Why must she ruin every holiday? Warning...long, long, vent.

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by hexemaus2, Dec 24, 2010.

  1. hexemaus2

    hexemaus2 Old hand

    difficult child 1 does not even live with us anymore. Heck, I don't even speak to her anymore. Yet still, she has a way of putting her dark cloud over family holidays.

    First, it was two years ago, when she blew Christmas up into her own drama fest, just to have an excuse to leave. (She already had packed her bags the night before, unknown to me...the whole ordeal was orchestrated.)

    Then it was the next Christmas, where I wasn't allowed to see Rae for Christmas because difficult child 1 wanted to be evil, mean, and nasty when I refused to be Bank of Mom or her door mat any longer.

    Now this Christmas, she has to stir up trouble, yet again.

    For the last nine months that my sweet little granddaughter Rae has been living with my sister in law, difficult child 1 has made little effort to keep up her relationship with her daughter. She sees her maybe once ever 6-8 weeks, seldom calls to check on her, and just generally only has something to do with her when she wants to play Mommy, or point out to her friends what monsters we all are. (She'll call and want to come see the baby right now, then when sister in law tells her they already have plans, she needs more notice than an hour, difficult child 1 uses it as an excuse to show her friends we won't let her see Rae.)

    I have been paying Rae's support since the day she arrived at sister in law's, a full two months before legal custody was decreed. difficult child 1 has brought diapers twice in nine months and a handful of toys we're pretty sure she stole, since she has no job and was arrested for shoplifting already.

    When she leaves after a visit, she's not happy unless she somehow gets Rae to cry, just so she can post to Facebook how heartbroken she was that Rae cried when she left. Well gee, when you stand in the door, repeatedly saying "bye-bye" and don't let Rae go outside on the porch, she always cries. If the door opens, she wants to go play outside. If she can't, she cries about it. difficult child 1 will stand in the door until Rae notices the door's open, then runs over to go outside. Naturally, when difficult child 1 doesn't let her, she starts crying. How cruel can you be to a child, just so YOU can feel like she cares?!? Poor Rae can't even pick her own mother out of a family picture! She can point out Grandma, mama S (sister in law), Papa (my father in law) and her cousins, but not her own mother.

    Hardly any of the family speeks to this child anymore (difficult child 1) because she has lied, manipulated, stolen, and just in general been acting like an immature, self-centered, thoughtless twit. No one wants to see her self destruct.

    But to her friends-of-the-month, we're all heartless monsters because everytime difficult child 1 gets kicked out of yet ANOTHER household (happens about once every few months...usually after she steals from whoever's trying to help her, or sleeps with their husband/boyfriend/brother/and next door neighbor.) we won't offer her somewhere to stay. We keep her from her child. We never loved her. Oh geez. Give me a break already!

    I ignore it all...even when it shows up all over Facebook how her mother doesn't even remember her birthday, how her aunt is always keeping Rae from her, whah, whah, whah.

    But the other day, she crossed the line. I blew up...and in a very public manner. Little did I know, it would start a family-wide blow up - all directed at difficult child 1.

    It all started innocently enough. My neice, sister in law's oldest daughter, absolutely LOVES Rae. She dresses her up in cute little outfits, takes her to church with her, has pictures of her little cousin all over her Facebook profile, I mean this kid just loves Rae to pieces. Now keep in mind, my neice is only 14. She's very active in her church. She's really, honestly, a good girl. Heck, she asked her Mom to start homeschooling her because she doesn't like the fact that the teachers at public school don't do anything about the foul language and general bad behavior of the other kids. She doesn't want to be around that kind of stuff. I don't think that kid could have a mean-spirited bone in her whole body!

    Well, she posted a picture of Rae to Facebook the other day. difficult child 1 immediately got an attitude and was quite rude to my neice, accusing her of always rubbing it in her face that my neice gets to see all the things she should see with her daughter. I was very proud of my neice for the way she handled it. She apologized, but firmly stated that she was not trying to hurt difficult child 1's feelings, but share what Rae was doing. The nastier difficult child 1's comments got, the nicer and more supportive my neice got, saying she loved her cousin, and hoped for the best for her, etc. difficult child 1 felt the need to add her revisionist view of why sister in law has custody of Rae to begin with, and all my neice said was "now you know, difficult child 1, that isn't the whole story. I'm sorry if I got you upset, but that's really between you and the courts, not me. Just remember that I love you, always will, because that's what family does."

    I was so proud of my neice. I couldn't stand the idea of my child bullying her so publically, so naturally, I commented myself. I told my neice not to ever feel the need to justify or apologize for sharing something she found joy in...including her little cousin. I told her I was proud of the "big sister" role she's taken with Rae, and how much I know Rae loves her too, how much it means to grow up knowing you are safe, loved, and cherished.

