In addition to NMIL's nonsense, February also brought some drama from EFIL and L.
And, if you can believe it Dear Reader, at surface-level the drama involved yet another birthday.
EFIL's birthday is just a few days after mine. We sent him our well-wishes in a birthday card, a few days prior.
DH can not recollect if, in years past, he has made a point to call on his father's birthday to wish him well. But regardless of how he has handled it in the past, the circumstances this year were quite different. We both feel that sending a card on either of his parent's birthday is a suitable and appropriate way to acknowledge their birthdays, now that we are married and have a family of our own. Furthermore, this year DH was away on business during his EF's birthday and was not paying attention to the goings-on of anyone's social calendar but his own. We had also discussed, prior to DH's departure, that he would wait until he came back from the trip to continue any form of communication with his FOO, be it large or small-scale. Thus, calling his father, even to wish him a happy birthday, was not on DH's mind. He did not want to get sucked into any more drama, considering it likely after EFIL's nonsense prior to his trip, so he tried his best to put everything on hold until he returned home and we could deal with everything together.
We'll never know how EFIL actually felt, because he wasn't the one who addressed his supposed hard feelings with DH.
L did it for him. Or, perhaps she did it against his knowledge. Either way, the results were the same.
First, L took it upon herself to call DH and leave him a lengthy voice mail about how rude and cruel it was to avoid calling his father on his birthday. She said, "I am disappointed that you would try to ignore your father on his birthday. If you were trying to hurt him by not calling him, then you succeeded. I don't understand why you are so angry with your him. It's your dad, it was his birthday."
Then, L sent an email saying much of the same, though I'm sorry to say we didn't save it so I could reproduce it here for you. I'm sure you can catch the drift of it though, Dear Reader. It was all so finger-down-your-throat vomit inducing in its guilt-peddling.
I was also annoyed that L was fighting EFIL's imaginary battles for him.
I wondered, did he really care that much about DH not calling him on his birthday? If he did, why wasn't he the one stepping forward and making mention of it? Then I thought, why don't these people get that they aren't the most important people in DH's life anymore? Why can't they get it through their thick heads that it's normal and healthy for us to grow in our own direction, and when will they realize, if ever, that their thoughts and behaviors are completely dysfunctional and unhealthy? Was L merely trying to stir the pot because she wanted her hands in the "fun" too? What was she getting from all of this?
The whole "DH should feel ashamed of himself for what he has done" attitude was getting so old and we were getting ready to shut it down for good as we began to see that EFIL and L were not going to change. L's manipulations were becoming tiring and her voice mail and follow-up email were truly pathetic. DH didn't ignore his father on purpose. In fact, he didn't ignore his father at all. We sent a birthday card to acknowledge his birthday, and even did so a few days in advance so that we were sure not to miss it. I wanted to say, "Speak for yourself" to this woman who so readily put words in other people's mouths. What she clearly fails to realize is that by enabling her husband's cowardice and immaturity, she's only making the situation worse.
L's nose is turning black because it's so close to the fire she is stoking. Her words about "wanting to understand" are so familiar because she's said them before. But here's the thing about understanding: It's overrated. Everyone wants to understand - it's a basic human drive. But we've never asked EFIL and L to understand. We've asked them to butt out. We've asked them to respect us. We've asked them to provide us with unconditional love. Affording us those things should not be contingent on their understanding. L doesn't need to understand why DH is angry with his father, or if he's even angry at all. After all, who ever said anything about DH being angry with his father? Sounds like projection, to me. No, L needs to stop sticking her nose where it doesn't belong and let her husband speak for himself. And once that occurs, EFIL needs to stop pushing the desire for understanding and start putting his money where his damn mouth is.
They're so stuck on pretending to have an interest in understanding our basic needs, that they are flat-out refusing to meet our elementary relationship requirements. The fact of the matter is, they don't have to understand to treat us with kindness and respect. They just have to fucking do it.
It would seem to me that dealing with EFIL and L, indeed, dealing with anyone from DH's FOO is an exercise in futility. It's like trying to save an ice cube from the cold.