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Disengagement thoughts

Newimprvmodel's picture

You all know that DH has a daughter we haven't seen in almost 4 yrs. Yet she is one of his telephone daughters. So past 3 yrs I totally disengaged. I was the gift sender who tried to buy my way into a relationship with her. Silly me. 
So we were in the car going to a great night out with friends. Who calls but telephone daughter number one. Has a small child DH has never seen. Anyway it was child's birthday.  DH sent his gift. Amazingly. DH is driving and I act invisible. Then he gets on FT and sings happy birthday to child and he and daughter chatting on. 
DH didn't do anything wrong. Chatted with her for over 20 minutes. Should he have ended the call?  That would have been mean for me to expect that. He hung up. Both he and daughter pretended I was not there and I pretended THEY were not there. Weird and off putting. They ended call and we were DH and I were silent. Then he tried to make conversation. I was tempted to discuss but kept my mouth shut and within a few minutes we reached equilibrium again. 
I've thought how sad it is that I can't share this gchild with DH. Should I have spoke to him and SD?  I think I did the right thing for me. I was never one to beat around the bush. 

JRI's picture

My only concern would be him on the phone while driving.

Yes, it's awkward sometimes to be disengaged but I think you did the right thing.  To my SKs, I'm invisible unless we are directly in contact and you probably are, too.

CajunMom's picture

I am in your exact position. I have not seen DHs kids in 5 years until this past week (and that's a post for itself but I sit here feeling great after the encounter). I disengaged over being  "shunned" and treated terribly for 12 years, with the last humiliating event done at my DHs retirement party. His son chose that venue to announce the first grandchild to a room full of people, only to DH while I sat there like the perverbial pink elephant in the room. Not one mention. Our guests were appalled and it showed. But whatever....over and done and I'm over it.

It IS SAD that as DHs wife, I cannot share in the love of his grandchildren but it's not his or my decision to make; it's his kids' decisions and they've clearly shown I'm only CajunMom to their children.

The flip side? DHs kids cost themselves a great human in their And now they've done it to their own kids. I AM a good person, loving, kind, compassionate and GIVING. I am a "bonus" grandmother to my deceased sister's grandchild.....I make sure he gets appropriate holiday gifts and all the attention my sister would have given him. We spend time together (although he's a state away) and we talk on the phone. He will be coming on vacation with us this year as he has in the past. DH? He can barely remember to get a birthday gift to his grands. What DHs kids failed to realize is, it's the "mom" figure that typically does all the work and gifting with the grands and DH, because of his own inability to confront his wicked kids' behaviors, has NO support from me in that area. He's on his own and if he can't take cues from me, then that's on him. 

As JRI said, stay disengaged and do like me; find children around you to give all the "grandmother" love to. I have several including a sweet little boy across the street (my friend's grandchild) that loves me and yells my name out everytime he sees me. He's two years old. Precious.

Best to you, Friend. I know your journey well. Hugs.

Newimprvmodel's picture

I need to focus on those that do have relationships with me. Those that give and take. The main thing that really gets under my skin is when DH doesn't acknowledge the BS his kids have thrown at us. Really awful and stupid me is the one who told DH how to reach out to them. This may sound really mean of me but I regret that. I should have just let it be. I think second marriages are so hard. 

Merry's picture

It's so uncomfortable to become suddenly invisible. I think I would have sat there in that uncomfortable space too, though, doing all the positive self-talk I could muster.

It would have been kind of your DH to end the call sooner though. "I'm driving and will call you tomorrow." 

notsurehowtodeal's picture

You should stay disengaged, and your DH should not take calls from his daughters when you are both in the car as it is rude. I completely understand why you were uncomfortable and your DH should also understand and not put you in that situation.

CajunMom's picture

In fact, our counselor suggested, with my disengagement, this be done. DH saw his kids away from our marital home and when calls came through at home, I'd leave the room. In the car, he would let the calls go to voice mail and return it later out of my ear shot. Very freeing not knowing or caring what toxic SKs are doing. 

BobbyDazzler's picture

Don't expect DH to get you involved. I disagree when someone above said he shouldn't talk to her in front of you. Getting upset about that seems a bit controlling. I do agree, however, he shouldn't take a call while driving. I've disengaged from OSS and don't want to confuse the situation by inserting myself at all when it comes to him, his life and/of family. If something important happens and I need to know, my DH will tell me. Be happy DH talks with this daughter and stay in your lane.

