Opinions needed for letter to evil stepmother (long-ish, family drama)

I have finally snapped and decided to write an email to my evil stepmother. Please give me your opinion on whether I should send this email unedited to my evil stepmother. Names have been removed and substituted with initials.
Some background:
My stepmother L is my dad’s third wife. She is extremely self-centered, and rather psycho. When my dad has his guard down, he has admitted that marrying her was a mistake, but it can’t be undone. She has a son from a previous marriage, my stepbrother. Pretty much everybody hates her.
My mother (my dad’s second wife) is a very independent woman, who doesn’t take any crap, almost to a fault. She has three sisters who have been very close to me and my siblings ever since we were born.
My dad’s first wife P has four children with him. Last year, their oldest son (my half-brother) died, leaving behind a wife S and 1-year-old daughter. We have had very little to do with each other over the years and are just barely better than strangers to each other.
My brother M’s wife K is pregnant, due at the end of October. Her mother died very tragically and suddenly about a month ago, from cancer that had been undetected until earlier this year. She and my brother also have a three-year-old daughter, A. She and my mother speak on the phone almost daily, are very close, and my mother has become a sort of “substitute mom” in the last few weeks.

So my stepmother L decided she wants to throw a baby shower for my sister-in-law K. First of all she informed K that she doesn’t want any children there. K is bewildered and hurt by this, since L has offered up much criticism in the last couple of years regarding her daughter, and K believes that L doesn’t like her daughter and therefore doesn’t want her there.
My evil stepmother showed me her list and asked me who else should be invited. My mother was on the list, so I suggested my mom’s sisters and a couple friends of the family whom we have known for years (like as in 20 years.) My dad nixed one of them (I guess he doesn’t like her, long story.) When I pressed the issue, I was informed that the gathering was getting to be too large and that they decided to keep it on “my dad’s” side of the family. This is a couple that lives in a million dollar home with many rooms. Basically, it is a big lie that the house isn’t big enough. So now my mother is not even invited!
So my dad’s first wife is invited but not his second, one granddaughter is invited but not the other, and the invitation list reads like an obscure family history. I mean these are people I barely know, so I know my sister-in-law has no clue who they are. But the people who helped raise my brother and who he and his wife actually know, and see, and enjoy spending time with, are not invited. My stepmother’s best friend (who I’ve met exactly once) is invited, as is my stepmother’s son’s girlfriend, but not the women who have offered their love and acted as surrogate parents to me and my siblings, including my sister-in-law.
OK I’ll stop babbling now and just post the letter. Feel free to ask questions and offer opinions. I plan to send it by the end of today, and I plan to copy it to my dad just to make sure he reads it too.

I admit, I didn’t read all the details. But two things, coming from experience:

Think, and think, and then think some more if you want to give something in writing to this woman, especially in e-mail which can be modified.

If you are truly going to send this, and you want to claim moral high ground, change sentences like:

This crap about how your house can’t accommodate 17 women is complete garbage, too.
because I honestly don’t think I can sit there without showing my disgust for the entire situation

I don’t mean get rid of them. Just coach them in more formal language. Because what will be remembered is “crap” and “garbage” and none of the real content of your letter. I always use to wonder why people used formal language when their feelings were the strongest, now I know why. It’s because then no one can dismiss your complaint is simply emotions, not if your letter is logical and concise.

Just my two cents.

Well, I’m going to assume that the letter expresses your opinions and feelings rather well. :wink:

That being said, I think that the letter’s incendiary; Don’t send it unless you’re truly willing to burn *all * bridges with those who would “side” with your stepmother in an argument. If you’re not willing to take that chance, you’d better revise the letter quite a bit.

Okay, so L is a terrible woman. It would be great if you could tell her what you think without leading to a lot of inconvenience, but I am afraid that’s not going to happen. Here’s what you do: have your mother throw a second shower or throw one yourself.

Elenia28: I don’t blame you for skimming! :stuck_out_tongue: What a mess. Thanks for the input.

Cosmopolitan The only person who would side with my stepmother is my father, and I’m equally angry at him for this situation. But I do get your point. The problem is that it has been over ten years and I’m sick and tired of not saying anything. Would it be worth it to never speak to my father again? Well, probably not. But I’d have to live with myself not saying anything.

Caricci: Good suggestion, and actually we are going to do just that.

I really really want to write something to this woman and my father to express how much I disapprove of what they’ve done. Is my letter so harsh that you all really think I’m setting myself up for being left out of my father’s life?

Skip the letter. Skip stepmom’s crap shower. Skip reigning vengence on those who have wronged you.

Throw your own shower, have a lovely time and forget about the rest.

Seriously, no good will come of sending the letter - your stepmother will still be selfish and self-centered, and your dad will still love her despite (or because) of it. Trying to get rotten people to change into people you like better is an exercise in futililty and your efforts are better used planning your own baby shower.


Don’t send it, she’s very clearly in the wrong and everyone will know she’s clearly in the wrong whether or not you send the letter. Better to throw a luncheon (pre or post-baby, so everyone could ooh and ahh over your new niece/nephew) and invite those who should be invited.

Well, the devil’s advocate in me says it’s the evil step-mother’s party that’s being thrown, and she has the final say in the invite list, but …

… then I think, send her the list and add the names of everybody you think should be invited. Including children. Hey, she asked. Don’t bother explaining. If she can’t figure out why some names are on your list, she has your phone number.

