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Disengaged and feeling sad

No Name's picture

I have not been on here in about two years.  When DH moved in SS he was 20.  SS was disrespectful to me and did everything within his power to make my life a living he--.  I ended up becoming ill because of the stress and after almost a year of living a nightmare I moved out.  I didn't want to leave my husband or get a divorce but I was ready to do so.  Now throw the BM/DH's ex into the mix.  She sent nasty text messages to me and copied everyone.  The SD's all jumped on board with BM and SS.

Looking back DH was a lot to blame.  He would tell me what I wanted to hear but never did a thing to stop his kid from what he was doing.  I tried to talk to SS but that seemed to make him more driven to defy and disrespect me.  DH was playing both sides.  He just continues to state that he was only trying to help his son.

Anyway, it took me to move out for DH to realize how serious things were.  SS moved out and I moved back and DH and I after a while got things back to normal or at least a new normal.

Fast forward two years.  With the help of the folks here I have been practicing disengegement.  I no longer remind DH of birthdays etc.  I no longer shop for cards or gifts.  I did have a moment of weakness though for one grandchilds 1st birthday.  They had to have known that the gift came from me but again as usual no thank you.  I have stopped going to any event on DH's side of the family where SS or BM will be. 

Now the issue.  I have not gone to weddings/showers because either SS or BM or both will be there.  My DH says that he is embarrassed to show  up at these big family events without me.  He tells me that BM is winning because now she is going to events for his family and I am not.  I encourage DH to go (not that he wouldn't).  He comes from a large family and they live for these events and for getting together.

What bothers me is that DH is a very sociable, likeable, funny guy.  Everyone loves him and as much as BM & skids have put me  through over the years he still talks to them as if all is wonderful.  He tells people at the event that I am not there because BM is there and that I don't want the drama.  That is half true.  I am also not there because SS is there.  His family tells him that I just need to get over it and come and ignore them.  Easier said than done.  I have tried that before.  They give me snide, dirty looks and SD's don't even acknowlege me because I guess that would be not supporting their brother.  Also DH loves to have a good time with his family so he leaves me sitting alone at a table while he goes off and has a great time socializing.

DH and I get along wonderfully until this stuff comes up.  Now his DD is e getting married in a few months and I have told him that I will not be attending.  DH is so upset and hurt.  I do feel bad but I am so torn because I love him with all of my heart but my anxiety to go to this event would be through the roof.  And also because I have not gone to the past three weddings.

I know that no one in their right mind would subject themselves to what I went through with SS.  I can't let it go.  It was not all that he did but also what he said.  He called me names that I would never be able to even repeat on here.  He called my family members names.  He doesnt even know them.  He was playing some kind of sick game and in the end he told DH that he lost at his own game.  That is why DH is saying to me that they are winning by me not showing up.

I am so sad and I don't know what to do.  I could go on and on with all of the good things that I have done for the skids over all of these years and about how I have never been thanked or never been acknowledged.  Yes the girls have done their own mean and cruel things too.  DH and BM were split up 5 years before I came along.

Honestly I get along with everone except his kids and his ex.  My children have a step mother and we are really good friends.  We parented together and we have always been there as friends for each other.  My ex husband had an ex wife and we got along and still do and we consider each other friends and I am friends with my ex step children.  I know that it is not me.  I just don't know how to handle these people.  I am tired of being stomped on and being told that I should forgive and forget and that I should take the high road.

DH has a big birthday coming up and I know that he would love a party.  I can't invite SS and I know that DH would have a major issue with that.  Then there is SD's wedding.  DH is telling me that if I don't go to her wedding that when my children get married he may not attend.  My children and grandchildren love him and they have never been cruel or disrespectful to him,  I would not have allowed that!

Any advise?


Marine1's picture

Any chance of your agreeing to go with him if he will agree to gently or privately call out anyone who's being rude to you, including ignoring you?

lieutenant_dad's picture

This, or call them out yourself:

"My, what an incredibly rude thing to say!"

OP, I don't think you have to engage with these folks, but if family is *that* important to your DH, I don't know how you maintain a good marriage while excluding something that important to him. That said, if it's important to HIM that you be there, then he needs to create a wide berth between his kids and ex and you.

