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Should I break my silence?

tigerlily74's picture

Yesterday, I posted about SS34's long reply to DH's earlier email laying down boundaries and asking his kids to be more inclusive about me. (

Basically, SS has gone from attacking me in the past to attacking DH now. The crux of this latest email was how DH has changed for the worse since being influenced by me, DH has broken the father-child relationship and effected a "second divorce" on his skids, and DH is no longer to be trusted.

(Seriously, what a drama queen.)

Now, I have kept quiet for the last four years since meeting DH. I had a first, very early Skype call with SS that was completely misunderstood. SS subsequently bitched about me to the whole extended family and accused me of slandering him and carrying tales about him. (He's the one emailing the whole family poison about me, and somehow *I* am the slanderer?)

After that drama, I decided to keep quiet and stay away. I figured the skids (SS34 and SD31) would twist anything I say and take it out of context. So I wasn't about to give them any ammunition against me. Especially given their propensity to email blast the whole extended family (grandfather, uncles, aunts, cousins) calling me "manipulative", "insecure", "untrustworthy", etc. (Again, *I* am the slanderer? Riiiiiight.)

There was even an episode just before the wedding when we gave SD a lift somewhere. During the five-minute car ride, I attempted to be pleasant: "Oh, SD, I heard that you are planning to go back to your studies? That's great!" What followed was a screaming tirade about how I was breaking up the family, I was heartless, what sort of person marries a divorced man? Blah blah blah.

[For the record, the Ex-Wife divorced DH after 10 years of freezing him out. DH did not want the divorce. And I met DH one year after the divorce was finalised. So I had absolutely nothing to do with the divorce or the break-up of the family - a fact that seemed to escape SD.]

During SD's shouting fit, I kept completely silent. Firstly, I knew any reaction of mine would be reported to the family and somehow SD would be the victim. Secondly, DH would be heartbroken if I got into an argument with his daughter. So I bit my tongue.

Since then, I've only interacted with the skids when I accompany DH to family gatherings. I smile, say hello, and ignore them otherwise. There have been one or two meals with SS, during which I am friendly but otherwise remain silent. I don't volunteer anything about me and say the minimum.

Now, given this latest email, I'm wondering whether to finally break my silence. I'm thinking of crafting an email to SS knowing that it will likely be circulated to the family. I haven't quite decided what purpose it would serve other than explaining why I've kept quiet and passive for so long. I'm still 75% leaning towards continuing my silence though.

What would you do?

sammigirl's picture

My SD57 tried every way possible to get me to respond to her 2 page hate email.  SD has even told lies to my family to get everyone to hate me.  

It has been 38 years and I have NEVER had a cross word or responded to her tactics.  She is a very evil person and I will NEVER bring myself to her level. 

If it were myself, I would NOT respond to the emails, I would not read them, nor would I ever let them know it bothers you.  Just concentrate on your marriage and your own happiness.   Stay disengaged, it gets easier and more peaceful.  Disengagement will drive them crazy.  

If you respond to the email, you play into their hands and you are dragged into their gutter.  Just ignore it and you do not have to be passive, just totally stay away from the unpleasantness they spread.  You do not have to be involved if they are passive aggressive to you.  Do not let them mistreat you.  Walk away at any expense.  Life is too short. 

It is a vicious situation, if you respond, it will never stop.

The emails are Libel and slander which are both forms of defamation.  Defamation is a common law tort, governed by state law, in which an individual makes a "publication" of a defamatory statement of and concerning the plaintiff that damages the reputation of the plaintiff.  The distinction between slander and libel comes in the form of the publication.

If you decide to respond, you might just type the definition of Libel and slander as I have given you here and send it to SS and tell him to cease and desist or talk to your attorney; then follow through with it, through a Victim Adovocate Office.

tigerlily74's picture

If you respond to the email, you play into their hands and you are dragged into their gutter. 

