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Misunderstood Intentions

blessedwithstress's picture

Does anyone else ever feel like their DH and skids misunderstand their motivations and intentions for doing things? I get the feeling mine do…a LOT.

I’m a planner. And a budgeter. And a ‘let’s get this DONE before sh*t starts going wrong’ kind of person. So when the skids and/or DH drop things on me like ‘The money for this field trip is due tomorrow’ or ‘BM wants to switch weekends so we won’t have the kids this weekend after all (and its Thursday)’ it really throws off my groove. So I am constantly riding them for details about things. Where are you going? When are you going? When will you be back? Did you tell your father/mother/anyone yet? Did you ask permission from ___? Did your friend give you any details? How much is this going to cost? When is the money due?

Needless to say I’ve earned a reputation for being a nosy control-freak.

Do I really want to be “in control”? H*ll no. I’d much rather not bear the burden of responsibility for making sure all the stars align so everyone’s plans magically work out. BUT I also can’t take the stress of NOBODY ELSE doing it because their lack of planning inevitably becomes my emergency (and/or headache).

Case in point – this past week when the kids suddenly had plans on our days to go on a trip with their GBM. Totally messed up my meal plan for the week. I bought ingredients that are likely to spoil because I’m not cooking for an army that won’t be here to eat it. Not to mention DH has been moping because he’s missed out on 2 of his days with the skids and he barely heard from either of them while they were gone. SD17 didn’t even respond when he texted her. But you know if she were with us on a trip she’d be up her BM’s ass every 5 minutes texting back and forth. (On a side note, DH was very vocal about how upset this made him and plans to have a little chat with SD17 when they finally come back to us tomorrow. Considering his history of being a silent martyr, this is a big step in the right direction.) Anyway, their last minute plans became a pain in the a** for multiple reasons.

This week BM wants to get together to discuss plans for SS16’s upcoming big birthday bash. She planned SD17’s 16th birthday party on her own and then simply gave us the bill for “our half”. This time we are more involved. It’s on our weekend. We paid for the pavilion. DH wants to have one of his friends make the cake because she’s a gifted cake artist and will likely charge far less than the friend BM would enlist to make a cake. SD17’s cake was over $100, looked poorly made, and tasted like crap. So I asked DH “Have you contacted your friend about making the cake?” No. “Think maybe you should since BM already has ideas about having her friend do it again? I don’t think we want a repeat of SD17’s cake.” The look and accompanying huff I received in response told indicated I was acting like a nagging control freak in his opinion. Far as I know he still hasn’t asked. I predict he will never ask her and BM will trample all over him about not having control of the cake so he’ll just give in and proceed to grumble about not having his way. Welp, that’s what happens when you roll over and play dead every time that b*tch complains.

I want so badly to disengage. There are areas where I’m starting to succeed at it, but other areas where it is so hard. How do you find a balance between where to disengage and where to stay firmly in everyone’s business because of how it affects you if you don’t?

Comments

ESMOD's picture

I'm just sorry you are in a situation where your DH and his ex still plan joint parties.. that sounds excrutiatingly painful. lol.

I kind of get your POV.. better the pain of being the nagging reminder than the pain of having to fix everyone else's lack of initiative.  The problem is that the dynamic seems pretty set at this point.. and they would likely land in a pile without you.

futurobrillante99's picture

Make a plan to disengage. Create a slush fund for stupid field trip emergencies. Then when they ask last minute, don't tell them where you got the money from, but act really put out.

Don't let your dinner plans revolve around them. Cook what you planned to cook and enjoy leftovers or freeze some. They don't like leftovers, well it's not your fault. There is food available but you can't cater to them. Tell them that.

Ignore pouty DH. If he gets really bad, run errands.

