Thursday, May 31, 2012

Dealing With His Ex-Wife

My husbands ex-wife manipulates his children against him and I. I am constantly made out to be this bad person and his children are allowed to stay away from us because of me. I am a "mean" person because I make them do chores and expect them to pick up after themselves.
The mother feeds in their mind that I do not have the right to tell them to clean up and agrees with them when they say I am mean. She acts as their "savior" and creates problems bigger than what they should be.

She texts me telling me what I should do and not do and how I need handle certain situations. SHe trys to control me and the things I own and how I live in my own house.
I am so tired of being made out to be the bad guy because of her own downfalls as a mother. I love my husband very much but after 10 years, I am feeling very discouraged.
How do I handle her and the children when they flat out lie about how I treat them?

Please help.
Hi Trin,
I hear that this is a common situation that can arise in divorced and remarried families with children. The situation you describe would most definitely invite feelings of frustration and discouragement, especially since have been coping with this for 10 years.
Of course there have been a series of events leading up to this point and a history that you have all been creating together. Some mom’s can be very loyal to their children and their ideas about how best to raise them. Sometimes the idea of another woman having an influence of their children will trigger a sense of vulnerability, leading to an urge to try to hold on and control the situation as much as possible. Whenever there is such anger between people there tends to also be some fear and sadness underneath.
That being said, where is your husband in all of this? He is the person you mention the least in your email.
What does your partnership look like? Most importantly, are you a team or is the emotion of the situation coming between you? Do you spend most of your energy dealing with his ex-wife or focusing on building a strong relationship together? What has been his reaction to his ex-wife and their relationship? How would you describe his relationship with his children?
There are many possible reasons for the lack of boundaries between you and his ex-wife. I would be interested to know if you and your husband talked about what your role would be with his children after you were married. Is he also a disciplinarian or do you take on that job? Do you each agree on common rules for your home? Sometimes step-parents choose to take on the role of being a friend to the children, leaving the discipline up to the parents, but this is also dependent on the age of the children. There are many possibilities for your relationship with his kids. Think about the fun you could be having!
As an experiment, if you were to take a step back from managing the situation for a period of time, what do you think would happen? I would guess that your husband and his ex-wife would finally have to communicate and sort out their own parenting issues without putting you in the middle.
Thanks for writing. I’m positive your question will help other step-mom’s out there who are in a similar situation.

Friday, May 25, 2012


If you do follow your bliss,
you put yourself on a kind of track
that has been there all the while waiting for you,
and the life you ought to be living
is the one you are living.
When you can see that,
you begin to meet people
who are in the field of your bliss,
and they open the doors to you.
I say, follow your bliss and don't be afraid,
and doors will open
where you didn't know they were going to be.
If you follow your bliss, 
doors will open for you that wouldn't have opened for anyone else.

Joseph Campbell

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Center of Connected Living: What's the best for our baby?

The Center of Connected Living: What's the best for our baby?: The baby, dad and i are not together. we seem not to be able to get along. what should we do for our baby's sake? Stephanie Hi Steph...

What's the best for our baby?

The baby, dad and i are not together. we seem not to be able to get along. what should we do for our baby's sake?

Hi Stephanie,
Really good question. Once a couple have a baby they are connected for life because of this little person. Regardless of the relationship between you and the baby's dad, you are both forever the parents to this little one. There are some who believe that a child growing up with parents who are not together will not necessarily influence the child in a negative way.

The two most important things you can both do for your child is to create and maintain a healthy relationship between you and your child, as well as between child and father. Stable consistent positive contact with each parent and baby is most important. And, of course, the better relationship you and the father have will make life easier for your child.

You state in your question that you 'seem' to not be able to get along. This leads me to think that maybe there have been times when you have gotten along better. Or that perhaps you realize that having a baby is a transition for all and that things between you two may improve in the future. There are always key issues that will challenge every couple, especially when children are involved.

I suggest that parenting classes can be a great resource for new parents. They will introduce skills that perhaps you two can use.

One last thought, if you and the father do disagree often, get into arguments, and feel angry, the best thing you can do for your child is to make sure that they are not a witness to these behaviors. Children are highly attuned and sensitive and pick up on more than we realize. The interactions the baby is a part of now can affect relationship far into the future.

If you have other thoughts, questions, ideas after you have read this, please write to me. I am sure we can go into more detail with more information about your situation. Stay positive and know that this relationship can improve.


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

responsibility & relationships

This idea has stuck with me for a long time:
'we have a responsibility to other people, but, we are not responsible for other people'.
Just a change of one word changes the meaning of the entire sentence.

If you're like me, I use to take on over-responsiblity in my mind for other people's actions.  I would beat myself up thinking that there was something I could do better, should have done, regret doing that might have affected the outcome of the situation.

But, this idea of responsibility to others - not for others- allows me to feel free ... and this allows me to focus on being the best me I can in the roles of my life.  For example, I have the responsibility to be the best therapist I can for my clients.  But I'm not responsible for what they choose to take from therapy and how they apply it, or don't apply it, to their lives.

I learned when I give up worry, and my old assumption that taking on other people's stuff means I am kind and caring, I am more free to be the compassionate, creative, confident, thoughtful, energetic and inspired person I wish to be.

Please visit for more information about Dr. Corinne and The Center of Connected Living-Fl.