Dear Dr. Simonsen:
I have a question regarding the family dynamic of step-families. Specifically, whenever there is a family occasion…(wedding, funeral, etc) my father’s wife has been EXTREMELY rude to our (my sister’s and I) mother. She (my father’s wife) is not a particularly nice person to begin with…She is (in my humble opinion) self-centered and narcissistic. However, in an effort to give her the benefit of the doubt, I have noticed that this is a fairly common phenomenon…IE that current wives are resentful, and rude toward former wives. Thus, despite my personal feelings toward my father’s wife (I do not like her…for obvious reasons) I am attempting to understand this phenomenon.
I should note that my mother doesn’t care…or even seem to notice. r, I have observed that this is a fairly common phenomenon…that of current wives being rude and resentful toward former wives, so I am attempting to understand this phenomenon before making a final decision regarding how to feel about it. Our mother is a genuinely nice person, and has not given our father’s current wife any reason to behave this way. She has never wanted our father back, and is thrilled to be rid of him. IE She has never been a threat to our father’s current wife. My parents have been divorced for over 25 years…Our father has been with his current wife for over 20 years. Yet this behavior persists, and has persisted throughout this woman’s relationship with our father.
Any insight into the nature of the current wife/ex-wife synamic would be helpful.
Thank you for your time,
I can’t give you any specific insight into this dynamic because I am not there. I do think your mother is a GREAT example to follow. I would more feel sorry for your father because he has to go home with this woman. It is likely she is simply unhappy in general and you get to see a glimpse of that every once in a while. I would simply bite your tongue and spend little time with her. Focus on how your mother is graceful and act that way. If you have children you never know what their future relationships will be like and you may need to have extra grace when they marry.