I'm going to blow up and I'm not sure how to stop it


My stepmother will be here this summer and I need to know what to say/not say to her.

A very long time ago, my mother died a tragic death. I was understandably very upset. Yes, I was a little hard to get along with. However, I was not violent or mean. I didn’t do drugs, I didn’t drink (I still don’t), I wasn’t getting into trouble, I just wasn’t myself. Well, my stepmother kicked me out of the house. She no longer liked me. I didn’t know waht I had done. I even had our Pastor come over and talk to us. SInce she didn’t want me in the house, we had to sit on the porch. She was treating me like a criminal and she had no reason to.

This went on for 10 years. For 10 years I did not see anyone in my family. I wrote and wrote with apologies and asking for forgiveness but it didn’t matter. The only reason I started seeing them again is because my step sister had a baby and I went to the Christening. Remember, this is the first time I had seen any of my family for 10 years. And when I was there, I asked my stepmothers best friend if things were OK and she said there was. That was in 2004 and they have been talking to me since then. And the best friend is the only confirmation I recieved that all is well. To this day, my parents have never talked about it.

Well, last summer, my step sister and i finally talked about it. My sister asked me why I chose to leave the family. I told her how I had apologized and wrote many letters asking for forgiveness and to be let back into the family. I even showed her a letter my stepmom wrote to me saying that it didn’t matter if I apologized, I was not apologizing correctly. And my stepmother wrote that she had no reason to ever have a relationship with me again. (I still have this letter) This really upset my stepsister because she had believed her mother for all those years telling people that it was my choice to leave the family. My stepsister and i lost all of that time together. (she and I were close growing up)

Well, I thought I could bury all of those feelings under a rug but it’s not working. It has really been bugging me lately… A LOT. And something recently really set me off. I haven’t talked or emailed my parents in a while because i’ve been busy and my stepmother actually emailed and told me to just write or call every now and then so they will know I am OK. That really made me angry because all I wanted to know is why now. Why do they care now all of a sudden? Why didn’t they care for 10 long years if I was alive or dead? They abandoned me right when my mother died when I needed them the most.

When I see my parents I never talk about it but I don’jt know if I can let it go anymore. My stepmother is the kind of person who is never ever wrong so I don’t know if it would be worth bringing it up. My fiance says she is the sort of ultimatum type person and she will always be convinced she is right no matter what.

But here is the thing. Right now, every thing my stepmother does and says makes me mad for some reason or another. I know it’s because this bigger thing is down there festering. I know it’s going ot explode and I don’t know how to stop it. I really don’t. I know that when they are here this summer, it might not go so well. And I am getting married in December but having a reception in July. (the dates are a long story and not relavent) I don’t want to tell them off just before or after a reception and cause problems but I don’t know how long I can hold it in. I am 38 years old and I’m really really hurt and the hurt isn’t going away like I thought it would. Instead it’s manifesting into other areas.


Wow, of course you feel the way that you do. I really, really recommend that you go and see a counselor for a couple of reasons. One is that you do need to talk through all of this hurt and betrayal by people entrusted to care for you and another is because you are just not going to receive the kind of healing and/or satisfaction that you are needing.

From your description, it sounds like your stepmother isn’t going to be moved with pity or remorse. She likely will only alienate you once again from the family. She is one of those people best left to small doses, that you deal with as needed, without ever really opening yourself up to her. I don’t see you ever having more than a superficial relationship with her, do you? It would be so much better to open yourself up in counseling, which is a safe environment, than with someone who would likely use it to hurt you.

You are also getting married soon, so it really is important to work on resolving those issues and enter your marriage as someone who is not so wounded and hurt. Praying for you!


WOW! You hit all the nails right on the head. I will never have more than a superficial relationship with her because of all of this. I will never ever trust her with my feelings ever again. I can’t let myself be so vunerable. And I have seen a counselor in the past and she said I should just not talk about it if I can’t deal with what might happen as a result. In other words, if I’m not ready to get thrown out of the family again, then I shouldn’t bring it up. But lately I’ve been thinking of seeing another counselor.

And my fiance and I have been dating for over three years (I am 38 and he is 39) so that is a long time for folks our age. It took me a while to learn that he is not going ot foresake me, he is not going anywhere. He also said that if I wanted ot go talk to another counselor that he wanted to go with me.

And the small doses of seeing her would be ideal but that’s the problem. My parents live in another country and will be in the states for the summer. (we are all American, my did is a civilan but works on military bases) But when they come, they will have to stay with us for a while. I just don’t know what to do.