Exactly my thinking in the past four years. I think you're absolutely right and I'm now 99% leaning towards remaining silent. Thank you for the encouragement.

I'm saving your definition of libel and slander. Don't think I'll do anything about it, but it just strikes me as incredibly ironic that he says I slander him and carry tales about him, when he is the one emailing the whole world and calling me names. Let him continue. It just reflects badly on him - even if DH and I are the only ones who think so!

SacrificialLamb's picture

"it just strikes me as incredibly ironic that he says I slander him and carry tales about him, when he is the one emailing the whole world and calling me names."

He's grasping for straws trying to come up with a reason to talk poorly about you. Mine pointed to an event I don't even remember as evidence of how horrible I was.  Something about me asking for a fork for my take out meal because I didn't get one in the bag the food came in. 

Your SS also thinks he is so incredibly important that you MUST be talking about him. It really deflates their ego when they realize they are not important enough to respond to. Don't feed his ego by responding to him!

tigerlily74's picture

Something about me asking for a fork for my take out meal because I didn't get one in the bag the food came in.

That is so lame it is HILARIOUS!

sandye21's picture

"Something about me asking for a fork for my take out meal because I didn't get one in the bag the food came in."  Isn't it amazing what they come with to justify their behavior?  When SD had her meltdown she made all sorts of vague accusations. DH could not give me a specific instance when I had committed these 'sins'.  I think Skids are drawing at straws to try to find a reason to hate you.  You are under the microscope.  They will amplify some minute perceived 'slight' that you have committed, blow it out of proportion, then use it to justify their obnoxious behavior.

Just wonder what SS would do if he divorced, met someone else in a year, married her, then DH objected to it and acted like an a$$ like SS is.  If it was me, I'd let SS stew in his own juices.  However, I would find a way to inform him that his actions constitute unlawful libel and slander as Sammi mentioned.

SacrificialLamb's picture

Yes, they watch what you do to find fault. DH had to remind me of the missing fork saga later after OSD brought it up again years later. We had been traveling for days with my children, mother and SF. A road trip through several states. We stayed in a hotel in the state where OSD and her DH lives. They came to the hotel and got a hotel room.

That night the group wanted to go out for dinner. My mother, SF and I were all exhausted and said we were going to stay in. I then tried to give DH and SD time together and was happy to just rest.  My DH promised to bring us back some food. When they got back, I noticed my bag of food did not have a fork. So DH ran up to the hotel lobby to get me one before I asked him to or even thought about where I could get one.  

You'd think this was the cardinal sin of the century, that DH went the lobby to get me a fork.  This made me an evil heathen.  Sandeye I remember you saying your SD got mad when your DH wished you happy birthday. I think it's very similar....there was an open display that our DH's do things for us, have good feelings toward us, and our SD's could not handle it.  They want to believe that their father's are unhappy with the competition, that we are on the verge of divorce.

Why not the fact that I didn't go to dinner with them that night?"   She would get more leverage out of that, would have been more convincing that I was shunning her, but that couldn't work because my mom and stepfather didn't go to dinner either.  So the fork saga is what she was left with.

When things blew up 2.5 years ago and DH finally addressed the things she had done to hurt me, she brought this up as an example of why I was horrible. That was all she could come up with. LOL

So again, you can not reason with this mindset, one that wants to find fault for the most ridiculous of occurrences. OP has skids like that. I think she also lives in another country but agree she should pursue what legal protection she has for harrassment, libel, slander, etc.

Mountains's picture

My SD told DH she was disappointed in me 10 years ago because I sat in the front passenger seat while he drove once while visiting.  She said I should have known to sit in the back and let her have the front.  DH responded that none of us were mind readers.  Yep, she was 53 at the time.

StepUltimate's picture

You nailed it. Thanks for the laugh.

SacrificialLamb's picture

With what you have described, you cannot win. There's nothing you can write that will reach your SS. He WANTS a fight.

