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Grin and Bear it or send an email

step-out's picture

DH's and my therapist recommended to me to send all DH'sfamily members an email if I chose not to attend family gatherings like going out to dinner. DH is firm in his belief that precious SD/mini-wife has done her part by sending out an olive branch. Her "olive branch" comes with the condition that I apologize (honestly, at this point the topic is past and old)... So, according to him... it's "up to me" to respond to SD. Guess what? I don't want to respond to SD- I will not discuss the past and don't feel at all ready to be around her. However, he made it very clear how bad it will be if I don't go to family events. I'm choosing to disengage but nope, I will have to pay for whichever path I choose. I  never dreamed this to be my life's path when I was younger. 


Gimlet's picture

Your therapist said to send an email to the family about why you aren't attending an event?  Each time?  What does the therapist expect you to say? 

Also, your huband bullying you about your boundaries is not OK. 

Winterglow's picture

I'd say that you sending out an email every time you don't attend is going to look very passive-aggressive on your part. I wouldn't do it. If you don't want to go to functions you don't have to. You have my permission Smile Remember the Queen's tenet - "Never complain, never explain". See? You're above that already Smile

Your husband's an idiot if he thinks a olive branch looks like that. Since when is an apology for nothing done wrong an olive branch? She just wants to rehash the past to give her some sort of perceived power and she'll continue to do so as long as it's allowed. You have been perfectly clear that the past stays in the past. Tunn on her.

step-out's picture

You mean don't do a thing, right? Basically, I have done nothing or said nothing but everyone is going nuts. 

caninelover's picture

To be honest its not even about whether you did nothing or something. 

They are going nuts because they can't control you, and they need to control you to ensure you participate so they can continue their toxic ways.  Stay strong and stay disengaged.  Don't send an email, its DH's problem to deal with his fruitcake family!

Winterglow's picture

Sorry, autocorrect is less than perfect. Why would you waste your time on her. You have no reason to kowtow to her. You owe her nothing. Remember that. 

caninelover's picture

What's the point of the email to the whole family?  Is it supposed to get your DH off the hook with his family because the email came from you so his hands are clean so to speak?  That's ridiculous.

f its an event like a wedding or graduation just RSVP for one to attend (DH).  No explanation needed.

If its a casual get together like a dinner than just don't go.  DH can explain when he gets there and eventually they will stop inviting you.  

Agree with Winterglow, it is passive agressive to send an email each time.

The therapist should be helping you communicate your boundaries to DH not getting him off the hook for explaining to his family why you aren't there.

AgedOut's picture

I think the therapist has missed the mark on this one. It would only set you up as a target and sending it would give reason for an onslaught of anger/dislike/gossip. Keep your bounderies in place and tell your hubby to cool it with the bullying you to get what he wants.

tog redux's picture

Yeah, what the what? Are you supposed to send an email saying, "I'm not going because you all don't treat me right?" Talk about opening Pandora's Box.

My DH doesn't hate my family, and he does do stuff with us - but he often doesn't go because 2 of my siblings make him a little nuts (and me too).  He doesn't send an email saying he thinks they are loons, he just doesn't go, and I say, "DH isn't coming today". 

Please give us more info on what the therapist is intending here. And as always the real issue is that your DH isn't supporting you. "I'll see you if she apologizes" is NOT an olive branch.  It's just more manipulation and extortion. 

caninelover's picture

Its SD trying to control you, plain and simple.  Its not an olive branch it is more like trying to whack you with a bat.

You should ask the therapist (possibly individually) what he or she sees the email accomplishing.  Just because the therapist recommends something you don't have to do it if it doesn't make sense to you.

tog redux's picture

An "Olive Branch" would be her agreeing to move forward without an apology even though she thinks she's owed one. Demanding an apology is just more drama.

caninelover's picture

I went through that when Bratty had her meltdown with SO and we ended up in family therapy.  It was Bratty's way of manipulating SO to control me and allow her to still live her whenever she wanted.  I told SO he's on his own if she tries to control me by tugging on his heart-strings again.

simifan's picture

I'd respond to DH & SD with "I'm comfortable with the relationship we have now, thanks." I agree with the others no email is necessary. This is just silly & draws more attention to your absence. If you were going with DH, you wouldn't email. Honestly, unless you personally received the invitation, this is DH's family & his problem. If you receive an actual invite just RSVP. 

twopines's picture

Ha! Send an email to The Family? Oh em gee, that's a big negatory, Ghost Rider. 