    Now, knowing my child, I knew she wouldn't DARE continue the ugliness on her cousin's page. Not if she wants to stay on speaking terms with my sister in law. So I went looking at her page, to see if she was continuing the bad-mouthing and bully of her younger cousin there. I read a status update, much like a million others, with the typical poor me, I'm grateful for my friends who stand by me, blah, blah, blah. I was sorely tempted to answer with "what...you mean the friends who haven't caught you stealing yet? Who haven't seen you pick on your 14 year old cousin yet, just because she posted about Rae?" But I didn't. I refrained. I stayed mature. Took the high ground....

    until...

    More comments showed up from her friends, about how THEY were her real family, we were just a bunch of heartless monsters, that the people who raised difficult child 1 never loved her, we were a bunch of blankety-blank idiots, blah, blah, blah.

    Between bullying my neice, and now people who have known difficult child 1 less than a year are bashing my ENTIRE family, including my niece, for being heartless, making accusations that were simply untrue, I blew a gasket. But still, I didn't comment. Not until difficult child 1 posted that she was getting Rae back, then leaving the state and none of us would ever see Rae again.

    That was it. I had listened to enough. So, I responded. I outlined every lie, half truth, and b.s. story difficult child 1 has ever told. I called her out on all the lies, the manipulations, the stealing, the bullying, the ignoring and abandoning her child, all of it. Every last bit of it. How she has used Rae to get back at family members who didn't give her what she wanted. How she abandoned Rae multiple times at my SILs for "a weekend" then disappeared for weeks and months at a time. How she stole money from me, how she planned her drama fest the Christmas she left, only to tell everyone I kicked her out. I dumped every last bit of it, all the ugly truths - including the fact that I could have handled some thing differently, but my intentions had ALWAYS been her and Rae's best interest, and for such a monster as me, why would I furnish her home, put utilities in my name, make repairs on her home, loan them money, drive an hour each way to bring them formula or diapers, etc. I seriously unloaded, and felt so much better for it.

    Naturally, she had a pack of lies, half truths, and nastiness as a defense...which absolutely ENRAGED other family members, including her brothers and my sister in law. Here, my sister in law is, out of the goodness of her heart, taking in Rae and doing her best by her, all the while trying to be supportive (if only limitedly) of difficult child 1, encouraging her to keep trying to get her life together, never openly passing judgment, and here difficult child 1 is, firing off how we're all monsters and that sister in law will never see Rae again once difficult child 1 gets her back (like that's ever going to happen.)

    Before you know it, a half a dozen family members jumped in, all calling difficult child 1 out on her lies and nastiness. Enough so that difficult child 1 blocked everyone.

    Now, keep in mind, none of us stooped to being nasty. None of us let on in our comments how truly hurt and angry we all were. Instead, we were all very diplomatic, remindeded her that we all loved her, but hated her behaviors, etc. In response, we had difficult child 1 and her ex-con, striper, and general lowlife friends tell all of us difficult child 1's version of history, and how cold, uncaring and nasty we all were. Yeah, okay kids...talk to me after you've been around her a little longer, after she's stolen from you, lied to you, stabbed you in the back...I promise, you'll sing a different tune.

    The whole thing was just ugly and nasty. It left a lot of family members reeling and hurt to hear how difficult child 1 portrayed them to other people. Its one thing to know she talks bad about you, it's another thing to actually see the words and hear the stories she tells. I was astounded by the things she said about other family members. I'm used to her portraying me as the Bride of Satan. But other family members? No. They don't deserve that kind of treatment.

    She has now, yet again, put the entire family in foul spirits at Christmas. It's bad enough to see her presents sit under the tree every year unwrapped. It's bad enough that she's not a part of family holidays and events. But to have her so heartlessly hurt everyone like that, just because SHE isn't getting to see Rae for Christmas? You could feel the dark cloud over everything when we had Christmas dinner at my inlaws the other night, right after all of this. Christmas is especially hard on them, with exDH gone. To have her attack them and their son's memory like that, just a few days before the holidays? It just broke their hearts that much more.

    Why does she have to do this? If she hates us all so doggone much, why can't she just walk away and leave us all alone? Sign over custody to sister in law permanently and walk away. Go start a new life with whoever you want. Why go to such lengths to hurt everyone who has ever loved you?

    I just don't get it. I really don't. And as horrible as it is to say this...I don't care if I ever see or hear from her again. That's such a horrible thing to say about your own child, but it's how I feel. I know in my heart, if she doesn't change something, some day I'm going to get a phone call. I'm going to have an officer at my door saying "Ms. J, we're sorry to tell you this..." And to be perfectly honest? I don't really know that I will care. I don't really think I'll feel anything. Nothing. It's just all gone. I feel nothing for my own child. Nothing but contempt, anger, sorrow, and fear that somehow she WILL manage to get Rae back, and then what will happen?

