Is this disengagement?

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-22-2009
Is this disengagement?
288
Wed, 09-22-2010 - 1:48am

I read a few posts today (I've been really busy lately and haven't been able to keep up!) that talked about SM's disengaging.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 06-24-2008
Wed, 09-22-2010 - 2:20am

My preference is to do what comes naturally, feels right, and appears to work well. If something is all three, what is there to complain about?

Disengagement is by definition, a relative term. What is disengaged to one person might feel like being engaged to another person. It doesn't matter what you are doing, if you start doing less all the sudden that can be called disengaging. Since it's relative, there is no way to say disengaging is bad, or that being disengaged is bad or harmful or make any generalized judgements about it at all. For one SM being somewhat disengaged is good, another SM may need to pull closer and become more engaged, for another SM being in that place might not be disengaged enough. It just all depends.

What you describe about your situation sounds like it's working for you and SD, so I'd call that good.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 07-14-2010
Wed, 09-22-2010 - 5:06am

By the strictest sense of the word I don't think you are disengaged at all. I am seeing that this board has a rather different definition of 'disengagement' from the rest of the world. I guess I would call the iVillage version 'disengagement very light'.

What you describe is very much like my situation with the skids and I don't consider myself to be disengaged very much at all.

If you read the book 'Stepmonster' (which I think it should be required reading for every BM, BD, SK and SM) the author gives great examples of disengagement. There is disagreement over where the word was coined but I've got reason to believe it was the author of this book who came up with it.

Anyway, her definition of disengagement really applies more to teen and adult skids and it would be a reaction to their behaviour. Disengagement in the fullest sense would be doing NOTHING with your skids EVER. Dad would be responsible for every tiny little thing. You wouldn't take them anywhere, you wouldn't do their laundry, you wouldn't fix their meals - zilch. You would completely ignore their presence. It would be a reaction to them expecting you to do things and not appreciating it and it would require you to announce that this is what you were going to do. She gives an example of, after disengagement, her teen stepdaughter needed a ride somewhere so SM agreed. On the way SK started berating or making demands or something so SM turned the car around, went back home and told SD to find another way. I guess it's done first in the hope that the skids and dad will start to appreciate what's done for them and if that doesn't happen then it's for SM to preserve her sanity.

I know people who've done it and they swear it works for them. I couldn't see it working for me. I wouldn't want that kind of tension in my home. I like the togetherness and feeling like a cohesive family unit.

I also find that my emotional disengagement comes and gos in waves. I don't love the skids like my own but I certainly do feel love for them, more at some times than at others. I guess that is the difference from your own child. I love mine the same always, no matter what is going on but with the skids feeling an overwhelming 'love' for them is a sometimes thing that takes me by surprise when it happens. I think I am disengaging emotionally more as time goes by and I think that's because I'm giving up on fighting the PAS.

Edited 9/22/2010 5:12 am ET by m4s2






Edited 9/22/2010 5:18 am ET by m4s2
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-22-2009
Wed, 09-22-2010 - 8:40am

I agree with you, but I'm think about the times that I've gotten the vibe from this board that it's somehow emotionally damaging to SD that I don't really care about her.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-22-2009
Wed, 09-22-2010 - 8:48am

I have read the book "Stepmonster" and I agree it has a lot of value in blended family situations.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-14-2010
Wed, 09-22-2010 - 8:55am

I wish I had the answer.

I'm in the same boat.

I KNOW that I am more loving with my child than I am with his. I try very hard not to be or at least not to show it but sometimes I wonder if they sense it and if so, is that necessarily a bad thing?

It's like walking a tightrope sometimes. I tuck them in bed and my kisses, hugs and sweet talk with mine is spontaneous and genuine. I'm more detached with the skids - but not on an obvious level because I DO care about them - but I wonder how it looks/feels from their perspective.

Has you DH read Stepmonster? My SO read it and I think he got a lot out of it.

It's tough knowing what to do or not do sometimes. I just follow my instincts most of the time.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-27-2010
Wed, 09-22-2010 - 9:07am

To me, it sounds like you are on your way to being disengaged, but not quite there yet.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-13-2009
Wed, 09-22-2010 - 9:13am

The book Stepmonster is written by a "Dr." Wednesday Martin.

A Stepparent is as much a parent as an ex-wife is a wife.
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-19-2009
Wed, 09-22-2010 - 9:13am

I just wanted to mention that I don't put much stock into the opinions of people who glamorize the book "step monster"



Screw all the HTML, the BBminx (if that's what it's called, the MEEZ and the siggie pics.........I'll never figure it out

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-14-2010
Wed, 09-22-2010 - 9:20am
She is a stepmother, who identifies her stepdaughters as her daughters.





I must have missed that part. Could you tell me which chapter/page it's on?





Among other things, she has written how well of white women are the worse BMs to deal with.



Uhm, no, she quoted a study done by someone else, I forget who and what university right now, the results of which showed that most BMs who were described as resenting the SM and causing undue friction were highly educated white women. It wasn't HER study. She just referred to it along with several other studies.



I think her book is junk science, but it probably has a lot of what some SMs want to hear.



Her book isn't science at all, nor was it meant to be. It is an exploration of the emotions a woman in the role of SM goes through.



Clearly you haven't read it but I'm not at all surprised that you pass judgement on distortions of it. That's exactly what I would have expected from you.
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-14-2010
Wed, 09-22-2010 - 9:22am
I have read so many quotes from that book that make my stomach just turn that I wouldn never entertain the idea of picking up a copy.





Which quotes are those? If you've read 'so many' surely you can remember one or two of them. I mean, if they are so bad they make your stomach turn, let's hear them. Spill.



Or did you get your (mis)information from the likes of bestisyettocome?

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