Evil Step Mother

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-30-2003
Evil Step Mother
Mon, 06-30-2003 - 3:31pm
My father has been married to my stepmom for 20+ years. We have never really gotten along, she's 47 and I'm 32..we are like oil and water. She thinks she is the greatest parent/grandparent/sibling of all time. Ever since my mom died, (1999) she has, in her mind, thought she'd step in and take over as "supreme commander"..if that makes sense. Anyway, the last two years she has been nothing but nasty to me, always talking about me to my siblings, acting as if I have all these issues (I'm single by choice and a mother also.) Let's just say that things have gotten so bad that I'm thinking Mexico for Christmas alone would be more fun than putting up with her attitude toward me (especially since I never get anything I want/need from her, even with a list months in advance. For example, I asked for kitchen things and instead I got a book, underwear (shudder) and a yellow sweatshirt (a color I never wore because I had red hair!) She bought it because she thought it would bring out my eyes. Meanwhile, my other sisters and brother get whatEVER they want. Things escalated this past weekend at a family reunion at my dad's place. I've always considered myself to be a very open and honest person, I have friends from very diverse backgrounds and am proud that I am in touch with those things. So anyway, my uncle, who is gay, came to the reunion with his SO whom we've all met before. I usually hook them up with cool places to go when they come to town (because of my friends) so right away my stepmom gets all upset because she had her own plans for them. I purposely don't invite her to the big parties I have because she'll just ruin my mood and then she has the nerve to tell me I "hurt her feelings" Like she has ANY. Ugh. I'm trying to be the bigger person and have not confronted her. I can't even tell my dad because he is oblivious to it or will make excuse or say "it's not that bad". Am I not intitled to vent my frustrations at how poorly I'm treated? I literally can only be around her for an hour before she says something so totally insane/uncalled for that I feel the urge to slap her (which I wouldn't, no matter how much she deserves it.) So anyway, the straw that broke the camels back on Saturday was when I was leaving and my uncle's ummm "spouse" said good luck at the nascar race I was going to and we had been joking about the driver I like who he said is "gay" and I joked and said he's not. (But if he was, so what, right? Well the stepbitch overhears this and suddenly is like, why should it matter? maybe you're gay. (too me) and I snapped and said, hey, cool, maybe I am, that would explain why I never bring any of my boyfriends out to meet you now wouldn't it? I just left after that before I said something I'd really regret. I know I need to have it out with her once and for all, but it WILL NOT change her. She's okay for a few weeks and then it's right back to the way she always is. I've put up with it for so long and I hate having my son hear some of what she says and how she puts me down? When can I finally make an adult decison and confront her once and for all with demands?

Please help and share your stories. I need something to cheer me up!!
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-17-2003
Mon, 06-30-2003 - 7:21pm
If you are going to confront, be prepared for something really bad.

I would plainly ask her in a non-comabative voice, "what exactly is the problem? The problem is certainly not over who thinks who is gay, so what is the problem? how come we aren't getting along? I would honestly really like to have a pleasant relationship with you." Then listen completely to what she has to say with an open mind.

