You are here

Disengaging is hard, but so worth it

There is a light's picture

I have been disengaged for well over 4 years.   It really saved our relationship and our marriage.

A few month's ago DH was scheduled to go for a hospital appointment to have an xray.   I was working away, but made sure that I had return the night prior to  his appointment to pick him up from the hospital.  DH  decided that he would go to work and then go to the hospital.  I would then pick him up as he may need to have a numbing injection.  We had planned that I should pick him up at 1pm.

Can you imagine my horror, when I woke up to a text by SS33,  who had decided to take the initative to make a whatsup group of me, DH and  all skids.  The text was polite and straight to the point.   He wanted to know how his Dad was and if I can keep them abreast of things.  NOW, this particular SS, I have totally disengaged with.  I have had enough of his disrespect and rudeness.    In the past whenever, I had text him, whether about his father, Christmas greeting, Birthday greeting  or whatever he never ever responded.   After 4 years of being on  "get all the skids on board campaign" I stopped texting him and only text the skids that wanted a relationship with me.      

My response:  I got up, did my usual morning meditation, grabbed a cup of coffee.   Then happily exited myself from the group.  I made no comment at all.  My husband knowing that I would not respond, had replied and confirmed that all was well.   My take on this;   I just do not want to be involved in his circus ever again.  Any contact with SS33 always ends in drama.  I am sorry, he does not get to have a relationship with me on his terms.   Meaning, he ignores me when he sees me, then adds me to a group when he want info about his Dad.   Sorry ask your respectful, friendly siblings who would be kept up to date by the minute!

This is the beauty of disengaging, you eventually get to the absolute freedom of not giving a damn.  DH did not say a word.  I know everyone in the  whatsup group were notified that I had left the group.   DH had this disapproving look about him, but did not dare say a word.  I wished he had.  I had his verbal medicine waiting for him.   Had he not talked about me to SS33, allowed him to disrespect me for so long, while he denied and defended him,  I would not have had to disenagaged to protect myself.  This always shuts him up as he knows it is true. 

I am on a roll ... Anyone else with fun disengaging stories !

marblefawn's picture

How presumptuous and predictable of your SS. Do you talk to any of your skids?

It's awkward because if you weren't there, they'd be in the loop dealing with his health issues themselves. But because you are there, you become the go between by default. Don't these skids ever think about these eventualities and play nice if for no reason other than that?

What happened to you is exactly what will happen here when my husband has a medical situation. And I'm dreading it...and pre-resenting it.

Years ago, after one of SD's most vicious, unprovoked attacks, her father had a gentle, "Now, honey..." talk with her but didn't even scold her -- he just smoothed it over, no apology from her, nothing. We all just acted like it didn't happen after her meltdown was over.

She was 25 or so and I was still trying with her then, so I went in and talked to her: "No one will ever take your place with your father, I just want to get along..Let's start over. This incident is already forgotten. We start over today and we'll make this great..." I told her there will be a day when she and I must support each other and make decisions together regarding her dad's care. I told her it will be painful, but it will be much worse if we continued an oppositional relationship. "But if we stay on a good course, we can support each other and be there for each other."

It didn't matter. She is who she is. I eventually disengaged.

What is our obligation to these kids when health issues come up with their parents? I don't know if I can continue to disengage when this happens. I'm not a cruel person. But I warned her then and since then that this is a possibility. She's an only child who lives 1.5 hours away. If her dad is incapacitated, I am her only source of info.

But I also wanted a good relationship with her because I've seen her histrionics when her grandmother is sick and when an ancient great aunt died. She accused her dad of "not grieving enough" because of me -- whatever that means. When her grandmother was recently in the hospital, she berated her uncle for "not being proactive enough" and not keeping the family abreast of grandmother's condition. She attempted to intervene by calling the hospital...on the other side of the country...because she can do everything so much better than everyone else. 

She will be a nightmare when it's her dad. I will have a fresh target on my back and if I don't bend to her will, she will let me have it. I insisted my husband write a living will. But his short of death, I already know I'm in for it.

Is there any way to head this off now, other than a living will?

