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Using Difficult Situations as an Opportunity to HealBy Clare Fogle
April 18, 2013
Learn how to transform difficult situations into an opportunity to grow, heal and find happiness.
Recently I started thinking about all those movies with the wicked stepmother. It is so easy to watch them, and think why does she have to be so mean to that poor girl? We always sympathize with the kid (as well we should). But I began to think about my role as a “stepmother” and how Inner Bonding save me from being a wicked one.
I have been with my long term partner for 13 years. His daughter is now 16, so I have known her since she was 3 years old. When she was small she lived mostly with her mother, so there wasn’t really an issue. When she was around 8 she started living with us on the weekends and then my challenge began.
It started slowly, but I grew more and more resentful of her. I didn’t want to do this. I have seen all those movies and I didn’t want to be like that, but it was happening all the same. I was jealous of the time and attention my partner gave to her. I was resentful of the way that he seemed to dote on her and give her everything she wanted. I thought that he paid way to much attention to her and that he was spoiling her. I convinced myself this was because spoiling children was not a good thing, rather than as a result of any issue that I had.
I dreaded the time that she would spend with us. I began to hate the weekends since that was when she was at our place. I resented my partner and thought that he treated me badly when she was around. If it wasn’t for the fact that she was only with us on the weekends, I don’t know that I could have stuck it out in this relationship.
Yet, at the same time I was embarrassed of my feelings of resentment and jealousy and did not want my partner to have any inkling that I had any sort of problem with this situation. As a consequence, I would bend over backwards to do things for them. I would shop and buy all her favorite foods. I would cook her favorite meals. I would buy her special little presents. I would clean the apartment, make her bed, do the laundry. Of course, my feelings of resentment were growing with each passing year. In addition, I never felt the right to ask her to help out. I told myself that this was because I was not really her stepmom (her dad and I are not married).
The situation was becoming untenantable. I was miserable. I loved my partner and knew that he was a good guy and I didn’t want to lose this relationship, so it was lucky that I found Inner Bonding.
My own mother left me when I was around 12 years old, so when my partner’s daughter turned this age it was increasing hard for me. I was left with my father and three brothers and I pretty much had to take care of them. My father never did any of the “woman’s work’ and was not about to start. My own experience was so different from my partner’s and his daughter’s. Once I started to listen to my little girl I realized that it was so difficult for her (me) to witness this difference. It was as if a paraplegic had to sit and watch a track meet all day.
I also realized that my little girl needed my adult to give voice to her experience. That what she went through and how it affected her was important and nothing to be ashamed of. I had tell my partner and his daughter what I was going though. With the help of spirit (because I couldn’t do this with my mind [wounded self] – my mind was full of jealousy and rage and was afraid to do this. Afraid that they would be mad at me, not understand, think that I was being petty, etc.) I was able to speak to them from the heart. I told them that it was so great how much he cared for her and what a great dad he was, but that is was also so hard for me to watch. It touched my lack of having parents who loved me and were there for me. I told them this with and open heart and through tears. By the end they were crying too and we had a big group hug. I had to do this a couple of times and may still need to do it again. But now my little girl feels validated. By speaking up and giving voice to this, my little girl knows that it was not her fault that my parents were not capable of loving her and taking care of her.
Working with Inner Bonding I also realized that all my “bending over backwards” to shop, cook and clean were not really loving acts but were caretaking. A covert way of trying to control how my partner felt about me. I was literally taking care of him and his daughter so that he would find me indispensable and not leave me. With courage from guidance I was able to slowly stop doing so much around the apartment. I would be fearful at each step, but found that I could ask him and her to help out with the chores and they were more than happy to pitch in. All this time I was telling myself that they were lazy and she was spoiled and I had to do everything myself, but that was my wounded self’s attempts at control/protection. My wounded self was trying to control how my partner felt about me. I had to be willing to stop that control and stop doing everything and see what would happen.
Some days are easy and some are hard and scary, but being is this situation with my partner and his daughter has given me the chance to grow and heal. For so many years, I wished that I didn’t have to be in this position, but with the help of Inner Bonding, I see this as a blessing in this lifetime, an opportunity to heal some very deep wounds.
Visit my website www.keepitsimplewellness.com. (Helping people improve their health and nutrition using Inner Bonding)
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