Firstly, know that I feel your pain.
The underlying discomfort of having another woman influence your family is common to most, if not all, stepmoms – whether we admit it openly or not.
The biomom may be the perfect mother, or (more often than not) she may be a narcissist troublemaker whose seemingly sole purpose on this planet is to make a giant mess of your life. The latter is probably why you’re reading this blog.
Either way, feelings of jealousy, anger or wishing she would disappear are completely normal from time to time, so don’t beat yourself up for feeling them!
Rest assured - it’s okay, and you’re okay.
Even those who have “good” co-parenting relationships experience these feelings every now and then to differing degrees.
So how can you overcome and gain back control of your life?
Most stepmoms I asked say they don’t know how to work through it, or don’t have the social support.
Well today is your lucky day because I’m going to tell you just how I did it. The answer is extremely simple, but not always easy to implement. It takes practice, so be patient and kind to yourself as you learn to work the solution – RESPOND WITH PEACE, AND LET GO OF THE OUTCOME!
Viktor Frankl, a philosopher and survivor of death camps of Auschwitz wrote, “You can’t control external circumstances, but you can control your response to those circumstances.”
If he can come out of a concentration camp with that perspective, then maybe we can learn something about the hostile situation biomom may be creating in our external world?
The truth is, we can’t control her, nor can we control those external circumstances she stirs up around us.
But we can certainly learn to control our response to those circumstances (although in moments of rage I know it may not seem that way). We can calm down. We don’t have to fight back in anger, play into her game, cause more chaos and look like the crazy person. This doesn’t mean we shut-up and let ourselves get pushed over. Instead, we can let go of the outcome and act in loving and peaceful ways. When we let go, that negative energy biomom may try to throw our way dissipates and becomes nothing.
Letting go of the outcome of our actions is part of the path to inner peace. It doesn’t mean we stop trying, it means we try but don’t fixate on the end result (**but if trying is causing you too much grief and you have no social support, it may be time to let go – see my blogs on detachment part 1 and part 2).
How do we let go of the outcome? What does that mean?
We act with love, but don’t expect a certain reaction (in the short term/immediately, that is).
For example, we can ask biomom to communicate to us about report cards, but when she doesn’t we let that go. We can be cordial and polite to her, but when she’s a bitch back we let that go and step away. We can have a serious talk about the value of honesty, but when she encourages the kids to lie and you see that your conversations with her are going nowhere, you let that outcome go.
That doesn’t mean you do nothing. You can act intelligently by talking to your step-kids or your husband when the situation calls for it. But you don’t react from negative emotions and you don’t try to control her behavior.
This can be really hard, especially when we see the immediate effects as being negative. We may feel an urge to do something to control or mitigate that negativity. But if we stay true to our commitment to respond in peace and let go of the outcome – we can totally shift the dynamic in the long-term.
For example: if biomom is argumentative and causes problems, and you respond by letting it go… she has nothing left to argue with. When she has nothing to fight back against, she will likely get tired of fighting and let it go too (eventually). And if she doesn’t let go and keeps on fighting against the wind, who will look like the crazy one? By letting go of the outcome, you leave her no choice but to let go too, or look like a fool.
It’s so simple, but not so easy.
I know that if you begin this practice, you have the possibility to transform your whole life, not just as a stepmom. You can use this strategy with biomom, your kids, your husband, your work, etc. Respond with peace, and let go of the outcome.
It takes practice, persistence, and patience. I know because I accomplished it, and the results in my own life have been wilder than I could have imagined.
You can do this yourself if you follow the principles, but if you want to accelerate your path to inner-peace among the stepfamily chaos, I’d like to invite you to consider a unique opportunity this summer 2018.
I’m committed to helping you grow and will continue to provide you with free content to make that happen, but if you want it to happen quicker I invite you to join me for a unique, transformational experience you will adore!
I'm so excited to be offering you these programs. I know that with a little push and some deep transformative inner-work, you can achieve peace in your life as a stepmom. It's not easy, but it's possible if you're willing to invest the time and energy to make it happen.
Have you tried to respond with peace and let go of the outcome? I'd love to hear about it in the comments or via email.
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Anna de Acosta
Stepmom, biomom, and wife... living life with the blended family of my dreams and being a lighthouse for love and inner peace.