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Stepmom wants to know how to deal with constantly chaotic and accusing biological mother

Your Question:
My husband and his ex went through a 21 month battle for their daughter that ended over a year ago.

The anger and hostility coming from her was noted by the custody evaluator and went so far as to say she was engaging in parental alienation by coaching the child on video to say bad things about her father.

The behavior of his ex and her mounting list of false allegations (when one was proven wrong, she came up with another) cost my husband several days of lost visitation, several thousand dollars in attorneys, a night in jail, a visit from CPS, mediation and evaluators.

Now, over one year later, the drama continues. His ex continues to lecture him on the importance of a co-parenting relationship yet when the opportunity arises to discuss and negotiate some item of their daughters well-being or upbringing she takes the path of aggressor and we end up having to drop the issue to save ourselves the stress of trying to communicate with her. Then, when we point out her lack of positive and productive communication, we are met with further hostility. We reduced our communication to e-mail and snail mail to avoid further contact, confusion and allegation from her.

I have read the book Divorce Poison and want to know more about Narcissism and how, if at all, it is proven. Where can I find that information?

My husband and I recognize that she will never change. We also recognize that we can only control how we react to her and we cannot control how she behaves.

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My Answer:

If I had magic, my family would be living in some mountain retreat in a small town filled with moral, positive people who embrace good schooling, dog-friendly parks, and nonsmoking buildings.

But my family actually lives in an urban setting with an outrageous cost of living, too many superficial and unethical people, and a gross light-brown band of color that faintly appears on the horizon on days without wind.

I think you're doing all that you can. Be aware, be proactive, and try to contain the chaos and damage the mother can do in your life.

Narcissism isn't a psychological disease. It's a characteristic of a person who has done very little introspection (for any number of reasons) and hasn't progressed very far in emotional maturity. Think about the average four-year old-- completely narcisstic with self-focus and even tantrums when what he wants or thinks is not a priority to all.

The more you and your husband focus on controlling how you react to her, the more you'll insulate your home from her.

If you need court orders to restrain some of her behavior (e.g., if she calls 19 times a day, at all hours of the night, get court orders to stop it), then do it.

But beyond that, live life well. She'll always be a nut, and you can't predict what she'll do next. It could be tomorrow, it could be next year.

Respond to her actions that need it (e.g., false reports to CPS), but ignore the actions that don't need your attention.

It's life work, to continually learn to be at peace, when your family is targeted by someone who rides with the devil due to stunted psychoemotional development.

Many of us have the same journey. The two options are: be miserable, or always try to rise above. The latter one takes more effort, but it also has better payoff.


This website gives common sense advice that is not intended to act as legal guidance nor psychological guidance. The author is neither an attorney nor licensed psychologist. For specific legal guidance or specific psychological guidance, consult with a licensed professional.

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