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Stepson not invited to a landmark birthday party - he is upset!

There is a light's picture


I have been disengaged from SS34 for well over 5 years now.  It is absolutely blissful - no more drama!

Naturally, DH finds this very difficult.   When he wants to see SS34 they meet up in a restaurant.  Anyway,  it is DH big birthday and I am arranging a surprise birthday party at a local venue.   Somehow SS34 found out and sent me a text, expressing how disappointed him and his girlfriend are that they did not receive an invite.  He felt that this may be the time to leave the past behind and celebrate his birthday. No mention of changing his behaviour!

SS34 has been dating his girlfriend for just over two years.   During that time, she has fallen suit with her boyfriend.  So now I have two toxic people!  well, I rarely see them, but the last time I saw them, I walked past his girlfriend and said a sharp hello to him.   You should have seen the look on their faces, they were visibly shocked.    It is okay when they are rude to you, but when you turn the wheel, they cannot handle it.  After all, the girlfriend made it clear that she wants nothing to do with me and I simply granted her wish.

I am sticking to my guns ..... they are not invited.  I have invited the other siblings and they have been very helpful.    I am organising and paying for the party and there is little room for negativity.

The issue is, my sister thinks that I   should respond to his text and tell him why he is not invited.  Then I have friends who has been urging me to invite him being that this is a landmark birthday. 

Unless SS34 shows ME signs that he has a change of attitude and is willing to work on a healthy relationship with me, then I want nothing to do him.   Until he has a change of behaviour I will stay disengaged, that means no invite to parties, Christmas dinner, or husband's birthday parties.   Whilst he is out in the cold, I have a good relationship with the other two Skids.  We all had an amazing Christmas dinner at the house and guess who was missing?

What do you think, do you think I am being too hard?  I am very comfortable with my decision and although my DH would be upset, he knows that I tried to have a relationship with SS34 and the next step needs to come from SS34.   I have suggested that he talks to someone, regarding the way forward.   He needs to accept and learn how to live with the fact that SS34 and I may never have a relationship.    SS34 not being invited to a landmark party is a startling dash of the reality of things to come.




grace8205's picture

Text him back and let him know his dad would be thrilled if they went to dinner for his birthday another night, just them. 

Curious Georgetta's picture

Your husband's momentous occasion, shouldn't it be about what would make your husband happy?

It isn't an event to celebrate you; it is an event to celebrate your husband. Does he need a celebratory reminder that his family is dysfunctional?

Can't you all be civil on a day that is not about you? Your husband would probably enjoy having his entire family together to celebrate

beebeel's picture

It's hilarious when one person is clearly toxic and clueless outsiders pull the "why can't you all just be civil?" b.s. card.

If being civil toward a toxic person worked to keep the peace, they wouldn't be called toxic people. 

sandye21's picture

"Can't you all be civil on a day that is not about you? "  Like BeeBeel, I find this statement offensive.  This is definitely making  OP the heavy.  Not necessary to make a point.  I'm sure the OP has heard plenty of this type of dismissive gaslighting before. 

OP, If the SS has been usually rude, why would you think he would not be rude to you at the party?  I wouldn't risk ruining the party.  I agree with another poster:  Tell SS he and DH can celebrate the birthday at another time.- on their own.  Stick to your guns!

elkclan's picture

Yeah, I don't know what happened in the past, but the view is always better from the high road - as hard as it is get on it and stay on it. 

tog redux's picture

It’s DH’s birthday, not yours. If DH wants him invited, he should be invited. This isn’t the time to demonstrate your disdain for SS by not inviting him. 

beebeel's picture

It is nowhere near a demonstration of disdain for my brother that I did not invite him today. It is a demonstration of my boundaries and LOVE for my family to protect them from his outbursts of toxicity.

I love my brother. I wish he was a man I could encourage my son to know. I wish he wouldn't drink to access and become verbally abusive to everyone. 

Removing toxic people from your life isn't about revenge or punishment. It is self preservation.

tog redux's picture

I don't know what event you are talking about - in this case it's the birthday party for someone who loves that toxic person and voluntarily spends time with him.

And your situation may be quite different.  She is clearly enjoying hurting her SS.

beebeel's picture

In both situations, there is a birthday party for someone who loves a toxic son. My dad voluntarily LIVES with my toxic brother. That doesn't mean everyone else should be forced around that toxicity to give my dad a very brief moment of "happiness."

