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the Fishing Trip and Disengagement

CLove's picture

Hi all,

Well, Dh has another 3-day fishing trip, and Im actually looking forward to missing him if that makes sense. 

And its Toxic Troll's week with SD15. And Im not doing any school transport. Dh has organized a friend and his sister who lives near to the school as help in transport because TT is now working, but really odd hours and cannot do it herself without DH's help.

SO. I am very happy with this, as normally I would twist my schedule into a pretzel to help with skid transport. I can leave for work at normal time instead of hella early and I can get home at normal times instead of late. Me disengaging has really taken the pressure off - from everyone. Because no expectations = no disappointments.

Im still mad that DH did not have my back. And Ive been disengaged from school, and all that entails, so Im happy that she isnt failing and disinterested in everything else. Ive got an online class Im taking, and friends Im making and going to the gym, spending time with friends. I feel like I am healed more from the whole debacle. Skid is in her own world with her friends. Dh is in his own world with his fishing. Everyone is locked in their own worlds and happy. So it goes.

I am stressing about the coming holidays. Do I get everyone presents? DH always gets me a present, and I get him one, but skid never has, even though I generally spend about $100 each Christmas and Birthday. She doesnt get anyone presents, as all her money is spent on herself, and she isnt showing interest in a job or doing extra chores for cash. HMMM. And then there is that thing with Feral Forger SD22. Shes still blocked on my phone. Do I attempt to make reparations, in the holiday spirit? Last year was HORRIBLE Im almost wanting to just take a trip, but I know that his family will have gatherings. His VERY large family. And isnt it better to mend bridges, even if we werent the ones to burn them?

Asking for a friend.


Gimlet's picture

Do you want to get presents for people?  If yes, then do.  If no, then don't.  Your husband is capable of providing for his children, period.

Do I attempt to make reparations, in the holiday spirit?

Personally, I think the holidays are the worst time for this with the added pressure and expectations.  If both parties are not interested in an open and honest discussion, then there is no point in "reparations".  It's going to be one person making an effort and then being upset when things go back to the status quo.  Without intentional work, there will always be regression to the mean.

And isnt it better to mend bridges, even if we werent the ones to burn them?

See above.  Unless you actively like feeling resentful, no.

CLove's picture

I waver on this.

I do like giving presents, but Im thinking just cash this time, so I dont have to stress over "what does she want?"

Feral Forger will get nothing from me this year. 

But maybe an invite for dinner????? Last time was drama. So this time watch out for that and know the pitfalls.

Gimlet's picture

If your husband wants to have dinner with his daughter, he can invite her, he can cook, he can handle her, he can clean up.  If he is incapable of that, or of setting reasonable boundaries for behavior in your home, then he can take her out to dinner.

NONE of this belongs to you. 

You can't earn points from people who don't appreciate your efforts.  Stop trying for a prize that doesn't exist. 

caninelover's picture

Is always the hardest part of disengagement for me.  On the one hand, I think as you do - mend fences, sit down and spend the holiday as a family.  On the other hand, I remember the drama that Bratty causes on holidays (vegan one day, Boston Market the next).  Then I think:  has Bratty really changed?  has she matured?  From my observation the answer is no - she is still entitled, immature and inconsiderate.  So for now I will leave things be. 

If she does ever really grow up, then I have no issue with picking up the phone and saying 'hi bratty, its been awhile and am hoping we can re-connect over the upcoming holiday.  I have no interest in re-hashing the past but I see alot of positive changes in you and would like to move forward.  I know SO misses you and would love to see you'.  But until I see signs of changes in her, I'm not going to issue any invitations - it will just re-start all the drama.

CLove's picture

Im wavering. Im thinking a do over for dinner (not a holiday - a non-holiday casual thing) because last year was so horrible. And maybe invite others over as buffer.

I know that Feral Forger hasnt really matured. But I do know that DH misses her. Wants to love her from a distance. Doesnt want to muck around in the sludge to try to lift her up. I however always have that "I want to be the good guy for once!" lol.

