By Carol Rood
This is a subject I have wanted to write about for a very long time. But couldn’t. It is a very sensitive subject. Calling my stepchild evil means I am disparaging the child of the person I love more than anything. However, after many years of dealing with this issue, and the fact that things are getting worse and not better, I have decided it is important to talk about this topic.
The answer to the question: What do you do if you have an evil stepchild? is: NOTHING! If you truly love that child’s parent, there is NOTHING you can do. You are powerless. You can’t become evil in return because then your partner will resent you. You can’t kick the child out because it will cause your relationship to be ruined. So, if you have an evil stepchild and that child’s parent does nothing to make it better and you love the parent, all you can do is what I do. Cry. A lot. Then you just become numb.
I wish more than anything that when Bluebell and I blended our families, that the children would have the same love for us and each other that we had, but alas, that is a fantasy. Children of re-coupling have their own emotions to deal with. Possibly jealousy of the new partner or other children. A sense of loss for the missing parent. Apprehension about moving in with people they don’t know very well. I get all of that, and Bluebell and I were very realistic about all of those issues. We also understood that we would have to take it easy on “parenting” each other’s children at first, let them get to know us better. We didn’t even stay in the same bedroom in the beginning to give the idea some time to grow on the children.
I read the books, and researched how to be a stepparent. We felt as though we were doing things well. I was prepared for the change, the anxiety, the apprehension, the “figuring things out” stage of our new family. What I wasn’t prepared for was the brick wall of ice L in Bluebell’s daughter. We realized rather quickly that L was not taking well to living with three boys, nor was she taking well to another parent in the house. She was 13 at the time. So I backed off and let Bluebell mostly deal with her. However, it was impossible for me to never have to give L any directions or “parenting”. Bluebell worked long hours, and I was home with the children more than she was. There were times I would have to direct L to do chores, or pick up after herself, etc. Not everything could wait until Mommy got home. L rebelled in a BIG way. Grew sullen at first then downright disrespectful and rude. She never acknowledged me. Never spoke to me. Treated me as if I were invisible.
It was awful!
The next few years of L being in high school were very difficult. She lived with us off and on, lived with her father off and on. Our relationship never improved much, and I just did the best I could to be kind and considerate towards L for the sake of the love I have for her mother.
L graduated and moved to Minnesota to live with her aunt. She had a great job welding and making $10.00 an hour (which is good money for an 18-year-old kid). She was safe, and happy. Then came the call. “I want to go to school to be a vet tech. The schools here in Minnesota are too expensive. I am moving back to Virginia.” Of course her coming back had nothing to do with school and everything to do with being lonely and missing her friends and a particular boy.
So Bluebell told me the news and I braced for it. L was coming home with no job and very little money. She had bought a car, but that meant a car payment and no job meant we would have to “help” her out. She came home, and after about a month of “staying with friends” she asked to move back home. We had no room for her, but told her she could sleep on the couch and put her stuff in a corner in her brother’s room. We said she could stay until she “got back on her feet.”
What transpired since then has been pure hell. She did not want to look for a job. She only wanted “certain” jobs. She refused to do anything around the house to help. She got a part time job at Taco Bell, then quit. She got a part time job at Mrs. Fields then got fired. She was pleasant for the first two weeks, then became sullen, moody, and disrespectful. Mostly towards me.
This is where the crying comes in. She is a horrible mean person, and I am STUCK! She won’t even take out the trash! I will say that in the six months she has lived with us she has voluntarily emptied the dishwasher three times, but to me that doesn’t really count.
I am stuck because of the fact that I am not her mother. If that were MY kid, I would have put her out! Made her figure out where to stay and how to get her act together. She would NOT be allowed to live in my house, use my electricity, my water, eat my food, and be so disrespectful.
However, Bluebell is cut from a different cloth. She feels as though it is her responsibility to “help” her daughter and take care of her. She does fuss at her, and yell at her to be respectful and help out. But the bottom line is that it all makes no difference to L. She is almost 21 for goodness’ sake!! She knows that her mom won’t put her out so she just does as she pleases. She doesn’t care if her mom yells at her. She takes it, and then just goes back to her normal routine. She doesn’t even apologize.
Now, I suppose you may think I can tell Bluebell to make a choice, or force her to put her daughter out; and while those options are available to me, if I were to do either one of them, it would damage our relationship beyond repair. Bluebell would never truly forgive me, and it would ruin the best relationship I have ever had. I am not willing to do that, so I suck it up, and know that this will eventually end.
L did get a job recently. A very good job making $16.00 an hour. However, she won’t start for another three weeks. Then of course it will take about a month for her to save up enough money to move out into her own place. I do see a light at the end of the tunnel for THIS time, but the truth is this will never be over completely.
L recently told her mother, “I don’t like Carol. I don’t want to have a relationship with her.” So my life with Bluebell will consist of me doing the best I can to be cordial to a young lady who is cruel and unkind. This is tolerable to me as long as L doesn’t live with us, and I only have to deal with her occasionally.
When we fall in love we don’t realize that if that person has children it is going to be an uphill battle, and sometimes you will never get to the top of the hill. The walk up the hill can be heartbreaking, but for me I focus on the other side of the hill, when Bluebell and I are still hand in hand and L is on the other hill.
On a side note, the relationship I have with Bluebell’s son is awesome, and the one she has with my boys is amazing also. The five of us have a family, and we laugh, and love each other.
L doesn’t want to be a part of that family, and after much talking, and shouting, and crying Bluebell and I have come to that conclusion. Bluebell understands what L does, and how she treats me. It makes her very sad, because she would never have expected her child to be so unkind and nasty. Especially to someone who has done so much for her. Bluebell feels badly about it, but she just can’t bring herself to kick her daughter out of our house, so until the day comes that she moves out on her own, I am stuck living with an Evil Stepchild.
I know there are many other people who are going through what I am going through or something very similar but people just don’t want to talk about it. It is time we stepparents of evil stepchildren come together to support each other!!
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Originally published on The Seattle Lesbian
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