The other day, I was chatting with one of my clients about why she didn’t like her stepson.
She thought her stepson was too entitled
She felt like he wasn’t appreciative enough.
So I asked her why his sense of entitlement and lack of appreciation really bothered her so much.
And the answer was shocking to us both, yet made so much sense.
See, my client grew up in a household without a lot of money.
And deep down, she was envious of how carefree her stepson’s life was –
how it seemed as though he had this huge safety net, and never had to worry about where his next meal was coming from.
And even to this day, my client was living a very rigid life – one where she had a hard time doing kind things for herself, and genuinely having more fun.
So even though she was no longer financially poor, a part of her was still trapped in the poverty mindset –
“No time for fun. We have to always work hard, or else we’ll end up homeless.”
So instead of focusing on how she could change her stepson (which is really hard to do, and ultimately, not in her control)…
I helped her focus on enjoying more self-care and fun in her own life – maybe she could take that couples’ only vacation someday soon, or even buy herself that gorgeous pair of earrings she’d be eyeing.
Once we addressed what was missing in her own life, genuinely liking her stepson felt so much easier.
So that’s the thing about disliking our stepkids –
Deep down, it’s always about us.
Not because we’re bad people – we dislike our stepkids simply because they remind us of our own unmet needs.
And while having a constant reminder of what we don’t have, and perhaps still need may feel uncomfortable or annoying….
Meeting our own needs as adults is 100% in our control.
And when we meet our own needs first, not only do we feel happier and more fulfilled at home…
but we also find it way easier to genuinely like and love our stepkids.
And one simple shift is all it takes.