Since the party....sorry, long

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Shari, May 19, 2010.

  1. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Back in January or so, I had a somewhat lengthy conversation with husband's sister. The subject of us maintaining contact with her ex came up. She said she was very angry with us for that decision. I said it wasn't a decision to choose sides; it was a decision made to keep two young girls who had been raised together - together. Granted we don't see the ex often now that they have moved, but we talk to them often, and we see them 2-4 times per year and everyone looks forward to it.
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    We do not flaunt this to husband's sister in any way. I even set restrictions on public access photos so that she doesn't see anything that relates to them.
    ***
    The difficulty came with husband's sister after the ex left. We didn't agree with her choices for both herself and her son, and felt that with kids of an impressionable age, to pretend it wasn't an issue would send a message to our kids that we accepted those choices. She repeatedly invited us to join her on outings; she drank like a fish, got arrested for drunk driving, routinely invited us out with her on a Saturday night to the bar and encouraged us to take the kids, etc. Not that we didn't like to be with her, it just wasn't our kind of thing; the ex had a young daughter the same age as cultured difficult child and tended to do family-oriented things. husband's sister's son, the same age as my boys, was smoking pot. She knew it and didn't care. husband confronted him one night that he was somewhere he wasn't supposed to be and she got mad at husband. Those sorts of things just lead us to go our separate ways, really.
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    She lives in a trailer behind The Brooms on their property. She works part time (by choice) at a restaurant, frequents the bars every weekend, and largely is supported by husband's parents (they regularly pay for her groceries and she doesn't have enough money). I have just chosen to largely keep my distance from all of them. husband isn't as distant, but he doesn't "hang out" with his sister, either. In my book, it is not ok to let your kids smoke pot. Nor is it ok to drag them to the bar all the time. Once in a while, sure, but it was like all the time. I don't mind drinking in front of the kids. I think its an opportunity to show them responsibility...but enuf on that.
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    Her son was drunk at a wedding 18 months or so ago and hit a parked car. Before he took off, he told the owner of the car he'd hit that his name was easy child 1. easy child 1 has forgiven him. I have not. He is 23 years old and lost his college scholarship money due to drugs and alcohol. Not major, but enough to lose his education. Two Brooms paid his tuition at college and he dropped out mid term. He has been employed about half of the time since he graduated high school, and most of those jobs he's been fired from. He has routinely lied to the family about why he's not working. And back in October, when husband's car had an unfixable mechanical failure and he had borrowed the Broom's pickup for a week while the car was in the shop being diagnosed, this kid called husband and told him he needed the truck for 3 days so he could fix his car, and just came and got it. Left his car in our yard. We ended up buying a car, but its a good darned thing, cause this kid is still driving that truck. His car was in our yard until February. I believe he has learned to treat us the same way the Brooms treat us, and I wasn't going to stand for it. I think he may be turning things around, but then again, he's still driving the Broom's truck and he's jobless again....tho he is supposedly leaving for the air force on Sunday.
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    I'm not dumb enough to think my kids have never done anything wrong, never drank, or smoke pot. I just don't sit around and say its fine. So far, both boys have been gainfully employed and largely support themselves (easy child 1 doesn't have his own place, per se, but he pays rent and all of his own bills, including his groceries.)
    ***
    But this past weekend, at nephew's going away party, I wondered if I was being too harsh about it all. When I go back and take inventory of why I feel the way I do, I feel justified, but I would really just prefer to call it water under the bridge and move forward. But then husband's sister, who hates me because I won't hate her ex, informed me she was going to call cultured difficult child's mom and arrange to take cultured difficult child to TX with them for nephew's graduation. I don't think she really intended to ask us. And its the same time as our annual vacation. And it just ticked me off all over again...she wants us to hate her ex...yet she has maintained a friendly relationship with husband's ex just for this purpose? What's the difference???? I don't hate her for it, but I am angry that she thinks its ok to just ask mom and not get input from us, particularly when its taking her away from our annual family vacation!
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    I guess I just wish we could be a 'family' without the drama. Wishful thinking.
    ***
    Just needed to say it, I guess. Never been involved in a family that was so...ugly to each other. And never been involved in so many people at odds. They are always bad mouthing each other to one another....Two Broom's gripes about sister to husband, I'm sure she gripes about husband to sister...they all gripe about Two Brooms. Nephew despises Two Brooms. Two Brooms can't stand how nephew lies and uses her, yet she gives in to him over and over and over. Heck, they all just use and use and use Two Brooms...I dunno...I just don't like being ugly with them, but I don't know how else to deal with them. Just venting, I guess.
     
  2. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think this goes on in blended families more than we would like to think. Even in my life where it shouldnt go on, snippets of this junk goes on with my step-mom and her kids and my family. Good grief, my dad and her got married in 1984 I think? Yeah...right before Jamie was born. All of us kids were adults. There shouldnt be any "us vs them" mentality involved but we dont have family get togethers like I would like. I rarely see her kids. My kids wouldnt know them if they passed them on the street. Sad really because I always wanted siblings.