>>he made it very clear how bad it will be if I don't go to family events<<  Like what? He won't be your date for the prom? He'll lock you in the basement without food and water? What are the Bad Things that will happen. I'm really curious what your husband has in mind. 

step-out's picture

I really don't know...

twopines's picture

Maybe the therapist can have him explain his thoughts. I don't know how therapy works, but this seems to me to be a signifcant talking point. 

futurobrillante99's picture

Your husband actually said it will be "very bad" if you don't attend family events? Really? What does that mean? Is that a threat?

It sounds like maybe it will be "really bad" for him if he doesn't bring SD's favorite chew toy (you). Too freaking bad.

You can say, "I am not comfortable spending time with SD and I am not comfortable sending an email to the entire family to decline their invitations. I've been crystal clear on where I stand on this matter. If SD wants to offer me a sincere apology for her behavior, I will consider it and work with her to a resolution, if she's open to it. I will, however, not be absolving her based on an empty apology {I didn't do anything wrong, but I'm sorry for what you did wrong.}. Until such a time as SD demonstrates she is sincere and wants to apologize for her treatment of me, I do not wish to spend time with her. It's unfortunate if you're unhappy that I won't be joining you, but you'll have your family there to support you. You can show your support of me by not trying to pressure me or make me feel guilty."

caninelover's picture

To be honest I would avoid trying to get into an apology war altogether.  Her apology will be meaningless if she doesn't genuinely understand her negative behavior and move to change it.  If she does reach out to SD for some type of closure for SD and/or DH then she should simply say that she's forgiven (or working on forgiveness) but doesn't forget SD's treatment of her and will not be engaging until SD demonstrates that she has geniunely changed.  Until then she doesn't need to see SD but SD and DH can do so seperately from you.

That's where I am with Bratty.  I am past the point where I need or want an apology from her for the past.  I've forgiven her and moved forward but I certainly haven't forgetten her past behavior and how hurtful it was to me.  So unless I see significant changes in Bratty - meaning mature, grown-up, age appropriate behavior and taking full responsibility for her life and her choices - I will continue to be disengaged.  Recent events (Grandma-gate) reinforce that Bratty hasn't changed or learned a thing.  

step-out's picture

It sounds like maybe it will be "really bad" for him if he doesn't bring SD's favorite chew toy (you). Too freaking bad.

haha! You're killing me here! 

Harry's picture

Ask him Why e mail family.?  Why open yourself up to family not liking you , letting everybody else off the hook ? 
What will this email really going to do for you. !   How is that going to make everybody happy?  
. "Her "olive branch" comes with the condition that I apologize "  is not an olive branch, it's her trying to control Ymir life.

I would not email or apologize but disengage, let DH deal with SD outside yoir home.  He can take her to his family and bond .  Family bonding 


skell76's picture

Send an email (ridiculous) or don't and your DH doesn't back you and stand up for you when you are not there.  I'm sorry this is the case of impossible and I can't believe a therapist would suggest sending an email.  

ndc's picture

I think you need a new therapist.  What is the point of you e-mailing his family if you don't want to go to one of their events?  Is it to spare your husband from having to do it?  I'm assuming the reason you don't want to go to his family events is because you are uncomfortable at them or have previously been treated poorly at those events.  Why would your husband want you to go to an event where that would be the case?  And why would he expect you to apologize for something where you clearly don't feel it's appropriate?  I would think that if your husband wants you to attend his family events, he has to find a way that you'll be more comfortable there, and it just might not be possible.  And if you don't want to have a relationship with his daughter (and I'm guessing there's a good reason for that), that's your prerogative.  Surely he's capable of seeing his daughter without you present.

Exjuliemccoy's picture

I don't agree with your therapist at all. These are your H's people, so he needs to be the one handling communication. If you don't go, the onus is on him to explain why. He's the one who mismanaged things and created the situation, so he gets to feel uncomfortable and deal with the fall out.

As for his vague and ominous comment about "bad" things happening if you don't go to gatherings for his family, I'd make that the topic of your next therapy session. Make him explain what he meant by that, explore his train of thought, and make him squirm.

CLove's picture

I agree with the others. No on the "email the family". Im learning about triangulation these days and Mini-wife is dragging you into classic triangle. You are the scapegoat and she is golden-child mini-wife who is using the so-called olive branch as control mechanism to get more Narcissistic SUPPLY. "look dadee, Im being so nice! I will accept her apology! Im so forgiving!" SUPPLY.


hereiam's picture

Seriously, your husband is becoming as annoying as his daughter.

I've never heard of sending an email to ALL of the spouse's family just because one does not attend an event. If someone specifically invites you, then sure, reply with a "yes" or a "no", but otherwise that's just weird. As is this therapist.

So, according to him... it's "up to me" to respond to SD

It is up to you to determine for yourself how you want to proceed with this adult and if that means ignoring her, that is your choice. Your husband needs to move on and find something else to focus on, maybe get a hobby or read a book.