no support from hsbnd

sulostSeptember 30, 2011

I have a 34 y.o. SD who lives 5 hours away. She has 2 kids (young) and has used emotional blackmail on nearly everyone in her life, with success I might add. My husband of 11 years is a big pushover. He is afraid that she will cut him off from his grandchildren if he sets too many limits with her. After 10 years of putting myself out, I opted out of the interactions. I have neither seen nor talked to her in 2 years. I would also add that initially I made mistakes in the family dynamics, due to ignorance and not malice, which I have acknowledged and apologised for. There has been resistance from this girl from the beginning and I doubt it will ever stop. She is unaware and uninterested in her role in anything. My husband is asking me to go to birthday parties at her place (including his ex-wife) and the SD has asked several times if she can come here for the hellidays. I believe that my husband thinks that if we just do enough, or are accomodating enough there will be a nice relationship. I really doubt that will ever happen. My question is how do I handle this with my hsbnd? Am I being unreasonable to never have any contact at all? I mean, most families have someone that people just put up with at gatherings. I'm just tired after 10 years of her manipulation. I don't want to endure any of her bone cracking phony hugs, plan, cook, shop, wrap, clean up after a family of 4, listen to her loud voice and the commotion in the house and I don't want to go to her house either, and feel uncomfortable. My husband has decided that he will stop cooperating with my side of the family. This is a very complicated and sad situation for all! Any advice?

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Where is the manipulation here? She wants to spend the holidays & childrens birthdays with her family. Put up with the phony hugs and her loud annoying voice for your husbands sake...unless you have REAL reasons to not want her around. I'm not saying you have to like her but be civil with her. I don't care for my MIL at all but I count my lucky stars that I only have to deal with her a couple times a year. = )

    Bookmark   September 30, 2011 at 10:13AM
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Sorry, in the hope of keeping the post short, I left off a lot. The girl ignores me, calls me a btch and ice queen behind my back to her Dad, is always angling for a handout. The most recent thing was her father gave her a gift for her birthday of 2 nights at a seaside inn and she ended up staying elsewhere for an additional $70, which he paid. (Total $270) For his birthday, he got nothing from her, no card, nothing. Her response was, "Well, you know how I am!" (How she is is constantly late, forgetting other people's occasions, not keeping commitments and expecting others to help her out of the messes she makes in her own life.) I get that this is his problem, but I hate witnessing it. When we were first married I was so excited and I stupidly thought we would all get along and have a great time. I welcomed them into my home and my heart. I wanted them to come for Christmas and have dinner and join us.I got them all nice things and my son and his child came up from Massachusetts. He was a self-employed single parent and he still took time to buy gifts for his new "siblings". My SD got nothing for anyone, except she did get a tie and a candy bar from some fund raiser for her Dad. That was really it for me, I said I didn't want to sit around and watch this anymore and that if he wanted to continue with that, he could and I would just go somewhere next time. Fast forward a few years and she got married with everyone present except Dad because she saw him drink a glass of wine a month earlier and decided he would spoil the wedding. Then calls up shrieking, "guess what, I got married, aren't you happy for me?" She sent a mimeographed invite to a celebratory barbeque a few months later, (like he was just any guest) and the RSVP was to his ex. He was persuaded not to go, but he did buy her a canoe and have it delivered to her door as a gift. Then when my husband's son died, unexpectedly, she snarled at him that it was his fault because he was such a lousy father that her brother was depressed, drank and died in misery. I could not even believe the cruelty of this to say to a grieving parent the day we arrived for the funeral! She has never sent me a birthday card, called me just to say hello, even when I sent several thoughtful gifts for her first child. The last shindig was that she needed a car. So even though Dad has bought her 5 cars as she was growing up, he decided we could sell her mine (he wanted to give it to her but I said no, it's my car I worked and paid for and I've never given any cars to any of my kids over the years) so we gave her a deal with $1500 off. I washed, detailed and gassed up the car before delivering to her (5 hours away, remember?) and she let her drunk husband drive it one day. He was looped and rear ended a car with a child in it at an intersection and then drove away, to buy crazy glue to put the airbags back and hope no one would know. Because the car was totaled, she needed another one so my husband drove up and ended up co-signing a loan for $10,000 for her next car against my wishes. A lot of this is between my husband and his daughter, but I don't like feeling taken advantage of to provide a pretty little picture, do the work of it, and then have everyone criticize me later. I hope this clarifies why I have a hard time being around her. I realize that Dad feels guilty, that he didn't do a fabulous job of parenting when the kids were young and he is trying to atone for that, and that she is his only surviving child. What I don't like is the callous way she uses him and then shuts him out when she is done, until the next time she wants something. The last time the family came to our little house for Christmas, I worked exceptionally hard to make it a nice holiday for everyone and when they left, I sat there with the dirty house and laundry to do while she said to her Dad that I should really be nicer to him. (Starting trouble in my marriage.) I felt like a complete chump and don't want to do this again. HOWEVER, if I am being unreasonable, then I need to know what others would do in this situation. Thanks!

