Need a sounding board, venting and some advice - long...sorry

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Mom2oddson, Dec 10, 2009.

  1. Mom2oddson

    Mom2oddson Active Member

    Sort of quick update since the home computer crashed 1 1/2 years ago....

    EG - Enabler Grandma (my mother in law, husband's Mommy) Has legal custody of difficult children, husband had serious drug problems when difficult children were babies. EG took custody and husband got help. He got clean, he got his kids back, but EG kept custody...always had some excuse and husband refused to sue EG for doesn't sue mommy

    easy child(son) 19 - currently in College in the Midwest, coming home for Christmas. Studying to be a pychologist... no surprise there.

    difficult child 1(son) 19 - currently living with friends, holding down a job, trying High School one more time. Comes to visit me often. Smokes, drinks and does pot but not around me. Doesn't fight with me, is very respectful even. Tells me he loves me with his whole heart and wouldn't pick anyone else to be his Mom. Has come a long way since he was 14 and EG pulled the custody card and took him away from us. He's been on his own since he was 17.

    difficult child 2(daughter) 17 - currently living with EG, Again the custody card was pulled this summer when difficult child 2 ran away because she failed second UA and out-patient program was talking in-patient rehab again. Now that she'd living with EG she doesn't have to do out-patient program, doesn't have to see her psychiatrist, doesn't have to take any BiPolar (BP) medications, goes to the public high school, is hanging out with all her druggie friends that we banded her from seeing...etc....

    husband - currently on East Coast, will be home for a week during Christmas. Great guy in every way but one. He reminds me of the abused spouse that might call the cops but always drops the charges. EG has pulled stuff a thousand times (verbal/emotional abuse), husband gets mad and won't talk to her (call to cops), but after a few weeks starts talking to her as if nothing happened (dropping charges)...after all, EG didn't to in on purpose, she still loves us, she's a good person and blah, blah blah...whatever.

    Until difficult child 2 ran away this summer, we thought difficult child 1 was causing a lot of issues and manipulating everyone. After difficult child 2 ran away, difficult child 1's girlfriend showed us a lot of text messages from difficult child 2 that she had saved. All the issues we had were orchestrated by difficult child 2. She is a fantastic award for sure. She was playing everyone against each other. The boys hadn't talked to each other for almost 2 years because difficult child 2 was playing one against the other.

    difficult child 2 has been playing extended family against us ever since she went to live with EG. Most of my sister in law's refuse to talk to me anymore because of how evil I have been to difficult child 2.

    Now for the reason I came here... I need advice/sounding board. In the past, every time husband went back to EG, I stood by his side. I clenched my jaw, held my head up, was the better person and rose above. Each time it has gotten harder and harder to do. Now Christmas Eve is a couple of weeks away and husband wants to attend EG's yearly party. I don't want to go. I think husband should go and have a I don't want to be a part of it. I am tired of pretending that everything is okay and EG is a wonderful mommy and all that junk.

    Of course, part of me wonders if EG will think she's won, but she has to think that every time we come crawling back to her. What do you think??

    Also, husband wants difficult child 2 to come home and spend the holidays with conditions or anything since we haven't seen her since summer and she must love us even though she hasn't so much as sent a text message all this time. I told husband, Christmas Day dinner only. What is your opinion on that issue too???

    Thanks in advance.
  2. jbrain

    jbrain Member

    I think your 2 plans are both good. I would not want to pretend anymore either. I just wouldn't go to EG's. Also, Christmas Day dinner only sounds right for difficult child 2. I don't envy you your situation at all!
  3. Mom2oddson

    Mom2oddson Active Member

    Thank you for the hugs and the reassurance that not going to EG's and having difficult child 2 just for dinner is a good idea. It helps me feel like it's the right thing to do.

    I got two invites for things to do Christmas Eve instead of going to EG's. I think I'll say yes to them and husband can go enjoy EG's without guilt because I'm sitting around the house.
  4. aninom

    aninom New Member

    I wish I didn't recognize this, but I do. It's extremely traumatic, I imagine especially for difficult child 1 - when this kind of manipulation goes on for years, trust becomes a fragile thing and the entire family can start feeling toxic. Did you talk this situation through after you found out? Impulse control issues are one thing, but that kind of manipulation is a whole 'nother level of scary.

    Oh yes. been there done that. Our difficult child will usually first act in some unacceptable way, then go out about town and relatives and spread the idea that someone else in the family acted that way... I guess it's convenient to have source material.

    I know it sounds like lame advice, but the best thing you can do is to simply stay calm and be yourself anytime someone starts looking at you funny all of a sudden. Do NOT try and counter-argument, or tell them all about difficult child - she jumped on that train first, and she's most likely a better liar: the sister in law's and others won't believe you. Your difficult child will probably screw up her relations with them sooner or later, and if not (which is sometimes a good thing if the relatives are a good influence), accept that there is nothing you can do and try not to feel too bitter about it. God sends us nothing we can't handle, as they say.

