You are here

Disengaging on the rocks

momjeans's picture

Hi all, I'm new here and use some been there, done that advice and/or insight. I'll try to keep it short.

I'm married with one SD, age 9, and two young bio kids between us, 7 months and 2 years. I also have an adult BS who is 21 and out on his own - adulting.

BM left DH when their daughter was a toddler after many extra marital affairs on him. BM is the classic high conflict ex suffering from "golden uterus syndrome". She made our life miserable throughout dating and near impossible for DH to successfully co-parent. The CO visitation schedule was hellish to deal with, as she refused to abide by a no-contact drop-off/pick-up. It was hellish on our marriage. I had just found out I was pregnant with our toddler and that is when I made a conscious decision to disengage. Not my circus, not my monkeys. MIL and FIL would fly in to visit and I could sense MIL was not a fan of my new found emotional clarity from disengaging.

Then my mom fell gravely ill. We decided it was in everyone's best interest to move to a different state, modifying the CO to summer break and holidays. Our bio kids would also be closer to their grandparents. It sounded like a great idea. Wrong. BM dialed-up the crazy, as one can only imagine, so DH enlisted the help of his mom to deal with BM when it came to scheduling flights and stuff like that. DH and I agreed to keep her in day camp and other activities because I am not a babysitter. I have desire to be motherly to snowflake. She's a chatty, high maintenance child glued to her iPhone texting her friends all day with a mom who desires to FaceTime 3 times/day and has the appetite of pubescent boy. Yeah, no.

The first summer SD was out here, my MIL told me that she and her happiness was her "main priority" whether we liked it or not. Christmas was... uncomfortable. MIL was verbally passive-aggressive. Next summer rolls around (the most recent) and MIL gives BM the okay to switch-up the CO 6 week visit to 12. She does it because that is what BM states that's what BD wants. Every other Christmas is now every Christmas. I see this as a jab since I refuse to SM this child. I like SD, we're friends, I smile and wave, but

I tell DH "no more". Tell your mom NO! and take back the responsibility of dealing with Ray BM. Which sucks, but... worse of two evils, I guess.

DH states he has addressed hi mom, but I highly doubt it. I've attempted to have a civil conversation to clarify why she's enabling BM to possibly be in contempt of CO, but MIL ain't having it. She now, refuses to come around even less than the little she was before to see our kids.

Sorry so long winded. It's a cluster cuss and I'm pissed.

momjeans's picture

Thanks! And thank you for your honesty. I effing hate conflict with DH because he has done so well shutting BM down, especially since our toddler came into the world.

He initially got MIL involved because shortly after our move was complete, and prior to the first summer break visit with SD, she started on with her old ways. Blowing-up his phone with texts. The constant calling and above all, sending him VERY abusive and lengthily emails chastising him. MIL dealt with BM regarding travel details, we paid for it and she volunteered to chaperone SD on flights, because no way in hell will a stewardess be in charge of snowflake's safety per BM.

I feel like I'm constantly kicking his shins, nudging him to get ahead of this crap prior to the upcoming summer visit. I've requested to see a copy of the CO so I can hang it on the fridge. It has been a few weeks. Still waiting...

Now I'm definitely the spawn of satan in MILs eyes. I do not care. I *do* dislike that my children's relationship with her has to suffer, though. Especially since my mom passed away.

LikeMinded's picture

Been there, done that.

When I got pregnant, MIL came in to save the day... but she was just in it for herself.

If your MIL is like mine, she is chaniging up the CO because SHE wants more time with SD. She's annoyed at you because she sees you love your bio kids more than SD, and SD is probably her pride and joy... afterall, she was here before you were.

If your MIL is anything like mine, she is not siding with BM, she's just manipulating the situation to fit what SHE wants. In her mind SD is better off with HER. Not BM, not DH, not you. Her "help" was just a way to take control of this situation and rescue her poor grand daughter, this poor victim of divorce. If she's anything like mine, she thinks all three of you are screw ups, and you're screwing up this kid. So... in comes self-righteous MIL to save the day.

I've had quite a bit of this with my new in-laws. Getting DH to side with you against BM is one thing, getting him to side with you and not his mom is an entirely new ball of twine to unravel.

