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Is BM back to her old self?

momjeans's picture

Those of you who are familiar with my inlaw + step family dynamics will most likely follow my theory here the easiest.

Basically, my MIL acts as gatekeeper with skid’s visitation. Both she and FIL steamroll DH when it comes to communication with BM. In turn, BM sidesteps and flat-out ignores all communication with DH, when she can 100% get her needs met through his parent’s tolerance of her BS.

BM hates accountability and rules. 

With all that said, I’m starting to wonder if this sudden opt out of coming for Christmas visitation doesn’t have to do with something I said to MIL a few days prior to DH’s phone call to skid. 

What I told MIL is: I was done with her total disregard for allowing and not supporting DH to communicate directly with BM in regards to skid’s visitation. 

It would make total sense that BM contacted MIL, and that MIL could have responded with something along the lines of “You need to speak to my son regarding skid’s visitation this Christmas,” and BM was NOT having any of it. 

I can totally see her then turning to skid and saying “We think it’s best you stay home this Christmas.” Anyone that knows BM knows she is forever pawning skid off on somebody else. I cannot imagine her wanting to have skid around most of December, opposed to being away for 3.5+ weeks. Rather, this is a consequence to someone holding her accountable to the CO.

BM’s solution? Simple. To not allow skid to visit. A sort of THREE birds, one stone dealio. Not only can she “punish” DH with trying to have a backbone, but his parents too. 

This was always BM’s MO back in the day. If you were saying something she didn’t want to hear, she’d literally hang-up on you and go radio silent. 

Now, don’t go thinking I give two sh**s about anyone’s feelings here, or that I want skid here for Christmas, it just has got me thinking and reminiscing about the good ‘ol days and BM’s withholding tactics when things didn’t go her way and someone had the backbone to stand up to her.

My spidey senses are feeling something here...


lieutenant_dad's picture

This is, what, chapter 2 or 3 of the BM Playbook?

BM would do the same thing to DH. Talk to MIL, ignore DH, withhold visitation when she didn't get an answer from DH's family that she liked, etc. Wash, rinse, repeat.

What broke the cycle was DH not playing anymore. You want to withhold the kids? Fine. I won't talk to you or help out in any way until you stop being an arse. BM needed DH's money and attention more than she needed to punish him, and when she hit what we thought was rock bottom, she started playing (mostly) by the rules (up until recently, anyway; the shelf-life of peace with a crazy BM is short).

The less anyone cares about SS not being there, the more likely she is to not pull this crap. If she doesn't feel like her actions are a punishment, then she'll either move onto something new or stop altogether (because she doesn't know what to do).

Either way for you, though, it's a moot point. You've accepted it for what it is and just don't care. You're the only one doing it right, and no one else is going to.

momjeans's picture

Thank you. And, yes, it’s most definitely a chapter from the HCBM playbook, huh? 

MIL has done nothing but enable BM’s shenanigans since we moved far, FAR away from BM, while also stomping on and not enforcing her own son’s boundaries. I think that’s a chapter out of the Codependent/Enabling/Controlling MIL playbook. LOL Smile

theoldredhen's picture

Hey, momjeans,

What a sad background to our lives, these SM machinations. It turns the trusting into cynics. In order to spare ourselves from drama, we become suspicious of every act by the ‘other side’.

 It’s just too damned bad, Hon, that your own in-laws are aligned with the traitorous ‘other-siders’. Michael Corleone would have had them both iced. GRRRRR! Bomb

tog redux's picture

This kind of BM needs control. If they can dump the kid on the ex and still control everything that happens (read: journal), then they will do so. But as soon as the ex starts getting a spine, they withhold the kid until he plays nice again (that is, does whatever she wants).

My DH would never play by her rules, so she just withheld SS for over 3 years, until she needed more money, so now she allows him contact again.

It's all about control.  So just carry on and don't let BM know it bothers DH (if it does).

As for the in-laws, I would have zero patience with your DH not tearing them a new one for interfering in his relationship with his kid. But I'm guessing he was trained through childhood to just be passive with them.

momjeans's picture

You’re spot-on. 

We experienced this behavior out of BM when we lived in the same city as BM and skid. With my help and support, DH got to a good place in not tolerating BM’s withholding, etc.

We move back to his hometown, just to see MIL would pick-up where BM left off.

I am the only person who stands up to his parents, enforces healthy boundaries, and calls out people’s BS behavior. 

DH was absolutely raised by controlling people. He is never allowed to assert his wants or needs without repercussions. 

tog redux's picture

It makes me sad, because I see my SS being just like your DH when he's grown. Still allowing BM to decide what he will and won't do and afraid to stand up to her, while simultaneously dealing with the crazy ex he will inevitably have children with. 

I don't really get grown men who still can't find their balls, and care so much about whether their mommy and daddy still approve of them. What would the repercussions be at this point, if he told them to butt out and mind their business? Are they wealthy and he's afraid of being disinherited?


momjeans's picture

The repercussions I’ve seen his parents engage in themselves is actual withholding behavior.

Physical withholding (of skid): Because in their small minds if DH doesn’t toe the the crazy ex-wife line, that obviously means he does not love skid, nor wants to see her. 

Information withholding: Engaging with BM and enabling her to constantly go against the CO, resulting in DH being out-of-the-loop regarding travel itinerary - despite DH telling his parents to knock it off repeatedly.

tog redux's picture

That's sickening. I don't think it's that they think he doesn't love skid, it's that they too see skid as a pawn to continue to control DH as an adult.

I could see BM doing the very same to SS if he allowed it to happen.

momjeans's picture

Using skid as a pawn to control DH. Holy heck, I never even thought about it from that angle. 

tog redux's picture

Absolutely -  they withhold HIS OWN CHILD from him if he doesn't do what they want? Dear god. 

I'm not sure I could cope with that. Honestly, I know he loves his daughter, but I don't  know if I personally, in his shoes, would stick around to be abused by both parents AND BM, with my child used as a pawn to do it.

momjeans's picture


And to think I’ve let go of the rope. This really puts things into perspective in regards to DH not having the will to fight - because holy dysfunctional parents Batman! 

Harry's picture

maybe something between MIL and BM is going on ???   Does BM gets money/ gifts from MIL, as New washing machine or stove, TV,  maybe MIL said No,  maybe MIL got too involved in BM life ..  In grandkids life.  BM is reacting to it ?

momjeans's picture

MIL is always playing nice with BM. Always. That’s the only way MIL (and FIL) can ensure they see skid as often as they do. 

If they kept out of DH’s way, allowing him to be the bio parent adult that he is, it wouldn’t go so swimmingly for BM or the inlaws - and they know it.

My inlaws are horrible with money. Absolutely horrible. There’s a lot of altruistic narcissism at play with them, and they’ve paid for it dearly. 

Lndsy747's picture

I feel like the grand parents generation isn't used to dealing with separated families and they feel like everything will work out if they can be in the kid's life and have some type of influence. At least that's how it's always felt in my case.

FIL and MIL are divorced and have been for a long time but they would always play nice with BM so that they could spend time with skid. BM likes to dump sd off as well and when she was irritated with SO she would just rotate between the grandparents instead. SO didn't usually see it as a big deal but I always felt like it was undermining SO an I feel like it's led to SD not respecting him. I mean why would she no one else seems to.

momjeans's picture

but I always felt like it was undermining SO an I feel like it's led to SD not respecting him. I mean why would she no one else seems to.

Thanks for pointing this out. You’re so right. Adults should set the stage when it comes to showing the younger generation how we respect our fellow family members. DH’s parents are really failing him here.