Trying to make someone love you is like trying to climb uphill in an avalanche.
~ Valerie Lewis Coleman (Blended Family-An Anthology)
When you dreamed about your family being whole again, you probably never imagined it could be this discouraging. Or are you a stepparent who resents being cast as the “wicked stepparent” even though you care about your stepchildren and are trying as hard as you can?
Most people when they bring together families, do so because they believe and truly hope things will be better. Single parents hope to feel the support of another parent; people without children decide to join a family with a spouse they love and children that will become like their own. Though some things are usually better with two parents in the household, bringing together two family cultures with different rules, roles, and rhythms can feel overwhelming. Moreover, people don’t love each other equally, or maybe don’t love each other at all. Children often feel loyalty binds, that if they love their stepparent, they are betraying the parent who is not in the home or who has died. Stepparents, who work hard to belong to the family can feel unappreciated and get burned out. While the biological parent usually has the strongest relationship with everyone in the family, it can be exhausting when there are so many conflicts between people you love, all of whom are looking to you to solve the family dilemma.
I understand this on a personal level. Not only was I raised in a stepfamily, but I created one after my divorce and remarriage 36 years ago. I remember how I became an over-protective mother for my three children, as well as recognizing the outsider position my husband faced. Using this personal knowledge and years of specialized training, I help couples navigate the difficult transitions inherent in bringing two family cultures together.