The stepmother always carries what has been rejected about mothers, both individually and within the collective.
Parenting in any manner can be a difficult endeavor. I think stepmoms though are required, more so than stepdads, to take on an additional role.
Our society and culture have very, very strong MYTHS about mothers and motherhood. We idealize mothers and motherhood and leave little space for what these actually entail.
What ends up happening is that anything that does not fall within the idealization of motherhood is rejected individually and collectively.
Where do these rejected thoughts and feeling end up being projected to?
If there is a stepmother in the picture- then, you guessed it- they land upon her.
Nary a negative word may be spoken about a mother, but a stepmother is considered fair game. She will be met with suspicion – always. Her motives- questioned. Her intentions- distorted.
How can this be when she is a) a woman and b) raising children- something we normally APPLAUD in women?
Well, it is because the stepmom becomes the place where the rejected and repressed negative experiences in relation to mothers and mothering (individually and collectively) finally find expression. She is a target for projection without protection.
There is little a stepmom can do to maneuver out from under these projections, for they have little, very little to do with her individually. Until the culture at large comes to grip of the spectrum of mothers and mothering, rather than living in complete denial of certain aspects, then the distorted projections will remain.
And like most distorted projections, the nearest target is easiest. Being involved in a blended family makes a stepmom such a target for distorted motherhood fantasies.