Before I get into that, I must add that going for visitation with my mother was full of being drilled about my Dad, being asked questions that would make you wiggle in your seat & make your palms sweat, being confronted about your actions & justify them. I remember many times sitting there on the floor in the kitchen with my mother standing over head looking down at us, and seeing my brother cringing. I wanted to dig a hole and climb into it. These situations were emotionally abusive and uncalled for. See subsequent blog post: Adult Children of Parental Alienation
Before my Dad remarries, we are living with Dad. Life is good. We are very happy living with Dad. We have a nice life, doing all sorts of fun things, going to school, and leading a typical (at least that's what we thought) life. Dad was dating but all the girls would end up short lived. Either they were too young and not ready for commitment or not wanting a ready-made family with kids. One night Dad brought in a lady that he wanted us to meet. From the get-go, my brother and I didn't like this lady. She walked into our house, and the first words out of her mouth were, "Isn't it a little late for the two of you to be awake?" Well, nice to meet you too.
She has two kids, so we went out to her house to meet the kids and see her house. The house was a run-down, filthy mess. My first impressions (which held true to this day) was that the boy (7 years old) was a friendly and warm individual, whereas the girl (5 years old) was a snotty know-it-all that wasn't very likable.
What seems like a blink of an eye, my Dad tells my brother and me that he plans on marrying this lady. Keep in mind that my Dad had agreed that he wouldn't marry anyone that my brother and I didn't approve of, which all of the ladies he dated up to this point were acceptable. This lady, however, did not meet our approval for many reasons, and we expressed them to our Dad. He must have taken what we said to heart because he brought the whole group together one night and announced that he wouldn't be marrying.
My brother and I ended up going to visit my Dad's parents, and during this time, my Dad announces that he changed his mind and that he IS going to marry this lady. My brother and I reiterated our concerns: (1) too soon to marry after all that had gone on, especially someone who has two kids who also had just gone through a divorce situation (2) our potential step-mother doesn't mesh well with either my brother or me and seemed to have ulterior motives (3) we weren't ready for a ready-made family. Our concerns were disregarded, and the wedding occurred that fall.
Sadly, my brother's room was given to his new step-sister, and he was relegated to the unfinished basement with the promise that the basement would be finished. Also, my Dad coached my brother's sports teams, and this activity came to an end. At this point, my Dad's involvement with my brother seemed to slowly come to an end. Additionally, my brother and his new step-mother didn't get along AT ALL. I didn't either, and she did get under my skin badly, but their issues escalated to her hitting him, and then he hitting her back. My Dad jumped to his new bride's side, and my brother was left puzzled.
I had my issues with my new step-mother who seemed to want to step into the position of "mother". I already had one of these, and I certainly didn't need another. I had enough to figure out on that end, but my new step-mother didn't hesitate to step in to where she shouldn't, voice her opinions where she shouldn't, and over-ride my Dad in many situations. For example, my step-mother wouldn't allow me to use tampons, saying they would cause me to lose my virginity. I commented that this issue should be up to my mother and me to discuss, but she wouldn't allow me to have tampons even after my mother approved.
I never appreciated HOW my step-mother talked to me: condescending, with a whisper voice, talking down to me, and not with love. I never felt like she liked me, and I always thought she didn't like me right off the bat because I look like my mother. I heard her say so many times how I look like my mother-- and I assure you that jealousy had some part in how she has always treated me.
I had troubles with my step-sister running and "tattling" about everything I did, and my step-mother always took her side, regardless of the facts. This issue became very trying and pushed me further and further away. I was required to teach my step-sister dance every afternoon after school. If I didn't devote the time that was deemed appropriate, I was chastised. One day when I was teaching my step-sister dance, the phone rang and I answered it. I chatted for a moment before my step-mother walked over and hung-up the receiver on the call, stating my priority is my step-sister at that time, not the phone call. I had words with my step-mother and later was 'in trouble' with my Dad for not obeying my step-mother.
One really telling action was that every night at 8:30pm, my Dad and step-mother would retreat to their bedroom. We were instructed not to bother them. Period. No going to their door, no questions, no support, no security. They were in their room, and they were to be left alone. I could hear them talking about us all through the vents, with my room being close to theirs. I didn't feel comfortable. I didn't feel like my or my brother's best interests were kept in mind. I could feel my Dad moving farther and farther from us... and I was very saddened by this, but I felt completely helpless.
Honestly the entire "family" situation felt VERY forced. I went from a family unit, to a traumatic separation / divorce of my parents, to living with people I barely knew a matter of TWO YEARS. My Dad and step-mother placed their own selfish desires above the emotional needs of their children, and in the process, alienated and confused us all. Not a one of us came out of this situation unscathed.
See related subsequent blog entries: My Dad, the Narcissistic King and Feeling Like I Don't Belong to a Family