stepmums - she has 3 kids) everyone dealt with it differently. I think it's very important not too expect too much of people (not saying that you are). Things should get easier for you all over time, it may seem that 7 years should have been plenty of time, but I know I still find it difficult at times (although I am very fond of my stepmum and delighted she and my dad are happy). No-one will ever replace their mum, or your DHs first wife. MAybe you should stop trying and just revel in what you all have together, which I hope is very special in its own right.

HAve you discussed this with your DH and explained to him how you are feeling? WHat is happening that makes you say you live in the dead woman's shadow? maybe it is just a perception thing on your part? (not trying to belittle how you are feeling at all BTW)

I hope you get some good advice on here and things get easier for you all with time. Try to relax about it as much as you can.


annalou41 Fri 25-Feb-05 23:16:40

Hi Coll. I'm not quite in your situation but have 2 stepchildren and I so know how difficult it can be, therefore thought I'd say hi anyhow. I'm newly living with my partner and coping with his 2 kids who sometimes seem to relish being awkward, rude etc... last weekend I was pulling my hair out!!! But they are here tonight and have been great. I wonder if its cos their Dad is out tonight, and I'm in charge ? Maybe they reserve the worst behaviour for when he's around !

Last weekend when things were not going so well, I felt really useless and that they were never going to accept me, I phoned a helpline called " Parentplus" spoke to a counsellor, and it really helped... even if only to let off a little steam about how I felt, I'm always a bit afraid that if I moan about things to mates, it might get back to my partner. It was really good to tell someone how I really felt and I knew it was confidential. They also made me realise that I AM doing well and gave me some really good advice.
Maybe you should call them. I really wish you the best of luck, contact me if you would like to talk.

Anna x x

beansprout Mon 28-Feb-05 15:47:46

Coll - sorry to hear you are having a difficult time. I'm a step parent but BM still around so I don't have any direct experience I'm afraid.

When you say "living in the shadow", what does that mean? How does that show itself and also, how would you like it to be?

miracleabie Tue 01-Mar-05 12:38:09

Hello Coll, I am not quite in the same situation, but my husband and I have looked after my neice who is 9 since her Mum died ( breast cancer) and her dad died ( brain tumor). We have had her for 4 years .
I hopefully can empathise with your situation.It is so bloody hard no wonder you are pulling your hair out. I know also how islolating it can be.Some people think you are a hero(Me)others are so critical of everything you do(the MIL FIL) real or imagined it is still there. We lost a lot of 'friends' in the process, who bewilderingly could'nt understand why we would put ourselves in 'such a poaition'. So few people are of any real help. I know I went through a phase of being a 'perfect mum' until i could't stand to pretend that everything was ok all the time.
Has your DP any idea of how desperate you feel. Can you talk to him? It took us years to all find a way to live together .It will take time, and even then there are no guarantees that the kids will accept you.(so hard to bear) You are living a completely NEW LIFE with 5 other people who are also living a completely NEW LIFE. When is that ever going to be easy?.It is all such a shock and probably not how anyone had planned things to be.
There is also a huge ammount of grief involved . Your step children might still be going through the grief process. You are a very easy target for their anger and loss. Your own two are somewhere else emotionally and need you in such a different way.Coll , I bet you are doing a fantasic job. Please write some more if it helps

pinotgrigio Tue 01-Mar-05 13:05:03

Hello Coll. I'm sorry to hear you are going through such a difficult time. I have 2 stepsons but their mum is still alive (and breathes fire mostly).

It must be so difficult for the 2 children who lost their mum, she's probably on a pedestal which would be impossible for you to match. It's a shame that DP is unintentionally (I assume) also making you feel like you don't measure up.

Have you talked to DP? Does he know that he's making life difficult for you? 12 & 14 is such a difficult age too. What do they do that makes you feel so inadequate? Have they had counselling at all? Maybe that would help and show them that you're there for them too? How is this affecting your other 2 children?

I'm sure you don't have any spare time, but if you do try to read 'Jane's House'. It's about a situation exactly like yours.

Good Luck & {{{{hugs}}}}. I hope you mange to find a way forward.

Somanykiddies Wed 23-Mar-05 12:23:42

Just seen this thread. I am in the same situation as you Coll. Have two of my own, three step living with us and two who don't. DP divorced from wife, so even more turmoil as he had to move back to marital home, cut working hours and money to care for children. This weekend will be first anniversary so will be a difficult time for all. Oh, and by the way, his in laws are absolute monsters hell bend on making life as difficult as possible!!!! How are you getting on?

