My stepmother is a vandal and a theif

Six months ago, it was midnight and I was writing down a list of songs I wanted a friend of mine to burn onto a mix CD for me (No not pirated music; he’s in a band and the music is his). I was making this list in my writer’s journal. When I went to bed, I accidentally left it on the couch in the den.
I headed off to work, thinking the journal was safely esconced in my room, but came home at 11 that night to a note from my stepmother that read; “If I ever find that trash lying around, I am putting it in the garbage. [Your ten year old brother] doesn’t need to be exposed to that crap.”
The most objectionable things I could find in the notebook were a love scene I had been working on for a novella about a married couple that was more Harlequin than Penthouse, if you know what I mean. Also, there were snippets of a short story involving a self-mutilator, which I understand is disturbing.
I know my brother is only 10, but if he is old enough to understand about leaving the bathroom door closed, and not playing with himself in front of company, he is old enough to understand about privacy. How hard would it be to open my door, toss the book in, and leave it at that?

On Thursday night, I accidentally left out another journal, a different one. This one I had been working on for two years. It had one picture of a naked woman inside it (only showing boobs and pubes, not a beaver shot or anything), and a few references to people “fucking”. My stepmother was up at 6:45 AM doing laundry, and as soon as she saw it, she snatched it up and threw it in the garbage.
I went through two big garbage bags last night and I couldn’t find it.
Goodbye, journal.
And fuck you, stepmonster, you moralizing, small-minded, yokel hick trailer-trash tightassed control-freak.

Ann Landers would say you left them out so that she’d see them, so you two could have a heart to heart conversation.

I’d say you probably shouldn’t leave out things that you know will piss her off just so that you have something else to hate her for.

So, how old are you, kung fu lola? Your profile says lists your occupation as “shop girl,” so I’m guessing at least sixteen (at least that’s the age you have to be in the US to get a work permit – different in Canada?). From the content of your rant I would guess you aren’t much beyond sixteen. In any case, if you are living under your stepmother’s roof you are subject to her rules.

You certainly have a right to privacy, but if you left your “journals” lying around you were asking for it. If you had them put away and she rooted them out, going through your personal stuff, that would be different. She told you what she thought of the content you left lying around, and told you what she would do with it if you did it again. Seems to me as if you were warned and were just baiting her.

My advice – grow up or move out.

I understand what you are both saying, and to a certain extent I agree with you. But I also think that people should understand that accidents happen. It was an accident that I left them out. It was late at night, I was tired, and I wandered to bed, thinking that my notebook was in my room (the second time, I was sure I’d left it in my tote bag).

I realize it is stupid to leave personal belongings lying around. But number one: I didn’t do it on purpose.
Number two: It was in an extremely low-traffic area, and if she hadn’t been up so early doing laundry I would have found it before she did and put it in my room, where I know it belongs.
Number three: I don’t see what gives her the right to pass judgement on me and my private thoughts.
The journal was MY PROPERTY. She refused to respect my RIGHT to privacy and my RIGHT to keep my journal. She STOLE it, bottom line.
I don’t see why just because I live in her house, that gives her the right to control me 100%.

Maybe you two are control freaks too.

You don’t have a right to privacy, Lola. This is where the confusion lies.

If you’re in the U.S., you have a right to demand that the government respect certain aspects of your privacy. But if you’re a minor living in an adult’s home, you have no right to privacy whatsoever.

Now, of course it would be much better if, notwithstanding the fact that you have no right to demand it, two persons sharing a house could respect each other’s privacy. I think the totalitarian “throw it away” approach is very rude, and shows no respect for your ideas and feelings.

But stop framing the issue as one of a violation of a right of yours. It was simply a rude thing for her to do; you have no right to demand politeness from anyone, but it surely would be nice if those in your life were polite anyway.

  • Rick

I’m not a minor. And I live in Canada.
I was also raised to believe that children have the right to tehir own space and to privacy, not that they are chattel who belong to their parents.
I find that view despicable.

