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The incredible, invisible stepparent

Written By: Tammy Gangl

Tammy wrote the Troubled Heart many years ago simply as a means to try to make sense out of some of the strong things we were walking through at the time concerning not fitting in. It has come to mean so much to so many stepmoms that I wanted to publish it here, on our blog. It does not answer the nagging question of "How do I fit in to this new family?" or give you a 3 step solution to this age old question, as much as it just truthfully unfolds some very common and hurtful feelings for many stepmoms into beautifully honest words and says to each and every one of you who has felt these strong emotions, "You are normal!"

The Troubled Heart

In the journeys we go through as a family, both good and bad, we create deep, interwoven bonds that no one can break. These bonds can be so strong that the unseen ties are evident to those around us, even without us saying a word about the bond. When you remarry and begin your stepfamily, you start new ties, new relationships, and new memories with their own interwoven ties.

As part of a new stepfamily, it can sometimes feel like you are a single strand; that you are all by yourself. It really hurts when all you want is to be loved and accepted, but you feel left out, almost like you are invisible.

I understand that each stepfamily is different. Given the age of your new stepchildren and their scars, you may never be accepted. No one ever goes into a new remarriage thinking that things will not work out though. If first love is blind, then second love is blind and deaf. We refuse many times to see or to hear the cautions that are all around us. We set ourselves up to be hurt and hurt deeply!

We have to understand that the bond and the loyalty between biological family members can be like concrete. How many times have I heard a tearful stepparent say, "If only they could let up a little and love our new family members, whether they are biological or not!" However, this is one of the reasons why so many remarried couples divorce. The blood tie wins out over the marriage vows!

All it takes to make you feel invisible is someone in the biological family bringing up the past, before you became a part of the family, or talking about how different it was before you were there. It leaves the stepparent feeling like you are a bird joining a family of lions. The match is simply not fair! You are left feeling un-wanted and out of place, praying not to be dinner, and hoping one day you too might be a lion. However, chances are, you might never be invited to join the pride.

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