And I don't see where she is finding joy in any of this. At all.

tog redux's picture

Well, we will have to agree to disagree.  I think if the person having the birthday wants them there, they should be invited. Others can opt not to go if they are invited, and maybe then the birthday person would change his mind.

I saw a lot of pleasure in how he looks so shocked and how he doesn't expect others to be rude to him, etc.

I think my SS is toxic and I don't want to be around him. But if DH wanted him at his party, I'd invite him.

Everyone handles toxic family in different ways.


beebeel's picture

Your SS is not toxic. He may be a vapid, personality devoid bm-bot, but you have always commented on how respectful he is to you and DH. He doesn't abuse substances and launch into disrespectful, abusive behavior. 

I would invite your SS into my home over my brother or any other truly toxic person any day of the week.

tog redux's picture

He's not respectful to DH, he lies to him all the time, ignores his phone calls and doesn't answer his questions.  He won't tell him his grades despite DH paying half of his tuition.  If he even showed up, we'd be given an earful of lies and bragging.  He's told DH that he beat up the transgender kids at his school. He's basically become a right-wing nutjob white supremacist. 

If you enjoy listening to that, you knock yourself out.  I'd take a substance abuser who is openly disrespectful over a budding neo-Nazi who pretends to be nice and polite.  At least you know what you are dealing with and who is the truly wrong one in the situation. He may not be nasty to my face, but he would lie to anyone about me in a hot minute if it met his needs.

Toxic comes in a lot of forms.  My SS IS toxic, you don't get to define that for me.  If you want him, you can have him.

elkclan's picture

Ewwww budding Neo-nazi. My ex fell down that rabbit hole, I'm thankful he's too much of a keyboard warrior to actually punch anyone, but I really fear what my son is being exposed to. We get glimpses of the poison from time to time. 

There is a light's picture

First of all, I am not enjoying hurting SS34, it is a matter of self-preservation.    Absolutely every time we met he and his girlfriend are rude and unkind to me.   Everyone has noticed it and even DH, who once used to deny it has seen that is the case.

Also, what is the point of getting counselling if you do not carry out what was agreed?   We all agreed that until SS34 met with me to talk about our relationship he would not be allowed in our home and would not be invited to any family events in the house.  



There is a light's picture

I do understand the reasons why people would think I should invite him.   Years ago I most definitely would have.  However it always has the same outcome, him behaving badly and ruining the event,  even out our wedding!  So no it is not about me, but both my husband and I are fed up with the aftermath when it comes to him and his girlfriend.

We have agreed in counselling, that unless he changes his behaviour I shall exclude him from our family events.   DH has spoken to him about it and he refuses to change.  So NO - he is not coming!

I am throwing the party, not my husband as it is a surprise.

tog redux's picture

So DH will be fine with him not being there? If that's the case, then fine.  If not, it doesn't matter who is throwing the party, it matters how the person that party is for will feel.

Honestly, you aren't really "disengaged" if you still revel in hurting SS for all he's done to you guys.  I totally get not inviting a toxic person who ruins all of your events, but ideally, it should not be with happiness and enjoyment of his misery.


sandye21's picture

I didn't get that the OP was getting any enjoyment out of not inviting SS and causing him misery.  The OP only wants validation that she is doing the right thing by not creating more drama than is needed at DH's birthday party.  I DO think DH should have a little sit-down with SS  one day and explain why he is not being invited to family events.

Monkeysee's picture

I would hope that OP’s DH would be more concerned with his wife being treated well at the party she threw for him than having his disrespectful son & gf there, knowing they would cause trouble for her. 

I would also like to think he’d have the sense & decency to focus on how wonderful it was of her to throw him a party at all than stew over the fact that his son, who’s cause considerable issues for his wife, was not invited.

I don’t see a woman who’s finding pleasure in not inviting him. I see a woman who’s made a deal with her husband, that SS34 is welcome back once his behaviour changes, and is upholding her end of the bargain. I’d be the same way. No way does someone get to treat me that way for years on end then get invited to things because it would be fun for them. Especially not at my expense and in my home. I don’t see the need to break a boundary here. It’s a birthday, not his last day on earth.

Harry's picture

Him and GF if he is going to cause drama at the party.  If he can not behave like a person, I would not want him there.  If he is going to behave, I would see no reason to not invite him.  You don’t have to talk to him, Or your DH can go out to dinner the next week with them.   Sometimes being the bigger person pays off in other ways 

notasm3's picture

I also have a SS34 that I have nothing to do with. My DH also has a milestone birthday coming up - 65.  I am sure that DH would love for me to welcome SS back into the fold - but my DH also is very concerned about my wellbeing.   As long as DH knows that being around SS is absolutely toxic to me he would never even hint that I include SS. 

