Friday, January 25, 2013

Thoughts And Updates

- I haven't had as much time lately to read or write on my blog due to my little ones being on alternating nap schedules (which means that someone is always awake while someone else is sleeping). Nap time was previously my best time for such endeavors, but it's temporarily been lost to the Gods of Sleep. Until everyone is on the same nap schedule again, I may be pressed for time but I wanted everyone to know I'm still around.

- Since EFIL and L's shitty cards to our children, we have not heard a peep out of NMIL and Co. though we all know it's only a matter of time before they attempt some form of fuckery once again. I've come to the conclusion that, until they lose sight of us, they die, or we die, they'll never stop hunting us. But you know, I'm beginning to find peace in all of this madness, even with that realization made. Last week, DH and I were discussing which one of our many house projects we wanted to tackle next, and one of the major ones was replacing one of our fences and fencing in the rest of our yard. I was picturing what our sparkling new fence would look like (complete with a cute little gate and pergola) and it made me feel safer. I know a fence isn't going to actually keep anyone out who means us harm, but it's the symbol of it, I think, that made me feel that way. I felt that building a fence around the perimeter of our yard was not unlike each of the boundaries we've been putting in place over the years with DH's family. And the more time that passes and the more we work on, the better we get at keeping our family safe and DH's family OUT.

- I was thinking, once again, about EFIL and L's continued efforts to inform us that DH's step-siblings now have kids of their own (for shit's sake, she wrote it in each one of their birthday/Christmas cards), and I discovered another angle on it that I hadn't previously considered. DH has told me many times before that he always felt like an outsider around his father's life with L and her kids, and I bore witness to that many times when we still had a relationship with them. What struck me as intriguing about L's repetition that DD and DS had new cousins was that, given how much of an outsider DH always was, it's unlikely that even if we still had some semblance of a relationship with them, L's adult kids would probably not have made it a priority for their kids to form any sort of lasting bonds with ours. And here's the thing, DH went NC with his father and step-mother. He didn't go NC with his step-siblings. He didn't really need to. They'd never had a much of a relationship anyway. But, even knowing that, it still pisses me off that they didn't care enough themselves to reach out to us in any way. I'm not surprised by it, really. They certainly aren't strong enough people to go against their own ignorant, manipulative, pushy mother. I think the real reason why it pisses me off so much is that there has never been one damn person from DH's entire past who has ever proven that they really loved or cared about him. And while I sometimes wonder why L's kids never reached out to him to tell him the "big" news, I just as quickly realize that it's only more proof how little they wanted DH in their lives anyway. Anyway, my guess is that L mentioned our "nieces and nephews" in each of their recent cards to our kids as insurance just in case we decided to open only one of the cards. It was obvious that L was only making (constant) mention of their existence for purely manipulative purposes. I had realized it was a manipulation tactic before, I just hadn't realized how deep it really went.

- I recently came to another conclusion about something: that had I ever met DH's NF under different circumstances, I still would have gotten as far away from him as possible, though not before picketing his causes and writing a persuasive essay in effort to enlighten innocent children that they should never be alone with him. In my opinion, the man is an ignorant, hypocritical, bible-thumping, manipulative, cruel, vindictive, bigot with a Doctorate in Lunacy. And the only thing worse than THAT is NMIL.

8 comments:

  1. Good to hear your voice!

    I have 7 step-siblings in total (4 on one side, 3 on the other. 6 of them have/had spouses. 4 of them have children). I have known these people for almost 20 years. Now, granted, we were all teenagers when our parents married, but you would assume, that after 20 years, your families might come together.

    When my parents divorced, it was god awful (as I've told you) but I thought I would make the best of it and was excited about the prospect of all those brothers and sisters. I had always wanted more siblings. But right from the beginning, the wanted nothing to do with me. They all seemed very content with their little family dynamics and made NO effort to include us or make us feel welcome (my step-siblings all remained in their childhood homes/hometowns, while NSis and I were balloons adrift in the space.) I'm not sure if NSis's antics, anger at my parents, or just general childishness caused the result, but it still sucked. It was like salt in the wound, to further realize that I really had NO family, no place to belong, like an outsider.
    When the first children were born, I was never called "Aunt" Jessie. I was never treated like a relative at all. They never considered my kids and their kids cousins. Step-monster tries to pull some bullshit about "all her grandkids" but their is clearly a separation.

    And you want to know something else? I'm guessing that if something every happened to my DH, my in-laws would cast me aside in the same way. Oh, sure, the grandparents would want to see the kids. But I'd never hear from them again if it wasn't for the kids. I'd just be someone that they used to know.

    I'm not really sure if all my blathering adds to your post at all, other than to say, I get it. And it sucks. And I feel for you DH.

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    1. I would assume your families would have come together, to come to accept you and embrace you. Which is why I'm just as disappointed to hear that it didn't happen that way for you, as with DH. I think what makes it sad for DH is that he grew up with those kids, and we're all about the same age. The circumstances were such that, had they had different parents, things could have been very different!

      It must be like a second slap, after having to face such awful things with your FOO, to have been so rejected by your step-siblings. It's so sad. And it doesn't have to be that way. It's such a waste of a wonderful opportunity, to expand family, to grow one's love outwards. But, like every dysfunctional family, that's not at all what they want. They like to keep their dysfunctions for only the "sickest" people out there, and they don't want to have to share their secrets with outsiders.