    Then we have the whole Cory/Baby Momma/Mandy situation. OMG...what a mess. Mandy is so jealous of Lindsay that she cant see straight. She cannot stand for Cory to have one second with her at all. Not even to go pick up or drop off Keyana. Not talk about Keyana...nothing. She throws major hissy fits. She refuses to understand that Lindsay and Cory are going to be joined forever by one little girl and she has to live with it if she is going to be with Cory. Just the facts. Cory and Lindsay dont want each other anymore. Lindsay is married and has a baby for her current husband. She is happy. She doesnt want Cory. Yeah she still cares about him because he is Keyana's daddy but thats it. Cory and Lindsay get along and have a civil relationship. Mandy cant be in the same mile without spitting nails. Its idiotic. Grow up.
     
  3. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Yeah, there's that part...and that's part of it, cause Two Broom's doesn't "accept" me and my boys, and its probably a sore spot with me because I raised difficult child 1 and he isn't mine biologically, but to keep things good for him, we dropped all the "step" bs early on....My family took him in, DEX's family took us all in (still do). And then there's the Broom's.

    When husband's sister and the ex were together, we got along great. We got together all the time, went camping together, floating, etc. We had a lot of fun. Its been since they split that we've had the falling out with sister, and again, I think the reasons for what happened are valid, but I don't like the results. And part of the reason for the split was sister's lack of backbone with her son. When ex-brother in law got in trouble with husband's sister for disciplining the teenage son for finding pot and a bong in his room, and the teenage son walked away with nothing from his mom, that was the final straw for him.

    Guess I'm just whining. I'd like it to be like it was before, but that's never gonna happen. Just kinda sad to be destined to a family of grump-a$$es. Heck, husband's cousin, the one that was "involved" with DEX's whackjob girlfriend, is a nephew of Two Brooms. He hates Two Brooms and the sister way more than I ever have dreamed up....so it obviously goes way deeper than just me...but its sad.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2010
  4. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Well, I'd just plain look her in the eye and tell her, "That's not going to happen" and walk away. You don't owe her an explanation. Cultured difficult child isn't her child and it's presumptuous to even think it let alone say it out loud.
     
  5. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Just got home and the Brooms were here.

    Wee and cultured difficult child were playing with a rocket that is powered by baking soda and vinegar. Its Wee's. He got it at Barnes and Noble with a science book. He was taking turns with her, but he's still "spoiled with that walmart toy". Whatever.

    They were going to go to dinner with husband's sister and the nephew but mentioned that they didn't know when because sis's cell phones are shut off. She's still on ex-brother in law's old business plan cause she can't get her own phone, but she's ticked as can be because the former partner didn't pay the bill. Ex-brother in law's phones are still on. But according to Two Brooms, somehow this is exBIL's fault.

    And I was feelng bad for "carrying a grudge". The koi has never stopped.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2010
  6. Tiapet

    Tiapet Old Hand

    There's a saying that goes "with a family like this, who needs enemies?" Many families are like soap operas and many people don't like it one bit. I think that is where friendships come in in my opinion. You essentially get to build your own "family" with friends by "picking" them since you can't "pick" your family. I know this doesn't particularly help in your situation at all. It is sad how it is but it's so true. Families seem to fight so badly with each other some times. And yet, other times, those same families with have the their backs when the chips get really down (maybe not yours at {this} time) but it does happen and that's why families can be a good thing......sometimes. Of course there ARE times when families just can't get along at all and some just have to learn to cut those ties. I've seen it, I've done it! My {hugs} to you in this mess/stress. Maybe something will settle down or get straightened out.
     
  7. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Shari, the reason there is so much of tis stuff surrounding this family - they wrap themselves up in it. They do it to themselves. Do not feel guilty.

    It is possible to simply shut up about stuff and keep the peace, but you do not have to lower your own standards. For example, husband & I used to go to various parties with his relatives, or with friends of ours at uni. But whenever the drugs came out, we left. The one time we couldn't leave, when we were staying the night at the kids house while the parents (including husband's) all stayed in the town, we locked ourselves in one of the bedrooms. Of course we know they were talking about us and claiming we were locked in the bedroom for more obvious reasons, but we had absented ourselves and frankly, had stopped caring what the family thought. We had told husband's sister where we were and why; she wouldn't leave the party with us although we wanted her to. We told her how to knock on the door and to feel free to come in when she felt a bit overwhelmed. She did, fairly soon after. Since then - we are still friends with those cousins who were into the drugs, but we've never trusted them.

    As for you still being friends with the ex and her being angry about it, then her saying she is going to take cultured difficult child with her interstate - I think she's trying to get at you and say, "See? I can play that game too!" which means she doesn't get it and probably never will.

    You got on well before, because things were going how she wanted them. A lot of people are like this - pleasant while you are all in agreement, but vicious when things stop going smoothly.