He's right that they are winning by you not going. So go. Stay as long as you can stand. Then give your DH a big ol' kiss and flounce back home or to the hotel. He does need to cut off anyone being disrespectful, and he needs to be respectful of YOU by bringing you along in his socializing. That means he needs to avoid the ex and make sure you are engaged elsewhere before running off to play Daddeee.

Now, that will be more difficult at a wedding for one of his kids as it will be about her and not you/him. But similar principlea should apply: no SS or BM talking to you, snide remarks from anyone need to be handled swiftly, he needs to care for your enjoyment as much as you do his, and when you've had enough, you're free to leave him to his own devices.

Gimlet's picture

If it's so important to DH that No Name attend these events, then he needs to get his ex, his kids, and the rest of his family in check.  He doesn't get to play the Oh Gosh, I'm the Good Time Guy on one hand and allow them to abuse his wife on the other, and then act butthurt when she doesn't want to subject herself to that.   He's putting her in a no win situation because he's a weenie who doesn't want to upset the apple cart for his own relationships and would rather let his wife take the brunt of these assholes' aggression.

He SHOULD be telling people that his wife isn't attending because his ex and kids don't have a decent manner between them.  His family can invite whomever they want, but I will never understand this dynamic of allowing abysmal behavior from some members of the family.

Then he wants to punish No Name's kids and grandkids, who treat him well, because she won't suck it up and be the punching bag for his family?    

No Name, either your husband gets some balls or you tell these people to go f*ck themselves when they treat you badly if you have to attend.  You don't deserve this from anyone. 

lieutenant_dad's picture

You're not wrong. Not at all. He needs to put his foot down with his family and tell them to cut the crap. Not doing that = No Name not attending events.

BUT, she eventually has to attend an event to see if he will ACTUALLY do that. And if he doesn't, then he has killed his own marriage because he can't, or shouldn't, expect OP to deal with it over and over until he grows a set.

Gimlet's picture

I agree with everything you said, I didn't mean my post as a reply or rebuttal in any way (meant to do a stand alone).  

He should be grateful that OP has been as classy about it as she has and I also agree that she needs to walk into it prepared with an action plan when Mister No Balls doesn't follow through.

No Name's picture

I think that he would tell me to ignore them and I think that he would tell the skids something in advance of the event but he would say nothing to the BM in advance.  If it came to the day of and she did something or said something I am not sure if he would say anything to her or not.  I can't explain what his son does, I swear he is evil.  He sneers at me and he has this evil look with a smirk.  It's hard to discribe. 

Gimlet's picture

It is 100% your husband's job to set boundaries and expectations with his kids and his ex.  Before you go anywhere, he needs to confirm that he either 1. has no problem standing up to BM/SS/SD or 2. has no problem with you setting your boundaries as you see fit.

As things stand, he get to have his cake and eat it too - no conflicts with his kids and ex, gets to be the fun social guy, and also has you around and in a place where your very understandable need to be treated with respect gets swept under the rug.  He can either step up or respect your disengagement.  If he chooses to disengage from your kids just to be childish, there is nothing you can do about it.  It's his loss at that point and he's an idiot if he can't see the difference in the scenarios.

Lollybobs's picture

I feel for you No Name. I am about to be in a near-identical situation myself which I am dreading. Trouble is, if you don't go to these things, then Skids and BM have won - the Holy First family is back together without having to be reminded of evil SM's existence.

Being told to ignore it doesn't cut it. Everyone has different levels of what treatment they can/will tolerate. If you can't tolerate what they are doing and saying (and quite rightly not in my opinion) then DH needs to respect this fact, and rather than telling you to ignore it, he needs to be telling that bunch of witches and warlocks that their behaviour and treatment of you is WAY out of line and completely unnacceptable.

tog redux's picture

There is no "winning", it's not a competition. You do what gives you peace, there is no need to go to these events if they are too stressful for you.

DH should have set limits on all of this long ago. If he wants you to go, he can stop sucking up to his ex and kids and set some limits.

Lollybobs's picture

I agree; if OP doesn't want to go to these events then she shouldn't go. But when the reason for not going is because of the sh!tty behaviour of the HFF, this behaviour needs dealing with. It's bullying at it's finest.

tog redux's picture

Agreed - and DH needs to do it. I'm like the OP, there is no way I'd flounce into these gatherings and start telling everyone they are rude while DH stood there with his thumb up his a$$.  But then again I would not stay married to a man who allowed his ex and children to treat me this way, either.