I have zero guilt that SS is banned from my life and home.  It was not my actions that caused this.  If my DH predeceases me I would not even include SS in the funeral arrangements. 

beebeel's picture

I am hosting a birthday party for my 74 year old father today at my house. I did not invite his eldest son, my brother, because the man can't behave himself. I'm sure my dad would love to have all of his kids together, but he understands that my little brother and I are done with our toxic sibling.

This doesn't just happen in step-situations. Toxic people are disinvited to family gatherings all the time. Don't feel guilty. You aren't the one who can't behave themself.

Forthelifeoftheparty's picture

Beebeel has an excellent point. People, even bio family members, eventually stop making excuses for toxic siblings and relatives. And they are not included anymore. And everyone is happier for it. 

You need not invite him or feel one ounce bad. It would be odd for your DH to suddenly have all of his kids there. SS would see how much he has been recently missing out on and probably try to guilt trip your DH. Your DH doesn’t need that nonsense and neither do you!

A month or two after SS18 said nasty things to me and never apologized, only burrowed down into his hateful position even further, my DH, SS18 and I all had a “talk”. I told SS18 he was welcome back to our home despite not apologizing because I realized he was incapable of doing so. BUT, in order to come back into our home, he had to have absolute confidence in himself that he would not say such disgusting things in front of SD13, DS1, or other family again, because it was a terrible example to set. 

So effectively the ball was put in his court. And he has not been back since. I imagine he whines to his mommy and friends that he “is not allowed” over here. But truly, he cannot trust himself not to become a nasty ball of disparaging comments around me. So he stays away. It is wonderful.

I might suggest the same kind of tactic with your SS, but he is an adult and long set in his ways. He would probably use the opportunity to make a scene or quietly guilt trip his father. Trust your gut!

disrestep's picture

No, you are not being too hard at all in not inviting the toxic SS. Sounds like your DH is fed up with his disrespectful attitude toward you and DH's marriage. 

Don't listen to what other people who are not in your situation suggest to invite this rude adult skid. If you are comfortable with your decision to not invite him, then don't. You should not have to explain your decision to anyone. You planned the party and are paying for it, so invite and don't invite whoever you want. This business of some people thinking that any adult brood has to be invited simply because they are a son or daughter is rubbish. If these adult skids have a history of causing scenes at past events, then there is no reason to stress yourself and your DH out with worrying about to invite them or not. 

I can tell you, I have invited adult steps to past DH-related events, including our wedding, and wish I never did, as all they did was create drama and show nothing but disrespect toward myself and DH. So, adult skids are no longer welcome at gatherings DH and I plan. No holidays, no birthdays, nada.

It's interesting, as I bet most of these adult skids would not invite us to their events. They just invite the bio parent and exclude the stepparent. So, too bad. Tell them it works both ways. I swear they believe just because they exist, is reason enough they should be invited.

Good luck with everything. 

SayNoSkidsChitChat's picture

BLOCK him or change your number. He has no business sending you txt, emails, phone calls, fb msgs et al. Block and delete.

strugglingSM's picture

I’m hoping this won’t be my future, but fear that it will be. One of my SSs is just like BM - who always has to make a scene, make everything about herself, and is constantly accusing people of being out to get her.

I’ve talked to DH about how if this SS becomes like BM, I will not want him in my home. DH pushed back, but I’ve been very clear that I will protect myself.

I’m of the viewpoint that bad behavior shouldn’t be tolerated, even from - and maybe especially from - relatives.

I would probably be conflicted about inviting SS. I would know that DH would want him there, but would also not want him to ruin the party. If I’m being really honest, I would probably just plan something for DH and I to avoid all the drama.

In my view, you should stick to your guns and not allow others to push you to do something you don’t feel right about.

Exjuliemccoy's picture

You and your DH have drawn a boundary with his jerk of a son, and you are all living with that. Sorry, not sorry for him.

What bratty skids don't count on is their families reaching a point where they're done with all the friction and negativity and choose peace over war. Many of these skidults have been raised on pedestals and/or weaponized by BM. They've never been confronted or corrected, so they don't know how to cope with being called out on their poor behavior. Often, they don't have the tools to fix their messes.