This has been a real mess for me. I have dealt with it by:
1. Showing DH MIL'S manipulative behavior and passive agressive behavior whenever it happens and in a calm, detached manner. Did MIL have anything to do with fights between DH and BM? Find out about those and remind him of those. Show him a pattern (if there is one).
2. I send my SKIDS to MIL ALL THE TIME-- but I keep our bio kid. Because she's passive-aggressive (Sometimes right out aggressive) towards me, she doesn't get our boy or my girl.

Yeah, MIL is pissed, and the more she shows it, the more she makes an ass out of herself, and the more she allows me to disengage not only from my SKIDS but from her as well.

momjeans's picture

Oh my hell, LikeMinded. Yes! Yes, my MIL is *exactly* like your MIL.

I secretly want my MIL to keep on keepin' on, I guess. What I hate next to the contempt of the CO is treating me like I'm scum because I'm not on-board with penciling-in a SM gig for all those extra weeks. It doesn't even happen on the regular schedule.

LikeMinded's picture

So, I'm assuming your DH has a job and he doesn't babysit during those extra weeks, right?

Are you supposed to babysit her during those extra weeks?

In my case, I send my kind-hearted-but-crazy SS10 to MIL, ALL the time. I mean, my SKIDS need their quality time with grandma more than with me, right?

Funny thing is, when we're not there as buffers, MIL starts having a hard time controlling SS10. The more they hang out together, the less happy she is with the situation. I think the best medicine for my MIL is to give her exactly what she thinks she wants: more babysitting, more sleepovers, more pick ups from school. When SS10 acts crazy after being with her for 3 days, she can't blame us or BM, she can only blame herself.

What's funny is that my inlaws refuse to see what's right in front of their nose. BM is crazy (NPD and severe ADHD, plus some other, unidentified crazy), and SS10 is just like her... he's got his mom's genes (poor guy). But no, they just think he's a victim of his circumstances. They think someone should be able to parent the crazy out of him.

BTW, we have 4 children, 3 of whom have special needs--and they are doing great! Even SS10 Good grades, great friends, they love us both and they're happy. So someone's doing something right... but we are *still* completely useless parents in the eyes of my in laws, especially my DH. Sad

Is there anyway this might work for you? Could you keep kindly nagging DH (I'm talking long-term nagging here, lol!) so that he agrees to ONE thing:

That whatever extra time MIL adds to your calendar, SD spends at MIL's house? I mean are you expected to watch this girl just becauase you now have babies of your own? Been there, done that, and it's not fair.

momjeans's picture

Yes, my DH works 8 hour days, 6 days a week. It's unfortunate, but in lieu of child support, he petitioned the court to pay for SD's private school bill at $600/month. Yes, month.

I work from home and take care of our two children, so no, she does not stay here, but she is more than welcome here if her dad is here. I disengage, nod and smile. Outside of that, her butt is kept busy with summer day camp.

With that said, the inlaws still try to drop her off on me, unannounced. This last summer was a real doozy. I was both in the final weeks of my pregnancy, then taking care of a newborn and an 18 month old. The guilt trip vibe was strong, but I stood my ground. You betcha SD spent that extra month with them. They were exhausted.

But here's the thing regarding DH and MIL. DH doesn't "see" the underhanded behavior his mom dishes out the entire time SD is here. Again, you are so spot on with my MILs behavior. He also sometimes makes excuses for his parents behavior AND claims that his mom loves me. His mom is hardcore southern baptist and loves everyone. So that doesn't fly with me. This last Christmas was bad given the fact MIL outright allowed BM to not obey CO. I haven't engaged with MIL since SD left on January 4th.i will gladly engage with her once she is aware she cannot go against CO.

momjeans's picture

And by engage with MIL, I mean drop in to see our children when it's convenient for her. Ha!

Disneyfan's picture

It's time for dad to man up. You nor his mother should be stuck dealing with his baggage.

All of this mess is going on because he let his mommy get in the middle instead of shutting BM down.

momjeans's picture

Thanks Hcc.

You nailed it, because I'll tell you, on numerous occasions I have definitely begun my talk with DH regarding this with just that. Because in the big picture he's sitting pretty.