I wasn’t suggesting delaying your wedding, just finding a safe place to deal with all of this. I can’t even imagine how to deal with having someone like that stay with me for an extended period of time without losing it. Do you have others in the family, your stepsister for instance, that will be hosting them as well?


Sweetie, where was your father in all of this?

Fairy tales are filled with wicked stepmothers. They are nothing new. Why didn’t your father step in and say “You will not treat my motherless daughter this way.”

THAT is an issue you need to deal with. And if HE is willing to tell you why he allowed this, you need to talk to HIM.

You are angry because you were dealt with in a horribly unjust way. And you never got an apology. People threw you away and you were left to take care of yourself and no one ever said they were sorry. They demanded apologies of you and you had to do it in a way pleasing to them. That is absurd.

You DO have dignity. You are a Child of God and HE will NEVER throw you away. Your fiance sounds wonderful. And yes, if he’s offering to go with you to a new counselor, get one! Now! One who tells you just not to think of something and not to talk about it is not a good counselor. That doesn’t make the issue go away. Burying it hasn’t made it go away.

Maybe seeing you reminded them of your good points. Seeing you whole and mature and functioning made them miss you. Maybe your stepsister has said something to them and now they feel bad and so they are keeping in contact. Maybe now that you’re getting married and they aren’t going to be ultimately responsible for you they are willing to let you into their lives (yeah, that sounds horrible… just guessing at possible motives here.) Or maybe as people get older their consciences start to bother them and they begin to view their actions in a new light. She may never admit it, but maybe now she feels bad for kicking you out and shunning you for a decade.

Your choice to move forward is to forgive them without an apology from them. Not because they deserve it, but because you deserve it. You deserve to let go of all that valid hurt and righteous anger forgive them that they didn’t understand what you were going through and just as you didn’t know what you were doing when you were lashing out in grief and reacting to your mother’s death, maybe they didn’t know what they were doing by being so cruel to you. They should have been the adults in that situation. They got down on the level of a grieving young woman.

Sometimes angry words don’t work to rebuke people. Sometimes the most stinging rebuke can be your kindness and graciousness despite their behavior. Your joy with your fiance who loves you for who you are. The fact that you will have a family with him may be making them feel defensive now. (It’s no fun to shun someone and drive them out of the family if they find a better family to be with. That takes ALL the fun out of that! :thumbsup: ) And now the tables are turned and if you have children, YOU will have the power to determine if they see that child or not, not that they deserve to. Time for them to patch things up and pretend to be nice? Who knows. :shrug:

Only your dad knows if he spent ten years wondering if you were alive or dead. You deserve some answers from him in a private conversation, just the two of you.

What they did to you for ten years may have led you to your fiance. It made you who you are. And quite frankly, if she’s as bad as you say, who wanted to be around her anyway? The truth is out now. You did not leave. Your step sister knows that. You can’t change that decade, but you can change how the next 50 go for you. It was their loss being without you all those years. Maybe part of them recognizes that now.

Sometimes digging up bones isn’t a good idea. But knowing they are there and ignoring them isn’t a good idea either. What you do is you mark the site. You put a cross and flowers there and it becomes sacred space that no one disturbs or walks on. You let it rest but you acknowlege it is there. It becomes a place of prayer and remembrance.

You can do that with areas of your heart. That ten years is a sore subject. Talking about it with them will disturb the peace you have come to know in your life. YOU through prayer can put that cross and flowers over that decade. You have a fiance that can visit that spot with you. But don’t invite people who won’t appreciate it. That decade you were alone with yourself, you went through a lot and you went through it alone. I think you came out of it a stronger person. Your posts and comments show your strength and resilience. That ten years was about you and your mom. It really wasn’t about you and your stepmom. She would have been in the way. That was your decade to resolve the fact that you’d be spending the rest of your life without your mother with you physically. That was your mourning time. Don’t let others tread on that.

It may sound trite, but it’s effective: I suggest you take out a piece of paper. Write down everything you feel about that time. Your rage, your sadness, your feelings of rejection, your hurt, the anger you feel at getting no apology, your feelings of abandonment… put it all on paper. Every tear stained sentence. Rage at your stepmother and father. Be angry sad or whatever.

Then take that paper to a special lovely place. Go alone or go with your fiance. And read it one last time and burn it. Give it to God. Watch it burn and then go do something with the man you love. With the person who will give you a new family.

