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Divorce/Separation
User Topic: Mother Bear Syndrome?
musiclovingmom
Member
Member # 38207
Default  Posted: 5:59 PM, July 21st (Sunday)

My daughter is with her dad 1/2 the time. His new wife brought 3 children to their marriage. Her youngest is a girl a couple years older than my daughter. The new wife is forever hounding my ex's family about favoring my daughter and complaining that her daughter is not treated equally.
This year, my ex did not have a birthday party for my daughter. They went to the zoo in a neighboring city as a family and called that her birthday. It was not her idea, but she didn't complain (she knows better). Today, they are having a rather large birthday party - involving not only immediate family, but also extended family and friends- for her daughter. Recently, the new wife made an intricate, personalized quilt for her daughter, but not mine. Also, new wife's fb page has several pictures of the new baby with her daughter with captions bragging about 'big sister', but none of my daughter (who is also big sister).
Am I justified in being upset about this or am I having a case of mother bear syndrome?

Posts: 1108 | Registered: Jan 2013
SI Staff
Moderator
Member # 10
Default  Posted: 7:20 AM, July 22nd (Monday)

bump

Posts: 10000 | Registered: May 2002
Take2
Member
Member # 23890
Default  Posted: 7:31 AM, July 22nd (Monday)

Well that would upset me! There certainly are difficulties in blending families: overcompensation is just one, and favoritism (real or imagined) is another.

If you have a cooperative and non-combattive relationship with the X maybe you can point out the recent realities of favoritism...? Otherwise, I think all you can do here though is support your DD, and validate her feelings.

...and Mother Bear Syndrome - not a syndrome. It's nature's way of making sure our offspring survive and thrive -it's Job 1.


"We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us." Joseph Campbell...So, If fear was not a factor - what would you do?

Posts: 4133 | Registered: May 2009 | From: New England
caregiver9000
Member
Member # 28622
Default  Posted: 10:06 AM, July 22nd (Monday)

(((mlm)))

It would bother me too! I don't have any experience like this, but I know that pointing it out to my ex would be like "criticism" and THAT never goes over well...

It sucks when the children are hurting and we can DO nothing to make it better. Lots of hugs and cuddles and sympathy for her. She will know she is special to you.


Me: 44, independent, happy, despite co-parenting with a lower muppet
FT "Stretch" (and Skew!) ;)
DS 13 DS 10
S 5/2010
D 12/2012

Posts: 5859 | Registered: May 2010 | From: a better place
hoya96
Member
Member # 28851
Default  Posted: 11:46 AM, July 22nd (Monday)

I think it's probably both - you're justified in feeling upset because you're a mama bear (aren't we all?)

I understand how you feel - my ex's new wife (the OW) has 3 children (so that's SIX children in their blended family) and my children are aware that her children are treated differently. It's heartbreaking when they tell me how her children receive such and such or her kids get to do xyz. It's always framed (at least, from what the kids' report) with some rationalization, ie "oh, we got tickets to do this, but unfortunately that's your mom's weekend", etc, but my kids are old enough that they're starting to connect the dots.

I listen with empathy, validate their feelings, and do everything I can to make them feel like they are the center of my world. My new husband does not have children, and we will not be having any of our own, so I hope that my home and the love and support they receive here helps.

It's a hard situation. I'm sorry.


Me: 40 and fabulous!
3 children ages 10, 12 and 14
Ex said he wanted separation 2/14/10
DDay #1: 5/23/10 18 month affair with his 22 yr old paralegal
DDay #2 9/22/10 my best friend, now his wife
Divorced: 12/10/10
Re-married a wonderful man.

Posts: 329 | Registered: Jun 2010
Snapdragon
Member
Member # 4286
Default  Posted: 12:22 PM, July 22nd (Monday)

Years ago, my niece and nephew were faced with this situation. Their dad's wife had 3 kids that were the most favored kids. It was blatant and their dad did NOTHING to correct the situation. It went on to cause long term issues. My niece doesn't talk to her dad at all anymore. My nephew talks to his dad a little but they aren't close.

It used to rip my sister's heart out to see her children treated so badly. But she couldn't do anything about it. Later, when the kids were old enough to have some say in it they stopped visiting. Sad. Really sad.


Divorced - recovered and hoping to help.

"We're not broken, just bent, and we can learn to love again" ~Pink


Posts: 3086 | Registered: May 2004 | From: Midwest
whatdoto
Member
Member # 28555
Default  Posted: 1:27 PM, July 22nd (Monday)

My DS went through that with his dad. His dad had remarried, she brought in a son, and they had a daughter. For years, daughter would get big parties and presents (daughter and DS birthdays are 7 days apart).

I recall DS coming home from dads saying daughter got a trampoline, he got $20.

Once DS turn about 13 I made it his decision if he wanted to see his dad. I never talked "bad" about dad.

To this day, DS, who is now 29, rarely talks to his dad, and it's been that way for many years.

I allowed DS to have whatever relationship they could have on their own. I didn't take any part of it.

MLM, kids will sort it out in the end. Mine did and he's okay with it.


"If your ideal image of yourself is in the future, it's going to stay there".

Posts: 1187 | Registered: May 2010 | From: Texas
why2008
Member
Member # 18378
Default  Posted: 1:33 PM, July 22nd (Monday)

Is there any way you can speak to your ex about this?


Me - BS - 46
Him - WS - 44
Two daughters / 10 and 7

Posts: 4074 | Registered: Feb 2008 | From: Maryland / DC
musiclovingmom
Member
Member # 38207
Default  Posted: 2:26 PM, July 22nd (Monday)

He and I do have a very good relationship - when his new wife is not around. If she is there, he pretends like I do not exist because if he pays me the slightest bit of attention, they fight later. Anyway. I do intend to say something to him. Just wanted to step back, calm down and make sure I'm not just over-reacting. My daughter is only 5, and if she has noticed, she hasn't said anything yet. I grew up with a very strained (almost non-existent) relationship with my father and I really don't want that for her. It isn't her fault that I made the choices I did with him. So, I'm trying to fend things off early, as they show up, rather than waiting until the damage is already done.

Posts: 1108 | Registered: Jan 2013
why2008
Member
Member # 18378
Default  Posted: 10:19 AM, July 23rd (Tuesday)

What a relief it is to hear that you have a good relationship with him.

I can tell you as a parent to a 9 and 6 year old that birthday parties are super important to them and they measure EVERYTHING that a sibling gets. Maybe the step-mom thinks your daughter gets two parties so she doesn't have to do as much?

Just a thought... maybe you might want to bring up a "friend" has two daughters that constantly measure everything that the other gets and you wonder if that you want to acknowledge and mitigate that dynamic ASAP? I don't know what to tell you, this is a tough one.


Me - BS - 46
Him - WS - 44
Two daughters / 10 and 7

Posts: 4074 | Registered: Feb 2008 | From: Maryland / DC
Topic Posts: 10