    What a lovely way to spend the holidays...with yet another painful reminder of how that child has tried for so many years to destroy her family and make them as miserable as her.

    I feel bad for my SO. He came into the picture long after difficult child 1 left home. He has no clue just how vile and nasty that child can be, or what she's put us all through. Now I just want the holidays over with. I don't want to be all cheery and Christmas-y. I don't even want to do our Christmas celebration tonight. (We both have plans with our families tomorrow, so we're having our own little private Christmas with each other over dinner tonight.) I swear I just want to pile all the Christmas decorations up in the back of the truck and go donate them somewhere. I just don't want to do Christmas any more. difficult child 1 always finds a way to make it a horrid, painful time of year. Poor SO. My boys get it. My family gets it. None of us feel really Christmas-y this weekend. They don't expect me to fake holiday cheer, nor do I expect it of them. But SO, he didn't sign on for this. He didn't sign on for having a girlfriend who hates Christmas now and just wants to spend the weekend in bed, under the covers, like it's not even a holiday.

    Ugh. Bahumbug. Are the holidays over yet?
     
  2. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    I don't blame you for how you feel, I don't even know her and I'm ready to write her off to her own fate. *hugs* I hope you got screenshots of everything in case it comes up in court later, and I hope Rae gets the best holiday possible for her. Kudos to your niece for handling it so well and being such a wonderful help to Rae.
     
  3. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Hex--

    I'm sorry you are feeling so blue and hurt over difficult child 1's comments...

    but I have to wonder why you are letting yourself get drawn into this on FB of all places...? For goodness sake (and your own sanity) you need to de-friend difficult child 1 and anybody else who is nasty to you and your family. You already know that there is nothing you can say or do to change her ways - so why expose yourself to it? Life's too short...you don't need to log in and read such nastiness...

    Hope you find some pleasant moments this holiday...
     
  4. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Hex,

    I hope you and your family can get let it all go and have fun anyways.... Do something to distract yourself. Part of it is letting go of what the holidays are "supposed" to mean.

    Your post made me realize something. Right now I am in this place with my difficult child where I am trying to let him know I love him no matter what and I feel that is true. It is hard to imagine getting to the point where I just don't care what happens to him... however your post made me realize the thing that could make me get there.... and that is if he had a child, my grandchild, that he was not loving, treating well, taking care of. We have not been in that situation but I think I would have a hard time forgiving him not being there for his kid and especially if he used the child as a way to get back at the family.
     
  5. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I'm so sorry for the pain this has caused you and your family, especially at the holidays. I hope you can somehow put this behind you for today and tomorrow, at least, and focus your energy on your granddaughter and the joy Christmas will surely bring her. I know watching my grandson's face at Christmas makes my heart melt, and helps me forget the ugliness than can happen with my difficult children sometimes.

    I know many of us are Facebook friends with our difficult children, for many different reasons. I've noticed many parents here are FB friends with their estranged difficult children, simply to keep an eye on them. I do understand that reasoning, believe me. But's a double-edged sword, because while it may keep you updated on what's going on in their lives, it can become a great source of stress, as you've just realized. difficult children *know* we are reading, and I'm convinced that the most unstable of difficult children sometimes "plant" information on their FB wall, knowing family members are reading, and use that just to stir up trouble (heck I know "friends" that do that, too, and I"m not even related to them). Sounds like exactly what your difficult child is doing. You have a couple of choices then.. you can unfriend them, or, you can "hide" their posts from your feed so that you never have to read them again unless you make the effort to click on their profile. I find hiding to be a short-term solution, personally, for friends whose drama I am fed up with... they effectively disappear but I am saved the "drama" of unfriending them. With your an estranged child, however, it would take extreme restraint not to look at their profile to see what's going on. Still, if they continue to post vile stuff and you never respond because you never read it (even though they may think you *are* reading it), it may tone things down a bit, once they realize they're not getting a reaction.

    I love Facebook. I've reconnected with countless old friends there, and it's an interesting window into my daughters' lives (although sometimes, it's too much information, particularly with the pictures Oldedst sometimes posts... my my my). But, it's a drama-magnet. Tread cautiously if you are going to continue to follow your difficult child there, and ask yourself if it's worth it. Of course, she may have already unfriended you along with the other family members she unfriended, but I would bet you if she craves that much attention, she'll want to reconnect there sooner or later.

    Hugs.
     
