Stepfamily Issues

Personal stories about stepfamilies, childhood and general family issues.

June 06, 2012

a common princess

Being raised as a princess may be every girl's dream, but for Tamzin, 18, this upbringing came about as a result of a broken home and overcompensation on behalf of her divorced parents and it has resulted in a crisis of choice between remaining in a protective fantasy world with her mother or dropping her airs and graces and facing the world as the commoner she is.

"I'm an only child and my parents divorced when I was about seven," explains Tamzin. "It was all very hush-hush, daddy just stopped living with us and from that day onwards my mother sort of invested her whole life in me."

"Both she and daddy raised me like a real princess and for as long as I can remember they both told me I was the most special person on earth."

"I spent summers with daddy on his yacht and I went to an exclusive school where all the girls were from rich families like mine and spoke like I did."

"My life was designed by my mother - from the books I read, to the toys I played with, to the television shows I watched and the friends I was allowed to play with."

"Sure, both of my parents told me that there was an ugly world out there, full of poor and desperate people, but I never saw it other than outside my mother's limousine."

"We had servants at home and my mother taught me how to speak to them," says Tamzin. "She told me they were common people and I should treat them differently to house guests."

"I guess I was raised to be bossy and to always act superior to my inferiors," explains Tamzin, "and this was fine while I lived at home but when I went to college I found it very hard to adapt to what I found."

"Some of the academic staff were clearly inferior to me and I resented being required to treat them as my superiors."

"Also, some of the students were really mean to me, refusing to socialize with me because I was from new money not old money."

"They actually had the cheek to call me common!"

"I also had to study with people from different races and I hated being treated as if I were no better than they were," says Tamzin. "I was raised to believe that white people are superior to all of the other colors, and that being rich makes you superior to everyone else."

"There were people at college who got there for free because they were good at sport or science or something dumb like that!"

"I ended up trying out three colleges but it was the same wherever I went and because I was so unhappy my mother eventually brought me home," explains Tamzin. "But I can't stay here forever and I don't know what to do with my life."

"On one hand my mother and father are telling me that I am special, and that's the way they treat me; but on the other hand I see for myself that nobody else is going to treat me like that."

"Worse still," says Tamzin, "other people think I am inferior to them because I am from a broken family -- and there was some scandal about the divorce that nobody told me about -- and my father is new money, not from a traditional family."

"And I'm neither academic nor sporty," sighs Tamzin, "and I'm not as pretty as I thought I was, either."

"Sure, I accept that I am not a princess in the sense of having a real king and queen as my parents," says Tamzin, "but I was raised to believe I have a special place in the world and it's sad to realize that the only people who bow down to me are the servants my mother employs."

"That's not good enough for me."

"I want everyone to treat me like my parents do," says Tamzin. "I want everyone to put me on a pedestal and do whatever I tell them to do, and yet I can see that people like my parents and I don't rule the world at all."

"I don't even think old money rules the world any more," says Tamzin. "Everywhere I look in the world there are inferior people in positions of power. Any by inferior I mean people who haven't been raised, like I was, to think of themselves as special, as royal, with genteel manners and customs and beliefs. These people are crass and rude and can't even speak properly."

"It's like there's been a French Revolution here, and I'm like Marie Antoinette watching my world being defiled by common people."

"If I stayed with my mother for the rest of her life I could continue to enjoy being a princess - if only a fantasy one," says Tamzin, "but I really don't want to live my life according to her fantasies. Let's face it, she's living like she's in the eighteenth century and pretending that daddy still loves her and I guess she's just pouring all of her hopes onto me."

"The only other alternative is to become a commoner and be pushed and shoved around by inferior people - and I really don't like that option either."

"Actually, I'm starting to resent my parents because they live separately and in fantasy worlds and they're not the high class people I always thought they were," says Tamzin. "They're new money, not old money, and even the servants know that."

"They had no right to raise me like a princess when I would never be accepted as one."

"It's hard to stop thinking of myself as special," sighs Tamzin, "but I can see now that raising me as a princess was their way of making it up to me for their divorce."

"Well, I'm a big girl now and if I am to make any sort of authentic life for myself I suppose I have to undo everything my parents taught me and start afresh where nobody knows me and my parents and all the dark secrets they've been hiding from me."

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