    Don't go. Your gut is right. The pretend carousel takes a chunk of your self-esteem and sanity with it every time it goes around. Refusing to act along anymore can also be a healthy signal to both EG and husband that, in fact, things AREN'T okay, their behavior pattern isn't acceptable - which is the first step to things changing.

    My first thought is, re-tool the way you look at this situation. EG is EG. You cannot change her, and by focusing on her emotions in this way or buying into the idea of a power game, you are draining yourself of energy. She thinks she won - so what? Her perception of the world is her own sad problem. Yours is the key to your own happiness. Let her think whatever - her opinion of you, at this point, matters only minimally; if she is immature enough to see this not as a question of what is good for the kids, but of what is good for her ego, she is truly a petty person and you cannot let yourself buy into her emotional conception of the situation.

    Great idea! If she knows it's a limited time event, after not having seen you for so long, she may be better able to resist falling back into the same behavioral patterns. Plus, if such a short time goes well (precisely because it is too short for you-know-what to hit the fan), it's more likely the next time will go well for a bit longer.

    I'm mostly speculating on this, but I can count on my one hand the times our difficult child has been able to spend a "good" and normal day with any of our family, and it has always been in the context of her being in town only for a day or so.

    Hugs, and best of luck to you and yours!
  5. recovering doormat

    recovering doormat Lapsed CDer

    It sounds like you have been a saint through all this, but at what cost to yourself?

    I agree with the previous reply, let husband go visit his mom Christmas Eve and you go spend it with people who don't antagonize you and make your jaws clench. Life is too short!

    I think having your stepdaughter for Christmas dinner is fine. Not trying to hijack this thread, but you might look at the responses that Jbrain gave to me about her relationship with her difficult child daughter, who is older than your step daughter but sounds like they are both street smart kids who can survive on their own. There's a term I've come across before, of "detachment", when you can not feel yourself get sucked into another person's drama, particularly when it is detrimental to yourself and your healthy household members.

    Good luck and I hope you can enjoy some of the holidays.
  6. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Sure sounds like you have been through the wringer a few times. I can honestly say I admire the way you keep your thoughts to yourself when your husband goes back to his mommy as if nothing happened. Sure is an unhealthy sounding relationship.

    Your Xmas Eve plans sound just right to me. There is no reason to continue to give chunks of your sanity to this game. Do what feels right to you. Let husband do what he needs to with no criticism.

    As for Christmas, what makes husband think that difficult child 2 would WANT to spend the holidays with y'all? Unless she has some axe to grind, she probably will want to be with whomever will give her the most $$ or stuff that can be sold for $$. Drugs are not cheap after all. IF she comes over, it may be only to steal from you. No matter what husband wants, make sure ALL gifts are locked up. Esp ones for you or the other kids. Make sure ALL medications are locked up. If husband doesn't want to lock up things, put a lock on a door when he is out (locks are not expensive and are easy to install yourself) and put the stuff in there while he is out. Don't say anything, and if he complains tell him you have to do what you can to protect difficult child 2 from getting anything she can sell for drug money. If he objects hopefully you will be able to work out a compromise.

    It sounds like she is pretty out of control. I hope that the holidays can be enjoyed with-o too much drama. Your instincts are good, follow them!
  7. Mom2oddson

    Mom2oddson Active Member

    Aninom - We had long talks with difficult child 1 after we found out about the manipulation. difficult child 1 was actually starting to doubt his own sanity. If everyone believed he did whatever awful thing and he couldn't remember it...maybe he was blacking out.

    As far as my SILs go... it made the Enabler/Martyr personality of one really stick out!

    Your comment about the pretend carousel taking part of my self-esteem really hit me. It does!

    Recoving - There has been a large cost in me. I've lost a good portion of my ability to trust people. And it isn't so easy for forgive. And each time, it takes longer to heal. I've had to put up some very strong walls between myself and difficult child 2. It was the only way that I was going to survive the emotional strain.

    I did read Jbrians post about detachment. I've gotten there with difficult child 1. But it took a lot of work. I can now love him for the sweet, funny, lovable kid he is even if he is making some really dumb choices in his life. It is his. I need to work on this for difficult child 2
  8. Mom2oddson

    Mom2oddson Active Member

    Susie, $$ is exactly the reason difficult child 2 wants to come over. My Mom gives each of her grandchildren $100 and my Aunt gives $75. And of course husband wants to give her money.
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2009
  9. XerSib

    XerSib New Member

    Putting on my "what would Dr. Laura say" hat .... :try2fly:

    I would say that you have the correct instinct to avoid your grand's get together.

    However, beyond that, you should look more closely at husband's role in all this.

    Serious, serious co dependent behavior with his Mom. At 40, he should not be so scared to be assertive with her.

    Y'all gone to counseling together to look at this aspect?