Take it from Sammi, who I hope weighs in with her wisdom. You win with silence. There are so many things you want to say to this cretin, but you stay silent and drive home the point that he is not worth a response. You cannot reason with this mindset.  Living well is the best revenge. Keep doing it, and ignore him.

I put up with my OSD's behavior for years before I snapped and emailed her a letter. That is my one regret in how I handled everything the last 15 years. Do you think anything I had to say made a difference? That she opened her eyes and thought "gee, I really have been treating SM terribly! I will fix that now!"  H3ll No.  And sending her a letter just gave her a prop to wave in the air to tell people how horrible I am...."oh my SM sent me the meanest letter she is so horrible!"  Don't do what I did - trust me! These guys are experts at playing victim.

Stick to silence. When my YSD was here recently she was trying to get her digs in at me regarding OSD. I just gave her a blank stare like "what are you talking about?"  I said nothing.  She immediately got uncomfortable and started shifting around, because she knew exactly what she was doing.

You are in a great situation where your DH now has your back. I remember your previous posts. Reality is your DH did not need their permission to marry you, and you do not need their approval. Responding to their poor behavior just gives them the satisfaction that they are getting to you. Don't give them that satisfaction. I rarely hear anything about my OSD now that she has no way to get at me. Since I made the mistake of the letter, she tried everything - even my mother - and failed.


tigerlily74's picture

Reality is your DH did not need their permission to marry you, and you do not need their approval.

Funny you should say that. They seem to think the opposite. In this latest email, he actually says that he expects me to admit: "We regret pushing ahead with the marriage when your kids were so uncomfortable with it. We were being selfish and we should not have steamrolled everyone and proceeded without their blessing.'"

Kiddo, marriage is bilateral. It's not a democratic process where everyone gets to vote. Did *you* have a referendum when you got married? Why does your Dad need your approval? /rolleyes

You are so right that he wants a fight. First, he attacked me. Since that didn't work, now he's attacking DH. Acting all holier-than-thou, claiming he is "communicating the truth in love". Pathetic.

I'll definitely learn from your experience and I'm now definitely swinging back towards maintaining my silence. Emailing will definitely give them a prop. Thanks for sharing!

bedazzled's picture

My SD wrote my DH an email similar to this a few years ago. She told DH that he was a failure as a husband, father and Christian. That marriage is a life long commitment. She said it was all his fault that he could not keep him marriage together with BM. (She filed for divorce not DH). Therefore he had no right to remarry. BM had already remarried at this point. I guess that was ok. She said she was done with him and closing the door with him and would not be subjected to be around his wife. She didn’t speak to him for 3 years until she was getting engaged and wanted money for the royal wedding. DH never confronted her at the time or when she came back asking for money. 

I agree with everyone else. Even though I would love to tell the B$&ch what I think I stay silent. It would only get used against me . It is a no win situation.

You are so lucky that your DH is standing up for you. If you tell SS off he might stop standing up for you. It might make him go back to defending him. 

I can only dream what it would be like to have a husband with balls.

tigerlily74's picture

Your situation with SD sounds almost identical. Sorry to hear your DH isn't wising up to his daughter's nonsense. How frustrating.

Rags's picture

occur in writing.  Script out  your position, have  your strategy mapped, but never, never, never share those writing with the opposition.

We got a flaming turd letter from my BIL1's bovine bride bloviating on how we were evil, my MIL and FIL were evil, blah, blah, blah.....  noting of merit, just her usual verbal diarrhea.  We kept it... When she later brought issues forward face to face... out came her letter and we smacked her about the head and shoulders with it (figuratively of course) for a number of years.

I suggest that all of the toxic SSpawn's written bloviations be kept handy to smack him with face to face whenever the opportunity presents itself.

DaniellaR's picture

You know what pisses people like your SD off? After her tirade, go back to talking and smiling as if nothing ever happened. My mom is crazy and will go off like that and when I would completely act like the poor behavior never happened, it would just set her off. 

tigerlily74's picture

That's exactly what I did. Just pretended the whole thing didn't happen. And when she begrudgingly apologised (at DH's behest) eight months later, I replied that I had forgiven her a long time ago. I think that both embarrassed her and pissed her off!

