Feel differently about my stepkids

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-26-2012
Feel differently about my stepkids
7
Wed, 12-26-2012 - 11:24am

Body removed

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-07-2011

I applaud you for being honest about your feelings. You'll never feel the same way about your stepkids as you will your own daughter, but maybe it will help if you approach it in a new way? These children share the same blood as your daughter, they are her siblings. They will be a support system for her throughout her life, and it's a relationship you should focus on nurturing. Try to treat the children in the same manner that you would want your daughter treated if the situation was reversed. It doesn't mean that you have to love them the same, but I feel that if you work at it that you can develop affection for them. Sometimes you just have to force yourself to think in a different matter before it becomes natural. I'm not sure if that makes sense, but I guess what I'm trying to say that it won't change overnight. You have to commit to changing the way you view them before you feel better about the situation. I can't imagine how being sexually abused has affected you as a parent, I'm sure it's made you tons more cautious and aware of the dangers of the world. When it comes to his kids' behaviors, they sound pretty typical for the age. I hope that you can find some way to be more positive about the situation.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-26-2012
Thank you , rangerfan. I actually use that premise most of the weekends they're here... purposefully thinking about if my daughter were in the same situation, how I would pray that a stepmother would treat her. It's what helps me the most. The abuse when I was younger has without a doubt made me more watchful. She is not ever alone with a man or boy... not for me to run to the store, not any time. The only men who I trust implicitly with her are my SO and my dad (her grandpa). Not a soul knows why that is other than my SO and my best friend...everyone else just thinks I'm overly I'm overly cautious. I let them think it. I know from research that a child who's had a parent who was abused is something like 30% more likely to have it happen to them. I read that stat when I was pregnant and it hasnt left me. It's a strange thing about motherhood... I struggled with the fallout from abuse my whole life. But when I had her, it's like I don't actually think about what happened to me anymore. I guess I funnel all my energy into making sure it won't happen to her...and it feels like that's what is healing me. Kind of like I'll be okay as long as I keep that from her. Not sure if that makes sense. But than k you again for your kind response. I think I'm literally going to have to take it one day at a time and keep reminding myself of if the situation were reversed.
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999

Is there any explanation for that statistic you cited?  The only reason I could think of would be that if someone was abused by a family member and that person was not prosecuted for it, the same person could then abuse the original person's child--otherwise, you'd think that the person who was molested would be, like you, overly cautious.  I did respond to you on the other board in detail but I do think that you need further therapy on this issue, otherwise you are going to raise a DD who is fearful of all men and that isn't a good way to be either.  The vast majority of men are not child molesters.  I can certainly understand a new mom not wanting to leave a baby with people other than relatives, but are you going to freak out if she has a male teacher or coach someday?

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-26-2012
musiclover, yes, I share your concerns. This is something I've given a lot of thought. I do not want to raise a girl who is fearful of men. However, especially until she is of the age where she can speak for herself I will continue to be as careful as I am. Although the majority of men are not child molesters, you have no idea the pain that results when one is for whatever reason put on your path in life. I say you have no idea..I don't know your background. I hope you never had to go through it. If she has a male coach or a male teacher, I assume I will not "freak out" but I will still be watching for signs. I can only pray that I raise her to be strong enough to speak out if something were to happen. I wasn't. And the person who abused me...no one would ever suspect. Imagine how that plays into my role as a parent. But, there is also the scenario in which she will never come across a man who wants to harm her and will be none the wiser as to what happened to me. That's of course my prayer for her. Either way, I will shoot to raise a strong, confident girl and either way, I will always be watching for signs. Which brings me to your first question. I believe that part of the reason the chances go up is because there are certain behaviors most abuse victims share...quiet, shy...read: easy targets..then I guess you mix in a bit of really bad luck and there you go. I have been in therapy for over ten years...two different therapists. It's not something that you just "get over" one day. It shaped the way I see men. I know this. And, according to both of my therapists, it will likely always be my first response to them. But I am trying to learn, especially for my daughter, to challenge my automatic thoughts. While I have been very straightforward and open on this thread, like I said before, virtually no one in my every day life knows what went on with me. I don't huddle in a corner when I see men. As a matter of fact, the job I just left was extremely male dominated and I interacted with them every day, with very good results.
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999

I am definitely sympathetic to your situation.  I have not been through it myself but my 2nd DH was molested by an uncle when I think he was a young teen (didn't really get the details) and I think his uncle was either an older teen or maybe 20's when it happened.  He never told his brothers but I have heard his brothers say things like "Uncle Jimmy really had it in for you" and stuff like that--besides the sexual aspect, I guess his uncle was also mean to him, which seems odd compared to what I have read about molesters who are usually nice to kids so that they will be trusted.  I met my DH when he was in his 40's and probably hadn't seen his uncle for many years and it still affected him then despite therapy--he said if he ever saw his uncle, he would probably kill him.  What made the situation worse is that he did tell his mother (uncle's sister) and I guess mother didn't believe him.  Then when all of the stuff about priests molesting boys came out in my area it just brought back a lot of bad memories.  what I think is good is that kids today are taught in school that people shouldn't make them do things that are uncomfortable for them, that no one should touch private parts and that they shouldn't ever be told to keep a secret from their parents.  It's unfortunate that no one could ever prevent sexual abuse totally but  hopefully people are more aware now that it's not usually a stranger in the bushes offering candy & rides to kids--it is usually some one the child knows. :(

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-26-2012
That makes my stomach turn for him. Yes, usually the abuser is the nicest person. They're typically masters of putting a child at ease, therefore even when red flags come up in the child's head, they automatically turn the inquisition on themselves: "what is wrong with ME? Why am I feeling awful towards this person who clearly cares about me?" and the abuse continues because the child isnt self-aware enough to stand up and say no. It sounds like your DH's uncle used fear. Equally as sick. I'm very sorry for him. Yes, I bet he's like me in that I can't watch a show that portrays abuse. It's hard for me to watch news reports on it but I now force myself to in case there's something I can possibly learn from it. I went to see the movie Silent House a while back. The trailers don't tell you what it's about. It's suppose to be a plain a nd simple horror story (which I love). In the last ten minutes or so (spoiler alert) you find out it is about a dad and uncle who molest the little girl. I couldn't walk out of there fast enough and it made me feel ill for days. Also the sad part about him telling his mom is that it's not likely that she truly didn't believe him. It's more likely that she couldn't handle the truth and just wanted it to go away. In that instance the mom has to wrap her mind around the awful things that happened to her child and then confront the fact that a family member they've grown up with an trusted is the one who did the damage. In my case, look out if it ever happens. You'd see me on CNN because I would kill that person with my bare hands. And I'm typically what most would refer to as a bleeding heart. I give to the ASPCA and children's charities. I'm not a fan of the death penalty. But I hear a report of a child being molested and you can see fire in my eyes.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-14-2005

Just my opinion, but some people aren't made to be step-parent's. I know I wasn't. I also met a man with two children and had a child (I connected with his daughter, not with his son), however he only got them on the weekends. After a few years of us being together as a family, I realized, I wasn't cut out for it. I encourage you to do what the previous poster mentioned as far as putting it more into perspective being that they are your child's siblings, however I'm sure you aren't fooling them when you are trying to act genuine and it's not only is it uncomfortable for you, but probably just as uncomfortable and unhealthy for them.