So far thats 2 nos. Biggrin

hereiam's picture

Do I get everyone presents?

No, you and DH exchange gifts, DH can do what he sees fit for his kids.

Do I attempt to make reparations, in the holiday spirit?

You said yourself that it turned out horrible last year, why do it again? The holidays don't change who people are.

If you attend his family gatherings, be civil and polite and leave early if you have to. Don't discuss SDs with them.

CLove's picture

Three on the tally sheet for no efforts towards reparations with Feral Forger.

CLove's picture

I must like the torment.

Id rather cook for friends who appreciate my efforts.

JRI's picture

Get DH a present.  Around December 10, say, "DH, what do we want to do for the kids this year?"  Whatever he says, like lets get them xyz, say, ok, when should we go shopping/order online?  Don't bring up a gathering but if he does want to do something at your house, find out what he wants to do and say "Ok, how are we going to do it?"   The idea is to put it more on him.  If he's like my DH, less will be done than if I take it on.

If the celebration involves only going to one of his family's homes, great.  Dress nice, take whatever is appropriate, smile a lot then go home and have some wine.  Lol.

CLove's picture

Leave it on him. Thats where it needs to go. Thanks!

Cover1W's picture

I'll just give examples of what I do, it's up to you to decide but do NOT do anything if you start feeling "hinky" about it - that's your gut saying DISENGAGE!

OSD - PASed out, won't talk with DH, hasn't ever talked with me of course, so I do nothing here at all.

YSD - I don't help her any longer with gifts. She's almost 16 and can ask. But she'll never ask. She'll never want to go find something for someone. She'll either do a crappy craft project like she's 10 or re--cycle old art projects (i.e. wrap an old art assignment she did a couple years ago) and give that. It's pure avoidance and laziness.

She also doesn't ask for anythng If you ask her what she would like for her birthday or xmas she just shrugs and says "I don't know." I get her a new set of PJs each xmas and then some cash ($20). She must have a huge stack of cash at BMs because she never spends it. 

I stopped actually buying things for DH to give her about 3 years ago. She doesn't EVER use or like anything she gets. She's polite about it but then the things remain stil in their packaging stuffed in a drawer in her room or in her closet. Then I started creating an Amazon list for DH to choose from. He buys ALL OF THE LIST. It's nuts. So I told him this year, he's on his own 100%. I'm not even doing a stocking this year.

And BTW DH, I want nothing. Except relaxation.

CLove's picture

With these skids it has always been cash.

Im thinking SD15 gets cash and Ill ask what DH wants to do "for holiday celebrations with family".

Tried out's picture

Ask him IF he wants to do something for the holidays for his family. If he says yes, then ask him what he's got planned. If nothing, then tell him when he does have a plan to let him know so you keep the date open, assuming you want to be there.

All on him, right where you need it to be.

Cover1W's picture

Yes this!!!!  I make it clear to DH that I do not plan anything around xmas because it ALWAYS ALWAYS backfires on me. I don't even make cookies for anyone but me and only make them when YSD isn't here. I give them away to neighbors and co-workers. No one cares about my traditions here so I just gave up other than putting out a few of my decorations and helping with the tree.

DH even has to plan and cook the xmas holiday meal - when OSD was still coming for xmas she'd invariably eat tons of the chocolates DH buys (of course my amazing home-made cookies are not good enough) and not eat a thing for dinner.  Two years of that and I was out. I'll never forget the first year DH was in control of the xmas dinner he asked the SDs what they wanted:  mashed potatoes, mac-n-cheese, brussels sprouts with bacon (this is ok amazingly), chicken, rice, crab, shrimp and some other random seafood. DH had the dining room table packed with food. And the SDs barely touched anything!  I was like, "Yep!" in my head. He was PO'd and from then on he's only made a turkey or roasted a chicken which is fine by me. I do my cooking on Thanksgiving (SD-less). 

Anyway, it's on him UNLESS you WANT to do something reasonable and you are A-OK with no Thank You or graciousness for your time and effort.