I vote for you replying to this text. Briefly remind SS of how his poor treatment of you has brought things to this pass, express sadness about it, and outline what he needs to do it he wants a healthier relationship. He won't do anything of course, but this positions you more sympathetically and puts the ball in his court. When meddling family asks, you'll be able to sigh and say, "I've tried, I really have. But Sonny Boy isn't interested in fixing things." Save the texts as proof and show them to your DH after the party.. 

sandye21's picture

It is safe to say the majority of people, including me, have at least one relative who creates negativity for the rest of the rest of the family.  Whatever bad habits they posess causes too much drama for an enjoyable family event.  As others have suggested, stick to your guns.  The participants of the event have a right to enjoy it minus the drama and negativity.

Rags's picture

DH to toxic SS-34 "Son, you will be respectful of my wife or you will not have a part in my life. I want you in my life but, you are no longer a child you are a man. I will tolerate no man disrespecting my wife. You disrespect my wife, you disrespect me.  So, pull your head out of your ass and grow up.  Until then, you will not be welcome in my home or at any family events that I and my wife will be attending.  Regardless of who hosts the event.  Drop me a text every once in a while letting me know you are okay.I am your dad and I will always love you but I will not tolerate any toxic adult in my life."

End of story.

Stay the course. It sounds to me that you and DH have a good relationship and that you have a reasonable relationship with your other two Skids.

Zero tolerance of crap from SS-34.  Defend the boundaries you have established and stay the course.

Good luck.

Take care of you. 

2Tired4Drama's picture

...this simple message:  "The party is a private event I am hosting.  You are correct that it is invite only.  You will not receive an invite." 

Then block his number.  Don't try to explain, don't use the word "sorry", don't try and get into a ping-pong text argument with him.  State the facts succinctly and then ignore any further attempts to include him.

If it's a surprise party for DH, I am sure he will enjoy the revelry and others company.  Once it's over, if he asks about SS, then tell him he wasn't invited for all the reasons you've identified here.  

JLRB's picture

Stick to your guns, There is a Light.  Toxic family members have no right to ruin family gatherings.  My SS40 has started fights with others at many family get togethers over the years.  We started avoiding events that we knew he'd be at.  We finally blocked him from our lives last year when he sent my husband a text on his birthday ripping him apart for every little thing that SS40 claims was done to him as a kid, most of which was untrue or grossly exaggerated.  He also said some very hurtful things about me as well.  He sent it as a group text, including his brother and sister, both of whom didn't call him out on it.  This was not the first time that he did this.  For our own health and wellbeing, we have blocked him from sending us texts or contacting us through Facebook.  It's been such a relief.  This same SS40 has now done some things that have caused his sister, SD36, to take out a restraining order on him, even though BM thinks she should let it go!  He has a record of assault & battery and is a dangerous person.  Just because they're family, you don't have to keep them in your life.

SayNoSkidsChitChat's picture

I post stalked you. Did that horrendous alimony BS ever end for your poor husband?!

JLRB's picture

Hi!  No it has not.  I don't see an end to it unless the laws change in Mass.  He'll probably never be able to retire.  She has a chronic illness, but it really shouldn't be his responsibility anymore.  She has access to services and lives rent-free in an apartment in her daughter's house.  She lied on her financial statement that she pays rent.

still learning's picture

Grownups should know that if you're nasty to the person throwing the party ya just might not be invited.  It's a natural consequence of negative behavior.  There are lots of little get togethers that ss33 and his lovely gf have missed out on because I neglected to invite them. ss26 and his family get invites because they act like normal people. 


Too old for this's picture

I was in exactly this situation 2 years ago.  I had an elegant family dinner in a private room for a landmark birthday for DH.  I struggled with whether to invite toxic SD.  In the end, I did.

She came.  She was rude to me and sulked tried to be the center of attention but didn’t succeed because everyone was  having a good time.  I did it for DH.  Would I do it again?  No. It is not worth it.  He was so happy with everyone else around him (siblings, nephews, nieces, other kids)  that he hardly noticed her.  I put a lot into that party and would have enjoyed it too but for her.

Bottom line:  you are the hostess- you get to choose.

HowBoutScottyDont's picture

I would not invite him. I would consider responding to SS:

'SS, years ago, we agreed that until some of your behaviors toward me changed, we would not be in each others lives. To date, nothing has changed and other than your inquiry about the surprise party, I have not heard anything from you. If you are open to a respectful relationship and attitude towards me, I would be happy to hear from you about that, such that future events can include all of us. Please let me know when you are ready."

And then make it clear to DH's siblings that SS34 is not invited for all the reasons you mentioned.

With that said, if he knew about the party, there is a good chance he knows about the time and place and might just show up. So prepare yourself in either case.