Friday, May 12, 2017
I have a feeling that a lot of you who read yesterday's blog where I threw a little fit -- let the anger and the frustration I have been feeling for months spill out -- were worried I was not adjusting to being a "step parent". and were worried I would put my nose in where I shouldn't.
I want to reassure you all that I have no intentions of going head to head with the ex-wife or her mother! Technically they are not my problem.
Sir Steve IS my concern and in a way my problem. I have watched him curl into himself over these last few months...... watched him scowl every time the phone rings -- watched his stress levels increase and his laughter decrease.
When we visited his parents at Easter -- his dad took me aside and told me that Sir Steve has been through hell and back in the last 10 years (I think perhaps he was warning me not to hurt his son -- but I took it as a challenge to make Sir Steve happy -- to show him how it feels to be loved unconditionally -- but that will take time.)
The other evening during our evening chat together I sensed Sir Steve was done -- done like dinner. and was perhaps feeling more impotent than I was. He loves his daughter with all his heart -- and can not cut the ties with the mother or the ex-inlaws as long as he has her in his custody. BUT I have seen there are no boundaries between any of them. I have watched as this cute lil 4 year old has figured out which buttons to push with both her parents -- and do it VERY well.
I have watched as the woman Sir Steve thought loved him deeply cut him to shreds and when she wasn't her mother would. (sometimes very publicly) I was sure Sir Steve has felt he had no one in his corner -- no one to 'have his back' so to speak.
So we talked -- I got him to open up a little bit. It was my chance to voice my opinion on how the child is manipulating them all -- and how the mother is doing the same thing....... this is my specialty......this is what I did professionally for nearly 30 years.
I quietly explained to him that his rules for the lil one are HIS rules for HIS house and technically he cannot enforce them when she is with her mother. The child will learn to adapt to separate rules -- children do that very well - if only adults would understand that.
I pointed out to him that the child needs consistent rules and consequences -- every single day....... the rule that applies today has to apply tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. Only with rules and consequences will she feel cared for and loved in a concrete way. I don't care what happens in her mother's house -- that is not my concern nor should it be Sir Steve's. In HIS house he will - eventually - have a happy cooperative child who is much easier to live with... who will probably have fewer bad dreams and be more content and happier.
As for his ex and family -- he needs to start building healthy boundaries.... enforced boundaries that will allow him and his lil one the sense of control over their lives. I offered to stand beside him -- to help him build healthy boundaries -- help set down simple rules and consequences.. help him rebuild his life as a single independent father.
We will work on this together -- because I love him and he loves me. We will find our way through this together! I never thought in all my years of working with broken families that one day I would be using the strategies I handed out to strangers to help a family I belong to and love -- but there it is......... I am and I will.
Cause that's what you do when you love someone deeply and unconditionally .....you pitch in and help!