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Kids’ relationship w estranged in-laws

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Would you encourage a relationship between your kids and your estranged in-laws? I haven't  been in contact with My DH's family for a few years now due to poor and inappropriate boundaries and sharing info w BM even though DH has spoken with them numerous times about it. They still continue to dig their heels in and insist they need to for SS12's sake. The relationship between DH and his parents (though not with his bitchy sisters) has slowly improved but he's still standing up for me and our POV.

DH finally saw SS

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So after BM canceled SS12's spring break and summer visitations due to fear of COVID, DH decided to go out and do a 5-day visit out to BM/SS land and stay at a hotel to visit SS. Not sure why it was safer for DH to visit than the other way around, but that was BM's logic. She wasn't going to put SS on a plane. DH came back just disappointed with the trip. He said SS was surly, disinterested in anything and didn't seem to care that he was there. He felt disconnected and said that SS had a bad attitude the entire time, no matter what they were doing.

Calling out vs ghosting

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Here's a question; When do you decide to cut ppl off vs calling them out? I've gotten advice not to call out my in-laws, for example, but it's so hard to "let things go" instead of telling  ppl that they're doing something hurtful or shitty. I guess it has to do with the desired effect, right? What if it's BM or skids?

In-laws wish me happy birthday but not condolences

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My mother passed away about a year and a half ago and I heard crickets from the in-laws. But they always make sure to send a birthday card or a birthday message on my birthday. WTF? I think telling someone I'm sorry for your loss for something as devastating as a parent's death is more meaningful than an obligatory birthday greeting. Just typing my thoughts out loud. I feel like messaging back, "Puzzled as to why I get birthday greetings but not one word of condolences after my mother's death." I don't think I should, but again, WTF? 

Unable to feel empathy for DH

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For some reason, I cannot empathize with or feel sorry for  DH about SS11- whether it's about his lamenting how similar he is to BM, his utter averageness, or things like only seeing him around 25% of the time and not having enough influence on him. And for the record, I am an empath and can really feel people's (and animals') pain, which makes it hard for me in a lot of ways. I have a block when it comes to DH and Ss. Does anyone else have the same issue? Is it because SS has been a sulky spoiled aggressive little jerk ever since I've met him?

How do you keep privacy w smart phones?

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How do you all maintain privacy of your home and children from BM if your skid has a smart phone with camera? SS is 11 so I'm sure soon he'll be asking to bring a phone on next visit. (So far, DH has said no to bringing electronics to our house). I DO NOT want pix of my house or kids texted to BM. Our current set up for visitation communication with BM (since we are long distance) is that SS Facetimes with her several times a week in his room with door closed.

What do you with teen skids do regarding phones? Outright ban? Or no privacy?

*Trolls with be deleted

Stress from skid resulting in physical symptoms

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Does anyone have this problem? SS11 has been here for almost a month and he's same old skid- sulky, unfriendly, rude and selfish. He has maybe said 30 words to me the entire time he's been here. I am basically disengaged, but just his negative black cloud presence has resulted in horrible cluster headaches that started not too long after he arrived, insomnia, and general lack of well-being. I know that some of it is anxiety due to my being an introvert, so anyone other than my DH and two kids in the house for long periods is stressful, but some of it is because he is who he is.

Do you care if skids like you?

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Someone had made a comment on a previous blog post that a rule I was thinking of implementing for skid would have the result of his thinking I don’t like him or want him around. The fact that something I wanted to do would have that effect wouldn’t change my mind in the slightest. I don’t care if skid thinks I don’t like him. I can’t base my decisions on whether or not he may think that. So this begs the question: do you care if skids think you like them or not? Why or why not?