Survivingstephell's picture

After years of abuse from BM, DH sent her an email, (composed by me).  It addressed her motives for PAS and various actions she took to support her evil ways.  It was written in such as way that it called her out on her behavior but she wouldn't dare show anyone.  If you do decide that you need to confront evil spawn, take advantage of what you do know about how they act and what they will do.  Our BM backed off after that little email and the drama went way down.  I got out a few books on character disorders and narcissist and plagerzied them in the email.  I was pretty amazed at how well this worked.    Anyways. no contact is always best but if you NEED to confront, do it wisely and with a steel beam.  

tigerlily74's picture

Between DH and myself, I am the writer and communicator. So he shows me every single email he writes to the skids and he allows me to edit and add things. Researching on character disorders is actually a great idea! Do you think my skids are narcissists?

Survivingstephell's picture

I don't know enough about your situation to say but I can tell you that anything you learn about character disorders will serve you well and be worth the effort.  My favorite resources are:  Dr. George Simon,, Shrink4men.  The fact they gather the troops against you is called relational aggression and you can research that too.  The more you know, the better you can choose what to do, react or ignore.  I found this site years ago and recently rejoined so I could post again.  I learned a lot here and that patterns of behavior were not unique to my situation.  They are common and predictable in all disordered people.  Learn their patterns and use them against them, as in let them hang themselves with the rope.   Not much effort involved in that.  

tigerlily74's picture

I am afraid you are absolutely right. Going to read up on that. Forewarned is forearmed!

Cover1W's picture

You cannot respond.  My mother has send me two "hate letters" in the past.  And it does not pay to respond.  Oh my, the silence drives them mad.  And any reference to content in that letter means *I'm* the liar in spite of what's written in literal black and white.  Keep the peace for yourself, do not respond.

tigerlily74's picture

In this latest email, SS says: "If you did not make the effort before the wedding, you definitely have no motivation to after the wedding. Neither of you really cares what we think or what we feel. And possibly never have."

So you're absolutely right. The silence from me is making him mad!

I probably will get DH to explain at some appropriate time that I have stayed away from interacting with them because our previous efforts have been rebuffed and deliberately misunderstood. Yup, I'm going to remain disengaged. Kiddo, a relationship is two-ways. You don't want a relationship with me? Well, I don't particularly want to enter your toxic environment either.

SacrificialLamb's picture

"Neither of you really cares what we think or what we feel. And possibly never have."

So what were you supposed to do? Listen to them and not get married just because they would rather you not? These kids think they control their dad adn he should do exactly what they say.

If you ever say anything back to them, it should only be to seek therapy.

tigerlily74's picture

In this latest email, SS says explicitly what he expects me to do.

"Imagine if she said, "We regret pushing ahead with the marriage when your kids were so uncomfortable with it. We were being selfish and we should not have steamrolled everyone and proceeded without their blessing. I see that I had not promoted trust in our interactions, and have contributed to this bad relationship. I want to do my part to rebuild that trust. I will not carry tales about them. You need to give your children the time and space with you without me, and reassure them that you are their father who will always be there for them, and I will not allow my own insecurities to further damage our relationship. I will pray for the day that God helps us become a real family."

Talk about wanting to put words into my mouth! Kiddo, there is no way in hell I'm ever going to say any of that. You're absolutely spot on. He needs therapy!

SacrificialLamb's picture

He's a fricking lunatic.  And nothing like trying to prove you are a good person by invoking the name of God. 

He is coming up with a scenario of what he WISHES you had said, a nice little bed time story for the Big Adult Baby Boy.   Once again, your DH did not need their permission and you did not need their approval.  They are grown adults who should be living their own lives, not so obsessed with what daddy is doing when they are in their 30's.