I know one thing about you… you will never treat someone who lost a loved one callously. Your stepmother taught you what NOT to do when someone is grieving. You can tell her you learned a lot from her. And leave it at that.



Absolutely wonderful post, Liberanosamalo!!!

I thought the same thing; where was the dad, who should have protected his daughter???


Thanks for all the great posts. I will respond in depth soon but I’m at work and don’t have time right now. I did want to answer the question of where my Dad was since more than one person asked. When all of this was going I did ask him if he was going to ignore me too. I was about 22 years old and I was getting married (to my first husband-we divorced about five years ago because of his illegal drug use and drinking-I don’t drink and I certainly dont’ do drugs but that’s a whole other post) Anyway, my dad was the only one in that family who came to my wedding.

As I said, I did talk to him about all of this and asked him if he was going to ignore me too. He told me that since I was getting married and getting on with my life that he wanted to stay with her and do what she wanted. I never asked him to leave her but in his mind I think she would leave him if he continued a relationship with me. In her mind, I was an awful person. He said he didn’t want to be alone that he wanted to grow old with her. And that was that. I didn’t see or talk to any of them for 10 years. I do remember once I was vacationing in the city near where they live. I did call my Dad and saw him for about 10 minutes. He gave me a tour of the house they were living in and then just before i left he told me that it was probably a good idea that my stepmother doesn’t know that I was there. Back then I understood that. But now it bothers me. I have a favorite niece and if anyone told me I couldn’t see or talk to my niece anymore that would be the end of that relationship with that person. If someone loved me enough, they would support my relationship with whomever I choose.

I have tried to get over all of this but it just hurts so much. I have to see them and deal wtih them this summer. I am not a mean person at all but I am the kind of person who can’t lie and I feel almost like I am living a lie when I pretend to like them. (I am just as mad at my Dad in all of this too). I am the sort of person that when I hear gossip or something crazy about someone I will not only tell the person who is spreading the gossip to please keep it to themselves but I’ll sometimes even go to the horses mouth so-to-speak to get the rumor stopped. And that’s what is happening here I think.

And this might be a very snobby thing to say but I can’t help but think that part of the reason she “likes” me again is because I am successful and I actually hold a somewhat high profile position in a very well known agency. I love my job too. And I handle money a lot better than anyone else in my family. I have no debt and I actually have savings. I can’t help think that now that she’s seen that I turned out OK that it’s OK for her to like me again.

OK, I gotta get back to work.


Study the life of St Gerard Majella. When falsely accused of something horrible, he was silent. He bore his false accusations in the best Christian way.

Work with your priest in forgiving your stepmother, get rid of the letters -

Remember, Christ died for her, the least you can do is forgive her for hurting your feelings.



Your dad is weak. Rather than stand up for a principle he caved in so he could be with his wife and he threw his daughter to the world. I guess you are probably more your mother’s daughter and that is why you survived.

You must forgive him for being weak. He is his own biggest victim in this. He just doesn’t know it. Imagine being so terrified of your wife that you can’t even let her know you let your own daughter into a house you pay for.

The step-mom sounds abusive and narcissistic. Spreading lies, throwing out those who don’t serve her, making everyone walk on eggshells and leave their own principles at the door in order to have a relationship with her. Cruel beyond measure with no conscience about it. And now that you might make her look good and she might have bragging rights about her “stepdaughter who made good” she’ll let you back into her life? I would bet money now she’s telling people how she contributed to your success.

She sounds like a mental case. You don’t know it, but she did you a favor driving you out of her life for all those years. It kept you from getting sucked into the pathological madness.

Don’t forgive her. Thank her! :smiley:

You don’t have to pretend to like them. That is dishonest. What you do is you extend to them the same correct politeness you would extend to the mailman, a stranger on the street or the checkout guy at the grocery store. You don’t know those people enough to like them or not either. You just extend politeness. And you retain your integrity. To yell and scream and try to bring up issues makes YOU look like the unstable person (yeah, I know it’s not fair.) And then they leave in a huff feeling perfectly validated for ignoring you for 10 years. Don’t play into their hand. Nor do they need an explanation of your life for that time. They weren’t there. They don’t get to hear details.

Save your affection and love for the people who give it back.

And pity the weak fools who traded badly, you for her. Their loss.


Great post, Liberanosamalo.

I especially like:

"You don’t know it, but she did you a favor driving you out of her life for all those years. It kept you from getting sucked into the pathological madness.