Uh, as a parent, I have every right and even obligation to to intrude on the privacy of my children.Negative behaviors begin in secret and should be rooted out before it is too late. Of course there are limits such as physical privacy.

So move out. After all, you are an adult living in the capital of an extremely prosperous nation.

I think Bricker said it all, really. She was rude and disrespectful. I have never treated her in a way that would justify that disrespect.
In fact, I have tried to be extremely respectful of her space. If you were to walk through the house, there is no evidence in it that I exist other than the cookies on the computer and, obviously, my room.
When I eat here (at night, when everyone is sleeping), I make sure never to take the last bit of anything, and I don’t eat things that Stepmom might be saving for later, like pizza or cheesecake.
I never use the computer or the TV when she is home, so that they are always available for her, whenever she wants.

You were right, I went off the deep end. It’s really about respect. She has shown me none of the respect that I get from the rest of my family.
And I am having a hard time respecting her closed-minded views and judgemental attitude. Maybe I should just try harder.

You’re entitled to your opinion but you’re not stupid. I assume you are somewhat familar with your step-mother’s world view at this point in your life and you carelessly left out private material that you could well imagine your step-mother would view as disturbing and purient. As Bricker correctly pointed out you have no real world “right” to privacy in this scenario, and your right to be pissed off at your step-mother for reacting in a predictable fashion is mitigated by your carelessness. Get over it. You are brooding over something that doesn’t exist in a real world context for a minor. If you’re over 18 move out for maximal freedom.

Out of curiosity where will you draw the line as an adult for your beloved child if you happen on a journal with love scenes, naked pictures and stories about “cutting”, or maybe a story about have to give the best BJ’s or score the best drugs. Where do want to be on that slippery slope?

That’s an admirable belief. However, the space in which your privacy is paramount is in your room. You left your things out, and while what your stepmom did was rude, the fault does not lie entirely with you. You were careless, and now you pay the (perhaps unreasonable) concequences that she laid out for you. At least she told you about her journal-tossing policy in advance.

If keeping track of your private and much-loved possessions is a problem, either take your journals online, never remove them from your room or don’t keep them. Your thoughts and your possessions are yours to protect.

I don’t see a slippery slope, frankly.

And if I happened on a journal of my child’s I wouldn’t read it.

That should read “Fault does not lie entirely with her.” Whoops.

BTW, I’m sorry your journal is gone. Be careful next time.

The thing that mystifies me is that I wasn’t able to find it in the garbage later. Which makes me think she hid it purposely either to masturbate over the contents, or this wasn’t really about protecting her pwecious widdle darwing, it’s about trying to control me by taking away something she knows I value.

**kung fu lola, ** with all due respect, if you are an adult why are you complaining? As another poster said, you can move. If, as a healthy adult you can’t support yourself on your own, then you will have to resign yourself to living with the rules of the people in whose space you *do * live. Is there some reason you are stuck where you are?


So I guess if adults sharing a space don’t need to respect one another’s privacy, I can go around throwing away things of hers that I find offensive, then.

Do you pay rent? If so, then your arguement is totally valid.

However, if you’re living there free of charge, I think step-mom is pretty well within her rights to treat you as a child.

Don’t leave your stuff out if you don’t want her looking at it, particularly not stuff with adult content, which she clearly objects to. E-Z.

Yes, I pay one third of my income in rent every month. I also pay for my own phone line and I barely eat anything there. When I do, I usually replace it within 24 hours or so.

And for the last time It was an accident that my stuff got left out. I didn’t do it on purpose.

Maybe it was about following through on the warning/threat/ultimatum she laid out the first time you left your journal out: “If I ever find that trash lying around, I am putting it in the garbage. [Your ten year old brother] doesn’t need to be exposed to that crap.” Unreasonable? Perhaps, but your step-mother made her position and her future actions crystal clear.

Well if you’re paying 1/3 of your income in rent, why don’t you move out then?