I love her but I can’t help her.
You can’t ‘fix’ your stepmom, says our elder. But if she’s creating a difficult environment, it’s worth seeking out some support for yourself to help you cope.
First, I want to start off by saying, I love my stepmom. She is fun and I’m extremely glad to have met her. The only problem is that she hates herself. She is constantly belittling herself and if there is a problem, she immediately begins to blame herself for it. She is also very insecure about her role in the family and if my younger siblings ask me for advice, my stepmom believes that I am trying to take her place as their mother, but if they go and ask her for advice, she either gets them in trouble or sends them to me for advice. I’ve tried to reassure her that she is an amazing and beautiful person. I’ve also tried to send my siblings to her more for advice and even let her know how I’ve felt through these situations and she admitted to me that it was irrational of her to make me the ‘bad guy’. Then she promised that she was going to work on not doing this anymore because it wasn’t fair for her to push her insecurities onto me but even as I sit here writing this, she is doing it again and I can’t help but feel as though it’s my fault. That if I wasn’t around then everyone would be happier and she wouldn’t be feeling this way. I honestly don’t know what to do or even if I can do anything but I want her to believe in herself and know how much everyone cares about her. That she can’t be replaced and no one wants her to be replaced either. If you have any advice, I would be grateful.
I’m sorry you’re experiencing all of these troubles with your stepmom. It is definitely clear to me that you want the best for her and have tried to deal with her insecurities and foibles. Here’s the thing, however, it sounds to me as if she needs a lot of help. However, I’m not a mental health professional – and, even if I were, no one at Elder Wisdom Circle can treat or diagnose any maladies of any kind.
My feeling is that you are trying to ‘fix’ something that can’t be fixed – certainly not by you or anyone else, other than your stepmom. You can take all the actions you have, and in good faith, but she is not going to change unless she wants to, seeks support and help, and therefore it puts you in a frustrating and uncomfortable state of trying everything and nothing working. The thing is this. You can’t force her to seek help, it may be that it would benefit you to try and get some counseling on how to cope with her. I’m not talking about long-term therapy, but I think having some professional support might allow you to see her struggles and not take on so many of them yourself. It’s a burden you don’t need, nor should you be stuck with. I know how much you want to help and have tried. But no one can force another to change or to see things in a different light. They have to do that themselves. A mental health professional could ease some of that burden on you. I realize this isn’t what you want to hear, and I wish I could give you the magic words to change everything, but it’s unlikely anyone can. Please try to seek the advice of a mental health professional to give yourself the advantage of being able to cope with what, as you said, is a sometimes-toxic environment. Good luck.
Article #: 482588