My stepdaughter (soon to be) hates me because I am not her mom. She hates me because I’m a constant reminder that her mom’s not there and not coming back. She also hates change because it’s another reminder that things around her are still happening, even though her mom is gone. Nicole is fourteen years old and her mom passed away when she was ten. I don’t blame her. I would hate me too.
Here is what I am doing about it: nothing. There is nothing that I can do about it. I’m sure that in another life, we would have really liked each other, say, if I was a friend’s mom or something. But I’m not, I’m her dad’s partner. In the beginning, I tried to conversate with her, buy her cute things that girls like, I tried to win her over. I believed naively that I could win her over, she would grow to like or even love me and all would be great in our world. I didn’t know any better. I was met with no response, screaming at me in public, staring at me through a window the whole time I was there and trying to throw me out of the house (oh yes, she has done that too), all while dad stood there looking like a deer in the headlights. I refused to go back over until he was able to manage her behavior. She doesn’t have to like me, she just can’t be disrespectful to me. So he took care of it. She no longer does these things. Actually, she doesn’t do anything at all. She just stays in her room and doesn’t talk to me or anyone else really. I feel sorry for her.
I think as women, a lot of us are people pleasers. We automatically feel that if someone doesn’t like us, it’s personal and we can fix it by being our fantastic selves. There’s that woman in the office who constantly rolls her eyes at you because you look a lot like the woman her husband left her for, or the rude cashier who doesn’t like you after seeing you for a total of five seconds because your voice sounds just like her ex best friend who she now hates. I would rather spend my time nourishing the relationships that I have with the people who have actually gotten to know me and appreciate me, life is far too short. We have to accept that sometimes, the more you try, the more they despise you. They have chosen not to like you. And that’s okay. I have spent a lot of time in the past reading blogs and comments from both widower’s wives and daughters of widowers. The wives were so appalled that the daughters, (who are all grown up now) still hate them when they could not understand why, they eventually hated the daughters as well. Yet, they would still give anything to reconcile with the daughters, if only the daughter would see the err of her ways and try to be grateful for all that the stepmother had tried to do for her. From reading the daughters’ comments, they still felt the very same way they had when they were children. They didn’t WANT the stepmother to do anything for them, most of them commented that she had always tried too hard and they took this as the stepmother trying to replace their mother. The daughters wanted the dad to be on his own and avoid moving on but if he couldn’t, they did not want to be bothered with the stepmother. They already felt that the dad was betraying their mom, they were not going to (in their minds) betray her by actually liking the wife as well.
I have had some very well meaning, yet naive, friends make these comments to me:
“I have always wanted to be a stepmom! She would LOVE me if I were her stepmom!” Ummm….why? It’s not very much fun. Yeah…..no she wouldn’t.
“If I were you, I would make sure to go to her room and say hi and start a conversation every single time I went over.” Yes, because I have never thought about doing that…..Too bad when you knock, she acts like she doesn’t hear the door.
“What you need to do, is go over there every single night, cook dinner, and act like you own that house. She’ll HAVE to come around!” That’s a great idea! Because I don’t have my own house to take care of and I would just love to act like a squatter at my man’s house. I’m sure she’ll just LOVE me after that!
I do hope that things change, and that some day she ‘just comes around’, but I’m not holding my breath for it. Sometimes, people never do come around and that’s okay. I can accept that and I can also accept that I can’t fix something that I didn’t break.