Winterglow's picture

Book a trip. Who cares what his family wants? What matters is what YOU want. Read your post over, look at how much stress is being generated just by thinking about the holidays. Go away somewhere nice and forget about it all.

CLove's picture

I do want to see my family. The last time we did "separate holidays" I hated it. That never works.

Maybe just go with the flow and wait to see what happens.

Winterglow's picture

No. It's time for you to do what you want. Go and see your family and have a blast, even if you have to go by yourself! Just do it! Put yourself first for once! 

Stepdrama2020's picture

Lady you are kind. You want everyone to be ok. BUT you know this is not a level playing field. You will never get what you deserve from the skids, consistent respect.

Do what feels good for you, but please alter your expectations. From everything I have read in your blogs,  they usually end up disappointing you. On the bright side, they arent your BIOS. Thank gawd. Their shittiness is a thanks to TT and your DH, not you.

Blessings Clove

CLove's picture

Yes, they arent. Which seems to make holidays harder for me because Ive always wanted my own kiddos to do holidays with.

I used to "borrow" the skids for this, doing "family Christmas cards", and now with Feral Forger telling us her father is just her "sperm donor", its just sad...

JRI's picture

Clove, you wrote, "I've always wanted my own kids to do holidays with.  I used to "borrow" the skids for this..."  

This feeling is at the root of your difficulty disengaging.  

CLove's picture

And everyone was really on board with this too! oh sure! Do and help and pay like Im your kid, but dont expect anything at all and by the way you ARENT THE PARENT.

Even last year Feral Forger was on board to do the Christmas Card that I organize and arrange and pay for.

JRI's picture

You must positively make your inner self know that if you do something for them, its only because you enjoy doing it.  No expectations.

tog redux's picture

Let DH get her a gift and say it's from both of you. 

And limit your time at DH's family gatherings if they stress you out.

advice.only2's picture

Feral and BakcStabber have two parents who can provide gifts for them, if you were ever so inclined to get them a gift you are doing that out of the goodness of your heart and should never ever be expected!  

CLove's picture

I gave both girls $100. Father gave $100 too.

With the way FF has been acting Im going to spend that $100 on myself.

Livingoutloud's picture

Don't give separate gifts. We never give separate gifts. We make joint gifts for all kids. Even if you have separate accounts, no need to do separate gifts. It is unusual for married couples to give separate gifts. Why?

CLove's picture

I always have in the past. Time to unify.

Tried out's picture

your name as a giver on his presents to them. Don't add to them. Make it obvious. I know that sounds hateful but I think it could wake up your younger SD a tiny bit to the reality of how her behavior has consequences. As far as your older SD, who cares? She's a lost cause.

And however much you wish things haven't changed, they have. You won't get any pleasure out of giving it. She'll just see it as her due. So what's the point?

Donate the money you would have given them to a worthy cause or blow it on something fun.

AgedOut's picture

since you're asking... what does your husband want to do for gifts/dinners? if he brings it up, plan it together. Otherwise Amazon gift card for the yuonger SD from you. Nothing for the big one. Someone craps on you, on your life, why give them gifts? Why plan special dinners for a relationship the your OSD has repeatedly crapped on. Why do that to yourself Dad wants to plan one, good one him. Adopt a family for Christmas if you want to give special gifts. Do an Angel from an Angel Tree. At least those people will appreciate your effot

CLove's picture

And also going to focus more on my family.

Livingoutloud's picture

If you feel like as you put it "borrowing" kids for holiday spirit, there are ton of kids who'd be glad to be borrowed. Homeless shelter, neonatal hospital units, children's home etc There are many opportunities to do things with kids and for kids. Not going to be your husband's kids but there are kids who have no families or messed up families and you can do a lot for them on holidays or other times 

as about gifts, if you two are married there is no need for separate gifts. Whatever he wants to give his kids as gifts is fine. 

if he is ok going on trips, you should be ok going on trips too. Go live your life

CLove's picture

im thinking of where and how as I type this!

Im going to put my money into "Holiday Collections" with all locally sourced items, to give loved ones. Rather than skids.