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Not Sure How To Handle This

CajunMom's picture

Background: I've been completely separated from DH's kids since Feb 2018, the date of the final disgusting act that pushed me over the cliff, after 12 years of dealing with toxic and crappy behavior from (now) 5 adults, ranging from 27 - 42 (current ages). It's been a tough 3+ years for me, filled with depression, stress, counseling sessions, arguments with DH and a lot of self-reflection, seeing how I was complicit in what I let happen to me emotionally (just trying to make the blend happen). I'm happy to say my life, physically and mentally, are much better, which brings me to my "issue."

One of my boundaries was that DH takes calls from his kids without me present. When they ring in, I walk away to give him privacy. Calls that came in while we were in the car were ignored and returned later. A few months back a call came in while we were driving and DH (being an arse that day) decided to take the call via speaker. I was very uncomfortable as I believe their conversations should be private and I made sure she knew I was present (said something to DH) so she would be aware. I said nothing to her. She used a few "inclusive" words to include me but I ignored. 

Now, DH has come to me and said she was wanting to tell me hello but was cognizant of my boundaries, so did not. She told DH she felt that was very disrespectful on her part (not acknowledging someone); I disagreed and said, for once she's honoring my boundaries. As for her not wanting to disrespect me, this is just BS. She's been doing that for years and KNOWS she's done it, as I'd  spoke with her many times about her behaviors (very much a mini wife).

The woman lives 2400 miles away, so a speaker call is the only contact I would have with her. (They never visited their dad when they lived local, let alone now). She has been a complete biotch over the years, teaming up with her mom and older brother to give us double duty PAS and toxic crap to deal with. And even as recent as my birthday last year (DH has coerced me into being okay with a Happy Birthday greeting from her and one other kid, which, par for the course, neither did. Didn't bother me as I knew it was just going to be another "punch" so I was prepared and I actually laughed when DH expressed his hurt and anger. What did he expect?? LOL

So, what to do if this happens again? Say hello or do I just tell DH to leave things "as is."  I am all about people changing - I know I have - and I want to offer grace when it's needed. I'm just not seeing it in this situation. And while I am a good person, forgiving and loving, I also need to be aware of the purposeful hurt she and her siblings did to me constantly over the years and the damage it caused me. One thing I've learned....forgiveness does not equate reconciliation. We can forgive but still stay apart from those who hurt us, especially when no change is seen.

I've learned so much from this board in the short time I've been here; it's helped in my recovery so I do value everyone's thoughts. Just wish I'd found this board 10 years ago. 


CLove's picture

"Clean Slate Syndrom". I wish I was afflicted by it.

I carry a grudge pretty close and am not that forgiving. Id keep the boundaires "as is".

GrudgingSM's picture

I remember seeing a meme or a tweet in the past few years that said "the only apology I'll accept is changed behavior." And a) it's not like she's actually apologizing and seeking a relationship with you. Dirol it doesn't seem like there's changed behavior, just DH's wish everyone could just get along. You don't need to do that for him. Relationships are reciprocal and there should be interest and kindness and respect from both parties. I say keep boundaries as-is because I don't think you're going to get an apology or changed behavior from her at this point. 

CajunMom's picture

I'm actually at the point, I really don't even care about an apology. It's all about changed behavior for me. I simply cannot go back to how things "were."

As recently as last December, she showed her true colors. All her dad asked....actually begged.....for her to do was reach out with a "Happy Birthday" greeting. One must also take into account that only 2 months earlier I gifted her and all of DHs kids with a gift that was priceless. When their BM died, I remembered a bunch of family photos from when DH and I combined our homes at marriage. They were stored away and I thought they'd be given to DHs kids when he passed away. As their mom died in a horrific house fire, they had nothing.  So remembering the pics, I dug them out, packaged them neatly in a box and gave them to DH, who then gave them to this same woman. Pics of their mom from all different ages of her life; todder to young mom; some they'd never seen. All given with the purest help them process their loss. And not even 8 weeks later, this woman could not extend a Happy Birthday greeting to me at her dad's request. SMH

caninelover's picture

In theory, if you and DH are agreed that he should take calls privately than (barring emergencies) he shouldn't be taking the call from the car anyway.  

So if your question is, do you blur the boundary a bit to be polite?  If you're truly happier with a hard no-contact rule, then no you shouldn't and you should reach over and hang up the call in the car if it happens again (or open a window, whatever to make the call end).  And remind (i.e., yell at) DH as to why he's doing that when you've expressly said no to it.

However, that being said, sometimes a hello is just a hello.  If there is an incidental meeting, call, or contact, I would say a brief (and curt) hello to be polite is fine but I would make it clear I was exiting the conversation after that - 'Hello, SD, hope you're doing well.  We're in the car and I have to return some urgent emails.  I'll let you and DH talk while I do so.  Bye'.  

You do what's comfortable for you, but I'm ok with basic pleasantries even if I'm not completely getting along with someone.  Most people do understand that 'hello' doesn't mean 'reconcile'.  

CajunMom's picture

I agree. Most people understand that hello doesn't mean reconcile. DH's kids don't fit that catagory, especially his oldest daughter. She'll want to be like the bulls in Spain. Storming back in. LOL 

In saying this, I do joke a bit. I'm strong enough and smart enough (especially after being on this board) to stop her in her tracks. LOL

caninelover's picture

These dysfunctional SK's can use any cracked door to try and restart the family drama they love so much.   But once you're onto them, you can pretty much shut things down if they try anything.  

