• Stepmothers: Are We Too Harsh on the Ex?

  • stepmothers, mothers, stepmom, stepfamily, stepchildren, remarriage, divorce, parenting, gossip, ex, ex-wife, Stepfamily help, Barbara Goldberg

    Has the Divorce caused a Raw, Exposed Nerve?
    All Will Heal

    Did you ever wonder why the ex-wife just can’t get over it?  Maybe, you are a stepmother who has been a part of the family for years, yet you still feel as though the ex-wife hates you.  You just don’t understand it.  As you know, we study the art and science of stepfamily management here at The Evil Stepmother Speaks.   This blog is a little different than the lessons we have learned before. I want to propose that we all take a deep breath and open our minds and hearts to the ex-wife. Perhaps, we can find another seed of compassion that will, in turn, give us peace.

    In the past, we have talked a great deal about the fear instilled inside the hearts of the ex wife and the behavior that comes with that fear. I was watching Oprah Winfrey’s Super Soul Sunday Show and she was interviewing Madonna Badger. Madonna is the mother that lost her three daughters and her parents in a tragic fire. There are no words for her loss. Oprah was asking Madonna how she has survived. I thought that some of her experiences might provide a platform for us to stand on.

    Within that conversation, the discussion around some of the physiological miracles around biological motherhood made me think that there are lessons that we can learn and use to find peace in our stepmother roles.

    There is a real energetic, magnetic and vibrational connection between biological mother and child. Oprah and Madonna referred to this nerve as the vega nerve. (I’m unsure if that is the correct term as my googling couldn’t quite confirm). But, the connection is real. These connections form a real nerve. Madonna explained what her physician said.

    “He basically said, ‘Okay. She’s not crazy. Everyone’s treating her like she’s been struck mentally ill… She’s not crazy. She’s sad. She’s really sad,'” Badger recalls.

    What he said next clarified what happened to Badger in a way that no one else had. “Basically, that mother-child bond is so huge, and it’s like having nerves… but they’re emotional connection,” Badger says. “Mine got cut.”

    Her story made me wonder. When the divorce happened, did the ex’s maternal nerve get cut and exposed? That would be terribly painful and certainly create insane behavior. Envision a nerve that is cut and the physical pain that ensues. The moms that we live with are in pain and incredibly sad. No wonder their behavior makes no sense.

    The good news is that the doctors said that the nerves would begin to heal over time. They would grow a layer of skin. Thin layers of skin would grow, one at a time, over time. One day you would feel functional again. One day. Perhaps, our biological moms need more time to grow that thin layer of skin. You can’t rush the process. That skin will grow at its own pace, but it will grow. Can stepmothers find compassion for our crazy moms who are desperately trying to grow some skin?

    In the meantime, we can understand that you can’t rush healing and you can’t rush loving. So many of us are so busy ‘doing’ things and then are frustrated when they are not acknowledged or appreciated. It is as if we are expecting love in return for our errand running. Now, we know that the layers of skin are still building and only time will help. We can slow down.

    As the nerves heal, we can help our own healing by allowing ourselves to be loved. Accepting love from our families means becoming vulnerable to them. It means that we ask for help. It means that we tell our children and partners when we are hurt. We cry in front of them. Opening our own wounds to our families helps us to grow a little skin as well.

    Years from now, all of us will only see a little spec of a scar.