When Nicki and I met, she was ready to give up on her marriage.
She was feeling so anxious and hurt around her stepkids. They regularly told her they hated her.
And all of this was negatively impacting her marriage – Nicki and her husband would constantly blow up at each other about the kids.
And hey, I get it. It’s not fun to have a child say I hate you – especially when you’re trying to build a loving relationship with this child.
But here’s the thing about stepkids:
They’re going to be the meanest to you, as the stepmom. ALWAYS.
BUT – their cruelty doesn’t actually mean anything bad about YOU as a human.
Their cruelty, disinterest, and misbehavior has NOTHING to do with you and lots to do with the trauma of their parents’ divorce and just normal childhood behavior.
The stepmom is often the scapegoat for the stepkid’s pain.
And that’s what I told Nicki.
She really took my advice to heart. So every time her stepkids got upset at her, she just reminded herself that their behavior wasn’t personal.
And in just 4 short weeks, she’s stopped avoiding her stepkids so much. And, she’s able to handle their outbursts, their attempts at cruelty, with a greater sense of calm and patience.
Her marriage is no longer in trouble anymore either. There just isn’t as much to argue about since her stepkids are no longer such a huge source of pain and anxiety.
This one simple tweak – depersonalizing her stepkids behavior – is saving Nicki’s marriage and her sanity.
And here’s the best news: If Nicki can do it, you can too.