Charity W., like so many of you, wanted to genuinely miss her stepson when he went away to college.
But when she came to me, she had a really strained relationship with him.
And, she felt consumed with shame and guilt –
Why couldn’t she just have more patience with him? Was she some kind of a monster?
During our free call, I let her know that there was a very logical reason why she was having trouble connecting with him.
And no, she definitely was NOT a monster.
Of course, on the surface, he might talk back more, not listen, and say cruel things – we’ve all been there, right?
BUT – spoiler alert – our stepkids challenging behavior is actually NEVER the main reason we struggle as stepmoms.
And for Charity – (and let’s be real: me, and all the stepmoms on the planet) –
all the resentment and annoyance she felt towards her stepson was simply a reflection of her own unhealed emotional pain.
Let me explain.
With a little gentle exploring, Charity confessed that one of the main relationship stressors was her stepson’s sense of entitlement.
So we just kept exploring: why was his entitled behavior a problem for her specifically?
Turns out, deep down, she was jealous of him – she had yearned for a childhood like his but instead, her parents had always struggled with money.
And even today, even with abundant finances and a very comfortable life, Charity was still not giving herself what she really wanted.
So, we granted her permission to start taking better care of herself – FIRST.
She got braces to fix some gaps she had been feeling really insecure about.
She gave herself a cute haircut.
She decided to cut back on the number of hours she was working at her day job.
And once she gave herself what SHE needed, the tension in her relationship with her stepson simply melted away.
And even when they did face the normal parent-child obstacles, I showed her how to approach her stepson with the RIGHT emotions to elicit more cooperation.
He listens better.
Their conversations are easy now.
They laugh together.
And more importantly, Charity reported feeling the happiest she’s ever felt as a stepmom.
And that pure joy and love that Charity cultivated for herself and her relationship –
You could be her, too.