My Story

June of 2012 was the first time my former husband threatened my life. Things were out of control and falling apart more rapidly than I could have ever predicted. I was the target of extreme mood swings, name calling, incessant phone calls, emails, texts, emotional instability and accusations. I was being manipulated, lied to, lied about and pitted against in my own home. But I didn’t understand dysfunction, emotional abuse, gas-lighting, personality disorders or the like. At the time I just wondered what was wrong with me. How had I come to deserve this? I believed him when he said it was all my fault. I believed him when he said I was worthless. So what could I do to fix me and save my marriage?

As I scrambled to find my bearings back in June 2012 and understand what was happening, I started this blog and community. Since then The Childless Stepmom has grown to a community of thousands. I tried to document my journey through the years as truthfully as possible, showing how valuable personal growth was. How much my life had changed since getting some serious therapy. How different things were when I was able to forgive and understand my role. How I’d set my heart and mind appropriately regarding marriage, raising children, and dealing with biological mothers who I was then forever attached to.

Years later, we are now divorced. A child I raised as my own for 6 years has been entirely ripped out of my life. I didn’t even get to say goodbye. Every attempt at reasonable conversation, or even the permission to send a birthday card, has been ignored. My former husband was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, though I see plenty of narcissistic traits, among other things. My codependency issues were throwing gasoline on that fire for years. When I started to face the mirror, get myself emotionally stable, and assert appropriate boundaries, my former husband retaliated. And he retaliated with the only weapon he had against me; the child who called me Mom.

My passion about informing others and breaking the cycle of dysfunction has only grown stronger. “The childless stepmom” name has only become more fitting. Once upon a time I was a stepmom, and a hell of a good one. As it stands now, I am childless entirely.

The other day I calculated that I have about $10,000 worth of talk therapy behind me. Whoa. Needless to say, my therapist and I are pretty tight. She taught me more than I could ever put into words and even comes to me from time to time for resources for her other clients because I have become so passionate about growth and I want to help others. There is no greater compliment, truly. After 6 years of relationship and emotional intelligence training, plenty of books, groups, mentors, and wise counselors, you can see why I’m so passionate about living a joyful and healthy life.

When I start to get sour about all that I lost in that marriage, I think of all that I gained. I am a different person now. I attempt to live full of humility and grace, sharing wisdom where it’s requested and love and truth and light. These days I facilitate classes on relationships at my church, and mentor those who come to me looking for guidance. Having spent so much time in a cage, being able to speak freely on these topics is liberating.

I feel it’s valuable to share this with you because you deserve to know the character of the woman behind these posts. This is who I am.

I am someone who now understands the biological mom (“bio-mom” or “BM”) perspective. It may be a difficult pill to swallow, but I now understand far more about BM than I ever did. And truthfully, she wasn’t entirely wrong. Plenty dysfunctional, but not entirely wrong. She warned me that he wouldn’t be faithful. She warned me that he wouldn’t be emotionally stable. She warned me that what had been done to a slew of women before me, would also be done to me. She was right. He was engaged to his next victim within months of our split, a woman who has no idea what she is about to walk into. I have a special place in my heart for the “former woman”, as the person who is now looked at as the “crazy ex” who just wants to spoil things. I assure you, that is not always the case with these women.

On the other hand, I now am a target of extreme alienation and invalidation. I am a survivor. I have loved and falsely believed I was loved by, someone who has been considered an emotional child, devoid of any empathy, unable to truly love at all. Someone who slung false allegations around like he was blowing bubbles. Someone who was described as merely “a kid running with scissors.” But those scissors were strong enough to impale my heart, and trash my relationship with my boy. Someone who seemed to always slip out from under any accountability and leave the innocent looking insane. Yes. I’ve seen that too. So when I hear that someone in your life may exhibit these qualities, and that you truly believe that they are “crazy” – honestly, I do understand.

I have been lied about; my character assassinated.

I had a “partner” who was anything but – parenting with him was like pushing against a freight train.

I had a mother in law who once thought I was the greatest thing on the planet, only to turn on me, all the while knowing I was being hurt unfairly. She soon wrote me off and showered all that old adoration for me onto his new partner.

I have seen blended family marriages thrive, and I have seen them fail. I could tell you the differences in these relationships with ease.

I have been in a marriage with someone who swore to the whole world he was trying his hardest, and I was the reason he was forced to react with such hatred. He was faithful, honest and genuine, he claimed. Later, I caught him in attempts to pick up numerous women while we were still married, using the phone that I paid for. He even tried to pick up one of my very best friends (also a bridesmaid in our wedding) on a dating website. There was no limit to how he played me for a fool and stripped me of everything I had.

