in serach of advice -dealing with a difficult stepmother. PLEASE HELP

TSmitty2013 - posted on 11/24/2013 ( 5 moms have responded )

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I'm in need of some advice, make that desperate need. The situation between my sons stepmother & I is not good. It's to the point where I feel myself slowly being phased out of my sons life and when he isn't home in my arms it tears me apart.Let me back up a bit & give you some insight. My son is three and his father have been split since he was 2 weeks old. In the past three years his father has had several different women in his life, he is now married with a baby on the way. I too am remarried as of this past July . The woman that my ex married at first seemed like a great candidate and I was so happy he had found someone who had their life so together! We had conversations before they were married about the role she would play in my sons life and I felt like we were both on the same page. She even asked me to let her know if she ever does something that makes me feel uncomfortable or makes me feel as if "she's stepping on my toes". I agreed too and appreciated it very much. As time went on she began to refer to herself as my sons Mother and referred to his as her child / her son / her boy. She will post pictures of my child on social media and hashtag them "mommy son time" "true love" or "love my son". I approached her in what I felt was in a mature polite way but it all blew up in my face. Not only did she tell me she was his mother but that she made a much better one than I ever would. Since this has happened we have never been able to get along. In fact I feel as if it's only getting worse. She will bad mouth my parenting on social media, and post snarky remarks about myself. My son has come home saying "momma says your a bad mom, buy me better cloths" . I feel as though I am being bad mouthed behind my back and to my child! And that's not right. She signs all of his preschool papers before I can see them, takes him to school when he has had fevers (which is against policy). I've tried talking to her multiple times about everything and it seriously goes no where. She has been in the picture for a little over a year now, but she acts as if she gave birth to my child. If you friended her on social media you would truly think that she's the mother of my son. It truly hurts me to the core. My sons dad has zero back bone and refuses to even address the situation. He plainly states that's his wife and he will not do or say anything to upset her. As hard as it would be to make peace in this situation it's all I want to do. It's what's right for my son. I want her to respect the boundaries , respect that no matter what I will always be his mother. In her world I do not exist and she birthed my child. At times I feel like she obsessed with my child and it's disturbing! I have never had an issue with my son having a step mother, you can never have too many people to love your children, until this situation came about. What can I do to make her understand she is crossing the line? How can I make this situation better for all involved and help create a healthier environment for my boy?

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Cheryl - posted on 04/01/2014

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So sorry this is happening to you! Its a tough situation, however, what she is doing is not a good role model for your son & is very unfortunate. It actually gets to a point where your ex may have to deal with her. You sound like you have done all the right things but by her making it seem like she is alienating your child, that is not right! Your ex should take control & I now that is hard as a mother but sometimes the exes try to "maneuver" things with ex in their corner.

I feel your pain and again, so sorry you are experiencing this, & hopefully all will resolve itself soon. take care!

LalaBoom - posted on 11/27/2013

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I almost forgot...

All the paperwork that she is signing, try to get copies of those and bring it to your hearing.

LalaBoom - posted on 11/27/2013

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Everything you do from this point on is strategic... I work in the legal system so my mind frame works from strategy only:

For texts? Make sure SHE is the one sending them... Even if you have to say something like, "wow (enter name here), is this even you? I cant believe what you're saying." Texts can be considered by the judge, but she can argue she never sent them. Therefore you MUST establish that it IS her the person who is texting you. Emails? same thing. Every email you send to her start with, "(enter name here)" and continue to say her name in the emails.

Facebook posts, this alone will not be considered, especially because the judge- or the other side, will argue, you can always block her. However, paired with text/email, the judge will definitely pay attention.

Calls? You have two options: You can let her hang herself by answering the calls and recording the convo. One thing though, make sure your state is like mine (NY) where we have one party consent laws. Which means I can record whoever I want during a conversation and they don't have to know. The second option is to pull up your phone statement and highlight the incessant calls that come from her number. Again, you must establish it is HER number.

The email to your ex outlining ALL your concerns is so that you can go back to the judge and say "I tried to work it out." Judges love this- trust me. But make sure these concerns are not "petty" or just a difference of opinion. Make you include things like, "I don't want (enter wife's name here) calling my son mommy and posting pictures of the two with her saying that is her son" "I don't want you and (enter wife name) saying (enter all negative things here) about me," etc...

Wait about 3months and NOTE every single thing they continue to do what you have tired to address.

Once you do that, your next step is to send a "Cease and Desist" letter to the wife, and one to your ex. Sign it and CERTIFY mail ONLY so that you can ensure s/he received it. Outline ALL behavior that constitues harrassment and alieanating for her, and outline all behavior that constitues a block in communication between him and you, third party interference in communication (the wife), and his disregard for his wife's alienating behavior- which makes HIM an alienator. Try to have a lawyer look at it so that YOU don't come accross as "petty" and "inciting drama."

Again, wait another 3months and outline EVERY single time him or her engage in any of the behaviors you have asked them to stop.

If the behavior doesn't stop- which I can deduce it won't, then you go back to court. You present the judge with 6months worth of YOU trying to address things in a civil manner and not wasting his time having him fix it for you. I can almost guarantee the judge will rip your ex and her a new one and even maybe modifying your arrangement.

One thing though, make sure everything you record is "child-centered." Make sure to highlight that this woman is referring to everyone as your son's mother. AND DEFINITELY include what your son says: keep a journal of everything that happens during visits and everything your son repeats. Time and dates will be sufficient if you can show a sequence of events, not just random stuff written in a notebook.

It takes some time, but I promise you it will be worth it. No reason why when a parent is present and active anyone else could just usurp the position. Nope, negative. Not cool.

TSmitty2013 - posted on 11/27/2013

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lala - thank you for responding!! I too feel this is parental alienation. aside from this issues I have with his wife my ex and I get along very well and untill her we always have been a great team for our son. We share joint 50/50 custody.

When you say sound independant proof would text messages of her stating she is his mother be considered sound proof? When she came into the pucture she asked me to let her know if she ever did anything tipo step on my toes because she didnt want to that kind if step mom, but the first time I ever did it became a huge fight!
Simply beacuse I was not okay with her refering to my little boy as her son which I feel Im justified in feeling like thats out of line. I have been fighting this for over a year so I have tons of texts and emails from her where I have addressed the issue with her and she has completely defended her actions.

LalaBoom - posted on 11/25/2013

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I'm stepmom, and 'm here to tell you she is DEFINITELY crossing the line....

At first, with the mommy thing, I was inclined to offer an alternative: Many stepmoms will start to have their stepkids call them "mom" so as to not confuse the child that does live at home. But then I read your entire post and now I'm seething.

I don't know what the situation is between you ex and you as far as court arrangements. But I strongly suggest you RECORD all behavior that points to her alianating the child from you. Yes, this is her alianating the child away from you.

Record, record, record. Send your ex an email detailing all your concern and let him know if he doesn't address them directly, you will have the judge address it for him. You are not an absent mother and she is not his mother. Period. Beware, the courts will do NOTHING unless you have sound, independent proof of what you say.

Sorry this is happening to you! :(

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