August AtoZ: You’re a Liar!: When a step-parent crosses the line
“You’re a liar!”
These are the words which stung my ears last week when my daughter came back from her dad’s. My first response?
“Um, excuse me, ma’am?”
The idea that anyone, much less my own seven-year-old child, would accuse me of such low-handed, skeevy behavior shocked me onto my ass. I may be a lot of things, many of them most decidedly NOT NICE, but a liar isn’t on that list.
Not to say I haven’t told the odd-ball untruth now and again. We all have. But this didn’t come across as one of those little white lies we offer up to save feelings. This came across accompanied by tears and hurt feelings and frustration and incredulity.
“You’re a liar. You lied to me. My step-mom told me so. She said you’re a liar.”
Ah. There it is. The crux of the matter. The problem. The dilemma. So then tact, not defensive anger, was definitely called for. Because this shit was about to get real.
Here’s the thing. Whether I lied to my kid or not, that step-parent really has no call to set the record straight. I can’t imagine coming up to someone else’s child and saying, “Hey, I like your shoes. And, BTW, your mom totally lied to you about -” Fill in the blank, because it really doesn’t matter, does it?
This is just some of the shit I have to deal with. And it’s totally not fair. I’m in the shitty position of putting my daughter in the middle of a pissing contest, and arguing back and forth through her… or else ignoring the taunts from afar, doing my best to set the record straight, and all the while attempting to keep my foe painted in a good light.
I refuse to sink to her level.
I have to find ways to fight fair, if at all. I have to treat others respectfully, no matter whether or not I think they deserve it. I have to avoid bad-mouthing them, as good as it might feel to fire away at the fucking f-bombs.
Where my child is concerned, I have to be the good guy.
So how does one go about defending oneself against such an accusation?
You’re a liar!
How does one not pick up the phone and scream into it,
“I’m a liar? Bitch, YOU’RE fucking liar! Let’s take this where we both know it needs to go and then call it done. Meet me with your six-shooter at sundown and have us an old-fashioned shoot-out.”
(((In this image, I’m wearing awesome black boots and skinny jeans that actually make me look skinny, and I have a cool duster that blows behind me like a cape in the wind. I am the picture of complete and utter bad-assery. I’m like some wicked cross between Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Trinity from the Matrix. Yeah. Hot, right?)))
Hollering threats on the phone? Exchanging bullets? Bad-assery?
These things *SO* don’t describe me.
This is what happened instead. My daughter and I snuggled up on the couch together for a heart-to-heart, and this is pretty much what I said:
“I think she must have been mistaken. Which is okay. Everybody has mess-ups. But I think she didn’t know everything about that situation, and she gave you her opinion without having all the facts. So you don’t have to be mad at her.
But — calling someone a liar isn’t nice. That hurts my feelings that you yelled at me instead of talking to me. I hope next time you think I did something wrong, you can ask me about it, so we can figure it out together.
But I can understand why you would trust her words. She’s a grown-up so you thought she was right. And most of the time, she is right. She’s really smart, and knows a lot of stuff, so you should still listen to her. I know she loves you a whole bunches and would never want to see you upset like this.
I’m sorry we had all this confusion. Feel better now?”
So that crisis was averted, and very nicely, too. I was able to deflect the insult, without getting down and dirty.
But it still eats at me. You’re a liar! You’re a liar! You’re a liar! What am I supposed to do with that?
Are you a step-parent with some advice to offer this mom? Are you a mom suffering similar drama with your child’s step-parent? What say you, readers?
AtoZ August 2012 — A Month of Controversy
Throughout the money of August 2012, my dear friend Aaron @dadblunders and I are doing a dry run of the Blogging From A to Z Challenge. This past April was my first official participation in such activity, and I had no idea what I was doing. No theme, no forethought, purely spur-of-the-moment. This time around, I have a plan. Join the fun!
For this event, I am engaging in a month of controversy. Consider yourself forewarned.