    Bookmark   September 30, 2011 at 11:44AM
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Su, You described my situation exactly..I have not seen my SS in about 4 years now..He has not been to our house at all in that time..My DH and I were discussing it one evening and he said he wishes I wasnt so hateful to his son so he could come here...I was so angry at his using that term, asked him to tick off what I had done to his son, he couldnt come up with one thing. Then I told him things he had done to me(which is everything you have expressed above, loading them up with gifts, nothing for him in return, talking badly of me to in laws, blaming me for not giving him even more money, no thank yous,Birthdays!! After 9 years, SS wouldnt even know when mine is, I ve never missed buying for him and his family, which DH drops off alone.I think of it this way...I hate the situation, but have no guilt about how I ve treated him.I love DH dearly, but I have no desire to see his son or have him here. I live my life on my own terms, now unfortunately DH has to deal with, or not, his choice. I cant fix it.. SS can try, I may be receptive, but seems unlikely after 4 years...My advice is to not see them if you dont feel like it, but to tell DH you will be willing to work out the problems if they choose to..If you didnt do anything wrong, why is the onus on you? PS, I am totally stealing HELLIDAYS, thats what they feel like here with this mess LOL

    Bookmark   September 30, 2011 at 12:31PM
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My dear, the Hellidays are all yours!! ;-)

And thanks for the reply. People on this forum are so smart! Oh, and in response to your question about me not doing anything wrong, I think because my husband never thinks he does enough (that carrot is always dangling) he expects me to do the same and when I won't he gets anxious. You know, cuz frankly, there is never enough to be done and given to this girl.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2011 at 12:48PM
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Well, to be fair Su, I can see where your DH is coming from with his guilt with SD..He lost a child, his sister lost a brother. He s probably trying to make it up to her by going overboard with excuses(and money and gifts) for her. I dont like the fact that your DH wont participate with your family now tho. You didnt do anything but be nice to them..I think we d need a shrink to tell both of us why they dont like us.I m appreciative of the fact that DH is still very kind to my family.When I watch him with them, I feel awful to know how he must be missing his own kid and grandkid. He rarely sees them. Hard not to be empathetic to him. He also gets invited to parties where Ex will be, he wont go due to all the chaos she s tried to cause over the years.Lets face it our DHs are between a rock and a hard place....

    Bookmark   September 30, 2011 at 2:41PM
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sulost - now that you have posted more of your story, I will say that you are NOT being unreasonable. I wouldn't want to be around her either!

    Bookmark   September 30, 2011 at 2:54PM
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Speaking from experience I would not go anywhere she was and if the kids gave me problems I would not see them. When my husband was diagnosed with AZ, they would not help me with him, so I left when they came in. He understood when I took all their pictures down and put them away.

