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The One You've All Been Waiting For

Okay. I've avoided talk of in-laws for a while. "I don't need to be hateful about them," I told myself. "They can't defend themselves in this forum and it's not fair, it's one-sided." I focused on factual elements if anything at all related to them happened to come up or be relevant to something I wrote. After I did that, I noticed a sharp decrease in the number of frustrating events involving these people. I thought, "wow, I must have been bringing it on myself, looking for something to complain about." And I was happy to think that much of my concern and complaining had more to do with my own pickiness than any objectively problematic behavior they may have displayed. I was also happy that if they ever happened to stumble across this website, there wouldn't be anything at the top of the page that would expose a level of frustration and disgust towards their mentality and behavior that I hadn't expressed directly to them.

And then.

They showed me.

How wrong.

I was.

Remember all that stuff back in the fall about John's daughter and her insane and obsessed misogynist therapist, who I named Psychounselor? Remember how that raving lunatic blamed my stepdaughter's extreme lack of internal motivation and self-care on me and my apparently undiscovered supermodel-like figure and unprecedented life success? And remember how she accused me of placing unrealistic expectations on said stepdaughter to reach the heights of success in every endeavor, like I apparently did (according to her assessment of me after speaking with me for one single hour)? And how in reality the only expectations I've ever placed on my stepdaughter have been joint expectations with her biological parent, John, and those expectations involve things like bathing herself regularly and getting out of bed every day at some point, with maybe a "stretch goal" of, say, finding an interest in something, somewhere, in the world, at some point?

What I didn't write about at the time was that we spoke with John's mom in detail about that surreal experience, and told her all about finding a new counselor who is actually sane, and who John's daughter has a much healthier relationship with (i.e., she doesn't leave sessions more sulky and depressed than when she went in, but actually comes out with energy and tells us things she "wants to work on"...huh! A counselor who counsels!). I am only mentioning this to point out that John's mom was and is well aware of the history with the statements and accusations made by Psychounselor.

Even with some improvements in behavior and communication resulting from a diagnosis that spurred medication and the new (good) counselor, we are still seeing a huge lack of motivation (I won't go into the messy story that confirmed the abnormal de-motivation level, but suffice it to say, to use Arwen's term - created, I can only assume, when she heard the details of the story I'm now leaving out - "complacency in hurling" was involved, and it's not pretty). John called his mom yesterday to discuss it with her, to get her thoughts, to seek her motherly wisdom (he was desperate, people). And do you know what her thoughts were? 1.) John's daughter clearly needs to spend more time with her aunt, my sister-in-law (a successful, attractive female role model). 2.) It must be so hard for John's daughter to grow up in a household with Kristen, because how can she ever live up to that?



As John's eyes bulged out of his head and he stopped himself from screaming obscenities into the phone at his aging mother, he asked how his daughter being around her successful, attractive aunt was different from her being around me (you know, because I'm this obvious tribute to success and beauty - WHAT THE HELL, PEOPLE, WHAT THE HELL???). Not surprisingly, she didn't have an answer for him. But *I* do. As I told him last night, it's not so much the "successful" part of me, or the "attractive" part of me that is apparently a problem for his daughter. It's more the "Kristen" part of me. I wasn't the chosen in-law, and I never have been. If they can find a problem with me or anything I touch, they will. There are problems in our household; therefore they must stem from ME.

Nevermind the fact that they know nothing about the work I've done with parent coaches, counselors, and John to find the best approach to dealing with and communicating with this troubled young adult without making her problems worse. Or the HOURS UPON HOURS I've spent working with her on everything from how to approach a teacher for help to how to write a paper to how to hold on to your identity in high school and fight off the identity destroyers, to which she is even MORE susceptible than most kids because of her multiple emotional problems. Nevermind all that. Personally if I were John's daughter and I knew people were insinuating something like this, I would be insulted that so much credit and blame for MY LIFE was being placed on someone besides myself. Because no matter what she lost by being born to a mother who chose not to be part of her life, she has had more and better opportunities than most kids in this or any other country. Whatever issues she has to work through, whatever lessons she has to learn the hard way, her choices are her choices, not mine. Even if I were a nagging evil stepmother, beating her for daring to come home with a B on her report card and shredding the lone item of clothing she dared to leave on her bedroom floor while busy scrubbing every window in the house, that statement would be true. SHE has to answer to herSELF for her actions, not to me. And that is true whether I'm a chain-smoking, whiskey-slugging, drug-dealing, physically abusive loser or a supermodel-attorney-doctor-housewife who always smiles and never gets frustrated.

I'm having lots and lots of fun coming up with ways to address the situation with John's mom, and maybe if I weren't so busy figuring out how to ruin my stepdaughter's life and place unrealistic expectations on her, I would have already called the woman. But unfortunately I don't have that kind of time! After all, there's a clinically depressed, emotionally damaged 16-year-old at my house JUST WAITING for me to come home and tell her all the things that are wrong with her, and right with me. Because you know, that's what I do. I'm just a big, evil bitch of a stepmother and THAT is the bottom line.

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