And if the party turns out to be the hateful dud you think it’ll be, throw your own.

IMO, the best advice so far? These words from Alice_in_wonderland:

“Trying to get rotten people to change into people you like better is an exercise in futililty.”

Now, this is the hard part. I wish I was a zen master who could let this go. I really do. Oh, man, I know you guys are right, but it actually physically hurts having to restrain myself and hold my tongue! I WANT to say something to this woman SOOOO BAD! I think I really hate her and this has just brought my hate boiling to the surface.
Can’t you guys just play along and tell me to send her hateful vitriol? OK, just kidding, but only a little. Sigh.
I hate having to be the grown-up in this situation. Would it be awful to send a much shorter revised version of the email, just to let her know I think its rude and tacky? For example:

Wow, that’s cutting out a lot. Is it still too much?

What alice_in_wonderland said. There is no point in sending the letter except to vent your feelings; nothing is going to change, most likely. And what will be the consequences of your venting?–alienation from your dad and a stepmother who does her best to give you a reputation for shrewishness. Not worth it. Grit your teeth, be gracious, and take satisfaction in having the high ground. And go to the shower, too–for your SIL’s sake.


“Sorry, circumstances will prevent me from attending” is as much as you can say without thowing gasoline on the fire.

I won’t try to tell you to be adult and just go to the freakin’ shower, though. :wink:

twicks, who has truly hated only two people in her life – one of them her stepmother

There is nothing that says you can’t send your regrets.

“Oh I am so sorry thats the day the dog has a grooming appointment appointment.”

The more insincere the better. If she pushes you say you “cannot possibly” Don’t back off or give in. If your dad tries to push just say you simply cannot. Don’t trump her bad manners with your own, and dont put yourself in the position of being the bad guy. If you send that letter you will have done so.

Then have your own party. Invite the people who are important to K. Make sure the kids are there. If you haven’t got the room phone somewhere like Friday’s You don’t need a million dollar house to throw a perfectly good party.

I say invite the wicked stepmother to your shower. Then have a pair of red-hot iron shoes brought into the room with tongs and set before her, and these she should be forced to put on and to dance in them until she can dance no longer, but falls down dead, and that will be the end of her.

But, apparently not hurt enough to not allow her step-mother-in-law to throw her a shower. There is no rule that she must submit to anyone who wants to throw her a shower (which shouldn’t be thrown by family members anyway), and if K is really as wounded by all this as you say, then it is she who should be speaking up, and refusing to attend the shower.

If she won’t speak up, then it really isn’t your place to do so, and all you can do is send your regrets and not attend the shower.

Ghanima - I don’t blame you for being so angry - I think anyone in your shoes would feel the same way. It must be hard knowing that your dad chose to bring this woman into your and your siblings’ lives.

Since she asked for your input re: the guest list, I would tell her who you think should be added, and WHY. Perhaps she is assuming that someone else close to K will throw a separate shower?

If you take the high road, I don’t think you will regret it. I agree with the others here who have stated there is really nothing to gain by sending your original letter (or even the amended version).

Your goals with the letter seem to be to hurt her, change her, or change the situation. I don’t think any of those things are going to happen.

I LOVE the idea of declining her invite, throwing your own shower for K, and inviting the people who matter to her and your brother.

Good luck.

Will the letter change anything?

Will your stepmom see the error of her ways and change the way the shower is done? Will she realize what a psycho she’s been all these years?


You’re totally in the right, but from what you’ve told us it sounds as if this woman is one of those people that you just can’t talk to. You’d be wasting your time.

I’m with everyone else. Skip her shower. Then throw a shower that makes HER shower look sucky.

Plus in the end, the new parents will get more loot :slight_smile: Don’t forget to include presents for their 3 year old!

Now that’s the kind of advice I’ve been looking for! Thank you Eve!!!

DEEP SIGH. Okay, I should have known all you rational dopers would talk me down. It really won’t change anything to write this letter, except to let them know how angry I am. And I guess they don’t care. And yes, my sister-in-law is being a tremendous pushover about this but she is very young (25) and is intimidated, so I find myself forgiving her for not speaking up.

Aw, man! Now I guess I’m just going to email with “Sorry can’t make it.” I know I should be kind and just go and keep my sister-in-law company, but it would kill me. I am the kind of person one would describe as “aggressive” and/or “opinionated” and I have managed to hold my tongue around my stepmother a LONG time. Believe me, I’m surprised that ten years have gone by without World War Three erupting (actually last Christmas it kind of did). But this is the last straw and I really think I would lose my cool, so it is probably best that I don’t go.

But please feel free to indulge me with other Eve-like suggestions. :slight_smile:

Throw your own shower for her. There’s no law that she can only have one baby shower. A nice, “Sorry, I cannot attend,” will suffice.

You’re not going to change your step-mother. All you can do is change how you react to her. Stop letting her get to you and you will find things a lot less stressful.

Besides, the more showers, the better. You can never have too many onesies.

sigh, yep, another vote for the high road.

and as this doesn’t seem to be a surprize shower, see if your sil will go along with being “indisposed” that day. i mean reeeaaallly, if you can’t take advantage of being pregnant and being “indisposed” what is the use of being pregnant (as side from the cute kidlet at the end)???

she could take a nap… and just oversleep a bit.

ohhhhhh, i was just sooooo very tired. i’m sure you remember how it was.