In her book Becoming a Stepfamily: Patterns of Development in Remarried Families, Patricia Papernow advises therapists working with stepfamilies to make sure they do not side with one member in a stepfamily and make the other side the “bad guy” because everyone has a compelling story to tell.
For stepmoms involved in nasty relations with the former wife, it can be easy to turn Mom into the villain. In fact, except for a very few, all of the stepmothers I interviewed had something bad to say about the ex.
But people just aren’t that black and white. Moms are people, too. Remember when you were a kid and you were always told to try to see things from another person’s point of view? You might have heard things such as “When you said that to your friend, how do you think that made her feel?”
We’re still on the playground when it comes to learning about stepfamily dynamics. If there is a disruption at the other house, always consider what it must be like for Mom to send her children off to (in most cases) a virtual stranger, leaving her with absolutely no control and no say about what is happening to her children.