Tag Archives: drama

Not For the Fainthearted

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I’ve been pondering my days as a stepmom as well as the lives of my friends who still are.  Am I glad I no longer hold that title?

Yes, I think so.  When I was a stepmom, my life was  replete with ridiculous drama.  My late husband’s ex-wife never accepted our marriage and used her kids as pawns in a sick game of revenge.  With that being said, A LOT of damage was done.  It was such an exhausting time for us all.

My friend Cher and I often discuss things that encompass being a stepmom.  It is not for the faint@heart by any means.  And she is anything but that.  She has survived cancer three times for goodness sakes! Though last year I was appalled to hear her say that she never wants to date/marry another man with kids.  The “but” is that she has a child.  I gently scolded her, however, she stood her ground.  She’s simply tired of the ignorance and malevolence that she continues to receive from her husband’s two exes.  And sick of his lack of a backbone for that matter. I couldn’t understand her point of view at the time.  It sounded selfish to me.  Now…not so much. 

I don’t want to go through what I did before. 

I don’t want to be in a competition that I did not enter. 

 I don’t want to try to win anybody’s kids over. 

I don’t want two sets of rules and confused children. 

 I don’t want the harassment, stalking, or the animosity. 

 I don’t want to be the rival, frienemy, or “cowife” of the biomom. 

Nope, I don’t even want to be the darn babysitter either.  

Nor do I want to be the liaison between  warring parents. 

 I don’t want to have to file restraining orders and request phone taps. 

I don’t want to sit around wondering and preparing myself for what she will “do next.”

I don’t want to turn the other cheek.

The only drama I want is on the silver screen, not with the “baby momma. “Been there, done that and look what it got me? 

*Nothing* 

His death, their leaving, and the ugliness of the situation took something with me.  It shook my very foundation.  I don’t have it to give anymore.  My heart has grown faint.

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PDSD

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Do you know people who seem to thrive off of drama?  They carry on so  much that they make themselves sick?  I like to call this phenomenon post dramatic stress disorder.

I’ve tried in all areas of my life to avoid this dreaded disease.  But some love  its contamination.  Really it’s just a foil to cover the insecurity and the emptiness in their lives.  Drama distracts them from their pathetic existence.

PDSD really likes to rear its ugly head during the holidays.  So how do you stay drama-free you may wonder?  Here are a few things I do to cut the theatrics:

1.) Be secure:  People love to gossip and if you just so happen to be the object of  malicious slander, you will need to fortify yourself. The best reaction in this case is none at all.  People are allowed their opinions. And just because they “said it” doesn’t make it so. You show your security when you resist constantly defending yourself.  When you know who you are, nothing can shake your foundation.

2.) Learn to handle them:  You can’t avoid people who suffer from this condition ALL the time.   Sometimes those very people reside in your own family or his. And many times you work with them.  Therefore, when you HAVE to be around them, it is best to keep the conversation light, cordial, and on general terms.  Smile and greet “the room” so that no one can claim you did not acknowledge him or her.  I was once accosted by a relative because I failed to give her a picture of my baby.  I simply replied “No, I did not” and left it at that, which left her speechless.

3.) Know their motive: People who suffer from PDSD ALWAYS have a motive.  Usually it is to get under your skin, ruin your day, steal your joy, usurp some of your security for a temporary high,  to break your inner peace, or all of the above.  Understanding this enables you to handle their attacks  in a nonreactive way.  Do not allow them to use you for their sick and twisted entertainment purposes.

4.) Don’t be surprised by their hostility:   Do you REALLY expect them to behave any differently? Would you be upset if a shark bit your arm off?  Initially yes, but after you think about it, that’s what they do when they feel threatened.   Not to mention, it was only behaving in the only manner that it knows how–as a shark.  In their (the poison people, not the shark’s) minds you represent a threat to them because you (fill in the blank ).  Sharks bite, bottom line.  If you want to reduce your chances of being eaten alive, stay out of  shark infested waters. Or at least don’t dive in smelling like bait.

5.) Silence is golden:  Oftentimes when drama comes my way, I exercise the Miranda rights and remain silent.  Nothing makes a drama queen or king feel worse than when they are ignored.  By choosing this tactic you keep the power in your hand.  You also lessen the chances of anything that you say being used against you in the court of public opinion.  Know in advance that you can’t reason with the unreasonable so there is no point in trying to get the clueless to see the light.  They won’t. 