You might be surprised what she has to say. This might just help in the short-term though. If she has massive personality problems, then these problems will just reappear at some point. I have similar problems with my sister.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-01-2003
Tue, 07-01-2003 - 9:45am
Have you ever had a good relationship with your step-mother? Why does her age matter to you? It must, it's one of the first things you describe. You are also upset with her supposedly trying to replace your mother. I think you are jealous that your father remarried and you act like a vindictive 16-year old describing her "antics". So you don't invite her to "big" parties because you don't want her to ruin your mood. Are these family parties? If so, you should be ashamed of yourself for treating your father's wife this way. The way you snipe about how she acts is disrespectful. I think you have some issues you need to deal with. Just my two cents. I happen to also be a step-mother who has a step-daughter very much like you, self-centered, selfish, and disrespectful. Have a nice day.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-30-2003
Tue, 07-01-2003 - 1:00pm
I guess I didn't have enough time nor space to really write the whole story. I have never been the type to disrespect anyone and was not brought up that way...she just happens to bring it out. We're talking about the same woman who physically abused my sister (her stepdaughter) did the same thing to her own daughter later on causing her to having hearing loss and have to wear a hearing aid when she turned 21...aside from my mother calling the police and child services back when she hit my sister, nothing was ever done. The whole family acts like her moods are normal, because she has epilepsy and that is supposed to make everything okay. No matter what I do, she puts it down. If I get my hair colored, she does her own the same way and says it's better. I just take it all and take it all in because NEVER, in a million years, would I want to cause my father any unnecessary pain over this. He pretends its okay and when I do try and talk to him he says it's not that bad and trys to laugh it away. My stepmom has been out to prove she is the supreme commander from the day she came into our lives and make no mistake, she booted my and my sister into the smallest bedroom of the house to make room for the kids she had with my dad just as soon as she had them. Now, don't get me wrong, I love my brother and sister and have never considered them to be anything but whole, never a half or step. I just am at my wits end. Her own brothers and sisters can't stand to be around her for long periods of time. When I suffered from depression two years ago she never asked me if I was okay when I got out of the hospital, she probably thought I made it up. Or she just said that it wasn't as bad as my sister's episode, who is her daughter and tried to committ suicide in high school. Yeah. Real Nice. I'm sorry. I really am. I have tried to be the bigger person for the last what, 25 years only to be stepped on and pushed aside time and time again. I'm sorry that I can't take it anymore. She needs to be confronted and asked why she doesn't change, no matter how many times I've made it known that what she does to me and how she makes me feel isn't worth it. I'd do anything for my family and proved that after my mom died, which by the way, was only four years ago. If my mom were still alive, none of this crap would be going on, and my stepmom knows it. HOpe that clarifies it. By the way, my son's stepmom and I get along great and she's younger than me..so I do NOT have problems with other step-parents.
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-14-2002
Wed, 07-02-2003 - 1:03am
You cannot change her. Even you said that - she will not change. What you CAN change is your reaction to her.

This reminds me of how I taught my son to deal with bullies - never give them the reaction they expect. For example, when a bully calls him names, instead of getting angry he learned to stop a moment, think what kind of reaction the bully expects, then do something totally opposite. Somehow, this throws the bully completely off-balance and gives my son the upper hand, and therefore, control of the situation. Pretty soon, the bully walks away or sulks in defeat, and eventually stops the bullying behavior.

The situation with your step-mom sounds pretty bad, and I'm sorry that in 20 years the two of you have never learned to get along. Unless one of you changes behavior and how you/she relate to the other, it's not likely to EVER get any better, only worse. So you can't change what she does or says - so why not change what YOU do and say to her?

From the tone of your post and some of your comments, it truly sounds as if you've never gotten past your parents' divorce. 10-12 Years old is a very tender age for a girl to go through this kind of event - the timing for divorce was awful for you. But you can't control that, either. You can only change how you deal with it.

As for your son, you cannot control how your step-mom puts you down in front of him - but give the guy credit for loving you and knowing that what she says is not true. What he learns from this is NOT what she says about you, but from watching how YOU react to it. He will think this is the way to react to people who treat you badly. Do you want him doing the same thing? Because if you continue to give fuel to her fire, he will do exactly that. Better to teach him some self-confidence and pride, and the ability to control his anger and words, when confronted with prejudice and ridicule.

I suspect you are angry, deep down somewhere that you don't even realize, with your mother for leaving you, and angry with both of your parents for splitting at a time in your life when you needed both of them the most. But you love your parents dearly, so you can't allow yourself to be angry at them. Instead, you take it all out on the step-mother (and probably have since your father re-married). Am I getting warm?

I also wonder how your mother thought of her - did she keep her opinions to herself, or confide in you about the awful b***ch that married her ex-husband? Did you think that if the evil step-mother were NOT in the picture, that your parents might have worked things out and re-married? And that your mother might be alive and happy today? Am I getting warmer?

I also grew up with an evil step-mother. (See my post on the Healing the Wounds of Childhood board:)


so you know I'm not writing in defense of "step-mothers." But I want to warn you of a danger: my son grew up hearing my stories of the evil stepbitch that raised me - unknowingly, I created a disrespect of all "stepmothers" in him. When his father remarried, all this disrespect surfaced and it was very ugly for my ex-husband, and especially for his step-mother who was trying her darndest to win my son's approval and affection. She did not know I had created a little monster (to her only) and the task she faced was impossible. I had already done far too much damage. The marriage lasted only two years, and although my son's treatment of her was not the primary reason it failed, it was part of it. My ex-husband has not remarried. Be VERY sure you are not creating the same prejudice in your own son.