You can schedule your life but you can't expect anyone else to appreciate it or work with you. Find out what you need to smooth out the stress - your peace counts and you don't have to sacrifice it to accommodate a bunch of chaotic people.

tog redux's picture

No offense, OP - but you do sound like a bit of a control freak.  Control comes from anxiety, so I do understand. But they can't make last minute plans because it ruins your meal plans? And who cares if BM gets SD an atrocious cake? Who cares if they got a permission form, or when they'll come home, or whatever.  That stuff is DH's problem. Don't let it be your headache, let him do any last minute running around.

blessedwithstress's picture

I care about the cake for two reasons: 1) because I try to fight for my DHs rights whenever possible and I know choosing the cake means a lot to him 2) because I don't want to have to split the cost of said cake if it truly is atrocious like the last one.

The meal plan example wasn't one of the best, but it underscores one of the smaller slights that occur on a regular basis. It's like death by 1,000 papercuts. What that example didn't illustrate was the skids habit of making special requests only to not be home to eat them. We use Cozi (a family calendar app) so they know what I'm cooking each night, yet they make plans with their friends during dinner time anyway. Leftovers rarely get eaten. I'm 100% done with catering to special requests. They'll be lucky to get anything but Hamburger Helper on the nights they're with us going forward.

I care about the permission forms and such because they usually involve money - which I manage for the household because DH couldn't budget his way out of a shoe box. As far as rides go, that I don't give a sh*t about. If I can't take them, I tell them flat out they'd better get a friend to come or they're not going. 

You may be right about the anxiety thing, though. Thanks for your input!

tog redux's picture

DH is a big boy and if he cares about the cake, he will follow up on it.  

I think you could stop doing a lot of things for these kids and DH and you will feel less stressed and anxious. When I was a kid, I got last minute invites to eat dinner with friends, and my mother didn't get upset about it - it's part of dealing with kids. 

You are overfunctioning for DH, let him be the grown-up he is. You'd be surprised how much more functional he can be if you stop doing it for him. 

GoingWicked's picture

Give DH a budget for skids, set the money aside in a separate account, or maybe cash if he’s a terrible spender, if he goes over budget, cakes and field trips don’t happen, and you can lay back and watch all the fireworks.

Siemprematahari's picture

So I am constantly riding them for details about things. Where are you going? When are you going? When will you be back? Did you tell your father/mother/anyone yet? Did you ask permission from ___? Did your friend give you any details? How much is this going to cost? When is the money due?

Disengage from all this. Hope your finances are separate from your H and be done with feeling you need to control things. These are not even your kids and you seem more invested than your own H. I'd let it all go and let the pieces fall where they may. It's not worth the stress of always having to know the details, costs and what's going on with people who are not considerate or appreciative of your energy & time.

 

blessedwithstress's picture

These are not even your kids and you seem more invested than your own H.

Sometimes I wonder. DH is one of those types who flies by the seat of his pants unless its something huge. Disengagement is a process and I'm really trying hard to make progress, even if it is only baby steps.

tog redux's picture

My DH likes to be spontaneous.  I am a bit of a planner, but not as much as you.  He used to get upset that I was nagging him about needing information, so now I'll give him a reason why I need to know (without sounding annoyed), "DH, I need to know if we are going away that weekend so I can check with the dog sitter."  

Then I have to not try to ask him to plan everything else, and let him wing some stuff.  You might be able to do that.  Some of it is my own anxiety and worries and he's helped me to let some of that go. (Some). 

Cover1W's picture

My number one disengagement realization was turning this statement around..."also can’t take the stress of NOBODY ELSE doing it because their lack of planning inevitably becomes my emergency (and/or headache)."

Nonono. 

Their lack of planning does NOT become your emergency. Read my blogs for my disengagement journey. One step at a time. It gets easier with practice!

Disneyfan's picture

Separate your finances and let them handle this in the manner that works for them

As far as food is concerned, freeze what you don't need so that it doesn't go bad.  OR tell you husband he's responsible for meals(shopping, prep and clean up)

I'm also a planner, so I get the NEED to know what is going is set and in place.  But not everyone is wired that way.

 

 

ITB2012's picture

I am a planner. I like foreshadowing, to know what's gonna happen. It gives me comfort to know what's coming.