Somanykiddies Wed 30-Mar-05 16:35:38

Really could use some advice. Memorial Mass was on Sunday, the children went but dp didn't. Grandparents had arranged mass weeks ago without consulting us and expected the children to be there. Obviously there was no question that they wouldn't go, but there were set times for pick up and drop off. Drop off ended up being 3 hours later than planned. The grandparents never liked or respected dp (religious thing) even when the children's mother was alive. Everytime they get together with their grandparents they return as mouthpieces for them, but making out it is their own opinion. They have actually stated that they are not interested in the children's new life which is very worrying, they just poision them against us and I've had enough! Any advice would be much appreciated. Thank you.

lisalisa Wed 30-Mar-05 16:57:28

Message withdrawn

Somanykiddies Wed 30-Mar-05 17:41:45

Please, anyone?

Kibby Wed 30-Mar-05 18:20:44

sounds like a nightmare, how often do they see their grandparents and can't their father have a word with the grandparents and children to say that that's a year down the line and everyone has to start trying to build bridges for everyone's sake?

Somanykiddies Wed 30-Mar-05 18:27:59

Thanks for the reply. Grandmother would phone twice a day FGS!!! When mother first died grandparents helped out as dp was setting up own business but as soon as I came on the scene they 'closed ranks' but kept wanting the children (or I should say two of the three) most of the time. We had a massive confrontation the other week and things are now coming to a head. Dp is usually sooo laid back but is now at the point where he doesn't want the grandparents to see the children. Grandparents are very two faced and are impossible to reason with. The grandfather made the comment that they are not interested in the children's new life, ie, me being part of it. I'm totally p**ed off with it all, hence the reason we are also moving!.

Kibby Wed 30-Mar-05 18:32:12

Oh God what a mess. What are the children like towards you?

JanH Wed 30-Mar-05 18:34:27

Do the other grandparents have much contact, Smk?

Somanykiddies Wed 30-Mar-05 18:36:51

We normally get on well, except when they come back from the grandparents, I know they are poisoning the children against me. What the grandparents don't realise is that the children want a normal, stable life and they have benefited from this. Their mum was an alcoholic and she treated them appaulingly, now they have stability and someone who cares for them, the grandparents obviously don't want that to happen.

Somanykiddies Wed 30-Mar-05 18:42:30

Strangely enough the other grandparents see the wife as the life and soul of the party, don't accept that she was a drunk at all. Sent huge floral tribute for grave at christmas with note about her being a wonderful daughter in law!!! Mad me so cross and she told everyone dp left her for another woman, which is a complete lie, he left because of her drinking and violence, but they believed her. Only contact we have had with them in last two months was a phone message to say they were sending more flowers for memorial mass!!

throckenholt Wed 30-Mar-05 19:01:53

have you tried sitting down and talking to them individually about their mum. Something along the lines of you know they loved their mum, and it is very sad that she died, but you all have to cope without her. Say you are not trying to replace her, that you have your own relationship with each one of them, and that you are there for them when they need you. Let them know that when they are sad about their mum then you are always willing to be a shoulder to cry on.

Somanykiddies Wed 30-Mar-05 19:04:17

Yep, done that. Did the catering when dp was forced to throw a 'do' on her birthday, thought of various was of celebrating her life for the children, releasing balloons, memory books etc. I don't have a problem remembering the mum, it's her parents that are holding the children back and actively trying to wreck what we all now have!

Kibby Wed 30-Mar-05 19:06:04

I think you're doing the right thing, you have to reallu see this as a new start for everybody and if the gps aren't helpful in bringing that about then their contact with the children should be limited.

Kibby Wed 30-Mar-05 19:06:48

miracleabie, not ignoring you, was it your sister who died?

throckenholt Wed 30-Mar-05 19:09:43

talk to the kids about the grandparents. Explain that they are bitter and grieving that their daughter died, and are taking it out on you. Tell them that they may say things about you that are not nice or true, and that they should try and remember that their granparents are hurting.

Not easy being the only "normal" person - all you can do is try and counteract what else is going on, without becoming too bitter about it yourself.

Somanykiddies Wed 30-Mar-05 19:10:20

Dp doesn't want them to have contact at all. I know you will all think it's terrible but I am starting to agree with him. Hopefully in time, they will see that the children are benefitting from this relationship and will come to terms with it although I don't hold out much hope!

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