Being Me…

and discovering that that is quite the roller coaster ride. Wanna come along?

Learning to accept my relationship with my stepfather

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I really need to come to some sort of acceptance of my relationship with my mother and stepfather – such that it is. It has gotten to the point that I am not comfortable going to visit any of our family because there is either a situation that arises or I’m waiting for one to arise.What happened this time? Several things, actually. First of all, I went out with my sister-in-law on Thursday for a while. My mother came over to help my mother-in-law watch our children. When Lora and I got back to the house, my mother and stepfather left, saying they’d be back when Jim (my brother-in-law), Lora (his wife), A. and I went to dinner. I heard from my mother-in-law (Mom M) later that she did indeed come back but left just as soon as Mom M got ready to bathe my older child. Mom M couldn’t leave my baby (three-month-old) with my father-in-law because he really doesn’t know what to do with a crying child, so she called her sister who lives up the road. She came down and took the baby so that Mom could bathe my son. It is just odd that my mother left my mother-in-law in the lurch; we are fairly certain that my stepfather had something to do with it because he interferes with every visit my mother has tried to have with my children.

The second thing? He waited until my mother picked up my daughter and started giving her a bottle and then said, “Well, let’s go. We’ve got to go to L____’s house.” She just looked at him for a second, then replied, “You can do that; I don’t need to be there. The checkbook’s in the car. If you want to go, knock yourself out.” Mind you, that’s a first – my mother-in-law and I were shocked she stood up to him. It is like this every time we go to visit. My parents-in-law clear their schedule and make time for us; my parents do whatever they intended to do, regardless of whether we are staying with them or not. Also, if we are staying with my parents-in-law, then they seem (or my stepfather seems) to go out of their (his) way to avoid coming over. He has suddenly needed a haircut, to go spend a Father’s Day gift certificate (three or four months late), or to run to the hardware store when he knows we’re going to be arriving. He keeps my mother from getting there to see us until right at bedtime for my kids. Drives me crazy.

My problem now is that, because of a nasty comment he made to me in February (actually in front of my mother-in-law and her twin – witnesses! Finally!), my attitude toward him has changed. In fact, I feel like my view of a lot of things has shifted. I found out he really doesn’t consider me as a second daughter. I’ve known him for 20+ years, since I was in junior high. I accepted him as a father figure because my own father isn’t terribly active in my life. I called him Dad, and thought him as such. Now, I don’t know. I’m civil, but I struggle to be comfortable with him. I keep waiting for more nasty comments, little attacks on me when nobody else is around. (Of course, I realize that there is a way to avoid that: never be alone with him but that can be a challenge in family situations. ) It is just sad. I suppose in time I will come to some sort of acceptance of the changes and just find a way to adjust. I guess I’m disappointed; I loved him and looked up to him but apparently he’s resented me for years.

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