      I had a moment (once. Only once) with one of L's daughters - Brainwashed) when I realized that, technically speaking, she was an aunt. And I asked her awkwardly, "So, it's Aunt Brainwashed, right?" But in my heart I knew she wasn't going to be an aunt, anymore than her mother was a grandmother. The thought of calling her "aunt" passed almost as soon as it came upon me. We only saw her a few times more after that anyway.

      [sigh] It does suck. These people are so stupid.

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    2. You know, I had been thinking about a post about all the by-standers that have watched this shit. How, when my parents divorced, my extended family chose sides and got emotional and completely ignored that their were children involved. I don't remember any aunts or uncles reaching out, asking if we were OK. In fact, my sister and I overheard family talking shit about my mother one day. They were right, but it didn't make it feel any better.
      Then, you think you're going to have a "new family" and damn it, I was determined to make it work. You know, chin up!
      And we were rejected again. They weren't ever rude or horrible, they just completely rejected us. I've known my stepbrothers since they were around 8. I know it's not easy, but none of them were interested in even getting to know us really.
      Then, I'd hoped that DH's family would take me in. Wrong again! It just sucks to be rejected over, and over, and over again.

      I get the thing with L's daughter. I mean, it's weird to call someone something when you know the relationship is phony and false. And to be honest, it's been weird to call me stepsiblings "aunt" or "uncle" with my kids. Because they are not. I'd be lucky if they could tell you my kids names. But I had hoped, that as we aged, we could kind of...I don't know...quit being so stupid? Like just live and let live? But nope, they have lines and charts and graphs to define who everybody is and their hierarchy in life. And god forbid you move yourself on a chart.

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    3. The bystanders are no better than the abusers themselves. I think it's an emotional crime against the victims of abuse to just SIT there and do nothing. I've been a bystander before. It doesn't happen often but I haven't been proud when it has. It's something I think I'll carry with me forever. It makes me feel like scum to think I could have ever sat by and watched someone else be abused. I think less of people who do that on a regular basis.

      L's kids were never rude to us either. Like your step-siblings, they pretty much just ignored us. I saw what it must have always been like for DH. He was just sort of there on the periphery, always. He told me that when he was very young he and his step-brother were friendlier with each other, and he does have a few fond memories of him. But when they reached their late teens, his step-brother got into heavy drinking and partying and DH didn't want to go that route, so they really lost whatever bond they might have had then. One of his step-sisters was a bully while they were growing up. I mean, they had a "relationship" but it was superficial.

      I saw it! (I don't know why, I feel like I have to defend that statement). Maybe I'll ask DH to write a post about it, instead of me sitting here trying to come up with examples. I just know that's what it was like. The incident a couple of years ago when we found out his step-siblings had gone out and bought a boat together but never thought to ask DH if he wanted to be included, that was a big one.

      Damn. I gotta write a post about it now.

      Anyway - I know how you feel, about being rejected over and over again. It's horrible. But you know, underneath that disappointment, we should be fucking relieved. I don't really WANT to fit in with their dysfunction, you know? That would mean we'd have to be unhappy, miserable, super-dysfunctional people too. I'd rather we make our own paths, Jess!

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    4. Yes, it's a strange feeling. I am not interested in living in their dysfunction. I don't want that in my life. But somehow, the rejection still stings. I really don't know how to reconcile those having both the emotions at the same time.

      Like, my BIL is always leaving his kids with MIL. You know that I do not EVER want to leave my kids with her. And I know that she has a really superficial, surface relationship with the kids and the whole thing is built on phoniness and manipulation. But it's hard not to feel disappointed and sad that my kids don't have a relationship with their grandparents. And we could have the same relationship as BIL with them. All phony-happy-family, but I just can't stoop to that.

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    5. I know it's terrible for you because you have it from both sides, so there is no extended family for you to lean on, ever. But I agree that it just isn't worth it to have the kind of relationship that your BIL has with them - like I've said to DH about the relationship his sister has with his mother. It's not a happy one and not one that I envy. The only thing NMIL can bring to the table is her material goods, and as we know those always come with strings.

      I understand what you mean about having a hard time reconciling the sting of rejection with the desire to be a part of their lives.

      Have you ever seen Ever After (with Drew Barrymore). I like that movie. And the part that always gets to me is when "Cinderella" says something to her step-mother along the lines of, "Wasn't there ever a time, even in the smallest measure, when you loved me?" And the step-mother says, "How can anyone love a pebble in their shoe?" (I mean, we all know the story of Cinderella, and in some ways I do think it mimics what happens with NMs). From the outside, that's what it looks like - all Cinderella is good for is doing the menial tasks that no one else wants to do. Her step-family doesn't love her.

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  2. My older brother's children who are now 40 and 45 have never wanted a relationship with my DD and I no matter how hard we've tried to connect with them. These days, as with my NFOO, I just figure it's their loss not mine.

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    1. It is their loss. It's a loss for us only in the sense that we've lost an IDEA. For them, they've lost the reality of what truly could have been.

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