Do I tell my husband, now, "This is what I'm willing to do regarding SD if you get very sick..." so he can let her know she's on her own? I think this would sound petty and cruel to him, but I already caught hell when I didn't call SD after I took him to the ER with flu-like symptoms.

I am not paid help and I should not have to answer to her, but she has, can and will make my life miserable. Is there any way to handle what will happen now so she doesn't make a bad time worse?

2Tired4Drama's picture

I live in dread of this very same situation with my SO if God Forbid something happens to him before me.  He has a living will and advance directive as well as a will and trusts.  But that still does NOTHING to protect me from whatever SD decides to throw my way, along with BM backing her up.  Now that SD is married to a parasitic leach who is draining her money/inheritance, I am sure he will jump on the bandwagon too.  

I am fully prepared that if that day comes, I might even be banned from SO's hospital room and be driven out of our home.  That is why I will always, always, always have a place of my own to go to - no matter how old we get.  

I've seen and been in family situations where even if a person has an advance directive/will etc. someone else in the family can swoop in and try and overturn it.  This is especially true if the person is weakened and signs new documents changing things when they are too tired to fight.  So even if there is a current power of attorney, advance directive, etc. a skid can call in another attorney and get a parent to sign new documents without informing anyone.  Even if it wouldn't hold up in court, it still turns it in to a long, drawn-out legal battle over who has a say in what happens.  Read the headlines - it happens all. the. time. 

I am quite certain that this might happen with SD.  Since my SO and I will never marry, there is all the more reason that as his "daughter" she will want to call the shots and overturn what he wanted and has already done with his attorney.  (BTW, he is leaving her with a very generous inheritance and most of his assets, and the only thing he wants for me is to own the house outright so I wouldn't have to move.)

I am almost thinking that in this day and age, it might be good for our DH/SOs to make a video.  Have them speak in their own voice as to what they want, what they want YOU to do and explain their reasons for whatever decision they've made OF THEIR OWN FREE WILL.  At least when the sh!t hits the fan, we can pull up the video and hit play, and hit play, and hit play - over and over until skids get the message.  

marblefawn's picture

Yea, I'm terrified of the day this issue comes into play.

On top of that, my mother recently started getting on me about not having a will. She doesn't want HER money going to SD. Now, I get that. I don't want my things going to SD either, but I don't have any kids, so what do I really care where my stuff goes when I'm dead? It's petty to try to control other people from the grave, but I also understand because SD has been rude to me and my family.

Suddenly it hit me how this will play out: with or without a will and trust, my mother will not leave me any inheritance because of SD -- this will be my mother's excuse. Hey, it's her money, she can do what she wants. But my family dynamic is not great; I doubt I could count on my wealthy sister or brother to be equitable.

It's ironic because with no children of my own and a husband who is 13 years older, I'll be the one needing institutional care -- not my sister and brother, who both have kids.

But that's just how the cookie crumbles, isn't it? Damned by SD, and damned by my own parents because of SD.

Sometimes we just can't see the ripple effects of decisions we make.

2Tired4Drama's picture

Nor do I have any nieces or nephews.  I do have Goddaughters who I will leave something to.  And there are issues/charities which I care about so I will set something up for them.

IMO, no matter what you have, you worked for it.  Even if your personal things are all sold at an estate auction, at least with a will you can dictate that the proceeds go to something you care about.  Hell, even if it only amounts to $100 I'd rather it go for food at an animal shelter than know one penny of it winds up with SD or her money-grubbing husband.  

I've also got some long-term care insurance for myself, so at least I know I will have a little something should I not be able to care for myself.  If I get to the stage that I need more than what that offers, whatever will be will be.  I did my best and after that, you just have to let it all go.

Since you are married, I would definitely get a will and directive set up.  God forbid you are in an accident with your husband and you are both incapacitated.  You don't want your poor mom or siblings having to deal with SD and her clan.  If nothing else, it will give your family piece of mind that they have legal authority to do whatever, without having to fight SD too.




marblefawn's picture

You're absolutely right that I need to get on the will and living will. I'd like to leave all my anything to animals and reproductive rights groups.

