BY ELLA ANNE BARLOW-GREGORY
The day of my step mother’s arrival did indeed herald in a new beginning, another step in my life, but not the step I was imagining and longing for. My thoughts of having sisters to chat and swap clothes and make-up with, to giggling about boyfriends and sharing secrets with, just didn’t happen. Oh, yes, my new step sisters arrived with their mother, my new step mother, but as they stepped out of the car and into my life, my heart sank.
The trio stepped into my life, with their cruel words and hands that were too handy with a pinch or a slap. The two young women pushed me out of my comfortable bedroom and sent me down to the kitchen alcove in the basement. When I protested that there were enough bedrooms for all of us upstairs to have one each, they looked at each other, and laughed. With a sneer they carefully explained that they needed walk in wardrobes and there certainly wasn’t any room for me upstairs.
Looking back, I realised that my father had been the victim of a narcissistic woman, and her two daughters had copied her behaviour. From that time on, I couldn’t do right for doing wrong. They gaslighted me, played tricks on me, set me up to fail and told outright lies. They told me I was worthless and ugly, and however hard I tried to make life good for them, that I was lazy and good for nothing. They repeatedly said no man would want me, dressed as I was and as quarrelsome as I was. And I should be grateful that they allowed me to stay in their house.
My step mother was like the Wicked Witch of the West, and her daughters were her flying monkeys.
This house that used to be a warm, loving, laughter filled home, my home, was now my cruel and cold prison. No warm motherly hugs came my way. I felt lucky if they ignored me or if they went away for a while. With them gone, the house became a sunny, sweet place again. I lost weight. I couldn’t eat what little food they did leave me. I cooked the best I could for them, but around meal times they started to snipe at me, and I would get too upset to eat.
One day, I met a friend of my mum’s, while in the market shopping. She took me to a coffee shop and she listened to my out pouring. She suggested I pack my things, including my father’s new Will and to slip out of the house when the three were soundly sleeping. She met me by the garden gate and led me along the lane to her car. It was an orange car, and sitting in the driver’s seat was a man who had the features that reminded me of a rodent.
After going to college, where I saw a therapist, I secured a job in TV production and one evening I was at a Gala Party. At midnight, I was leaving to go home to check on my cat, Buttons, who had been poorly. I ran down the staircase to the waiting taxi, and the heel of one of my shoes snapped. Impatiently, the taxi was blowing his horn, so I slipped off my shoe and limped to the open door of the car.
I watched this beautifully stunning girl running down the steps, swear, and fling a shoe to one side. She was in that taxi and away before I could catch up with her. I held her shoe. My security people looked on the CCTV, but nobody knew who she was. But how lucky was this! A friend rang me and invited me to a small party, and who should be there also, but the woman who had the problem with her shoe. We talked and talked, and talked some more and we went out many times. She is as intelligent as she is beautiful. One day, Ella agreed to be my wife. I’m Prince Stefan of Saxon.
Drizella and I also went to counselling and we realised that we too were victims of our mother’s abuse. We moved into a women’s shelter, and a year later, we have jobs and our own flat that we share. Our relationship with Ella isn’t perfect, but the three of us are working on it. Our step father was kind, caring and empathic, and he didn’t deserve our mother!
It was good news when I took my father’s new Will to the solicitor. The Will that he made after his marriage to Lady Tremaine stated that, on his death, he left his house to me. My step mother eventually moved back to her house. Definitely she didn’t want to let go of my father’s house to me, and it took three years to get her out, but now my warm childhood home belongs to me.
Anastasia and I see our mother on high days and holidays, but it’s not an easy trip for us. Her words snipe at us, and she is quick with a sneer and a put down. We hold our tongues, knowing we are out of there soon. It’s best we visit together, as if just one of us goes on her own, our mother will spend the time saying negative things about the other daughter. And what she says about Ella is unbelievable and nasty!
Lady Tremaine’s Story
That man’s daughter is wicked! She has turned my own daughters against me! I tried to be kind to that girl, gave her a home, I could have turned her out onto the streets! And she rewards me by stealing my second home from over my head. When she sneaked away in the middle of the night, I made her life was as difficult as possible, and made sure she didn’t get any money, and I love that girl as my own. But that’s how people repay your kindness. I didn’t do anything wrong.