  6. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am so very sorry. Please don't let this ruin anything for you. I know it is hard this year, esp with all the vile lies she spewed. It is really hard work to get to the point that you are insulated from that kind of thing. I am dealing iwth my own holiday hatefulness, so I can empathize.

    Your SO didn't fall in love with a woman who had a magical perfect family. He fell in love with YOU. ALL of you, not just the fun parts or the parts that make holidays nice. YOU. Warts, difficult children and all. This year maybe you and SO need to find a tradition that is just yours.

    Lots of resolutions are made for New Years. Consider making one that you will improve your detachment skills and learn how to insulate yourself better from difficult child 1 and any other negative influences. My husband once described my gfgbro as a swirling vortex of negativity that cannot be satisfied, much less happy, unless he has made everyone around him miserable. in my opinion your daughter is the same.

    The book Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend, and the workbook of the same name, are great resources to help in this. Regular alanon, narcanon or families anon groups will also be a huge help. You will learn to understand yourself and why you are vulnerable to these influences - ANd how to protect yourself and your kids from the cycle.

    Are you and sister in law keeping a record of everything difficult child does with/for/near/about Rae? If not, you MUST start. With enough of this info (and proof if you can gather it - if you can see any of her fb photos, save them to your site or print them as evidence of what she is doing. MANY people actually post photos of themselves using drugs/alcohol and/or breaking other laws. One store here actually pressed charges against a teen who posted pics of all the stuff she shoplifted from them. The idiot put photos of it AND directions to show people how easy it is to steal!! The idiot took them down a couple of days later, but the store had already printed them and alerted the cops.

    With enough evidence it may be possible (even easy) to have difficult child 1's parental rights terminated and/or for sister in law to get a restraining order against her. in my opinion it would be a good idea to at least start to put this into motion. That baby does NOT deserve to be treated that way and neither do any of the rest of you.

    Many hugs!!
     
  7. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Hey Hex!

    I was thinking about you and your crafty-self the other day. I still have that beautiful snow man card you made and sent me years ago. I treasure it still. Seems like forever from then huh? I think Christmas should be what you make it - but sometimes when outside forces attack? It just can't be helped. Susie* gave you excellent advice about the record keeping and the restraining order. I would follow through with that. Actually I'd video tape every one of her visits from now on.

    You wanted to know why she ruins things? Shes miserable with herself. Therefore - everyone around her is entitled to feel her pain. It's obvious she cares very little for anyone. How can she? She doesn't even care about herself. I think out of everyone your little niece has probably the best handle on it even if she's naive to the world. She loves unconditionally. Not easy to do when the world jades you so badly. The fact that Rae can't pick her Mom out of a picture isn't going to make Rae feel better when she's older - and I don't think it makes you feel very good right now. Matter of fact, despite the entire facade you put up? I think it must hurt like hell. THIS ( waves arms around) isnt' what it was supposed to be like. THIS (this life, granddaughter, daughter where she is, X passed away, FB friends defending people they hardly know - and about that in a minute) isn't what I had pictured for you 10 years ago - how can it POSSIBLY be what YOU had pictured for you? It IS NOT. We all had something else pictured, then lowered our expectations exponentially, and dealt, and well - here we are. I'm a product of detachment to the nth power. I don't like it much, but I stay here becuase it's safe. I don't like not seeing my son for a year - but I'm safer, my heart stays mostly in one piece and I cry less most days. I hear about the new friends too - and currently his life is so awful it makes me just want to rescue him and cloak him in Mothers wings - because I think for the first time in a long time - he IS trying and the harder he tries the more messed up things seem to get for him. I don't get it anymore than he does - but I just try to encourage him to stay strong.

    As far as those people IN your daughters life currently? Yeah well (scoffs) I bet and would lay out more than a few $2 bills - that if we went back a few years to all the people that she has messed over - and just kinda went down the list of names of so-called former friends, roomies, the wives of husbands she slept with, boyfriends she took, neighbors she diddled.....and on and on - and got THEM to comment on your nieces face book page? I bet the scales would tip in favor of your family. MORE than even your daughter would be able to deny - although she would have a lie and a story for why everyone of them is a liar TOO. But you know, and I know - and now THEY know - what she's like. It's just that most people are SO glad to be rid of people with her kind of behavior - they don't tend to "follow" them. Unless of course she owes them - and then she probably should watch her back. The majority? Just glad to be shed of behaviors like that.

