Graduation party out of the blue-- tough love or no?
OK-- quick poll, should we take the bait and offer an invite to my 13SD (who refuses to live with us or make us a part of her life) to my 18SS's (her bio brother's) graduation party this weekend at our house?
Background below if you need it:
After her softball game that her Dad attended yesterday (she throws him a bone & at least allows him to attend her games), she asked him if we were having a party for her brother. We arranged an open house for his graduation from 1-4pm with mostly my husband's extended family and some of mine. My poor DH is now conflicted on what to do-- he just answered yes we are and waited to see if she would ask to come and she didn't, so he didn't take the bait. Her asking was definitely a probe and it is now tearing him up emotionally because we never know if we handle things correctly with her. This would be an easy no-brainer of "of course we would"-- but this particular 13 year old has made our lives hell over the last year by refusing to be a part of our lives or treat her father like an active participant in her life. It due to parental alienation on the part of BM and my SD's anger against her father for remarrying and taking on my 2 teen sons in addition to his own kids-- the BM likely encourages the perception that he has "chosen another family" when really he just divorced her because they had a horrible dysfunctional marriage and got remarried.
For those of you who have followed my past few blogs, my SD13 who moved out of our house a year ago last June to live with her BM full time 10 minutes down the road, refuses to see any of us or visit or indicates wanting to visit whatsoever (despite the fact we have legal 50% custody). When her father (my DH) asks about the two of them meeting with a counselor to work on their relationship so that she'll want to see him more, she outright refuses and says she isn't ready. He only sees her at all because her BM got a new job and BM asked that he pick her up from school on the days we would have had her and then he drops her off at her BM's house 8 mins down the road from the school (basically he's like her Uber driver). My DH doesn't want to pander for her attention by bringing her out for treats or rewards during that 10 minute drive (that is her style) and he couldn't refuse to do it as it was his only chance to see her -- he didn't want to make it look like he didn't want that chance, so alas he's her Uber.
He is a great Dad, makes the effort to go to all of her softball games, but other than that, and the picking her up from school, she has expressed no desire to have a relationship with him anymore, spend the night at our house or and does not ask to spend any time at all with her Dad or visit myself or my sons since moving out. It is heartbreaking for all of us as we all lived together for 4 years when she was age 9-12 and I thought we had good times-- it was simpler when she was a younger child I guess because she didn't seem to harbor any hate for us. As she aged she gained the perception that he Mother is a victim of us-- perhaps info shared that she didn't have before or at her BMs there are no rules, so she ultimately couldn't even deal with our minor boundaries like kids sleep in their own beds or kids under 13 in bed by 10pm or so. Her Mom's with her dog and no bed time won out over a relationship with her own father, it is heartbreaking. It seems like she loves her labrador retriever more than her Father.
I literally haven't seen my 13SD in a year other than receiving one text from her about a month after she left asking me how I was and then another 2 or 3 word text from her when my uncle died expressing her being sorry for my loss. I don't want a social media or text relationship with her, I want a real one. My 18SS (her brother) is graduating from High School now-- unlike her he has chosen to live with us half time and he is kind to me and my sons and we are all pretty close-- he hasn't rejected all of us like she has. My SS tells my parents that she says she misses them, but apparently not enough to make it worth seeing her Dad or I.
My DH and I are struggling because she only wants to be a part of our lives on occaisons like this when my DH's extended family (her cousins, etc.) will be around. She asked about going to Xmas eve for example-- she hinted about wanting us to take her skiing with us but we weren't about to take that bait either. My DH took her to xmas eve with her brother at my DH's family and my sons and I stepped aside as we thought we might add friction to their possible making up if I was the real issue. No such luck, she went that night, got her gifts and still didn't want anything to do with her Dad after the holiday was over.
I do not want a transactional relationship with her and I do not want to give in to her every want and desire like her BM does. She is very manipulative. I am talking she hasn't even called her father in a year and when he calls her she acts like she doesn't want to talk to him. He'll get the occaisonal I love and miss you text from her, but it doesn't fit with how she treats him. It has been a year since she's been gone-- we finally boxed up her clothes and he brought them over to her BMs so her brother could use her former closet.
Basically, she has wreaked havoc on all of us and we feel she is very immature by now potentially angling for an invite to the party. Both her Father and I know that if she comes, she will sit on the lap of her 20 year old girl cousin and sulk while her hair gets stroked. She would likely completely ignore her father and I, like she does on regular old non-party-no holiday days which I think would be heartbreaking, but she wouldn't miss the big party opportunity of course. She sees her brother when is with her 50% time at her moms, so we feel like she can celebrate with him there until she is ready to start treating us like people she wants in her life.
Yet we are conflicted. Are we being awful? The guilt creeps in....should we be the bigger people and just invite her and suffer through it and send her the message that she can have her cake and eat it too? Are we making it worse by not inviting her? Can she walk in and out of our lives when she feels like it? She has so much power over us, and I feel all consumed by it, though I know we shouldn't be for our own mental health.
Shaking my head Stepmom