SacrificialLamb's picture

I remember you from a few years ago. Has your DH accepted any blame on his part or acknowledged his family did not treat you well?  I recall from the past you definitely had a DH problem.  Actually, I have to admit I am surprised you are still married to him. 

If he has acknowledged the problems and his part, I might give him one more chance - provided it was an event I wanted to go to in the first place. If he hasn't acknowledged anything I would not even consider it, because you are going into the lion's den with no protection - your DH wants all his loved ones around him and they can duke it out if they don't get along. 

I am in the same situation as DH is wanting me to go with him to visit YSD. I see no reason to go. Does YSD want me there? No. Do I want to be there? No. And I have an easy out - a really old dog that I don't want to take to a pet sitter for that time.  But I can tell my DH that I'd rather stay home, and he is ok with that. Why does yours insist that you go? I'd ask him if he thinks his family will behave, and if not, what will he do? If you don't like the answers why does he expect you to be ok with that? My DH knows I will see manipulation but he will not recognize it, and I am done trying to convince him that manipulation happened.

Also, disengaging is the gift you give yourself. You should not feel sad about it. I've told myself I could go to these events with DH, but that would REALLY make me sad. I have a choice, but I would rather stay home with my pets enjoying myself away from the drama. I never consider who is "winning".  Even though your BM and skids have your DH there without you, they are still very aware that you exist.  They are wondering what you are doing at home, and likely pumping your DH for info about you.  How is your marriage? Are you splitting soon?

Finally, the fact that your DH would punish your children because he did not get his way speaks volumes about the quality of person he is.


somethingwicked's picture


OP,disengagement is you choosing to you remove  yourself from toxic types who have exhibited their ready willingness to trespass into your life thru demonstrated blatant disrespect /insults/exclusion.You know the drill . Disengagement is a form of upholding personal boundaries that were NEVER respected  or upheld by your DH ,by his adult children or the Exhobag (if she was a big fat manipulating meddler)or any family member who thought what happened in YOUR marriage was open season for them to disrespect,meddle and generally cause confusion and turmoil.

When you disengage you do so not wanting or hoping that DH will "get it" and change his ways because when YOU disengage  you don't care if he does .

HE is now  solely responsible for whatever situation with his spawn arises~ celebrations or calamities. Going forward the mess that are his children and family is his to handle or enjoy .

If he cannot respect your choice and needles or berates you for your choice to rescue yourself  then it is time to pull the pin and leave. He won't change because he eithercan't ,won't or does not want to.

It is like dealing with a person who has an addiction .They must WANT to change ,to get free of whatever is destroying them or holding them down. Too often these Disney Daddees  are inculcated ,brainwashed or guilt beaten by the First Holy Family Precepts.The FAILED First Holy Family ,that is. Too often they carry this guilt around and allow it to bleed into the next relationship warts and all. 

A father who has no ability to parent a child at any age is never going to stand with his (second or any number folowing the dissolutionof the initial bio family parents) wife or partner because he never learned that the couple is central in a marriage.

There are times where the children at any age require the full attention of one or both parents but what we experience in the StepHell paradigm is a noxious ,insidious oxygen depriving clingy,cloying insistence from these young or adult skids for ALL the attention all of the time and a father who is deathly afraid of saying no to his children or EX.

If your DH can't understand that YOU will no longer be fresh meat for gossip or intimidation  by his family and especially his adult children then it is because he does not WANT to understand your anxiety rooted in his allowance  of  you to be a target and maligned  by his oh so wonderful family and HE has failed you as a partner.He does NOT want to know he is a shitty weak excuse for a husband and so fearful of becoming the target of these rabid jackles that he willingly kicks you under their bus wheels.

Your sadness may be  rooted in knowing your H places you last . Your sadness may be rooted in a lost dream of everyone getting along in loving respect like "normal" families . There is nothing normal in a blended family that can't or won't blend because the lynchpin(the bio parents) can't or won't bring themselves to accept the dissolution of the First Holy Family and the children ,too, learned through observation  or were groomed to disrespect the step parent. 