    I wish I could say this is over but borderlines rarely let things go. In her I see more borderline tendencies than I do anything else. have for a while. About the only thing I can recommend even though she's gone is to talk to a therapist and maybe the family courts and see what can be done - perhaps a mental health evaluation can be done or perhaps that would be kicking a bee hive. I dunno. IF your state is truly about the best interest of the child? I can't see them saying "Here - take her back." and handing her over to her Mother from the home she's known all her life. But nothing NOTHING in the South surprises me anymore. NOTHING. I bought a stolen car and the cops told me it's my fault - it even was advertised with pictures, and an ad that said EXCELLENT CONDITION, 126K - and showed the odometer - and they rolled it back 100K - and I got scammed for 1800 - and it's MY fault? Yup - nice - huh? Hang in there hon -

    We are here
    Hugs & Love
     
  8. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    I'm sorry this has happened right at Christmas - so upsetting and frustrating, and everyone ends up feeling miserable. My mother turned every Christmas into a tortured drama about how terrible we (my sibs and I) all were and how much we made her suffer. It's hard to shake off. I hope, though, that you and SO can compartmentalize for a few days and just leave your difficult child to herself. You deserve a quietly joyful holiday and the chance to celebrate with your loved ones. If your difficult child chooses not to be part of that, it's her choice.

    It sounds like documenting everything you can, with a view to ending your difficult child's rights with respect to Rae, would be in Rae's best interest. Nothing could be worse than seeing the courts hand Rae back to difficult child, and from my experience with social services, I believe they'd do it in a moment. Anything you can do to prevent that and
    keep your granddaughter in a stable, loving home with your sister in law is worthwhile. As for trying to defend against your difficult child's accusations and lies - it can't really be done on
    a forum like FB. One of my clinical teachers years ago said, "Never get in a spraying match with a skunk. The skunk will always win." Don't worry about what your difficult child's
    current 'friends' think - they'll find out the truth about her soon enough. Take care of yourself and your granddaughter.
    Best wishes and lots of hugs and support, Katya
     
  9. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    (((((Hex)))))

    Because she is miserable, she feels it's necessary for everyone to be miserable.

    I know she is your daughter and you love her. But if it were me............until I saw some positive changes happening.........there would be no presents under the tree, no seeing her, no talking to her. Even with my own child, I'd have one heck of a time having contact with her knowing that it was always going to develop into some major drama for her pity party routines.

    I ditto the restraining order. Print and use the fb threat as evidence.
     
  10. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Star hit it. She is miserable with herself and can't care for anyone else because she doesn't care for herself. I know it looks the opposite, like she only cares about herself but believe me she doens't. husband and I were just talking yesterday about why it's so hard to just kick difficult child out the door and not care. It's because we know she is tormented inside and our empathetic hearts wish we could fix that and find it hard to turn our backs. We will at some point, for our own health and peace, but the hard part is we know she is tormented and will be her entire life and there isn;t a darn thing we can do.

    Your difficult child's behavior just shows how idstorted her thinking is. I loved your comment "her friends-of-the-month". That's what they are. My difficult child has those too. She uses them to live with, smoke with, drink with, steal with, have sex with, feed all her lies to. Some finally wise up and dump her, the others she uses until something better comes along. Even these losers discover her true self at some point.

    Don't let this completely ruin your holiday. My difficult child tried to do that to us yesterday but I won't let her. If she wants to be miserable fine, but she isn't going to make me miserable. Find some small ways to enjoy the activities, even if it's just to turn on some music and sit with SO for a bit.

    Hugs,
    Nancy
     
  11. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    You want to feel better? Take those beautifully wrapped gifts and bring them to a woman's shelter... start giving (gifts and of yourself) to those that will appreciate you. I also agree that you should unfriend her... you don't need the temptation of a blow-by-blow difficult child account of anything. Also, I know what you mean about the officer knocking on the door... it was a relief, in a strange way, when my mentally ill and socially-marginalized mother died from natural consequences rather than violence. {{{Hugs}}}
     
  12. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    While I totally agree that you will be much better off NOT being her facebook friend, I am not sure it is the best way to go for little Rae's sake. For her sake alone, I would make up a facebook profile of someone who would appeal to your difficult child. Yes, it is lying. Maybe it is wrong. I would still do it, and friend her through this, so that I could print off pics and things she writes about what she is doing. It is one way to get some real ammunition on her behavior. MANY people post pics of themselves partying, breaking all sorts of laws, using drugs, having sex, etc... These may be some of your ONLY ammo if difficult child ever decides to try to get custody of her daughter. It might help you get her rights terminated. Once that happened, I would end the fake person online, but until then I would do what I could to NOT care about what she is writing while I kept a record of the exploits I could find. Also to get names of people she uses and parties with because they may be needed to tell a judge what she has been doing. I would think at least some of her previous friends of the month would be willing to tell a judge or social worker what she REALLY does, and to corroborate what she puts on fb, even if it is only to get a little revenge on her. Those names could be worth gold if it comes to a custody battle. ESP if she slept with their men and/or stole from them.

