Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Stepmom Strikes Back

Maleficent did not take too kindly to me calling her out on her choice to call Hansel & Gretel Cinderella's half-siblings. It was self-serving and intended to belittle our childrens' relationship with one another.
I criticized her for being so petty and accused her of being threatened by our ability to provide a loving family for Cinderella. I told her she was pathetic.
I told her that we had all grown weary of her and her bipolar issues and that she would one day soon regret her actions as of late.
She didn't like what I had to say. She didn't like it one bit:
I am so tired of you it isn't even funny. You have gotten way too big for your bridges!!! I don't and won't continue to explain to you about any conversations my daughter and I have. Prince Charming and I made Cinderella you were just a thought later. You seem to think Cinderella is YOUR daughter. I owe you NO explanation PERIOD! I don't want any more emails from you. The emails are between Prince Charming and I. Mind your own business. As far as I know Prince Charming is raising Cinderella (She is OUR child!!!!) I DO NOT want to here from you again. No more harrassing me.

I read her email and felt an immediate rush of adrenaline.
I might have even recited this prayer once or twice.
I was shocked (and secretly pleased) that I had managed to elicit a response from her. I obviously struck a nerve in some way.
Her anger was all over the place, her comments erratic and nonsensical. In fact I don't understand what half of her statements were supposed to mean or how she expected me to react to them.
"You were just a thought later."
Huh? Isn't that usually how it works? People get married, people get divorced, people move on. No?
I was not surprised to see the harassment accusation thrown in at the end. A single email can hardly qualify as harassment. But she is a coward. That's just how she rolls.
I resisted the urge to correct her typos, l'est my bridges get any bigger. ;)
But I did need to make one thing very clear to her:
Anything that affects my family, especially that which also affects Cinderella's brother and sister is my business. There is much more to parenting than simple biology, and I will never stop defending or standing up for what is right for the kids.
Prince Charming also came to my defense. He was infuriated by her behavior and her language.
He chose to call her, to let her know he was aware of this little exchange and that he felt as strongly about it as I did and that he did not like the way she was talking TO and talking ABOUT his wife. The mother of the home in which Cinderella lives.
He might also even have stated that I am more of a mother than she will EVER be.

There has been no further backlash. Maleficent is acting as though this never happened. No retorts. Certainly no apologies. Nothing more has been stated - verbally or in email.
She is happy in her land of make-believe and has mastered the art of avoidance.
I can learn something from her in that department.


Running Peripheral said...

While it is your business the impact of the use of that prefix by Cinderella, her behavior while in your home, it isn't your business how M raises her daughter during her parenting time barring legit abuse. I don't believe a discussion on whether a sibling is a step-half is being abusive. It is a fact.

PC can ask M to handle this subject according to his preferred parenting style but he can't demand it of her.

She has every right to disagree with you with her own child and handle it how she sees fit.

This issue should have stayed and been dealt with solely in your home.

I think your e-mail has the potential to be a red cape with a bull. She touched a nerve with you too and with toxic people, it isn't wise to expose raw nerves where you can't effectively cover them.

Wicked Stepmom said...

Peripheral -

You are right on so many counts.

She did touch a nerve, I am protective of our kids (ALL of them), and half-sibling is a factual term. Though I doubt her motives were anything less than malicious.

No, we cannot tell her how to raise Cinderella in her home. Yes, I have given more power to the term "half-sibling" than need be by my reaction. And I most definitely have exacerbated the situation.

I can accept all of that. Right or wrong. I did make the choice, and am willing to accept whatever comes our way as a result.

Again. Thanks! :)

Super Step-Mom said...

It is a fine line between how parenting skills work in 2 homes. My step-son was very confused when he had visitation at his BioMom's. The other children had a different last name and he thought when he was over there his name changed.

It was really hard for me to see and hear the bickering between the 2 parents.

In time, and with ALOT of patience, my step-son has come to his own conclusions and we are always open with conversations he brings up. We never undermine her, and it has worked in OUR favor. He remembers how we never said anything bad about her but she had MUCH to say about US. We're evil.

My step-son really appreciates how I took the High road and it has hurt his relationship with BioMom. She made her bed....

Stick to your guns, but don't let her get to you. It will all work out in the end.

Wicked Stepmom said...

Super -

The same is happening in our home. We have never spoken ill of Maleficent in front of, or to, Cinderella. EVER. On the rare occasions where Maleficent and I have butted heads, I kept it between us. I do not involve Cinderella. Prince Charming has always done the same.

Cindy has now grown resentful of her mother's unfair treatment towards us and criticizes her inability to take the high road as we have. Cindy appreciates our continued efforts to be respectful of her mother, but does not understand how or why we keep it up.

I am happy to see Cinderella coming to these realizations on her own, but I am so very sad for her at the same time. There have been many tears shed for her in recent weeks. Her pain is my pain, and is definitely what fueled this latest exchange between her mother and me.

This is such a sharp contrast to my experience as a child of divorce. It is almost too much to bear.

mathcutie said...