Feel free to add your tips below.  Here’s to staying drama and sucker free this holiday season!

Pass the Kids

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Yesterday I ran into my SIL’s husband at the grocery store.  I immediatedly asked about the kids and was told that they would be getting the boys in May.  Apparently Eliza has been stirring up trouble from her prison cell with her own sister regarding how she is raising her kids.  Fed up, the sister has decided that she’d rather not deal with Eliza, Ethan, or Evan.

This really bothered me.  The kids would have been fine with me, yet they were senselessly uprooted out of spite.  Doesn’t she see how this nomadic lifestyle will eventually have an adverse affect on her boys?  Not to mention, my SIL is not the best candidate to rear a child.  They live in a two bedroom apartment for starters and are barely getting by.  Her husband has 5 kids outside of the 1 they have together, plus she has another daughter.  My SIL is also half-baked, literally and figuratively speaking.

Her husband is not in favor of this and has decided that if she goes against his wishes, he will move out.  With Evan’s behavioral problems, the number of kids they already have to provide for, and the fact that Eliza and her looney tune brother would never leave them in peace, I understand why he is saying no.

She Does Not Stop!

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Yesterday I received a call from Jazmine’s great-grandmother who resides in East Orange, New Jersey.  She was calling to see how we were doing as well as to share a portion of a letter that Jazmine’s mom (her granddaughter) had written last week.  She wrote that Eliza has been bragging to her how faithfully I brought the boys to see her!  Eliza also stated that I should do this for her considering that Jazmine is her daughter! Therefore Jazmine’s mom is bitter that I am not extending her this courtesy!

I had many concerns about this letter:

  • I have guardianship of Jazmine and therefore any requests for visitation need to be addressed to me, not her grandmother. 
  • Why is she even listening/talking to to Eliza in the first place? Also, Eliza failed to tell her that the visits she received were court ordered and that it took her an entire year to get those granted!
  • Jazmine’s mom seems to be developing an attitude of entitlement.  I guess it is not enough that I am raising her daughter on my own.  I think Eliza has manipulated her and helped cultivate this “right.” 
  • I am offended that she would try to imply that I am doing something wrong by not driving 150 miles roundtrip and using my precious weekend time to do so.  It doesn’t seem to bother her that my brother, her parents, siblings, or any of her friends have not visited her at all–or even offered to escort Jazmine.  I have visited her twice with my niece; something I did not have to do!  I also write her and send cards, pictures, detailed updates, and drawings from Jazmine.  I am only one person and I can’t do it all!  Actually, I refuse!
  • She has not attempted to improve herself during her stay there.  She has been in so much trouble that she has added 9 months to her sentence.  Therefore I do not feel obligated to inconvenience myself to soothe her obviously fragile, immature ego.  If she was so interested in parenting Jazmine, she would do what it takes to get out sooner!
  • Again, why is Eliza determined to start more fires?!!! I think she may be missing the consistent visits that I provided her with.  Now that my stepsons live in North Carolina, I doubt she gets to see them on a regular basis.  Had the boys remained with me, I would have continued to follow the court order. Though she won’t acknowledge this and instead chooses to rub this information in Jazmine’s mom’s face to make her resent me for not doing the same for her.  Once again, Eliza is talking from both sides of her mouth!

As a mother I do understand her desire to spend time with her daughter.  However, my primary concern is that I take care of Jazmine to the best of my ability.  I had nothing to do with Eliza or my niece’s mother landing in prison.  I just have the tedious task of rearing children with ungrateful parents!  All she seems concerned about is making her stay more bearable. 

I knew it was only a matter of time before Eliza rubbed off on Jazmine’s mom!

Christine’s Ex

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The Ex dated Christine for about a year off and on.  Kierra liked him and at times she didn’t.  He seemed to be good for Christine because she wasn’t so bad when they were on and not off.

The Ex has a daughter and a son by different mothers.  His son’s mother lives in our city and his daughter’s in another state.  We figured he had a lot to do with calming the fires with Christine since he was is the same position as Husband.  Kierra has mentioned that his son’s mother acted “crazy” with him sometimes.  She said that the mom would cause problems if she knew Christine would be around. 