    It is an idea, and if you don't feel able to do this it is totally understandable.
     
  13. hexemaus2

    hexemaus2 Old hand

    Well, here it is, the day after Christmas and we all survived.

    The parents are on to their next stop in Florida to spend a few post-holiday days with friends.

    The inlaws are also in Florida with my father in law's parents, enjoying what might be their last holiday together with everyone. (His parents are both in poor health.)

    Rae is back home with sister in law...she spent the night last night so she could see Grammy and Papa. (my parents)

    We were able to have a nice, albeit very laid back Christmas, in spite of difficult child 1's antics. My parents absolutely ADORE Rae. (My Mom hasn't seen her since she was a few weeks old and my Dad's never seen her, except in pictures.) It's amazing the effect that sweet little girl has on everyone. How can you not feel joy when you have a pile of giggling blonde curly pigtails in your lap? :D My Dad wore a bright red shirt with Elmo's face on it, so he's now "Papa Emmo." (He says what kid could be scared of him, no matter how grumpy he might be, if he has Elmo all over him? lol) That little girl is such a bright light...so happy and engaged in the world around her...it's infectious.

    As for the situation with difficult child 1...I hear everything you guys are saying and I get it. I do. Until this situation, I had not responded to anything difficult child 1 wrote on her status updates, or emailed, or commented. In fact, not even 48 hours prior to all this, she had commented on our family Christmas tree photo how much she missed me and the boys and wished she could be here to help decorate it. (Yeah, like that's going to happen.)

    The only reason I even maintained her as a friend was for exactly the things you guys pointed out. We've been printing off pictures, status updates, comment threads, etc. for the last 9 months...all to document her instability, irresponsibility, and sometimes illegal behaviors. I kept her status updates hidden, because I didn't want to see the day-to-day garbage. But when a friend or family member would message me about something they saw, I'd go look and print off whatever was beneficial for custody purposes. (We have pictures of her holding a gun to her own head, comments about her shoplifting arrest, comments about her underaged drinking and partying, etc.)

    Normally, like I said, I don't respond to anything she says or does. I don't answer the phone when she calls. I don't return emails. Nothing. But when she started attacking my 14 year old niece, I blew a gasket. When I saw how she was portraying other family members on her own page? OMG, did I go off. I'm used to the things she says about me. I don't give a rat's rear end that this month's friends think I'm the Bride of Satan. They aren't squat to me. But, I draw the line at attacking people who have nothing to do with her situation - like her father (God rest) her grandparents, my sister in law, etc. Especially when some of those people are children (my niece, my boys, etc.) She crossed a line there. And truth be told, I could have even let that slide, except she seemed determined to continue to attack my niece. I debated posting anything for quite a while, as more and more comments and nastiness poured in. Finally, I decided that 1) I wanted to set the record straight and remind her that people who knew the truth were watching and listening - and would remember the next time she called 2 weeks before her birthday, or a week before Christmas...don't expect simpathetic ears, and 2) I knew that commenting would focus her attacks on me, rather than my niece. I knew she'd never be able to resist the urge to fire back at me, thus leaving my niece alone...at least until sister in law could get home and make my niece unfriend her or block her or something so she didn't have to see what difficult child 1 said about her. (Even with all the nastiness, my niece wouldn't unfriend her because she didn't want to turn her back on a family member...not until her mother told her she had to or loose Facebook privileges all together.)

    I made my final comment on the thread, then unfriended and blocked her. I made my boys do the same, although we were surprised when difficult child 3 logged in and she had already blocked him. That was surprising, since he's always been Switzerland when it comes to difficult child 1. He has strong opinions about her behavior, but he tried to never openly judge her, but instead continue to be morally supportive. sister in law, my niece, and several other family members also blocked her. I think everyone has decided that having access to evidence for Rae's behalf is not worth the drama when we can get it other ways. (sister in law will ask for a court-ordered drug test if it ever comes to court over custody...we have plenty of evidence to warrant its necessity, including proof that difficult child 1 was living WITH RAE in a house with a former meth lab in the shed...all of those things are well documented. difficult child 1's arrest history will also help in that regard.)

    Now as for the presents under the tree...I should probably clarify that. I haven't bought difficult child 1 anything for Christmas, birthdays, etc. since Rae was born, two years ago. That first Christmas and birthday, difficult child 1 got stuff for the baby as presents. Since then, she hasn't deserved squat in that department, as far as I'm concerned. My parents feel the same way. My inlaws, on the other hand, still buy her presents every year. They won't give her money. They won't let her stay there. They won't give her a ride anywhere, or in any way "help" her...but every year they put presents under the tree for her.

