Saturday, August 13, 2011

I Will Not Be Attending

I received an invitation in the mail today to L's daughter's baby shower. For sake of clarity, I'll refer to L's daughter as Brainwashed.

For reference, the last time we heard from Brainwashed was just moments before EFIL sent DH the infamous letter. Brainwashed contacted DH, via g-chat, on June 20, 2011 to say this:

Hey DH!!! How are you? I wanted to say happy fathers day, i am sorry it is a little late :) how are the kids?

As with all the events and conversations I have written about, this probably does not sound odd, unreasonable, or manipulative to an outsider.

But let's examine the facts, shall we?

1. As I mentioned, just moments after this message was received (and DH didn't respond to it) he got the letter (in email form) from his father.
2. We have never heard from Brainwashed outside of family functions where she spoke to us out of obligation (our baby shower and wedding shower, our wedding, in the hospital when she came to visit our DD after she was born, her Christmas visit in 2011, etc).
3. Brainwashed has never wished us well on any holidays (nor we her, again, unless we saw her in public), including even the major holidays.
4. She has never asked about the well-being of our children.

So with these facts in mind, DH and I immediately sensed that something unusual was going on when Brainwashed, out of the blue, "decided" to message him, a day late about a somewhat obscure holiday. We both got the sense that EFIL and L were behind the message, and that they had sent her in to do their dirty work. I don't think Brainwashed would necessarily have gotten into the nitty-gritty of things, had DH responded, but I do think she was being used as bait, so to speak. I could see their wheel's-a-turnin'. You know, "Will DH communicate with anyone from the family? If he's willing to talk to Brainwashed, might he be willing to talk to us? What's going on in his mind, and will he blab about any of it to Brainwashed? Can Brainwashed possibly send the message that we want to talk with him? Most of all, WILL HE ENGAGE?"

Anyway, that last brief and somewhat disingenuous message was the last time we heard from Brainwashed. Prior to that, we attended her shotgun wedding in February, we saw her during her parent's obligatory Christmas visit, and perhaps once or twice in the summer of 2010. I don't truly have a bone to pick with Brainwashed, except perhaps for the fact that she doesn't seem to have a mind of her own or a genuine caring for our family, but I have still decided I will not be attending her baby shower.

I have a couple of reasons besides the above stated:

1. I hate most shower-type of functions. I think most of them are lame, even if I happen to like the person being "showered." I hate them more when I feel I have to attend strictly out of obligation.
2. I have no interest in showing much support for Brainwashed. If the circumstances were such that we had a healthy, nurturing relationship with her and her parents, then my feelings would probably be different. I don't feel badly that I'm choosing not to show her my support, even though I've felt more slighted by her parents than her. DH and I have decided that, even though he has not officially gone NC with his EF, we still won't be inviting them to our special events or letting them into the important moments of our lives.
3. If they see me in September, they will become privy to information that DH and I do not want to share with them, as we can not trust them to keep it to themselves.

Having used these facts and feelings to form my opinion (and a brief chat with my mom about it) I have decided that I will RSVP. I had entertained the idea of simply showing my lack of support by not calling because EFIL and L already think I am rude and disrespectful, as proven in EFIL's letter to my husband when he stated, "Two things were suggested [in regards to EFIL and L having concert tickets for the same day as DD's first birthday party]: One was could move it up a little bit and that went over like a stuck pig, (and by the way that was very disrespectful of [Jonsi] to respond to [L] that way.) I mean, really, if they thought it was rude and "disrespectful" for me to respond to L's manipulative and selfish negotiation by saying "no" then merely choosing not to respond to a baby shower invitation would be on par with what they think anyway.

There is no email address to RSVP to, so that's not an option.

I could RSVP to the father-to-be's mother, but I feel that's the wimpy way out.

Here's my plan: I am going to call L and (most likely leave a message) saying this: This is Jonsi. I will not be attending the baby shower. Best of luck."

That's it, no explanation, no apology. If L picks up and attempts to make pleasant chit chat or discuss anything at all, I will tell her, "I have nothing else to discuss at this time."

Easy-Peasey. I will not surround myself by NMIL and her crowd. I will not surround myself by EFIL and L and their crowd. I will not surround myself by people who have shown such little regard for my feelings, opinions, thoughts, and rights. I choose not to engage with anyone who can not respect my boundaries, who has no interest in my well-being or the well-being of my family, or who has shown his/her loyalties to be against me and mine.

It is my fundamental right, as a human being, to say no.

And damn it, say no I will.

The only catch to me saying no is a rather large one. I fully believe that EFIL and L have already drawn their lines in the sand - they've been drawing them for a long time, and there are many. Choosing not to attend Brainwashed's baby shower will be the first line that DH and I will draw. I realize that it is a slap in the face not to attend the shower of an individual who attended mine. I realize that my decision not to attend will provide EFIL and L with possibly the first inclination that we mean business, and the way they have treated us is not just going to blow over. Not attending what amounts to a very important event for them is going to tell them that the event itself (and others like it) is not important enough TO US to "get over" our feelings in order for me to attend. Not attending says, "We will not attend your special occasions and we will not be asking you to attend ours." I realize that I am drawing a line where we had not previously drawn one. DH is on board with me, and that makes me feel good. We made this decision together, knowing full-well that the consequences, in terms of how EFIL and L will feel about our decision, will not be good. I must say though, in terms of demanding respect and raising our expectations, the outlook is excellent.

They've got their lines.

We've got ours.


  1. Saying no without explanation or justification is a skill worth developing! I admire the way you have mastered it, Jonsi!

    I think I've mentioned before, that at an AA meeting, a nosy bitch asked where my DD was (we often attend together), instead of the usual explanation, the new me replied, "Not here." Last night I had proof that the strategy paid off, I went alone and nosy didn't ask.

    Clear boundaries are much easier to defend than blurry ones. They leave two clear choices: Respect them or butt out! Makes life so much easier for both sides!

  2. yes absolutely. you have absolutely no obligation to attend a baby shower of some person for whom you have absolutely no feelings for. that's ridiculous.

  3. Adding to what mulderfan and Lisa said: It's easy to be trapped into the quip pro quo trap. If you feel like you should reciprocate, then send a gift. As to not attending, they don't need to know why. For all they know, you already had other plans. They don't have to know that your other plans are to develop healthier relationships. It was so hard for me to learn that I didn't have to say, "No, because..." I still fall into the trap occasionally, but I'm improving.

  4. Feeling the need to explain your every action is one of the hallmarks of an emotionally abusive relationship. If you find yourself doing this, it is a HUGE red flag!

  5. Wow. Glad I'm not the only one. This sounds SOOO familiar.