I used to wish that Christine would meet someone like her so she could feel the same things we did when she acted out towards us.  Well, I got my wish.  Not that I took joy in her discomfort, I just wanted her to open her eyes to the unnecessary conflicts that she was starting with us.

We also figured that Christine told the Ex horrible stories about us especially my husband.  Right again…I’ll explain later.

As she became closer to the Ex he became more visible.  He attended Kierra’s performances at school.  The first time Husband went and introduced himself and shook his hand.  Each time thereafter we saw him; Husband would speak and held short conversations with him.  Christine seemed to be flustered that they were talking.

During their last break up Husband ran into the Ex alone.  He said, “Boy did she paint a pretty bad picture of you!”  They both had a good laugh.  He told my husband that he was nothing like Christine described him to be.

At the hospital my husband learned quite a bit from the Ex about Christine and her shenanigans.

Christine made it seem like they were back together (her and the Ex).  After Kierra’s intial doctor”s appointment she promptly called the Ex and asked him to accompany her to the surgery.  She told him that she didn’t want to go alone.  He said he came to support Kierra because his daughter is the same age.

The Ex questioned her when he got to her house only to learn that her oldest daughter didn’t go to school so that she could be at the hospital, too.

He said that he used to tell Christine about herself all the time for the way she acted towards Husband.  She knew the drama he went through with his own son’s mother.

He told my husband that she complained all the time about Kierra coming to our home for visits.  He said she would try to bribe Kierra to stay home with her so THEY could be a family.  When Kierra did stay or go with her when she was at our home for summer visitation, Christine would try to act like she was so tired so she didn’t have to bring her back.  Kierra caught on.  He said he encouraged her to let Kierra spend extra time at our house.

He also told Husband that Christine said that Husband harrassed her all the time.  She told the Ex that Husband ran all her boyfriends away because he didn’t want her to be with anyone.  (Husband and I got a good laugh about that one.  They had not been together for over twelve years at the time). 

At one point the Ex and Christine were supposed to buy a house together.  They were looking for awhile and Christine seemed to be very happy.  Apparently they got into a huge fight about his son’s mother and things went downhill from there.

The Ex broke up with Christine because of her ways.  He said she was always going off about anything without letting him speak.  (doesn’t that sound familiar!)  He couldn’t deal with the way she treated Kierra knowing he was going through the same with his son’s mother.  (Oh, and the best one…)  She lies a lot. (Really?  Who would have thought!!!)  He said Christine was a cool person to hang out with but he could not be in a relationship with her.

Kierra said the Ex and Christine have gone to the movies from time to time since then.

I’m now wondering if Christine will call and ask him to go with her again to Kierra’s second surgery?

Fire Starter

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Most people know at least one person who likes to bring the heat and keep things unbearably hot.  That person could be a coworker, family member, friend, or neighbor.   In my case it was Eliza.   I  try to distance myself from heat seekers because I enjoy living a balanced, uncomplicated life. 

But how can you maintain your equilibrium when someone is constantly trying to singe you with fiery combat?  Obviously you can’t control the actions (and sometimes upbringing or mental status) of others.  And apparently they missed the memo when you play with fire everybody gets burned. Well, personally, I like my skin texture and tone just fine, thank you very much! 

Here are a few things you can do to avoid getting caught up in the smoke:

The Devil’s in the Details:  I had to learn the hard way that it was best not to give Eliza too many details.  My husband was the expert at this.  He knew that any information beyond what was necessary would just feed her desire for fire.  She burned me a few times before I learned this painful lesson.  Eventually I figured that I was only responsible for keeping her informed about important issues and nothing more.  I stopped trying to soothe her  febrile ego or provide “helpful” commentary.  Anything other than the basics is breeding ground for combustion.  Do yourself a favor and stick to the bare minimum.

Heated Hubris:  Overly dramatic folks love to get your emotions flowing and once you get this way, you tend to lose control quicker.  This also lends to a lot of irrational bantering so avoid responding to any emotional buzzz words and stay on the topic.  Address the issues and not the person by keeping your emotions intact.