Some of your comments rubbed me the wrong way, and make me think that part of the problem comes from you, as well. So here I go (soapbox firmly under both feet) - forgive me if I hurt your feelings and am too blunt - this is just the way I see it:

Such as, "I never get anything I want/need from her, even with a list months in advance". So she buys you a shirt she thinks will bring out your eyes - IMHO, a very nice gesture intended to pay you a compliment - and you criticize it because it wasn't an item on your "list." Sorry, but I've always thought a gift from the heart should be something the receiver does not expect. Providing a "list" spoils the whole purpose of gifting, and IMHO, is selfish and materialistic.

Then there's the competition issue: "I usually hook them up with cool places to go when they come to town (because of my friends) so right away my stepmom gets all upset because she had her own plans for them." Excuse me, the man is related to BOTH of you. Just because you "usually" hook them up with places to go does not give you the exclusive right to do so. So what if she had other plans? He's her family, too.

Then there's the insensitivity issue: "I purposely don't invite her to the big parties I have because she'll just ruin my mood and then she has the nerve to tell me I "hurt her feelings" Like she has ANY." Of course she has feelings, unless she's an armchair or a plant. It sounds to me like she wants to at least be friends with you, but is rather a clutz about how to do it. Meanwhile, you purposely exclude her from your plans, which must feel like a slap in the face and a blatant message that she's not welcome. And you're worried about "your mood."

And the preconceptions and misunderstandings: "Well the stepbitch overhears this and suddenly is like, why should it matter? maybe you're gay. (too me)" Your post isn't clear about the "mood" of this conversation - for all I know, she could have been saying this in fun, in an attempt to be accepted into the conversation. Maybe not. But from your frame of mind and scathing opinion of her, of course you would immediately jump to conclusions and assume she was making fun of YOU.

And you asked, "When can I finally make an adult decison and confront her once and for all with demands?" You can do this when one of you grows up and acts like an adult. Sadly, at 47, she probably never will. So that leaves it up to you. Let her act childish and insecure and vindictive and all that - you don't have to anymore. Just don't react to her in the way you have been all these years. But probably, when you reach that point, the "demands" you refer to won't matter anymore. They will be of no consequence to you, because either SHE will not matter to you anymore, and you will have cut her out of your life; or you will have taken the more mature role and will realize that making "demands" on her are useless and only create more stress between you, her, your father, and the rest of the family.

It's really hard to break old habits and start new ones. Sometimes you have to "practice" doing things that are unnatural and uncomfortable, and feel downright alien to you. But do them anyway. After a while, it won't seem so wierd anymore and will become easier. So my advice to you: Practice at giving her the opposite reactions that you have been. When she criticizes you, be gracious. When she competes, tell her you're happy she won. When she makes fun of you, laugh at yourself. When she buys the wrong gift, tell her it's exactly what you wanted. When she hurts your feelings, pay her a compliment.

I'm not suggesting that you let her walk all over you - don't get me wrong - just treat her like you would want to be treated, and BE the more mature, more sensitive, more gracious, etc. The one with more CLASS. You don't have to shove it in her face, just BE it, and it won't matter to you anymore what she does or says. In the end, you'll probably feel sorry for her.

I wish you the best of luck and God's grace, and to your whole family.



iVillage Member
Registered: 06-02-2003
Thu, 07-03-2003 - 10:06am
Your stepmom does sound like a pain. Maybe you could move to another area so you won't be around her nearly as much? I don't want to bash you or anything because it sounds like most of the stuff she has done and her attitude is pretty bad. But I just wanted to bring up one thing from your post that seemed totally out of line to me and that is the Christmas presents comments. I was totally floored, when you were saying how you ask her for blank and wind up with blank instead...and so on...your siblings get what they want...now please don't take this too hard but PLEASE! You are an adult! It's not your dad or stepmom (or anyone else's) job to buy you things, and a gift is a gift, period. Just because you say you want kitchen stuff doesn't obligate them to buy it. And you sound pretty ungrateful and sulky over the stuff they did get you, too. Sorry but I am 18 and I haven't acted that way about a gift in about the past 10 or 11 years. I feel I have matured past that point.