    I think it's their way of holding out hope that maybe this year will be different. It's never much, and it's always more necessities than anything else, a new sweater, a cute bag, some books, or something along those lines...nothing she can sell for more than a $5 bucks at a consignment shop or something, and never anything they spend a lot of money on, given past history...but for whatever reason, my inlaws don't feel right not getting her SOMETHING...although every year her presents get packed up with the rest of the Christmas decorations. mother in law commented that maybe in a few years, when difficult child 1 eventually straightens up, the presents can come back out and get opened, and hopefully remind difficult child 1 that her family still loved her, still kept hope alive for her, through it all. I can understand that thinking. I can understand it's become their small glimmer of hope that someday things will be different. I respect their need to do it, although I think it's a waste of money and a lot like picking at an open wound, but it's their choice. They put the presents under the tree, towards the back, so they don't stand out as an obvious landmark of her absence, but we all know they're there...way back under the tree. I wish they wouldn't, but I respect their need to do it, for whatever reason.

    Whatever helps get them through the holidays, since they have such a hard time with them as it is with exDH gone. (I sometimes wonder if the two aren't somehow tied to each other...their grief over exDH when the holidays roll around and their need to keep buying stuff for difficult child 1...like letting go of one would mean letting go of the other...)

    The boys and I talked a lot about the state of family affairs over this last weekend. I had to laugh at difficult child 3 telling me he felt they (at 16 and 17) are "too old for the whole Christmas experience now." So we have, as a family, decided to change things up a little next year. A couple of weeks ago, I took us on a long weekend up to the NC mountains where we stayed in an authentic log cabin. There are a bunch of other homes on the property, all of which the caretakers rent out during the summer and during December, when weather permits. We have decided that next year, we're going to propose a multi-family vacation for the week of Christmas. Rather than my parents traveling to Charlotte and then here in a whirlwind Christmas travel fest, I'm going to book 4 of the 6 cabins on the property.

    The boys and I can stay in one, my parents in another, my sister and her clan in a third, and my inlaws in the fourth. The cabin we want to book for us is breathtaking...with floor to ceiling windows in the living room with a huge stone fireplace and a view over the mountains. We can all gather at that cabin for Christmas dinner and family activities. The trip is going to be our present to everyone for next Christmas. Someplace beautiful, a once in a lifetime Norman Rockwell-style family Christmas like my father in law has always wanted, with a white Christmas like my sister has always wanted (her birthday is Christmas Eve, by the way) and the whole family together again, like my Mom has wanted for the last few years. I'm going to try to fly easy child and her family down for Christmas next year, so they can stay with us in our cabin (it sleeps 12.)

    I think it will be the perfect way to send the boys off on their own lives the following summer while getting the whole family together before parents and grandparents get too old to travel. It also means we would have to break darn near EVERY Christmas tradition we have to do it...something I think would be good for everyone involved...something special and once in a lifetime, with none of the painful reminders and heartaches that have come to be associated with Christmas for this family. It's going to cost me an arm and a leg...but I know some of the family won't go because of the cost involved (my sister in law), and some won't want to shake out of the traditions that cause them so much pain (my father in law and mother in law) but if I pay for it, sister in law will go because money won't be an issue. The inlaws will go because I've already spent so much money and they would feel bad. My family will go simply because it means all of us together...no matter who foots the bill...and will probably argue to pay part of the cost. lol. It sounds devious and manipulative, but it's also just what this family needs to put a little cheer back in the holidays...even if they won't admit it. And I know all of them well enough to know that once we all get there...they'll all have a wonderful time. I know my inlaws and my parents will talk about it for the next 20 years...that one Christmas we all went to the mountains. It's just getting them there that will take some doing. lol.

    Maybe someday, difficult child 1 will learn to use her powers of people persuasion for good like that, instead of evil. lol. I may still have a few former difficult child tricks of my own...but at least I use mine for good. lol. ;-)

    Thank you, everyone...for your support, your suggestions, and most of all...for reminding me what this holiday is all about...for this family...it's all about making sure the children have wonderful memories of childhood Christmases and family togetherness. All it took was 30 minutes with Rae to help me bounce back...after all, it's all about her now. She may not be able to pick her own mother out of a picture, but she knows that Mama S, and Grandma, and Opa & Grandma B, and Grammy and Papa, and her uncles, and her cousins, and her great Aunts and great Uncles all love her bunches and bunches and bunches and bunches. She's a happy little girl and seems no worse the wear for all the people who do love her. Like I said, it's hard not to feel joy and enjoy the holiday when you have giggling, squeeling, delighted little blonde curly pigtails sitting in your lap, excited about lights, and presents, and Santa, and yummies, and Papas who wear Elmo shirts.