But when you mentioned my poor mother having to deal with SD...hahahahaha! I'd love to put those two up against each other! It could be titled, Battle of the Biggest Narcissist!" I honestly don't know which of them would win, but I doubt any of my things would be good enough to SD, so I'm putting money on my mother, who would win by default.

Oldfool's picture

I don't blame you for cutting them off. The 3 idiots I am dealing with have no shame and to this day have not apologised for their DISGUSTING behaviour to me.

My partner's two adult children in the UK and the granddaughter aka the BRAT. His daughter should have the shame not to come back to my home. She tells her dad that she will be late in picking up the BRAT from my home and phones/tells her dad she is doing A when I know she is doing B. Other sources have confirmed to me directly that she constantly lying to her father....

I am in my bedroom now as I do not interact with any of them...boy that child has STUNK up my front room. As soon as I went downstairs, I could smell her stench. My partner is still talking about forgiveness... I told him no way!!!!!!!!!

By disengaging in this way I am getting my point across......

notasm3's picture

I will never talk to SS34 again in my life - no matter what the circumstances.  If he ever manages to get my phone number out of someone I would literally go "click" the second I heard his voice.   DH has 4 siblings who would probably talk to SS so he would not be in the dark.

marblefawn's picture just made me realize my SD won't have my phone number either when I shut off my old phone later this month!

Now THAT is a sweet solution!

sandye21's picture

I was dreading the day I would have to deal with SD who is a spoiled only child also - Boy!  They are 'special', aren't they?  She might have our landline number but I can ignore messages from her.  I don't have her phone number and I'm not going to ask for it.  If DH is at death's door, I will contact his relatives who can contact SD.  I also plan of having close friends over any time she is here.  I really have no plans of talking to SD either.  She DOES have the right to see her Dad if he becomes gravely ill, but if she wants me to cooperate with her she had better be nice or I will not deal with her at all.  It non-negotiable.

MissTexas's picture

As it should be. SKs cannot pick and choose when they'd like to have a relationship with you. We are under zero obligation to provide information, or call, take their calls.

For sure it will be awkward, but my thought process is; if SKs couldn't visit my DH in the hospital, (both can clear their schedules at a moment's notice, and we all know scheduled surgeries are planned months in advance) send cards, flowers or visit once he got home, then what's the point? They've already proven where DAADDEEEE ranks in their lives and their world.

I'm with you, Sandye21, it's non-negotiable. The stress will be bad enough in a situation such as a grave illness. Don't medical expeerts always tell family members to keep stress to a minimum so the patient can recover more quickly?

MissTexas's picture

Great strategy!

One poster described disengaging similar to a death. It moves in stages, and I thought that was brilliant. One day, as you put it, you just "...don't give a damn." I had an aunt who used to say, "Once you get to f-it, it's all good, but getting there can be a SOB!" Boy, was she right! She said the sooner you "get there" the happier your life will be, no matter what it pertains to.

I'm in the process of "getting there," but mentally have been to "f-it" for a long time, but had wanted to please DH. Being the "STEP-ford Wife" gets old in a hurry.

I used to try to keep adult SKs abreast of DHs surgeries/progress/when DH got to his room at the hospital, but like your SS, they ghosted me out, and never responded. I was sure to let DH know that, as DH is the one who requested I do that in the first place.

Good for you!

Rags's picture

I do not consider family any different than anyone else if they are toxic.  Toxic should not be tolerated.  In a situation where a Skid is toxic and has proven through historic behavior that hey are not worthy of engagement, they do not get a early call when their parent is in the hospital.  They get a text during an appropriate moment during the process.  Then they get periodic update texts.

If they are toxic and their parent passes, they get cutt off as soon as the Will is read and the estate is settled.

I do not tolerate toxic for any reason and I do not analyze toxic, I write them off.

Why waste time, energy and emotion on toxic idiots.  I don't. Regardless of who they may be.

still learning's picture

If only there were a reaction video to see his face when he got the notification that you left the group!  I love that you just removed yourself. No explantion, no asking permission to leave, no blame, excuses or drama, just "bye."  

Such a good reminder to the rest of us that we don't need permission to walk away from the circus.