The flip side is, now they will run around and tell everyone that you are rude and everything is, of course, your fault.  Either way you can't win so maybe you're right - just keep the hard line.

Ispofacto's picture

So it was awkward for the poor little bish.  Good.  But it's still all about her.

DH put you in this situation.   I would have gotten out of the car and gone home.

If it happened again that would be the last time I rode in the car with DH.

When I kicked Killjoy out I told DH she is not allowed on my property.  Bad planning on his part, he took her to the DMV for her license without her birth certificate and had to come back for it.  Rather than leave her at his house four blocks away, he left her in the car in my effing driveway.  I told him next time I would call the police.  He got an earful.  He was banned from my house for two weeks.

Fuk him.


advice.only2's picture

"DH given the years of emotional, physical and mental trauma these people have caused me you trying to erase my barrier to suit your selfish needs is like a knife in my back!  Please refrain from trying to insert me into your relationship with your children!"

Kaylee's picture

I would have asked him to stop the car, and I would have got out and waited till he finished his call 

He and his daughter were not respecting the established boundaries. 

There's nothing worse than people trying to force other people together...

notsurehowtodeal's picture

This - except he should be the one to get out and finish his call on the side of the road.

Cajun - these boundaries are making your life so much better. I think you should keep them up.

tog redux's picture

This is just more of the same. Her playing the victim and your DH supporting it. Number one, HE violated your boundary by taking the call, and then he never should have reported back on her whining about how you were rude to her. And number two, he pressures you to "accept a birthday greeting"? What does that mean? They can send a card. 

Next time refuse to get in the car unless he has his phone on airplane mode. He still doesn't get it and sees his kid as a victim of mean old you. 

Roundandround's picture

They really cannot stand not having attention, even a crumb from you is seen as victory. If you were lavishing her with attention otherwise then the "hello" has no value. It is about winning and getting YOU to let them in. Then once they are, it once again has no meaning. The pictures you gave have less meaning because she didn't know about them before hand and want them. It's all about winning. My partner sends out birthday text reminders for many birthdays (mine included) and it's interesting to see who even bothers to respond. One (adult) SD waits to wish ME happy birthday a day or so later. I no longer respond to it with even a thank you because I feel like it's not just a slap to me but her dad as well ( I've since asked him to cease sending reminders about mine to them) 

bertieb's picture

My DH always puts his kids and family on speaker I guess to make them aware we are a unit, I don't know. I say hello but don't interact in their call, I don't think it is my place. I hate speaker calls. I don't put my kids on speaker unless I feel like it might bother DH since he does it all the time.  If I were the kids, I'd be annoyed that dad includes me in those calls. Maybe they want to talk about something in private! The fact that you don't want to hear what they are telling dad impresses me though.

CajunMom's picture

For the most part, they are perpetual teenagers in their behaviors. It would be comical if not for their ages. LOL I just prefer the old saying, "ignorance is bliss." The less I know, the better. hahaha

hereiam's picture

She told DH she felt that was very disrespectful on her part (not acknowledging someone)

Haha! So, now, she's concerned about being disrespectful?

No, she just wants to force you to push your boundaries back. You finally had enough of her crap, did something about it, and she can't stand that. You took her power away, she wants it back. She just didn't like the fact that your DH had her on speaker and you totally ignored her, even though she was using "inclusive" words to include you in her conversation.

And, of course, she had to let your DH know that she wanted to acknowledge you. Ya know, out of respect.

Sure, people can change and grow, but if your gut says she hasn't...

CajunMom's picture

and now I'm seeing the implication of ME being disrespectful to her, as I did not acknowledge her. Poor widdle mini wife. Complaining to DH. Grateful for you and all the others who shed light on this. Just another PA move on her part. Boundary stays. 

Exjuliemccoy's picture

I feel like toxic skids just do what they do. It's your H who's the real problem. What a tool! He's the one who ignored your request that he not take calls from his adult kids around you, and he did it in a car knowing you were trapped. WTH?

The skids wouldn't be able to push boundaries without their dad's assistance. He's supposed to respect your stance, even if he doesn't agree with it. Instead, he's joined up with the barbarians and keeps trying to breech your gates. He shouldn't have taken that call, and he shouldn't be carrying messages for people who've mistreated you.

For both your sakes, you need to have a clear and short convo with your H to remind him what you need and expect from him. You suffered so much so long for others that it's not surprising for boundaries to weaken or old patterns to reemerge. You both need to hit Reset, and your H also needs to be reminded to leave these broken relationships to the adults involved.

CajunMom's picture

If he has the balls to bring this up again, I'm going to be very prepared with all the great input from this thread. I don't even want to acknowledge the woman. And if that makes me rude and disrespectful, so be it. Her Karma. And my peace. 

CajunMom's picture

So grateful for the input and wisdom! I'm now seeing the Passive Agressive move; to her, it was disrespectful to NOT greet me. Or, in other words, I am disrespectful for not greeting her. LOL 

Sorry, Lady, stay in your lane. I'll stay in mine with boundary still in place. 

Thanks again!

hereiam's picture

Your boundary was that your husband not take their calls in your presence. He did and you made it clear that you were there, so had she really wanted to acknowledge you and say "hello", she would have, no matter what she thought your response might be.

So, yeah, she was just trying to get your husband to see how rude YOU were (which you were not).

Your husband put you in an awkward position and SD tried to use it to her advantage.