Don’t forgive her. Thank her! "

You have no idea the terrible, terrible place you escaped!


I agree with dulcissima, counseling sounds like a very good thing for you right now! It will help you vent out a lot of your pain and suffering…Also give all your pain and suffering to GOD, let him have it, He loves you and doesn’t want you to suffer! I am sure after you showed your stepsister the letter she had a talk with your stepmother and that’s probably why they are now worried about you no matter how much she might say she’s right and you are wrong…

She’s like my mother and my future mil…Those women are never wrong no matter what!!! Even if the truth bit them in the ***, they are right at all costs! I am done apologizing to my future mil for doing nothing and I stopped apologizing to my mother for me not being the perfect daughter like my sister whom btw got pg at 17 when everyone believed she had no bf and they were going to throw her bf in jail for “raping” the poor innocent little girl! When my sister had been an alchy and druggie all those years since GOD knows when, according to my brother since he was 13 she was 14…:shrug:

It’s not your fault…Some people are like that…Don’t blame yourself…keep praying and hang in there!

When my exhusband’s mother passed away he was 13 he was not liked by his father and his father turned physical on him… He was devastated and grew up hating his father… And after 10 years later his father started coming around out of now-where…It was pretty interesting to see him reconcile with his father…Now they have a great relationship…So things might work out for you, you know?! Finally you might be able to be close with your family… you know?

So seek counseling to help you heal and find peace…The faster you find peace within yourself the faster you will be able to forgive her and move on and who knows maybe now you will have a great relationship with your family! And isn’t that worth it?! GOD BLESS!



Please read this book.

It’s what you escaped, though you felt driven away at the time.

It will help you understand the world of those who stayed and when you are around this woman it will help you look at HER like she’s a bug under the microscope. It can help you see all this in a very detached way.

The more educated you are about this kind of thing the better you can deal with your own emotions surrounding the way she treated you.


Thanks all. I really really appreciate everything. It’s hard to see that what they did is so hurtful. All these years I have blamed myself and i know I didn’t do anything wrong. I think I finally figured that out when my fiance met my stepmother and had a hard time with her. And my fiance is the nicest man in the world. He is always that person who finds the good in everything and everyone and when he said she had major problems it made me step back and realize that maybe I’m not so bad after all.

And I don’t remember who said it but someone said that my stepmother probably brags to people about how I am successful and have such a great job. Well, you are probably right. I know she does and for some reason it bothers me a lot. Another thing that bothers me is that she has started signing “mom” to her emails and cards. She is not my mother, she has not treated as if she is a mother and she will never be my mother.

I am going ot go see a counselor. I found some today. I just need to see if they take my insurance and then I’ll make an appt.

And I am not a mean person at all nor am I easily excited. Quite the opposite actually. I am pretty even tempered all of the time. Even when I’m “mad”, I am calm and collected. I can always see the bigger picture and I know how to choose my battles so I choose them wisely. I don’t yell or throw tantrums. I am that person who is calm and can make rational decisions in a crisis. It’s just how I am.

But like i said, everything she is doing is irritating me and I know it’s really the bigger thing being pushed down and starting to boil over.

Oh yeah, someone else posted that my stepsister probably talked to my stepmother about this. Well, she didn’t. I know she didn’t. I asked her not to and she is respecting me and not doing it. She wants to, she really really wants to because she is really mad too but she hasn’t. So, I am thinking that this summer I might have to talk to my parents about this. I’m afraid it’s going to come out. So, I think I want my step-sister there with me when I talk to them. She is in my corner but she is someone who was there for the whole thing so she can remember what really happened.

And here is the one thing that helps me. I have gone over and over this in my head and I plan to talk about it iwth the counselor: They cannot hurt me anymore. They have hurt me so much over my lifetime that they can’t hurt me anymore. I get irritated because they act like they care when they had nothing to do with me for so long but that’s all. If they decided that they didn’t want to be in my life anymore, I would be OK with that. I know my stepsister would stay in my life and we are close and she would support me and that’s all that matters. My parents do not have the ability to hurt me anymore.

And just a quick note: My stepsister told me that a few years ago before we all reunited, that she and her husband had talked about approaching my Dad and telling him that he could live with them if he divorced her. My stepmother’s DAUGHTER was watning to talk to MY DAD about leaving his wife. They love my Dad but they can see what my stepmother does to him. I think that just shows what kind of person she is. Thanks goodness all of us have grown up and can see it.


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