Newimprvmodel's picture

And uncomfortable. I did not expect him to end the call. I get the joy in talking with his gchild. It goes back to what I always think.  Sharing your spouse with strangers.  And strangers you tried to win over for many years. 
And it's not just a few calls. One daughter is texting or on the phone with him all day long. It's a sickness for both of them. Every weekend I go out on our deck for breakfast and DH is usually on the phone with the newlywed. This morning I heard him saying "and my wife said blah blah as he recounted our evening together last night. This was at 730 am!  I told him "at the risk of sounding crude, WTH is wrong, your newlywed daughter not in bed with her husband early on a Saturday morning??!!!  I am pretty tolerant throughout the day but before I've had my coffee I don't want to deal with this craziness. And it is a sickness. 

BobbyDazzler's picture

gross.  I didn't know he spends that much time on the phone with his daughters. My apologies if you've already mentioned this but have you asked him why he feels so compelled to phone/text with them so often?

Patience2000's picture

What CajunMom said. Crazy to be strangers to people who are part of DH life. I was involved for almost 4 decades. Now, cut off. So much dysfunction.

Newimprvmodel's picture

Is that this makes me feel like a stranger to my husband. His daughter is his confidant not me. She has been groomed for years. She admitted to me years ago she tried to run off husbands first girlfriend after divorce. I can't go anywhere without him texting photos to his kids. It's such an invasion of privacy. As I said I truly regret trying to win them over. I should have been so thankful they were not speaking with him for years. I brought the dysfunction back on some crazy thought we could be a happy family. Sitting in the car hearing husband daughter and grandchild was humiliating for me. 

Olivia2020's picture

Sorry you are experiencing this mess. I would be ignored in the car when DaughterWife24 called daddyyyyy. He never put her on speaker phone when we were driving but would with the younger daughter, age 21 then, because he hated her, called her names and I think she wasn't his anyway. DaughterWife24 would call when (on the rare occasion) exNacH and I were driving to an event or work/holiday dinner. He would be distracted and upset after the call. They had the map on each other phones so tell me she didn't time it just right...He would visit me on some weekends (I lived 3 hrs away) and they would have a good ol' time laughing on their phone calls and he never would tell her he was visiting me and spoke in "I" statements, especially when he and I had plans to go somewhere or do something, once again, on the rare occasion...."...I'm going to the football game, I can't wait to see the new stadium..." type of comments. Then again it was all about him so go figure.

When he would visit, he would offer to take my dog out for a quick walk, so he could text or call his DaughterWife...I finally looked in his phone, after wondering why he was in such a good mood after dog walks, he wasn't the happy type of guy, too many secrets.

Freedom is good, lol


Stepmummingfun's picture

So - here are my thoughts. I completely agree with being disengaged from toxic/dysfunctional behaviour. None of it is ok - but we can only focus on/change our own responses and our involvement. Full acceptance of disgenagement takes alot of time and is never straight foward as we are not robots, but have our own triggers and emotional responses. It can be helpful to understand our own triggers and where they come from so we can sit comfortably in the understanding of own experiences.

I also agree that our disengagement is not our spouses choice - and they need to decide how they go forward and on what basis. Not many parents want (unless there is signifiant ongoing toxic behaviours occurring) to disengage from their children, so will more likely accommodate behaviour that is otherwise dysfunctional.

I don't believe that it is ok for your DH to continue a conversation with their child where it is so obvious that there is an overt 'claiming' situation going on. From what I read, and obviously I don't know your situation, there was an ownership occurring. She was stating in a way - "I can choose when I want my dad, I have the ability to take him when I need, I am top dog". I am not sure how that is suppose to provide you with a healthy foundation based on respect and trust where he demonstrates support for you and your relationship.