    The best thing you can do is insulate yourself from the nastiness. Don't let it hook you in to any extent. Maintain your standards on your home turf. Respect other people's turf even if it is not to your standards. If you find this conflicts, reduce your exposure to the lowest level tolerable. Then grit your teeth, nod and smile when you have to put up with them. But if they begin to transgress on your turf - let them know they're out of line.
    For example, the "you spoil that boy with that toy" is out of line. It was YOUR choice to let him have it. You were on YOUR turf. You do not owe them any explanation. Besides, you can make one of those things form the kitchen, really easily. I never bought one, I always made my own. You just need sodium bicarbonate and cheap vinegar. A bottle with a cork, a twist of paper to put the sodium bicarbonate into, and to demonstrate Newton's Third Law, a couple of round pencils to sit the bottle on (to observe the recoil).

    So you don't have to be rude to them when they say, "You spoil that boy." You simply point out, "We chose this. Besides, they are having fun together and they are learning. This is our place, we make our decisions together."

    Some people, especially some parents, feel they are not being parental unless they are criticising. This is them being parental and showing you guidance. You need to watch to make sure husband doesn't dish out the same learned behaviour.

    Marg
     
  8. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I really feel like that's all we've done, removed ourselves from certain "scenes" we weren't comfortable in, as people or as parents. We just limit our exposure to it. We still go out there, we go to Christmas and birthdays, etc, we're there when we should be/have to be/are expected, but that's it these days. THe leisurely hanging arround has stopped.

    Its just kinda sad.

    FWIW, Wee bought this rocket with his money. I didn't even buy it for him. The rocket is basically nothing more than the soda bottle you describe, Marg. He is always mixing soda and vinegar and playing with it, and I think its great. He blows up balloons, he made a little volcano and made it "blow up", etc. He likes to clean the drains with it. Both are incredibly cheap, and he is learning from it. May be learning how to blow things up, but hey...its better than sitting in front of the tube...

    And the backseat of my rental car is half full of toys he has gotten for Christmas and barely played with or outgrew, and gave them to me to take to Goodwill. I can count the toys in his room on my fingers (as long as I dont have to count lego sets separately! lol) I'm not saying he's not spoiled, but in that regards, he doesn't have a lot. And he's fine with them.

    Correction - fingers and toes. Can't quite get them all on just fingers.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2010
  9. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Just sending hugs. It's a difficult situation and with divorces and blended families there is apt to be some sort of drama. difficult child is going through it with her boyfriend and his ex (mother of his children), I have friends who have gone through it, etc.; it's not pretty.

    All you can do is maintain and live up to your own personal standards and stay strong. No matter what you say or how you try to make your point or reason with them, it will amount to nothing. Just do as you've been doing and in the end you will be better for it.

    One time back in 1995, after I had major surgery, I just didn't want to part with my girls for Christmas (they were supposed to go to ex's and his family) so I spoke with ex and explained and he begrudgingly accepted my decision (he could have driven up to get them, but he never offered). Well, his entire family was upset but the main difficult child, his loud mouthed rude sister, called me to b***h me out. It was outrageous - I could barely walk upright, my mother came in from AZ to care for me and the girls, a very difficult time, and here was this crazy woman from VA calling me to scream at me and call me a ***** among other things. I just quietly hung up. Later, when I related it to exh, he said, "Ignore her, she's nuts" and that was that.

    Stuff happens and situations arise, ESPECIALLY with blended and step families that do not otherwise happen in nuclear traditional families. It is up to the TRUE adults to handle those situations appropriately - you're doing extremely well, considering all that you have to put up with, in my opinion. Hugs~
     
  10. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Thanks, all.
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    I think you are right, I am just wishing things could be different. I get on well with my ex'es family. We make a point to get together a couple of times a year. We have a great time. Do we all agree about everything? No way! DEX's middle brother's daughter is OMG spoiled. Well, heck, his wife is OMG spoiled. Spending a day in her shoes would be like spa-ville for us on the boards! lol But we avoid topics where we disagree, no one belittles or puts down anyone else, and we get together and have a great time being a family. Everyone respects everyone else. Its just so different. And this is the family that has my back if the chips are down. I know, if I call, they will be there. And vice versa.
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    My own family is much the same way. My middle brother is an AH. But you walk away when he acts nasty and you come back 20 minutes later and he's over it. Again, we don't all agree, but we agree to disagree and move on. We get together several times a year and have a great time. They'd have my back, too, but they are all much farther away. But if I called, they'd be here. And vice versa.
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    Just makes me sad to think that most likely the relationship with husband's family will, at best, always be strained. The Brooms intend for husband and sister to share the farm when they are gone. I can't even fathom that. Honestly, I want no part of it. She is 42 years old and doesn't support herself at this point...I don't even want to be sharing a farm with her! She can't work a full time job and pay her own bills, and we'll be expected to pay property taxes to the tune of a few grand a year on the place with her??? OMG...no.
    ***
    I guess asking for three good families is just being too greedy. I'm thankful for the 2. Its way more than a lot of people have.
     
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