My parents split when I was 4. My mother essentially abandoned me and left me with my alcoholic father. He remarried twice to women who clearly did not want me. I suffered greatly from their abuse and I swore I would never get into a relationship with a man who already had kids.
My first marriage was to an older man who did not have kids but I later found out was a sociopath. (After 20+ years of marriage). I stayed in this relationship with him even though I was unhappy because I did not want my children to be a product of divorce and potential abuse like I had suffered, so I sacrificed myself for their happiness. (It didn’t work; when mom isn’t happy, no one is happy)
Now I am in a relationship with a man who has two young daughters and I have struggled with this, partly from my own trauma and partly because it is just hard having a blended family, period.
The most powerful lesson I have learned so far is that I wouldn’t have suffered abuse at the hands of my stepmothers if my father had protected me. It was my father’s responsibility to protect the vulnerable child in his care, to meet my needs both physically and emotionally. Had he made me, his child, a priority in his life, he might have attracted a partner for himself that would respect him and who would have in turn treated me with respect. In other words, it’s not my abusive stepmothers to blame for my trauma, it is my biological father who allowed it to happen.
I forgive them all, and thank them for showing me the kind of stepmom I want to be.