Wednesday, June 01, 2011

You Say You Want the Truth but can You Handle it?

We, in Echt-land, have found ourselves in the crosshairs of step-parenting hell. A subject that no one really seems to tell the truth about but maybe more people should....because easy? It's not. Gut wrenching, heartbreaking, stressful? Yes. Yes and a gazillion more yesses. Oh my God, yes!

The blending of two families is very similar (in my mind) to putting together a 40,000 piece puzzle that has to fit in 1 square foot. A very tiny, very intricate, very very delicate puzzle except with a puzzle you can walk away when you get frustrated and come back when you're ready for some more. With a family, there is no walking away...walking away signifies giving up and I'm not giving up. I do feel as though I am knees and elbows deep most of the time, ass deep often and barely able to keep my head up and out of the politics of the my kid, your kid, this kid, that kid, you, you, you blame game. Fingers accusingly pointing everywhere but inward to our own hearts. You might not like what you see if you start digging around in there....I will tell you that from any viewpoint, it isn't a pretty sight.

I could say that I have a leg up on a lot of people when it comes to blended families since I was raised in one and practice I do have. From the childs perspective not from the parents. I know as a child, it is fucking's hard to trust, it's hard to believe, it's hard to relax within it and I know it takes years sometimes before you are comfortable with the fact that this other person posing as a parent is here to stay. That they aren't leaving you and it's ok to fall head over heels in love with them. I stand in a different position now. I am the parent and the OTHER person posing as a parent. I am the one that took daddy away in a sense. I am the imposter, the intruder, the evil-doer. The reason, in her mind, that her mom and dad aren't together.

I am also the glue holding everything together. The shaky, unsure hands supporting a very unstable foundation hoping and praying that it doesn't all come crashing down around me. Do I need help? Hell yes I need help but the really ugly truth here is that my husband is of the "what's yours is yours, what's mine is yours but what's yours is definitely NOT mine" mentality. Really cool, huh? Yeah, I think so too. It's really hard to be nice when you can barely look at your love anymore because resentment is so fucking thick you need an electric carving knife to get through it.

So, where do we go and what do we do? No one is going to win this way, least of all our babies. Are we giving up? Hell no but we can't continue wading through this cesspool of anger, disgust and resentment much longer.


Christy said...

As the product of many unsuccessful attempts by my mother to "blend" our family, as well as the member of a shakily blended family as an adult, I agree with the puzzle analogy. Each member of every family has so many facets to their personalities and items in the baggage they carry that it is nearly impossible for everyone to meet each others needs. Often either the parents lose the battle for the relationship because they are so consumed with defending their children or trying to force relationships with the stepchildren, or the children get lost in the mix because the parents are selfishly consumed by their needs.
The advice I have to impart s this: My husband and I have found a way to keep the difficult task of understanding our children and our relationships with them out of the bedroom, to try to hold it separate from our love for one another. We have agreed to never discuss our disagreements concerning them front of them, no matter how hard that may be, and we also encourage the children to speak openly and freely about any issues they have with the blend without consequence. We often have to take a long, deep breath as we're listening to each other or the kids and the issues at hand, and sometimes even have to walk off for a minute to process and keep the peace, but so far, after 3 years it works more than it doesn't. Please keep in mind that our blend involved 2 older children, which had (and still have sometimes) significant trust issues. There is a younger child involved as well, but the union was easier for her. Every couple is different, but if one thing I said here can help you at all, I consider myself victorious. By the way, I consider you A WOMAN ON THE VERGE OF AN AMAZING, HAPPY FAMILY!

Woman on the Verge said...

Thank you for your insight...I never really looked at it from a parents point of view. It's a heavy responsibility. One thing I know for sure is that we aren't willing to sacrifice our marriage nor the happiness of our children in this so we WILL find a way to make it work.