Every day that passes, I lose time with my former stepson, who was the light of my entire life. My family and friends feel this surge like an earthquake, tearing all of our hearts. But he must keep his lie alive, so he blocked me from all communication – so he can claim that I don’t try to reach out, yet threatening me if I do. It’s all a mind-game. One that I thankfully unhooked from, but those hooks leave very deep scars.

As a God trusting woman, I have set my faith in Him to provide, and to be just. But no matter your spiritual affiliation, the fact remains that you cannot put evil out into the world and have it never return to you. One day, the truth will surface, as it always does.

I write this today to share with you that I’ve decided to continue with the blog, and with sharing my story. I have been told I have helped many and I believe the bravest thing we can do is to share our story. Too many people are walking this planet without relationship skills, they are tattering marriages, tattering children and are living in complete misery. I will keep exuding light where I believe I can. I just wanted to be sure I was clear about why I post what I post. You may see me posting about personality disorders, about co-parenting, about accountability, faith, and most of all goodness. The world needs more goodness. I am also open to any suggestions about what you’d like me to write about. Any questions you may have, I will do my best to answer them from my own experience.

I am not a licensed therapist. I have no shortage of experience and training, however. I have had several years of relationship centered therapy, DivorceCare Recovery, Codependency Recovery and a slew of other training including conflict resolution and boundary establishment. I spent years of my life and thousands of dollars in court over custody battles. I am a survivor of an extremely emotionally abusive marriage. I am in close community with hundreds of others who have been brave enough to share their stories with me and helped me glean wisdom off of them. I also humbly ask you for your wisdom, the purpose of life is to live it with others and learn from others. That is why I will always keep the group open to all members of a blended family. It’s even open to those who only have experience with a loved one being in a blended family, because all experience is truly valuable.

While some of this may sound like the musings of a bitter ex wife, I have actually never been more hopeful. I genuinely forgive those who wrecked me out of ignorance and I believe with every piece of me truly that we reap what we sow. My heart will remain open to a reconciliation one day should their hearts turn, but for now I send them off in peace. I have done the difficult work and it was well worth it. I intend to keep telling my story. I intend to be as genuine as I can, while also being fair, honest, and respectful of all other parties. But, no more hiding. I lived in a cage for years and if I can help another person avoid that trap, I will. I now enjoy thriving, exceptional, healthy and functional relationships, and my heart is so joyful. I’d like to share it with you.

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12 thoughts on “My Story

  1. I started reading your blog “to understand” the mistress now wife. To try and find a way to relate, or reason with her regarding the attacks and stalking she happily takes part in, but instead I found another woman (mom) who “gets it”. At one time, I was where you are, still absorbing that my marriage was all one big lie – an illusion. To realize that the ex before me wasn’t actually crazy and is nothing like he had tried to convince me. Now, I am the “crazy ex”. The horrible-stupid woman who tortured him that she (mistress/wife) heroically saved him from. To be honest, I love being classified as his “crazy ex”. Everything in life is so much better. A lot better than being his “savior”. It takes years to heal from the emotional, mental, social, and financial abuse you endured in that illusion of a marriage, but all the realizations and flashbacks, are worth it in the end. One reality you should hold on to and never let go of: when children grow up, they always look for the ones that took care of them and loved them unconditionally.
    *hugs*

  2. I’ve been reading your blog since I became a step mom. You have always been so inspirational. If it wasn’t for your words I would of thought I was crazy a long time ago. Thank you for inspiring me to start my blog to document my journey as a childless stepmom. I only hope to be able to inspire another woman like you have me!

  3. First I want to thank you for your honesty and being so willing to bear your soul before strangers. And even though we are strangers we are sisters of similar circumstances. Here’s the one thing I know for sure. God uses the good and the bad to His Glory. And even though right now it’s seems as though so much has been ripped away from you. I believe God will restore to you what’s been taken. You are faithful to continue this journey to give me and others like me so much hope. I am thankful for you and your insightful wisdom. It breaks my heart that you have endured so much heartbreak that has brought you down this road but blessings upon you for turning it around and using it to bless others.

  4. Thank you. I feel “thank you” is all I need to say. Thank you for being vulnerable, for embracing the pain, and for sharing. Thank you for continuing this blog; it is a blessing to me.