You can 'hold' your kids close, but also put a boundary in place. This actually can help kids feel safe and understand healthy boundaries based on respect. Your DH could have said "hey, sweetie, I will look forward to chatting with you but at the moment I am in the car with XX so I am unable to talk." This would be after having another conversation (earlier in the piece)  providing transparent acknowledgment and boundaries, saying "I understand that there is an issue between XX and you, and although I am disappointed that you can't get on, I realise that it is between the two of you. What I can do though is respect my wife and talk with you when I am not with her (unless it is urgent), but I will share our conversations if she asks and I will bring her into our conversations if need because she is important to me and is my wife. So, because it is obvious that you don't get along, that doesn't mean to say that she is relegated to not existing within my family, as I would not want to dismiss any partner you have, and nor would you want me to." 

That is claiming you as his wife (or other way around) and being assertive around boundaries. It's not ok to ignore you through a 'claimed' conversation and then believe you don't have any emotional reaction (or ignores it) and then continue to talk based on a context that he and his daughter just created for you, because it suited them to talk. That is not ok. At the very least it would have been more respectful to acknowledge your feelings and say "that must be hard and I so appreciate you patiently waiting for me to talk, but do acknowledge that if it was me, I would feel hurt and dismissed." 

Newimprvmodel's picture

I felt so lousy after the 20 minute call.  It was hard to regroup but I did at friends house and we actually had a good time. Then this morning DH was talking with my daughter and had to brag, yes brag how his grandson was so pleased with gift that DH actually bought. What burned me up was he then made a snide remark that "your mom refused to talk.
In private I told him that he blew it. Again. He rarely will say he understands my pain. 
And you nailed it. That this daughter knew I was in the car and proceeded to lay it on. Oh open gift from Grandpa. Blah blah blah. One gift from him !!  All the years it was ME buying them. The gift cards flowers. And she couldn't acknowledge me and DH ALLOWS it.  
I need to train husband and daughters that maybe I won't be quiet anymore. I'm so tempted to ask his daughter one morning why on gods green earth she is on the phone with her father early in the morning instead of being in bed with her own husband?  Lol. Seriously. I know when I was first married talking on the phone with ANYONE at 730 on a weekend morning was not gonna happen. 

Stepdrama2020's picture

Dang it lady do it.. say that to SD LOL 

Let SD AND DH  feel uncomfortable with that honest statement. Why  do you need to speak to big daddio at 730 am when you should be with your DH. Its damn creepy aint it?!  Also why does your DH answer the  call?? Id be pissed frankly. Early morning weekend coffee should be with your DH not  him on the phone with SD   WEIRD

BobbyDazzler's picture

that she's calling that early and he's taking the call. Speak up and put a stop to it.

BobbyDazzler's picture

you took the phone out of his hands and said, "You're both being rude..bye!" What would the fallout be?  What do you care if the SD is pissed about it? If your DH gets his back up....well, that would be a great opportunity for a lengthy discussion outlining what is going to change. Sorry, there's a lot of 'weirdness' going on here.

Harry's picture

Your DH is playing along with this sickness.  You married DH not SD.  DH should be help accountable for this.  Stop buying his excuses ,   He dose what he wants, then saids sorry, SD gets blamed.   You are going around in circles. 

ESMOD's picture

I would have just pulled out my phone and busied myself playing angry birds or something.. scrolled through FB etc.. 

My DH takes a lot of calls with people while I'm in the car.. we are in the car a lot though.. sometimes I have more interest than others in the convo.. sometimes I just ignore.

I do think that FACETIME when you are driving is unwise though.. But, I can see him wanting to wish a grandchild HBD even if it is not a kid he has seen.. or sees often. (not sure how far these daughters live as to why they are only telephone kids).

Newimprvmodel's picture

It's a new week and I can't be giving strangers so much space in my head. As I shared though every weekend now starts off in the morning with a phone call sat morning right when we sit outside for coffee. This weekend I did tell him that it was annoying especially as he leaves very early for work most mornings so it's an important time I feel. 
sometimes I do wonder what is missing in a marriage relationship when a spouse is constantly connecting with an adult child on a daily basis  several times a day.  Maybe I'm wrong but SD and husband are not fully focused on their spouses. 

Winterglow's picture

OK, so here's what I'd do. Next time she calls at 730, yell loudly/take the phone - "Hi SD, sorry, we can't talk to you right now but we're in bed and AHEM busy... if you get my drift!" 

CLove's picture

With DH.

Diagram and detail. Bullet points. Animation.

Spell it out for him before you go scorched earth. Then go scorched earth. Without guilt.