Sizzling Sasha or Calm Callie: If you are not normally vindictive and crazy don’t allow yourself to imitate that persona.  Fire Starters are stoked you when you to take on their traits.  Then their fireballs will really become fast and furious as you’ve given them the ammunition needed to fight fire with fire.  Because fire starters are really martyrs at heart, they hate when you refuse to be the victim and resist their blazing darts at the same time.

Be An Extinguisher:  While you might not have started the fire–you can be the one to put it out.  This entails knowing when and when not to fight battles.  Let’s face it, everything is not a life and death matter and some things are just silly to expend energy on.  If I had to do it all over again, some things with Eliza wouldn’t have even been an issue.  I would have let her have her way, which would have taken the wind from her sails.  When you are an extingusher you make the choice not to do things to push their buttons.  Even though they might deserve it (and it might even feel good momentarily) you know that it won’t help put out any forest fires in the blended family tree.

Install Smoke Detectors:  I quickly learned when Eliza was going to fire up and would therefore take a backseat to allow her rage to fizzle.  Her spells usually centered around special occassions such as holidays and birthdays.  During these times I did not give her any information that I knew would aggravate her already inflamed state of mind.

Stop, Drop, and Roll:  We all learned this drill in elementary school and it is still applicable with today’s Fire Starter.  When it gets too hot:

  •  stop trying to reason or argue with the person,
  • drop out of the picture for awhile,
  • and roll on with your life. 

You don’t have to entertain a fire-loving drama queen for trifling matters.

Fires Eventually Fizzle:  Like with most things in life (from flora to fauna to foe) if not properly fed; they cannot survive.  If you quit kindling the fire it will soon become an smoldering ember.  Fire Starters know this, which is why they will do everything in their power to keep things smoking.  No fighting=no fuel.  Sooner or later they will direct their ire somewhere else.

Fire Power: As hard as it may be, try to focus on something positive about the Fire Starter.  Although fire has the potential to destroy, it can also be used for good(cooking and heat to name a couple).  This approach can help you “warm”  up to them.  They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, so I have to thank Eliza for turning me into Hercules!  She has drug me through so much that I have come out stronger for it.  She has also inspired me to be a better person.  I never want to hurt people in the manner that she has. 

Fire Proof Yourself:  A Fire Starter thrives on breaking you down, cauterizing you in the process. They will use very weapon known to man to do so; especially words which are flung like Molotov cocktails to defame your character.  It is to your advantage to develop a firewall so you won’t be devastated by what these dragons breathe into existence.  Know ahead of time that tongue blisters will be apart of the vocalized revolution against you; so don’t take their every heated word to heart.  The odds are in your favor that they wish they were in your shoes!  It’s never too late to erect that firewall for protection.  When Eliza slanders me I know in advance that the real issue is with her.  Therefore the “hot fire” that she spits cannot char me.

Ring the Alarm:  Arson-the crime of deliberately and maliciously setting fires.  When the actions of the Fire Starter become scaldingly criminal, it’s time to alert the authorities.  There are some things that you just should not tolerate and criminal activity is one of them.  I would also suggest that you document any forms of harassment.   Sometimes it is even necessary to get a trace placed on your phone (we had one successfully traced back to her residence).  I have a huge binder that I have kept over the years to create a papertrail on Eliza and her many attempts to annililate, annoy, and torture us.  The contents proved to come in handy, too when combating her scorching lies in different situations.

Wouldn’t You Think?

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I am trying with little success to figure out why Eliza is lashing out against me.  Wouldn’t you think that since she has gotten what she has always wanted that she would be happy?  I mean, humor me here, what reason does she have to continue being hateful?

I don’t have her children, I don’t have my husband, she doesn’t have to deal with me anymore…what more could she ask for?  The only thing I can think of is that she never abandoned the grudge against us in the first place.  For her own gain she simply kept it closely concealed.

Or, maybe she wanted to be the one to sever all ties with me and end things on her terms.  She never got to do this with my husband considering he left and divorced her.  It’s as if she is projecting her feelings about him onto me.

 Does she think I abandoned the boys? But she would have to know that they were removed from my care by her siblings.  Even if she feels that I did not parent them well or whatever else she may be stewing about, it’s all water under the bridge now.  What purpose would it serve to still be angry?  Any guesses are welcome.