I had the same situation with the ex, I was invited to all the parties with her. She left my husband because she wanted to marry her boy friend, when that didn't work out she wanted her good old ex husband back. She apologized to him, telling him it was just menopause that made her leave him. He filed for divorce, he moved out, two weeks later..... lo and behold he realized he loved me more than he thought. I did not go to parties with her there. We were invited to one Thanksgiving without her, she was invited later in the day for leftovers. She came early, I got my purse and was leaving when the DIL's mom came over and asked me why I was leaving. She couldn't believe they would do that to me after what she had done to my marriage. Later I got payback on her, but not mean or planned. Over the years I found I liked her better than my husband and his kids. LOL Her and I both had problems with their kids and she would talk about it where my husband wouldn't. And I did love my husband but she understood the problem with the kids.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2011 at 3:36PM
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I guess I don't understand why your DH thinks you must play family. it's his daughter. He loves her and desires to put up with her behavior and ill treatment. She's not your daughter, not your problem. If he wants to let her treat him poorly, that's his problem. Love does stupid things and it makes one swallow their pride and put up with stupid wrong things. It is what it is. No sense driving yourself nuts over what you can't control or make better for him.

So he goes off to daughter's house for holidays/birthdays. Fine, wish him a great evening and find something to do fun and relaxing till he gets back. Go so far as have divided holidays. A hassle but in the end very relaxing and pleasant. He goes there, you go elsewhere. Celebrate the holiday together the two of you on a different day. You're getting towards retire from big work hectic get togethers where you are the one to do all the work. Suggest a romatic get away fro two for Christmas weekend this year. When you're both home he can visit his and you can visit yours. They are grown up adult children with families of their own now. They can all fully understand things are not going to be the way they were when they were younger.

Keep your self income divided. Except for marriage things like bills/mortgage blah blah, joint savings for retirement blah blah, if he wants to spend his personal leftovers on his ungrateful daughter...let him. Don't worry about it and don't fight over it. His money, his problem. If he wants to let her walk all over him, remember he's not dumb, he is aware of how she behaves and accepts it. Let it roll off as not my kid, not my problem. Be glad and proud you raised yours with manners and a sense of responsibilty and true meaning of family bonds. His missed out...not your kid, not your problem.

I watched my mother's SO take all kinds of crap off his daughter. The guy was no dummy. He had feelings and she hurt them. She used and abused him. Bottomline, this was his daughter and he loved her. Mother kept her nose out of it as long as it did not immediately include her. Life was much more peaceful and happy and days/nights much more relaxing.

You can't 'save' somebody who does not want 'saved'. Why your Dh would keep buying drunks a car is beyond me, but as long as your name is not on vehicle, loan, insurance ect. Repeat, not my kid, not my problem. Just be sure all your joint income/assests are not being used to finance the gifts (little or small). He can do what he pleases with his just as you can do what you please with yours.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2011 at 3:52PM
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Thank you to everyone who responded. I have realized a few things. This problem is not so much about the visiting and so on and more about my husb not respecting who I am. I would hope that he would believe me when I say that I have tried. He says, "What have you done that is so much? Because I hear the same thing from my daughter." The real answer to that is that I have opened my heart to her and in my vulnerability I have been ignored, mocked and used. It's not about this little thing or that little thing. It goes back to being a kid and having my mother pick and criticize and generally convey a message I interpreted as, "you are a disappointment and I don't want you around." The message was incorporated into my being and now is expressed as me trying to look good and somehow be accepted. My husband is a self absorbed recovering alcoholic and can't see much except what's directly involved with him. I hope that in time and treatment he will eventually come to accept the other people in his life who are genuinely caring of him and appreciate that. In the meantime, I will look for other people to accept and appreciate me. Not to mention my dog. Take it where you can get it, I say. I am proud of myself that I have learned to stand up to situations that are abusive to me, which is a BIG step!

    Bookmark   October 1, 2011 at 6:53AM
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