  5. It takes so much strength and braveness to set out with such stories. I am an adult child of a violently abusive home. I won’t go into my story because your blog is to encourage others. But i also know that when we put our stories out there, its for our healing benefits as well. I am a childless step mom because i was gain raped at 18 and the option of having kids was stolen from me. My whole life has been a dysfunctional one that i have had to navigate thru on my own. My only parenting tool when i was a teenager living on the streets was my grandmother’s bible. No matter the path we came from, it doesn’t determine the forward path we travel. If you met me now, you would never know that my dad finally spent 12yrs in prison for child molestation and my brother lived a life of drugs and still letting it control his life and my sister is with and allowing a boyfriend of hers with bipolar-ism and personality disorder raise my nephew. I was a victim. And where i was a survivor and did survive, i am not that either. I am an over-comer that defied all obstacles by God’s graces. I am married to a man now that has his own issues that can be hard to deal with and i can clearly see what the root cause was between he and his exwife. She chose the bars and casinos to deal with issues with him. But i’m just a red wine girl. But at the end of the day, i know that i didn’t walk through fire to just stand in the ashes. I am a conquer and so are you and all those who stand strong against abuse. My step kids don’t understand where i have come from and who i am because of it. So although i am a step mom, i will never be mom. I’m just dad’s wife. Stay strong and keep going forward and God will do the rest.

  6. Thank you so much for this post. I am also a huge believer of sharing our stories and “living in the light”, no matter how difficult or unpleasant it may be. To me, sharing our weaknesses is one of the most holy things about the human experience because it invites in others to love our messy, imperfect selves and share the reality of their own situations.

    I am also a childless stepmom. Bio mom was, for some time, very much out of the picture (until I came around) and my husband was given physical custody and “legal custody plus” with the right to make the final determination on all things if they are unable to agree. My little one sees his “other mother” (his name for her, not mine) twice a week for dinner and every other weekend. If you’re able, I’d love to ask you a few questions on a less public forum. I would be very grateful to hear some of what you’ve learned through your journey as I am at a very difficult point in my own. If this is possible, please email. I would really appreciate it! 🙂

    Thank you in advance,
    L

  7. I just discovered your blog. I am a childless stepmom as well and, although my journey is a bit different from yours I find comfort in the fact that there is a community for me. I have felt very isolated not having my own bio children, and no one in my immediate circle is in my situation. I’ve recently been journaling my frustrations and finally decided to start a blog. I’d love to stay in touch with you!

    • You are not alone “Stepmonster” ( I love that screen name by the way). I remember not fitting in anywhere. I wasn’t comfortable at the school parties, on the soccer field or anywhere other moms were. I just felt like they saw me as the babysitter, not worthy of their attention. Now I know that was mostly my insecurities. You are important in the lives of your children. I say your children, because they are. I never let myself fully feel that. I was always on that tight rope of not wanting to overstep my boundaries. Now I know that is nonsense. Your role in their lives is so important. You are important!

  8. I’ve read and retread your blogs. I have written you before. I have learned so so soooo much from you.

    My husband is JUST realizing the damage he has done over the last 4.5 years. Telling me I’ll never be up to par with is parenting because I don’t have kids of my own. In 2.5 months we will have been married a year. Regardless, he has sure I knew I’m “not good enough” because I don’t have kids of my own. (Thank goodness-we’d be divorced already.)

    Now that he realizes the damage he’s done and ACTUALLY WANTS MY HELP, it may be toooooo late. I’m incredibly beat down. I feel useless. I feel worthless on the parenting front. I’ve been made to feel as though I’m less than a “co-parent”. If that’s even possible. I’m not even a STEP MOM in his eyes. He had the audacity to tell me. I’m not even sure what to do.

  9. I have recently started my own blog as well (haven’t had the courage to publish it since I am new to this).

    So I am not a childless stepmom – I have two sons with my husband. However, I absolutely relate to your story because my husband has two sons with his ex-wife, who we believe is a narcissist.

    We had never known what to call her aside from controlling and selfish and sometimes crazy, but in recent trips to therapy (not for our own relationship problems per se, but to talk about her affect on our relationship and as individuals) our therapist mentioned borderline personality disorder in how we describe her and her relationship with their sons and ourselves. Since then I have done much research, reading stories and psychology papers and books on BPD and NPD. So while I cannot relate perfectly to your story, I know well how dealing with a person like this can make you feel crazy and confused and hurt. Co-parenting with her is a nightmare and we struggle with it daily. My husband is walked on, disrespected and verbally abused on a regular basis. I can see how her lack of empathy has affected the boys and I just hope to be a positive influence in their lives while I can. I have often imagined how I would likely be cut out of my stepsons lives if anything were ever to happen to my husband, though thankfully I have not had to find out in reality.

    Thank you for sharing your story! I am constantly looking for folks with stories I can learn from or at least feel a connection to on this topic.

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