If you are reading this, it’s probably because, like me, you are a stepmother. Honestly, we could not have chosen a better life situation to be triggered in a hundred different ways by not feeling respected!
If it’s not the kids, it’s your partner. If not him, then surely it’s the biomom who lets you know that you that she doesn’t respect your place in her kids’ lives. And if nothing else, society is ready to offer up a total vacuum of respect for you as soon as anyone uses the “step” prefix to qualify your relationship to kids whose father is your life partner.
I once heard someone say “You get what you tolerate.” It was in the context of putting up with bad behavior from kids, but in my case, it rang true for putting up with bad behavior from my first husband. It took me years to figure out that the problem was me. I didn’t respect myself enough to make boundaries and hold them. I would allow my husband to say cruel and hurtful things to me, and then I would go away and cry. My fear of confrontation was crippling. I thought that there was nothing between “doormat” and “bitch”, so I just had to choose the one I could live with and leave it at that!
The months leading up to my divorce and the years afterward taught me an important life lesson that I want to share.
You can never be respected by others to a degree greater than you respect your own self.
There’s no way around it. It has to be true. It’s the reverse way of saying “You get what you tolerate”. Energetically, the self-respect that you project outwardly is the frequency of how others will treat you.
So, now that you know it, what are you training your partner or your stepkids to do more of because you always put up with it? I’m not talking about random things you don’t like, bad habits or things you can excuse because people sometimes say or do things from a place of hurt. We are all human, but you don’t need to be repeatedly hurt by someone else’s hurt either.
What are your boundaries? What is not negotiable? Where is your line in the sand?
Respecting yourself is absolutely essential to your happiness. Many of us say that we respect ourselves, but we don’t do a very good job of insisting on it from those we love.
As I said earlier, I’m no stranger to backing away from difficult conversations when it’s about standing up for myself. On the other hand, if I am ever called upon to stand up for someone else, I leap into action like a German Shepherd! It’s so easy for me to insist on respect and right treatment for others, but it’s taken me a long long time to feel the same way about myself. Mainly, it was because I didn’t know how to do it without having a confrontation.
Read my next blog in which I reveal the magic phrase that changed everything for me so I could always have the right words ready to express myself without feeling confrontational. Read here:
If you are not already a member of my Facebook group called The Spectacular Stepmom, pop over and join us! You will find a large, loving community of experienced, generous stepmoms ready to give you sound advice and a library of video tutorials on all topics stepmom related!