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The benefits of disengagement

momjeans's picture

The whole Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys mantra.

It’s late morning/early afternoon. DH and I are sitting on the couch, drinking coffee, listening to music, and of course, being entertained by the littles before he heads off to work. He closes the restaurant tonight, which means he will be home super late. Like midnight or later.

I notice he’s active on his phone. No biggie, but I notice he’s more active than usual when it comes to receiving texts in regards to employees calling out sick, food delivery truck hasn’t arrived yet, etcetera.

Then the bomb drops.

Skid wants to spend the night tonight (again - DH closes, so that’s a big ‘ol NOPE inside my head). Per skid, the in-laws are traveling a state over to evacuate Drunk BIL from his apartment, because they can no longer support his unemployable arse. Oh joy. DH informs me that skid doesn’t want to be in said city,state for 48 hours with her grandparents. 

I think to myself, oh bummer... /sarcasm.

So, DH is texting back and forth. Turns to me, putting on his best smiley face, and says “Well... (blah blah blah, static fuzz),” really trying to sell me on this idea. 

With a grey rock face I smile and say “Hmmm. That’s unfortunate.”

DH’s phone continues to buzz every few minutes and it’s glorious. I have skid blocked, so no dice if you’re trying to contact me, princess. 


Haggadone123's picture

I need to learn from you. I am very new at this and my Boy Friends BM has a problem if I even braid their daughters hair. She is so attached to me and even calls herself my "side kick". She craves attention. BM also has told my boyfriend that I am not allowed to ride with him when he drops the kids off at her house. He dont want to rock the boat and will not stand up to her. Disengaging seems to be my only option right now.

momjeans's picture

I’m sorry to hear this and I feel you.

This was me in the beginning.

One of the things that helped me was recognizing and acknowledging this is ALL about control. That eventually this need for absolute control will come back to bite someone in the arse - whether that be BM, your DH/SO, the in-laws, or all of the above if your are lucky! 

It’s a very liberating, drama-free existence once you get there. 

Siemprematahari's picture

BM also has told my boyfriend that I am not allowed to ride with him when he drops the kids off at her house. He dont want to rock the boat and will not stand up to her.

Haggadone~ I get your BF doesn't want to rock the boat but he has to stand firm on her dictating "who is allowed to ride with him". He's allowing her to control aspects of his life and she will only ramp it up if he allows it. This will only get worse and next she'll be telling him what he should or shouldn't do in your own home. That's a hell no! Some battles are worth fighting for and this is one of them.

CLove's picture

Way to go!!!!!

I sometimes forget and extend myself, and then have to come here and read and remind myself about how unappreciated all we do for skids actually is. Remind myself how we are considered unnecessary.

Its especially sweet when after enduring abuse and dealing with all the issues, that when they "need you", they try to "flip the switch", but sorry - cables cut!!!!

momjeans's picture

I’d also like to add that this is my in-laws, specifically my MIL’s, MO. 

DH isn’t squeaky clean here either, as he allows his parents to run the show out of convenience - for him.

The whole “Just text your dad and ask him,” my MIL engages in is pure BS. I mean, I’m not good enough to approach as an adult, by another adult. Ultimately this means ‘ask your dad so your dad can TRY and abdicate his parental duties off on momjeans.’

I am continually disregarded as the primary caretaker of our kids and home, by my in-laws. A contributor to our mortgage and bills, by my in-laws. Never included, or allowed a say in skid’s travel itinerary or visitation schedule, by my in-laws.

But then I am supposed to bow down and play babysitter?


Aniki's picture

Go, momjeans!

My uncrossable boundary was the skids being at our house when DH was NOT. I "skid-sat" one time. ONCE. That one time somehow turned into an ASSumption that I would to it any ol' time. Nope. Not happening. Once was enough. Aniki is no one's babysitter!

momjeans's picture

BM and her clan tried to make me the babysitter back in the day. This, of course, was after BM put down some “rules.”

These people, I swear. 

And yes, I am no one’s babysitter, too.

Aniki's picture

It totally chapped BioHo's arse that I would not skid-sit. After all, she coudln't go out and 'ho!

somethingwicked's picture

That static fuzz is THE BEST reception when DH is trying to put a positive spin on  a situation the portends future f*ckery and nothing but dysf*cktional misery..Right? And your response ~ EPIC!


You go,you! Doin' it right!  

Thisisnotus's picture

Ah OP I just thought of you in a disengagement moment.....

MIL comes over to drop off skids.12 and 16...she has created herself to be the middle man. One skid goes back each stays the night ..major PAS. Skids go back to Bm tomorrow and I’m off so taking my kids bowling....

mil asks what I’m doing tomorrow I simply say bowling.....she immediately gets panic stricken and stares studdering “uhhh ummm well ummm you are going to have to let “someone” know”...I guess someone is BM. “Ugh umm  yeah you have to let someone know because my services are maybe needed tomorrow to go watch skid (12) so umm I don’t know” now she’s about to cry....saying how she needs to know if her services are needed with BM if I’m going bowling.....the F?

i just looked at her and said not one single mother effing word....just a blank look. First of all skids were never invited and are supposed to go back to BM but okay. My dh is in the kitchen and he says MIL scurries our and I’m like WTF just happened? 

How have I been disengaging? I just don’t talk or speak to anything related to insanity. Ha

momjeans's picture

This is wonderful - GOOD FOR YOU! 

In my experience, I’ve learned that it’s absolutely necessary to be very, VERY low contact with whoever plays middleman, when it comes to skid(s). 

In my case it’s my MIL too. 

Unfortunately, it took me YEARS to catch on that she was playing me, big time. It’s also unfortunate that I am married to a person who is in The Fog regarding his parent’s unhealthy enmeshment with basically anyone in their life that will allow it. It’s gross. I wasn’t raised in those dynamics, but my DH was. So, with that said, I *have* to engage with them way more than I care to. Because of this, I have slowly mastered Grey Rocking, and a lot of that method involves non-verbal acknowledgement, or at least minimal, very on the surface speaking. 

Even face to face with MIL, I will allow myself more time to appropriately respond, keeping it very matter of fact short.

It gave me even more motivation and strength when my DH told me he “didn’t want to be the middleman” between me and his parents, which spoke volumes to the emotional incest game in which they all play. It made it much easier for me to step way back and put myself and our kids front and center, despite whose panties it twisted.

Keep it up! 

Thisisnotus's picture

Thanks it has been slowly building up in steps. I can only fake nice for so long before it takes a toll on me. Plus I know she blames me for the divorce and for any and all problems between BM skids and Dh. Haha 

i literally couldn’t speak and had no desire to even take a response to her. Like what was I going to say? Oh sure I (or DH) will most definitely do whatever we possibly can to make sure skid goes bowling with us even though she is with mom technically tomorrow and sleeps until 4pm. We will totally let BM know the  plan in case she decides to let skid go bowling and I would love to go pick up skid from BMs house tomorrow on a day I had pre planned to spend with MY kids. And I am really sorry that you had pre-arranged plans with BM to watch skid and that now because I’m taking my kids bowling somehow this affects you. And I’m sorry that now you are going to go home and Worry and cry all night because of this huge ordeal of bowling.

she will text me in the morning about it again and I will again ignore her.

Hesitant to try's picture

Love hearing these simple (sounding) stories of success!