If he cannot or will not  attend family counseling or therapy with you to see the whole of this conundrum and  try to find middle ground and a way forward for the marriage ,then you attend.You may find some tools to better adjust to the the situation OR gain the insight and courage to dump this selfish  A$$ of a "man".


shamds's picture

I can’t stand my 3 skids especially sd’s who are mini wives. 

I never went to a nephews wedding earlier this year. Everytime we have to move heaven and earth for lazy arse sd’s who love together on their own and sd23.5 has a car to drive. They change plans last minute like evening before or day of and we’re expected to tweak our plans and meanwhile i have 2 toddlers that never get any consideration.

we are basically told to suck it up. My sd’s rant on and on about bio mum and their stepdad non stop like a broken record player and no one asks about them, they just instantly rant on like they need to show how relevant and important she is to us when she isn’t.

then skids all play dumb, shun us and do this whole fake family and sisters and brother from heaven bs at family events. I’m not in the mood to play fake happy family.

every new year we all do family pics and i honestly feel like saying to hubby in front of family that I don’t want one with his son as he has made it known that we are strangers and smiling for the cameras to fake a one big happy fmaily just isn’t for me.

i don’t intend on going to any skids weddings, the sd’s especially need to rub their ego amongst their mums family how they are related to white people so they appear so refined and upper class when they have never maintained a relationship with us. I won’t force myself or my kids to play this fake crap, you don’t get to seectiveky be family when it suits you. 

You know what, book yourself a spa date to chill out and enjoy yourself, it sure will be a million times better han torturing yourself at a wedding where you aren’t wanted. Its so easy for people to say oh just suck it up and ignore them. But they will never be the ones saying “that was real rude of you” 

. My dad told me if any of the skids were getting married that he would buy me and our 2 kids a ticket back to my country just to be away from them and relax.

Merry's picture

You DH says he's embarrassed to go to events with out you? Well waaaa waaaa. He should be embarrassed about his kids' behavior. 

All of this is about HIS comfort, and his alone. He won't confront his kids, he leaves you alone in these settings, and then he's embarrassed when you refuse to subject yourself to the HFF's bullying. 

So what will he do to change the dynamic? Nothing? Ok, then you are also willing to do nothing. 

simifan's picture


He ought to be grateful that you accept this arrangement at all. I would have so little respect for a man who allows his wife to be disrespected and mistreated that I would have stayed gone. Stand true to yourself, do not allow these toxic people to infect your life. Is he putting the same pressure on the kids and ex to be civil? 


sandye21's picture

I agree with every other poster.  You don't owe it to your DH to continue to be his 'deterrent'.  Yes. if you go to these events you will take the heat off of him - and he knows it.  The skids and Ex know he won't do anything to support you or defend you so they can have a heyday at your personal expense, and get shear enjoyment watching DH shriveling away from what SHOULD be his responsibility as a husband, and you getting upset.  Like real life reality TV!!!  Remember, he promised to honor and cherish you when you got married?  Well he isn't holding his end of the bargain.  

I agree with wicked - get counseling - even on your own to help you "gain the insight and courage to dump this selfish  A$$ of a "man"."

hereiam's picture

If your husband is embarrassed to go to events without you, he should explain to them why it is that you are not there.

"No Name is not here because I am too much of an ass and a wimp to stand up for her, my wife, when you people are rude to her. I allow you to bully and disrespect my wife, and that is why she does not attend. So, it is just as much my fault, as it is yours. If we were all decent human beings, instead of a family of jerks, perhaps my wife would be at my side."

CLove's picture

And give it to him as his script for attending the wedding!

I feel horrible for you - this situation sucks. SD20 Feral Forger hates her fathers family, apparently and does not come to the really large family events. So for now I am spared the absolute seriously bad time of having to deal with FF. Shes 20, but acts more like 12. Her younger sister is much more mature and intelligent than FF, in fact. And FF claims that she will not be having any children (why you ask? Because she wouldnt want someone like herself running around in miniature...)

So - good for you for not allowing the skids to continue treating you badly. DH needs to step up to the plate and have your back.

Toxic Troll BM is NEVER allowed to family functions. When she broke up the family she broke up with ALL the family.