When dealing with crazy relatives, be they 'step' or 'ex' or other, I try to keep in mind that I cannot rationalize the irrational. People who are irrational will continue to be such, before during and after any interactions with me. So just observe, and move on. Cindy is smart, she can't (and probably doesn't want to) discontinue contact with her mother, so she's going to have some sort of a relationship with an irrational person. Patience, patience, patience. You're doing great.

Marty, a.k.a. canape said...

I love "mother of the home." What a great phrase. I'm going to borrow it if you don't mind.

Oh, the emails I would love to fire off . . . I just continue to ignore. I'm not sure it works any better. Because like mathcutie said about irrational . . .

Tabitha said...

I too love the term 'mother of the home.' My husband's ex had the 'she's your stepmom, I your mom' conversation with our littles her last weekly visit. While it makes me feel good that our 5 year old innocently refer to me as his mom while in his biomom's presence thus sparking the talk, it was unfortunate they had to hear about the complexities of relationships from her. You never truly know the effect words have on young minds where ideas are just forming about the larger issues of life.

Super Woman said...

Oh my God, do we have the same ex-wife??? I swear that exchange between the two of you could've been ripped from the annals of my email communiques with Super Man's ex-wife. TO THE LETTER.

She, too, is a big fan of blindly lashing out and making ridiculous claims and statements (which naturally have NO basis in reality), telling me that she will deal with Super Man in the future (which, though it would be ideal for ME, is simply not possible), and reminding me that Super Girl is HER & SUPER MAN'S daughter, not mine (despite the fact that in her manic phases she'll send me dripping emails about how lucky Super Girl is to have me as "her other mother" blah blah blah). It's exhausting, isn't it? Dealing with idiots?

Hang in there, WS - you're a great mom, to ALL the kids. PERIOD.

Mrs. S said...

I swear you're dealing with my DH's ex too! Seems we're all on a similar boat of frustration...and beleive me...every single one of us would LOVE to sink to the level of the ex and tell her exactly what she does wrong. My DH's ex tries to email him and tell him what I am doing wrong...which he laughs at because most of what I do is following how he has raised/disciplined the kids all along or is something we've discussed.

I agree with similar comments tho- that you have to take the high road and believe me- later on in life- it pays off. My oldest two SC realize that we do not backlash with the ex and much of what we do is defensive to what she tries to put us through. They get it on their own, without us saying a word. BM calls DH names, tells SC she is resentful they have a relationship with me that is good, etc- while DH and I are constantly telling the kids we respect their mom bc she is their mom and that we want them to have a good relationship with her (which is the honest truth). In the end. As DH and I agree- we let the ex sort of "hang herself" when it comes to the kids and how she deals with us. Believe me, even in just a short period, the high road has worked. :)

When it comes to names, I say let the kids decide. The more power you give to the children, the more you take responsibility off of you, DH, and the ex. Tell Cinderella that if she wants to call her half-siblings half-siblings she can or she can just call them her siblings, but that you will always think of them all equally. That puts the power in the child's court to decide how they want to define their relationships, and if Malificent tries to throw a fit, you just say "'s Cinderella's choice, that's what she wants to do."

Good luck...I'm reading daily!

Wicked Steppie said...

Hey - I've just found your blog. I am a UK stepmother and have just started my own blog 'Confessions of a Wicked Stepmother' I will be following yours now I've found it!

Anonymous said...

Divorce, seperation, and remarriages are all tough on young children, and teens in fact. The bottom line is; each parent -bio + step - WANT what is best for the child(ren). Granted there may be disapproval of the ''parenting skills'' among the three, but it is NOT the business of the other of what goes on in your own home!! Maintaining quality parenting and co-habiting living with child(ren) -step or bio- and everyone is happy!!

Anonymous said...

mis-spelled word; co-habiting should be co-habitating!

Maintaining happiness among the child(ren) involved should be the goal of all the parents involved. Hopefully the hurt party will understand that one day......least it is MY own personal hope!

Children should not be used as pawns between the parents either!

Anonymous said...

Oh. my. goodness. I get these e-mails on a regular basis as well. It is so annoying. I think it is a bit odd that someone (i.e. the ex-wife and biomom) want to send nasty e-mails when in retaliation for being called on their bad behavior.

By the way - the biomom in my situation can't spell either. She things "history" is spelled "hystory". I saw the "Too big for your bridges" comment and nearly fell out of my chair laughing. I am so very glad I am not the only one in this situation.

I was called out for expressing my opinion on an inappropriate book my stepdaughter was reading. She is way too young for this particular book. When I found it lying about in clear sight, I went to her father and explained that it was too mature and sent the wrong message about the female role in a relationship. So we put it up so she can read it when she gets a little older. I took her to the library so she could get an age appropriate book.

It was brought up at the visitation exchange over the weekend that "She took her book away. It was a birthday gift from me. How dare she!!!!!" It never, ever, ever ends. Somehow this woman thinks that since I am not the biomom that I should just ignore inappropriate things that will harm her daughter's self-esteem and view of the world.

Like I said - it is so comforting to know that I am not alone. For a while there, I felt as if I was.