Do you ever feel like an outsider in your own home?
If this is you, you’re not alone – this is so common!
And, what’s also true is that sometimes our stepkids really do consciously or unconsciously exclude us.
Yep. This really happens.
But, here’s why they do it:
They do it because they’re rejecting the fact that their parents aren’t together anymore, or they’re upset because they no longer get so much attention from mommy or daddy ever since we showed up.
It’s not personal – any woman in our shoes would suffer the same fate.
But here’s where things get tricky:
When we get offended by this type of exclusionary behavior, we disengage from our families. We might go hide out in our rooms, or start doing chores – anything to avoid feeling like the outsider.
But, avoiding our families doesn’t make us feel better – it only makes us feel more disconnected from everyone else in our homes. And, by not being present, we miss out on critical opportunities to build more loving and authentic connections.
It’s the outsiders’ paradox: when we feel like we are outsiders, we disconnect and get the opposite of what we really want.
So you might be thinking now – OK…so what I can do? What’s the solution?
It’s not to change your stepkids – because hey – you’ve probably already tried and given up. Changing their behavior takes time and patience, and it’s the slowest, most painful route to feeling better.
Here’s where you can start:
Decide for yourself why you are an important member of your family no matter what your stepkids might think or do. Maybe it’s because you’re kind. Maybe it’s because you and your spouse can model a really stable, healthy relationship. You’re in your family for a reason. Your presence matters, even if your stepkids don’t show it.
Every time you start to feel the urge to hide out and avoid, stop yourself and stick around. Start showing up as if you mattered.