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The Faux Guilt of Step-Mothers: The Ultimate Scapegoats of Parental Alienation

She didn’t sue for sole custody until after I married the father or, as she calls him, the ‘sperm donor’ of her children. Suddenly, after making her five children warmly welcomed and lovingly step-mothered in my home for their visitation with their father, she was citing me in her suit to remove my husband, Rhys’, custody-on-paper of his children for the ‘reason’ of abandonment. Abandonment!

I felt guilty. Damned guilty. Sometimes I wondered if it would’ve been better, all around, if I hadn’t married Rhys. After all, he didn’t lose custody of his children until a few months after we wed. What had I done so wrong for everything to speedily go so pear-shaped?

The answer: nothing. Absolutely nothing. I was simply the scapegoat for a disturbed, bitter, angry woman who was scapegoating me in the ultimate coup de grâce of a decades long, carefully executed offensive of Parental Alienation. I was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. The perfect scapegoat in a perfect storm.

But there was one huge mistake I made: I loved her children. And she hated me for it. That was my big crime … being a better mother than she was. She also hated me for loving the man she used as a sperm donor and unceremoniously dumped in the gutter, telling everyone what a terrible man, husband and father he was. For loving him steadfastly and proving him imminently lovable, I became the evil step-mother you’ve heard tell about.

I’m the Wicked Queen to her Snow White. The Lady-Tremaine-Evil-Step-Mother to her Cinderella.

If you are also an ‘evil step-mother,’ take a step back. Set all that guilt aside for the moment and ask yourself honestly, ‘What did I do that was so bad?’

I’m still waiting to hear a definitive answer to that question from myself. For the life of me, I just can’t think of what I did that so horrible that my husband should lose custody of this children and for the guilt and fault to be laid at my door.

I made her children warmly welcome in my home, raiding our own bed to find pillows and blankets for all. While she fed her children on crisps and nuked frozen sausage rolls, every meal they ate during visitation was homemade, nutritious and plentiful. Most importantly, I provided the one thing her children couldn’t get at home: love. Love, sympathy, comfort and that all-important kiss g’nite. That’s what they wanted most of all. Just to be tucked-up, kissed and told ‘Don’t let the bed bugs bite’. Simple.

For that, I am the scapegoat, the so-called ‘reason’ cited in family court documents as to why Rhys deserved to lose legal custody of his children. It was a guilt I took to heart and bore for years. I’d tried so hard to be a pleasant step-mother, yet apparently I was just another quintessentially evil step-mother.

If you’re reading this, you too are probably an ‘evil step-mother’ burdened by guilt, regretting whatever you did (whatever it was!)  that made everything go so pear-shaped.

Let me assure you right now: It’s not you. You didn’t do anything wrong. You are merely the convenient scapegoat who blundered right into the trap of a conniving, alienating woman. You could’ve been anyone. Any woman who loved her ex and her children was automatically ‘evil’ and the ‘reason’ he deserved to lose his children. Full stop.

It really has nothing to do with you as a step-mother or even a person. You were just in the wrong place at the wrong time, as was I, because we all know thanks to Disney and the Brothers Grimm that all step-mothers are ‘evil’.

But you and I are not.

The Faux Guilt of Step-Mothers: The Ultimate Scapegoats of Parental Alienation

Ivy Blonwyn

Ivy Blonwyn is a Welsh freelance writer and photographer. She and her husband have been trying, unsuccessfully, to start a family for several years. Ivy can relate to the pain, confusion, jealousy and sense of injustice that accompanies infertility. But she also knows the pain of being a step-mother to children who’s vindictive birth mother has systematically employed Parental Alienation to distance them from their birth-father, Ivy’s husband, Rhys. Her articles, often illustrated with her photos, are intended to validate and comfort those who suffer from infertility, Parental Alienation and the pain of sexual abuse. She finds solace in indulging her passion for plein air photography during long tramps with her husband through the fields, hills and castles of Cardiff. Follow Ivy on Facebook at or contact her at

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APA Reference
Blonwyn, I. (2018). The Faux Guilt of Step-Mothers: The Ultimate Scapegoats of Parental Alienation. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 6, 2019, from


Last updated: 19 Nov 2018
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