Emotional abuse of my stepson
Saturday September 08, 2007
I would like to ask your advice. I am a very concerned step-mother of a beautiful, very intelligent 6-year-old boy. I have been in his life for most of his life. In fact, the first person he called mom was me. His mother was mostly out of his life as she "battled" alcoholism and prescription drug addiction. She is a very nasty person. I was sheltered and knew nothing of alcoholics and their unique behavior issues. I witnessed first-hand her attacks on my then fiance (now husband). All of her hatred was aimed at him and destroying him. While he had sole-custody, she still had some daytime visits. The aim of her hostility changed when she discovered I was in the picture. I was the new and favorite target, along with her son as he loved me and that was unacceptable. She engaged in what I call an emotional battle with this child. She did everything she could to try and destroy the bond that we share. Bear in mind, at the time he was only 2. He would return from visits with her withdrawn with dark circles under his eyes and clinging to his blanket. He is now 6 and she has not stopped her attacks. He worries about everything because "she" will get mad. If he draws a picture at school with me in it, he has second thoughts and wants to throw it away because "she" will get angry. At Back to School Night he smothers her with attention and withdraws from his father and me because (these are his words) "she will get mad if I look at you or talk to you". I try to help him by not putting him in situations where "she will get mad" but some of them are unavoidable. I am very worried as he struggles to "be extra good" so "she won't get mad" at him. He is never allowed to talk about me in front of her and when he slips, he is punished. For example, last year he slipped and hugged my leg, looked up and called me mommy in front of her. Unfortunately, she was taking him for a weekend visit. He reported that she yelled at him and punished him for the whole weekend. Is there anything we can do to help this child? We have tried to let him know that his job is being a child, not protecting her from getting mad. He disagrees with us and says that he has to "help her so she won't be sad". Please... any advice for a step-mother who just doesn't understand the sickness?
AM: I am very sorry that I can't give you any advice. I can only say that if I were in this tragic situation and had to see how this woman destroys the love of a child I loved, I would do everything I could to make her access to him impossible. How you can obtain such a solution where you live, I don't know. In any way, it is a crime to use the child for her battle against you, and he is absolutely put under constant stress between two mothers; he shows his fear very clearly.