How Stepparents can prevent jealousy from damaging their relationship
By Jo Ball - The Stepfamily Coach
Julie Andrews in the sound of music is the vision of the perfect stepmother. Devoted to the children, making play clothes from curtains, singing songs and putting on shows with them. Sickening isn't it!
Not a week goes by that I don't hear from a stepparent about how horrible and cruel they feel because they have emotions of jealousy and resentment in their stepfamily. It also seems quite usual for step-parents to give themselves a hard time because of these emotions.
But lets think about this for a moment.
You've given up a lot for this relationship: you'll probably never experience a honeymoon period; you've missed out on many firsts, money needs to go that much further and there are other people around that let you know that you aren't the only special person in your partner's life.
Are jealousy, resentment and occasional anger justified?
Whether these emotions are justified or not, they are certainly common. And if they are common then there must be something happening within the stepfamily to make these feelings rise.
Are these feelings healthy?
There is nothing quite like jealousy to drive a relationships to the edge. Unchecked it is very destructive. In fact many of the clients I coach begin exactly here, with words: 'I need your help. My relationships is on the verge of breaking up because of my jealousy'.
There is an array of reasons why jealousy gets triggered. Here are some of the most usual ones that I come across in a stepfamily.
· Insecurity in the relationship
· Unspoken expectations of your partner
· Feeling disrespected by your partner or stepchildren
· Feeling isolated from friends and family
· Taking the children's difficulty in adjusting personally
· Being pushed aside when the children are about
· Having the children get attention that you want from your partner
· Acknowledgement that your desire to be a parent is not yet fulfilled
· Help with Jealousy
What can you do to help you get your jealousy in hand and begin to feel more empowered and in control again?
· Build your self esteem
· Realise it's your stuff so don't blame others or let it impact them
· Discuss your relationship with your partner regularly. Address your insecurities
· Be kind on yourself and allow your emotions
· Take control of your thoughts
· Don't blame your partner or stepchildren for the hardship you are experiencing
· Avoid 'nagging' and use a journal/diary or a good friends shoulder to talk through your emotions – but don't allow yourself to dwell on them!
· Fake it (this isn't one I recommend often but fits here). Even through gritted teeth don't allow jealousy to form negative behaviour towards the children
And these ones will really help you nail jealousy.
· Focus on the good that is around you
· Spend time with your friends and family
· Tell your husband & stepchildren what you appreciate about them
· Try to be as patient as possible
· Take lots of deep breaths
· Make sure you eat well and exercise (it will help your outlook!)
· Pick up some good books on stepfamilies and boundaries
· Remember that you can only control yourself: actions, thoughts, words, etc.
· Consider getting other professional support. Make sure it is someone who a deal with stepfamilies regularly, nothing's worse than someone that says: well you KNEW he had a child when you married him! That tells you that they have no clue!
· Give your partner time to spend alone with their children and make sure that you spend one-on-one time with both of them
These tips worked really well for me once I woke up to the fact that if I didn't address this 'thing' that seemed to take me over time after time my relationship wouldn't survive. That wasn't something I wanted to risk. My relationship is far too valuable to me.
I'm sure yours is too valuable to you too.
Take action today!
The Stepfamily Coach
About the Author
Discover the EASY way to keep your relationship strong, happy and lasting. Do you feel life, as a stepparent is tough at times? Is blending a family more challenging than you hoped? Does your relationship take the strain sometimes? If you've ever experienced the difficulties of bringing a family together - WE CAN HELP YOU! For a free report including tips and ideas that you can use immediately to have more simplicity in your stepfamily send a blank email to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.TheStepfamilyCoach.com
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