To handle an overbearing and controlling step mother, own your power.
Why is it that step moms get such a bad rap? Is it because of the wicked step mother in Cinderella – do we project that image onto women in this position? With high divorce rates and remarriages, there are many women who step into the role of being a step parent. And of course, many of them are balanced and easy going, but there are some with dominant personalities, vying for the matriarch status in the family.
If you’ve been trying to enjoy family gatherings and time spent with your father, but keep butting up against your controlling and overbearing step mother, it may be time for you to own your power. Not through force, resistance or control (as this is the controller’s game tactic), but by being bigger than the fight for power.
This doesn’t mean giving up or giving in to your step mom’s demands, as that is the polar opposite of control; being controlled. Owning your power involves seeing the game that is being played and choosing not to play it. Not biting the bait in an argument over who is right and who is wrong. Not being a rebel and going in the opposite direction of a request (or demand). Not being reactive every time your step mother derails the conversation with her interruptive questions, comments and arguments. And not fighting her for your father’s attention.
When we are conscious of what’s really going on behind other’s behaviors, we can avoid getting caught in the fray. We can maintain a position of neutrality and see the bigger picture. From this higher vantage point, we can choose which direction we want to go.
Here are some suggestions for handling your overbearing and controlling step mother from a place of empowerment.
Look for the motives. Why is your step mom controlling? Is she trying to earn the family’s respect? Does she have low self esteem or feel insecure? Take a look at her childhood and background to see what might be motivating her dominating behavior. With this understanding, you will gain insights into how to handle her with compassion instead of resentment.
Bring your amusement. Anything we are not amused with is bigger than us. Bring humor to your family gatherings and it will lighten the atmosphere and create balance and equality. At the very least, if you are amused, you won’t be reactive.
Don’t take things personally. If you feel your step mother’s behavior is an attack on you, you will naturally be defensive or reactive. Instead, recognize that her personality quirks are all about her and nothing to do with you. Stay in a state of ease and non-resistance. Don’t engage in any arguments or battles and watch her antics fizzle and fade.
Own your power. Touch into your self-esteem, self-affinity and self-confidence any time you feel reactive around your controlling step mother. Her behavior may be an attempt to make you feel small so she can feel big. If you feel self-empowered, she will sense this and know there is no point in trying to deflate you. It will also be easier to set healthy boundaries from this empowered state.
Look at your reflection. When someone triggers us over and over again, it’s often because they are mirroring something we don’t want to see in ourselves. Yet until we look at it, we will continue to be judgmental and reactive. Is there some area of your life where you become controlling or overbearing? Or is this a lesson about creating healthy boundaries and not giving up your power?
Use the power of love. Each of us shares the same need for love, acceptance and a sense of belonging. Shine as much love as you can on your step mother and see if that softens her. If you can see past her abrasive behavior to the spirit within her, it will be easier to connect on a heart and soul level with her.
Look at the bigger picture. What do you both want? Is it to have a relationship with your father, bond as a family, move through power struggles and get along? Look for the commonalities instead of the difference between you. Then set your intention to achieve the end result you both want. What we focus on grows, so pay more attention to the experience you want to create than the one you want to avoid.
It takes two to play the control or be controlled game. If you step out of the game by owning your power from a place of bigness instead of smallness, the fight will diminish and the family dynamics will improve.
Do you have any questions or insights on how to handle an overbearing and controlling step mother? Please share below.