DH is not, or maybe I should say he only is in spurts and certain scenarios. Since he is not a planner, he also doesn't know some of the things going on and is also surprised but he handles it since he's not a planner and almost everything seems to be last minute/a day away in his life. I've even had to have the conversation with him about how I'm supposed to know about things (and he's upset I'm not just magically available and willing to do whatever it is) if he doesn't tell me or how I'm supposed to know to ask exactly the right question to get the information that a plan is being made. Am I supposed to go through a litany of topics every day? I told him I can so he'd better be ready for about an hour of questions. He didn't like that scenario, duh. (Neither did I but I was prepared to follow through with that method to show him what it looked like.)

It is HARD, trust me, to disengage and not care. (like painful for those of us who like to know the plan) It took me a looooong time to learn to ignore and not feel a need to know or guilt if I wasn't available for something. But it's worth it. Please give it a try. I am finally there. I don't ask about plans, I don't ask when skids will be around. If they are at the house, fine. If they are not, fine. If DH plans something that involves me, he'd better be ready for me to be unavailable because his lack of coordination with me means my schedule is wide open for me to plan things.

I tell him of my plans so he knows. I don't do the tit-for-tat thing. But if I'm not told about something, I no longer have any compunction about sticking with my plan or not participating.

The side-effect of this lately has been that DH is upset about it and he feels we are growing apart (especially since two of the three kids are out of the house now). Yes, that is a potential side-effect. I, on the other hand, am happier because I am not worrying about things over which I have no say and I have plans to do things I enjoy.

CLove's picture

I was just looking at the our family wizard app, for calendaring. Tuesday we had a fun exchange with DH and Munchkin both texting Toxic Troll about the schedule. And then she added she GAVE UP a day because Feral Forger just arrived...but we had only JUST learned of it. Then made a point of "Im givng up my day, but its still my day", so shes getting less # of days...

egads. And I like making plans to go places but have given that up because DH is mr fly by the seat of his pants last minute guy.

So, Ive given up for now. Munchkins schedule is her schedule. Im going to track the actuals, rather than planned. oK, Ill just do my own tracking (for fun!) lol.

Exjuliemccoy's picture

The core of all of your posts is anxiety. You're FILLED with it, and I can understand why.

I need to admit that your posts are hard for me to read. They all contain elements of a slow train wreck, and I've tried to wave warning flags in each one because I also married into a family with very different values and a lot of cognitive dissonance. You've married into a bizarre wannabe Kardashian dynamic, where the divorced parents live as though they're wealthy when in reality they're one serious emergency from disaster. 

Of course you're stressed and anxious, and it doesn't surprise me that you're overly focused on small issues. You've married a financially irresponsible man, and he's dragging you down. You're trying to control something, anything, while the train (driven by your H, with BM standing next to him telling him what to do) careens wildly out of control.

What gets me is that you don't assert yourself in any meaningful way to save yourself. You behave as if your're just a passenger, seething but passive. Why do you think that is? Why do you let this man and his ex-wife wreak havoc in your life and jeopardize your future? Why are you too paralyzed to pull the brake? Why aren't you heard and why doesn't your H listen when you tell him there's NO DAMN MONEY? These people are IDIOTS and you know it, but you just wring your hands and distract yourself with trying to micro manage elsewhere.

I know all about anxiety caused by step issues outside of my control. But you haven't done anything to change things or bring peace and order to your life. And until you do, until you get some professional help for you and your idiot H, stress and anxiety are going to be your constant companions. You'll continue to age prematurely, your health will suffer, and your mental health will deteriorate. And that train WILL crash at some point, leaving you impoverished.

 

 

blessedwithstress's picture

Your comment was hard to read but even I have to admit it was filled with truth. This situation is a slow-motion train wreck. I guess I’ve been biding my time hoping we can scrape by until the skids turn 18 and maybe things will be different. I’m starting to realize that is a lie I’ve been telling myself.

Thank you for your honesty. It has definitely given me something to think about.