I don't want to get too comfortable (and I may end up eating my words) but I feel as though DH and I may be reaching and "end" of sorts with his FOO. I don't honestly know whether NMIL has exhausted all of her manipulation tactics and I can't say with any real certainty that I believe she's completely redirected her eyes on a different target, but I have nevertheless been feeling that her steel-hard resolve to remain blind to the truth is precisely what will force her to stay away from us permanently. It has always been her choice to maintain distance from us out of her unswaying resolution to offer us bullshit instead of truth, and to offer the rest of the world nothing but an absolutely ridiculous mask. She lives in a world where she can liken herself to some of the greatest philosophers and humanitarians of our age - and the people she has surrounded herself with choose to buy it.
And that's fine, really it is. She can feign sainthood as often and to whatever lengths she likes, as long as she stays in her corner and out of ours. I'm not so naive as to think she'll ever really go away completely, but I often think to myself, what more can come than what they have already sent? What more damage can they inflict? What supplies are left in that arsenal? And try as I might, I don't see where they have any power left. They've spent it all on nastiness and spite and hatred and, as with any war campaign, they will eventually run out of time and money and energy to keep this shit going. Births and deaths and marriages on both sides, and even attention-grabbing-suicide-attempts have not gained DH's FOO any forward momentum in their efforts to dissolve our marriage or get DH to collude with their desire for power and control again. Nothing, save for perhaps the literal death and re-birth of a brand-spanking-new NMIL, would break our resolve to keep them out of our lives.
I see DH's entire FOO and vast network of past relationships as a dark, ominous cloud in the distance that gradually yet continually gets blown further and further away from us. I see NMIL and EFIL & L and NSIL and J and Exhibit A and the whole cast of crazy characters as one black puff of smoke that can be diffused with just a little bit of effort on our parts. They know next to nothing about what is going on in our lives and we are happy knowing next to nothing about theirs. And I am starting to find that my desire to know what's coming next is leaving me. Perhaps it's a letting go of sorts. Perhaps I simply don't care anymore. But whatever the reason, I have this inherent sense of calm and confidence that the worst is over and that DH and I and our children are finally entering a space of real peace.
Last Christmas, after EFIL and L sent us messages which showed that their desire for power and control was still very much alive by means of holiday greeting cards to our children, my mother said, "Jonsi, what does it matter if all they do is send a card for Christmas? Who cares? If that's all they do, then you can toss the card aside and move on." It seems, though I know appearances are deceiving with these people, that that may be all they have left now. Just as sure as I feel that NMIL is mostly done with her attempts to win over DH with her direct bullshit and that even the indirect bullshit will be coming at us less and less, I am sure that EFIL and L will still play their assigned role to the bitter end - and I know that has to do with whatever they've got planned for our children. I see the use of attempted manipulation through financial means in the distant future and I see it aimed, in whatever weak way they've planned, at our kids. I think they are biding their time because they know that DH and I are the gatekeepers to our children, but that someday our children will be adults with their own desires and hopes and dreams and I think they have plans to attempt to use those as a means to gain power over them.
I have a lot of faith in my FOC - in our ability to stick together through the storms, in our desire to raise strong and healthy children, and in our strength of will and personal character. I have a very loving and supportive FOO who are always around to give us advice and aid when we are in need. And our children are truly amazing beings - I have faith in them and who they are and who they will be. I don't believe that I am raising children who will go out into the world to be easily manipulated. I think I am raising bright, kind, compassionate, honest children. I think they are inherently kind and sensitive and good and I am working hard with DH to parent them in such a way that they can be whoever and whatever they want to be. I know that, if DH's FOO is still in the game for power and control, they will test the strength of these bonds my husband and I have with our children, and yet I still have faith that we will prevail - five, ten, or fifty years from now.
I'm already thinking that when the next round of greeting cards show up, DH and I will probably finally be able to throw them aside, unopened. Because we already know what they will say - there will be nothing new to read, no great understanding on their parts. Even in their silence now, their resolution to keep their eyes shut tightly in the face of truth is apparent. And so when those cards arrive, and if another person shows up at our door, or when we receive notification that DH has been "cut from the wills," it will be much easier to toss it aside. Because it doesn't matter. They don't matter. And they have even less power than ever before as more time passes.