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Christmas and disengagement

klean0722's picture

I have not spoken to SD31 since March when she had her hubby arrested for beating her and then allowed him back in the house even though the judge said he was not allowed at home and I reported him to authorities. I've been married for 10 years and we have always had an up & down relationship, but we mostly have tolerated each other. Since March when it all became by fault I have totally ignored her and her husband. My DH still gets grandchildren 6 & 2 and I do some things with them. Now that it is holiday time SD31 is trying to come around because it is present time. Back when everything happened I told DH under no terms did I want her husband at our house, even for Christmas. He was "ok" with that, but his way of dealing with it is to ignore it until things are calm. Now that Christmas is coming it will be expected that we will all have Christmas together like we have for the last 11 years (SS34, SD31, SD 27, BS22, BD18). The thing is I want to be done, I am tired of being used and taken advantage of. I quit cooking breakfast for everyone a few years ago and try to make Xmas morning quick - presents, then go to grandmother's with extended family. But dang it, we haven't spoken since March and why should we act all fine now just because it is Christmas??? Step-grandson got baptized a few months ago at our church but SD31 told DH I was not welcome, but I was invited to bday party a week later!?!? For years I have tried to be the Brady Bunch family, but I can't do it any longer. SD27 and her husband stay with us for a week at Christmas and I can't even enjoy their visits because our house is only used as a hotel - they spend ALL their time with SD31 and only see us Christmas morning and basically one meal before they leave. It gets old. How does everyone else handle Christmas or the holidays when you have disengaged with one of stepkids? Put on a fake happy face and deal with it?

ybarra357's picture

There would be no way in HE!! I would allow this abuser in my home for one minute but that's just me.

robin333's picture

You hit my daughter, the last thing on my mind would be sharing dinner with you. I can't believe your DH would be okay sitting near the man that abused his daughter. No f'ing way.

I would make arrangements with your kids at their place and not participate at all in that madness.

robin333's picture

I have to add that I would lose all respect my DH. I'd probably bake a special (wink, wink) batch of cookies for SIL and DH. Some poisons are easily disguised and can enhance the sweetness.

Exjuliemccoy's picture

For the life of me, I will never understand the phenomenon that drives members of dysfunctional families to want to gather for Christmas. It's akin to a salmon run or sperm seeking an egg, but not productive.

You have two issues going on here, and you need to open a dialogue with your H about how Christmas will be this year. One is you have a family member who has chosen to stay with her abuser, and the other is you're tired of being used and taken advantage of. You and your DH need to get on the same page. Negotiate what you will and will not do/accept. If you don't want to host, don't. If you don't like your home being used as a flophouse, have your DH draw a boundary with SD27. If the air needs to be cleared between you and SD31, meet up and clear it. Remind your DH of the convo you had about not having the abuser in your home, and figure out how to manage that. And if you two do decide to ban the abuser, your DH should be the one to do it, and own it.

Evil3's picture

A few years ago, I told my DH that I was giving Christmas with all of us together one last chance. The SKs would come to our house straight from BM's and boy, could you ever tell! They'd look at us, especially me, like we were aliens. The SKs didn't even bother to try to hide that they thought we were the strangest creatures on earth. Well, I told DH that I don't enjoy cooking my ass off for people who look at me like I'm a freak. I will not model that for our DD16. I told DH that either major changes are made or the following year and every year thereafter, I will be taking DD and going up island for a storm watching Christmas or to somewhere else. I told DH he is welcome to come or to stay and spend his Christmas with the SKs, but I was not going to spend my Christmases under so much tension. I was prepared to follow through. I had actually looked into making a reservation for the following year. Your are an adult, so your DH cannot stop you from going away with your bios to have a happy Christmas. Leave your DH to cater to and slave his fingers to the bone cooking for his brats. You owe them nothing. Leave it to your DH to explain why you're not there. You have the right to have a happy Christmas. There are a lot of options for you. You could go with the position of saying why the hell should you leave your home over Christmas or you could be happy. Don't cut off your nose to spite your face. I didn't care at all if my DH hosted his brats at our house over Christmas as I was not going to be there to be their emotional punching bag. So, going away with your bios is an option if you need to escape.

Acratopotes's picture

DH agreed that son in law will not be over again, stick to that,

Simply in advance like in today - inform DH you will not be hosting Christmas, but he's welcome to join his children where ever ..... and reason being, SD is back with her beater boy and you do not want him in your house.

Then compromise, if DH tells SD her beater boy is not welcome, you might consider hosting, oh and each family has to bring something for the dinner.

Be firm Lady and take a stand, do not let these people walk all over you, they are all adults, this is how it works in our family, you are welcome at parents house but you bring food, either 2 pies or salads.... we do not expect our parent, who's on pension, to entertain us and the last time I stayed with them during a holiday was the year after school from there onwards I booked a B&B...

CANYOUHELP's picture

There is nothing worse than planning for weeks trying to create the perfect experience for a get together, to realize NOBODY appreciated all the work you did. It is especially wonderful when Sadults proudly bring with them criminals into your home and you are unaware of their extensive arrest record until you do your OWN background check and find out the truth. Don't make the mistake of thinking your husband will actually believe the criminal history easily printed; he is too enmeshed to face the truth, even when it is in black and white and part of public records for anybody to review.

Even with this, you receive not a single thank you, in fact, the more you work at this, the worse you are treated by jealous sadults. Additional eye rolling, sarcastic remarks and out right rude, crude comments directed to the only one slaving her a...off to provide a perfected evening of complete horrid miserable bullying by all --for the SM.

You, the SM thinks-- if I puts a lot of effort into creating this perfect dinner setting for everybody, they will clearly be kind to me and quickly see how much I care for the entire family, and in turn, husband and Skids will care too. Not true at all, a waste of time for at least 80% of us. It took about 2-3 times of this for me to finally realize how foolish I was behaving, what an idiot sucker I had been; how hopeless my situation was and that I had no control of the outcome, regardless of my behavior. And, when this happens to you, you will get the wakeup call that will change your life and begin your journey toward peace.

Change your dynamic if it is not working and read what the posters are saying here; if ever in doubt. If I ever doubted my decision, I realized not to do so, after I found this forum.

You will too, in due time.

klean0722's picture

Thank you for all of the advice. Going away with just me and my bios won't work - they do go to their dad's Christmas evening. I am finding it hard to disengage with some stepkids but not all and be "fair" about it. Bottom line - SD31 and beater husband and I don't talk and pretty much hate each other. They were cordial Thanksgiving at the big family gathering at MIL's but I knew they would be because, well Christmas is coming and that means presents. When we married 10 years ago 4 of our 5 children lived with us until SD31 married 6 months later, then SD27 left for college. When SD27 graduated and got her big girl job it took her out of state and has always considered our home, her home and I am ok with that to a point. It is just that my feelings get extremely hurt that she takes no time to spend with DH & I because she is always at her sister's house (SD31). We are an after-thought. DH's mom's family is extremely close(meaning his mom, aunts, cousins his siblings, etc) and I also work at the same company as 2 aunts, so as much as want to disengage and ignore the SKs how can I do that and not disengage from the rest of the extended family? I can't pretend any longer to be a happy family and to like or even want to get along with SD31 and abusive husband. On facebook they are SO fake and posting all this happy crap and I want to be like "oh yeah, what about that time he spent 5 days in jail for beating you?" }:)

peacemaker's picture

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