Our 10-month in-house separation has been growing increasingly challenging, especially for Cinderella who is stuck in the middle of yet ANOTHER divorce.
Torn between her desire to remain loyal to me (her primary care giver for the past 10 years) and her mother who is making every attempt to alienate my stepdaughter from me.
Attempts are being made to undermine my authority. Trash talk continues.
I noticed on her visitation days with Maleficent, Cinderella's mood towards me was colder and more defiant. It started in the mornings before she left for school, continued when she came home and rushed to do her homework before Maleficent was due to arrive. It followed her back home after being dropped off as she stomped around the house getting ready for school the next day.
The next day, she was always fine.
Her hostility fueled my own insecurities. I found myself becoming defensive and angry.
(Yes, after ten years I still question my parenting abilities, take things personally and lay the mother guilt on myself nice and THICK.)
It was time to have a (step)mother/daughter talk.
I am sure you must be feeling anger towards Dad and me. You are probably hurt and confused because here you are going through ANOTHER divorce. And I am sure there is something going on when you are at Mom's but I don't want to make things worse by pressuring you to talk to me. It hurts me to see you suffering. I only hope that you will try to talk to someone about what's going on.
As is par for the course, that's all she needed me to say. My suspicions were confirmed, her loyalities are being challenged and she is being torn apart by this.
I reassured her as best as I know how. Mostly by example. Prince Charming and I struggle to find common ground, to get along for the kids' sake and make a point of making sure that they SEE it because it's one thing for us to tell them, but it's a whole other thing for them to LIVE it.
While I can empathize with Maleficent and why she behaves where He is concerned, I don't agree that that's the answer. Not after all the pain I have seen it cause. Lord knows he doesn't always make it easy, but still...
My mantra these days is: Love your kids more than you hate your ex.