    I never in all my life, ever thought a 2 year old could be such wonderfully restorative therapy. :D
     
  14. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    I'm glad Rae got the family holiday it seems everyone needed and brought joy with her to share.
     
  15. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Amen Hex......God Bless us -----everyone.
     
  16. PatriotsGirl

    PatriotsGirl Guest

    Hex, we soooo need to chat, even if only on Facebook...lol. We live in the same state and deal with the same issues. I swear our difficult children are twins!!!! Mine opened the first $100 Visa card (it was one of three that she received) and actually looked at me and asked, is that it? With a little smile. I was amazed at how nice husband was - he asked if she had opened all of her gifts and she said, no, almost and he said then you do not know all that you got.
    Oh, how I wanted to cross the room and put my fist in her mouth. I don't get how that child came out of my body. I really don't. Even as a young difficult child, I was never as bad as she is. Never.
     
  17. hexemaus2

    hexemaus2 Old hand

    OMG PatriotsGirl...yours sounds like mine! That was what started the whole blow up the Christmas Day she left. I took the kids to Helen & stayed in a cabin for the weekend of Christmas the year before...it was going to be the last Christmas all my kids were still home...so we made a HUGE deal out of it. I spent more on Christmas that year than I did on my car. I could have taken us ALL on a cruise for 2 weeks for what I spent. So the next year, I told the kids we would have a much more modest holiday. There would be no huge mound of presents under the tree, expensive trips, etc. I wanted a simple, understated, enjoyable, traditional family Christmas.

    Each of the kids got two presents from me. (Plus all the presents from family.) One of the presents I got difficult child 1 was a small, inexpensive camera that would take short videos and post them directly onto Facebook for her. I thought it would be a great idea for the baby's first year. She had said she wanted a camera. Naturally, since she lost her iPod less than a month after the previous Christmas, destroyed the expensive video camera her grandparents bought her for her birthday, and in general couldn't take care of anything, I didn't buy a real expensive anything for her. She threw a fit that she didn't get anything but junk for Christmas. I mean threw a real, shallow, materialistic, entitlement-drenched hissy fit. It shocked the daylights out of me that she would be so openly ungrateful and materialistic like that. Grumble about getting a cheap camera rather than a top quality one, maybe...but to actually go off the deep end over it? Throw a fit like we never bought her anything worth a darn in her whole life? That caught me off guard...until a few hours later when I realized it was just an excuse to start a family fight & feel "justified" for leaving.

    Now she boo-hoos that we don't even remember her birthday. Nobody loves me. I never get anything for Christmas. Boo-hoo. Boo-hoo.

    I haven't gotten a Christmas present in nearly six years since the grown ups in our family decided to start doing kids-only Christmases. (With 3 kids + spouses, 7 grandkids, and 4 great grands, my parents would go broke trying to shop for everyone!) Does anyone see me boo-hooing about it? No. Christmas is for kids anyway, darn it! She's not a kid anymore. My oldest daughter doesn't get Christmas presents either, now that she's an adult with her own family. She doesn't have a problem with it 'cause it means little Lex gets more for Christmas. But difficult child 1 and her entitlement issues...ugh.
     
  18. PatriotsGirl

    PatriotsGirl Guest

    My exact response to her was - and what did you get any one for Christmas? Oh, that's right, nothing. I then told her to be grateful for anything she received because she didn't deserve any of it. And I meant it from the bottom of my heart. She, too, manages to ruin every holiday. Every. Last. One.

    I just LOVE Helen!!!!! Luckily, we only live about an hour away from there. husband and I love to go up there and go tubing, or hit the stores, etc. I think we will try to get a cabin there for our anniversary next month. :)
     
  19. amazeofgrace

    amazeofgrace New Member

    OK I need to offer a <<hug>> here. Ahhhh Facebook...such a good way to track difficult child's activities and such... yet such a good way for them to press our buttons. These kids (difficult child and easy child's) act so entitled, and difficult child's play the role of the Martyr flawlessly. I did not see my difficult child I for Christmas, it was the 1st time since his birth that I didn't see him on 12/24 or 12/25! However I do not have difficult child I as my face book friend because he cruelly posted that his daughter (now 3 months old) was a demon born of Satan in response to my post for prayers for her because she was in hospital having brain seizures. Now difficult child I chose not to see me for Christmas, but what does he have posted on his FB wall (he's my Dad's FB friend)? How horrible I am for not sending him any Christmas Gifts! So there ya go, it's all about the DRAMA. And I SO do not DO DRAMA! I am having t-shirts made for us that say just that!

    So sorry your difficult child had to stir up cr@p for the holidays.
     
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