Really curious what this "real family" looks like to this SS....probably one where you are the family servant after the remarriage of your DH and BM.

tigerlily74's picture

You are the family servant after the remarriage of your DH and BM.

I hope they hold their breaths. >:)

Rags's picture

Does he have a  mouse in his pocket?  Feelings are not a "we" thing.  They are an "I" thing and feelings don't matter any way.  Action is what matters.  So this SS needs to put on  his man panties and act rather than try to analyze with his feelings.  Feelings are not an intellectual resource.

But... if he can't listen and learn... then he can feel... the consequences of his behaviors.

tigerlily74's picture

Neither of you really cares what we think or what we feel.

Either he's referring to himself, his wife and his sister, or he's using the royal we. 

Consequences of his behaviour: DH had made it clear in his previous email that if the kids don't include me, then they would see less of him. It wasn't a threat. It was a fact. If they included me more, we would naturally spend more time with them. And therefore the converse also applies. SS obviously doesn't like the consequences and calls it blackmail. Kiddo cannot deal. /rolleyes

tigerlily74's picture


Survivingstephell's picture

He sounds like an over grown spoiled toddler!  He's 34???  Sounds more like a preteen miniwife.  Just how was this man raised?  His dad needs to set the law down with him and stop coddling his kids.  There are BM's that interfere in the other  house and when given a taste of their own medicine tend to back off on it.  If skids want that much control over your lives then that gives Daddy that much control over theirs.  (eyeroll)  I just can't even imagine raising my kids to think like this.  I can't wrap my mind around people that do.   

I do agree that the boundaries are working and they will amp it up until they get it thru their thick heads that they won't change.  They amp it up to test them to see how strong they are.  Follow your hubby's lead.  You can't fix this.  You can't care more than he does and it sounds as if he's had enough.   Lucky you!  

tigerlily74's picture

Yup. 34. Throwing tantrums and stamping his foot. 

Let them amp it up. I'm going to stay silent. It's obviously pissing SS off that I'm not pandering to his nonsense.

I'm lucky that DH sees his kids for the judgemental, prejudiced people that they are!

Willow6781's picture

I read your post from yesterday too Tigerlily. SSs behavior is absolutely disgusting. The mind boggles!

The fact of the matter is you are married, and you are a part of the family and SS needs to grow up and accept that. If DH were to go to family gatherings without you then it would undermine your relationship together and the little twerp would think he can get away with bullying and browbeating the two of you whenever he wants. I'm glad to hear that you have a supportive DH who is standing his ground.

For what it is worth, I absolutely think you are making the right decision ignoring these emails/staying silent. SS has written them with the sole aim of eliciting a response and getting attention and it will p*ss him off no end when he realizes you aren't going to take the bait. There is absolutely no reasoning with people like SS so better to focus on you and your hubby and do your best to ignore him.

tigerlily74's picture

I've come to terms with the fact that SS and his equally awful sister will never accept me as part of the family. It upset me four years ago, but I am not too bothered anymore. I think part of it has been just learning to cut out toxic people out of my life. The best thing is that DH not only stands his ground but agrees that we should avoid their nastiness. He's angry, sad, disappointed, but assures me that we are in this together. So I'm pretty lucky!

bedazzled's picture

I also would be fine not being part of the family if DH had my back. But he does not. That’s what I hate. I think that is what all of us really want. Just for our DH’s to have our backs and be a strong team with our husbands. That’s what the marriage vows we took said. They didn’t take vows with their kids. There kids are suppose to take vows with someone else and form a team with them. That is what successful marriages are, a team between the spouses. 

I think we all would see things so differently and be ok if only our DH’s had our backs and we could trust. 

Every couple in step situations I know who are successful, stand together as a team. The kids know they can’t pull their crap. They know they can’t break up the team. Some of our DH’s only show that they can come between the team so they will keep trying. 

No matter how hard we try we can’t be a team by ourselves.