Welcome to the shitshow! (That you helped create)

Other than being in a blended family, I have many people in my life who are also a part of blended families. No matter how shitty things have gotten, it seems that one or all of the people involved chalk it up to the same old shit they have been doing. They suffer... either silently or loudly. The problems do not end- they usually snowball into more. The empty threats are relentless. So what gives?

It seems as though the adults say they wish things were different, they "try" to make things better, or they "communicate," or they simply want to avoid conflict altogether so they ignore what is really happening and silently suffer. The blame game is never ending. It continues and each party gets more attached to their feelings about whatever is going on. They then react based on how it makes them feel, rather than getting clear about what is happening and what the consequences might be based on their response. There is a pattern. Take a look at how things have been going for you. What is stopping you from doing something different? Once in victim mode, it can be challenging to get out of it. We tend to think it is happening TO us, instead of examining our role in the matter. We may just decide we will never be friends, they're crazy, it's all them, and that's the end of it!

If you believe things would change if "he or she would only do xyz, or be a different person entirely," you are mistaken. Chances are they think the same of you, therefore staying stuck in this vicious cycle because no one wants to take responsibility for how the situation was created in the first place.

So what's up with not taking responsibility for yourself? If you have been in the same situation for a period of time, you can observe that patterns and outcomes that have been, will continue to be. You do not need to be friends. It is however, very much possible for blended families to co-parent and co-exist with more peace and much less drama. Truthfully, most the fighting is done between the parental figures. Kids cannot be the reason for or the excuse for doing or not doing something. The children are not props. Unless a child's wellbeing is truly in danger, keep them out of it. Think about your motivation if you use your children as a way to make a threat of some kind.

You have zero control over the other parties involved. However, sometimes all it takes to make a serious shift is one person's choices. If they are able to create a different path, to some degree, the other parties must follow- even if it's decades later. As long as someone stays a victim, nothing changes. The goal is not to be friends. The goal is to create a family life with boundaries, respect, and modeling a lifestyle YOUR (step)children will end up living. It is said that to some degree, we all become inevitably like our parents. Is how you are living how you want to model for your child to be? Better yet, is how you are choosing to live bringing YOU more grief or more joy? The choice is yours.

Are you taking responsibility for yourself or are you blaming the other party and "waiting" for it to magically change?

Thoughts, comments, or questions? Email coachbrittanysimo@gmail.com

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