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NC with PIL for 10 years and now we've had a text...(109 Posts)
We were married for 10 years before DH decided enough was enough and were always walking on eggshells. It was so easy to cause offence. e.g. MIL called when DS1 was 3 days old to complain that the Mother's Day card we sent was too small and there were loads of similar things.
What usually happened was that they would go off in a sulk and after a few days I or DH would call, smooth things over and we'd be back to normal, until the next time.
10 years ago, after MIL was "devastated" because my mum organised something lovely for DH's birthday (mum really loves her SIL ) DH decided he'd had enough and we didn't make the usual call. Although there have been occasional (often not very nice) emails since he hasn't seen or spoken to them in 10 years. They haven't seen their GC since they were 2yo and 6mo.
Anyway this week he's had a text. Their Golden anniversary is coming up. Will we go, let them know so they can make the booking? No mention of what the celebration is. No idea if it's just us, immediate family or a huge celebration.
I've said to DH I'll do whatever he wants but that I don't think meeting up for the first time in 10 years, in front of loads of people who (presumably) know we haven't spoken for 10 years is a good idea. If he/they want to reconcile there must be better ways...
He has decided he doesn't want to go and doesn't want to see/speak to them so he's going to decline by text.
He wants to send a lengthy text about why it's a bad idea. I think it would be better just to say no thanks.
I wish you the best of luck.
Your DH may well think he has done the right thing here, but equally he could well have opened a box that should have remained firmly closed. I sincerely hope his decision to text a reply does not come back to haunt him because he will blame himself.
Many adults who were children of such toxic people still have FOG with regards to their parents - this is an acronym for fear, obligation, guilt. He may well have felt somewhat obligated/torn to reply to it because he did not want them calling your landline and possibly have his children answer the phone.
Do post further particularly if there is any further backlash from his parents.
Its very true about using you for photos then popping you back in the box and feeling like its all fake and very used. A photo is a second in time but it looks like it speaks volumes.
ie a photo of nana reading a gc a story, looks lovely and nana can show it off but in RL nana sat for one min and then announced she had better things to do leaving everyone in the room stunned and hurt. you see my point?
I would ignore the text, people like this don't change. 10 years isn't going to make a lot of difference in the world of toxic people, they unfortunetly remain the same!
I woudl think that actually, if there was a chance of reconciliation this is it. The advantage of a big gathering is that you don't have to have close contact; you can just smile, say hello and loose yourself in the crowd.
The Golden is also a big anniversary. So if you wanted to try, this might be the time.
However if your husband does not want to go, that's the most important thing. HIs wishes and yours matter most here. But I would definitely keep the declining text short and not go into detail. Nothing can be gained from longer texts. If he does ever wish to confront them in order to say once what he needs to say for his own sake, then face to face or by letter is best.
Ah, now would we like to go theirs, just us, for lunch? DH has sent the same reply and turned his phone off but is curious as to why now
Easy OP, so they can bully you/him into submission!! Oh dear, this is why he shouldn't have replied but too late now. Saying no to them is not acceptable.
It really isn't a good idea to wonder why they do things. The reality is so awful it is hard to bear. Just know, as you do in your heart, that they are toxic. They mean you no good. Contact will bring pain.
Tighten your boundaries and reinstate strict NC.
yes, i agree - they want him to conform in time to show off their family to their friends. i wouldn't respond to any more texts otherwise it won't stop.
Well, they know his phone works now. So ignoring any further texts will send the right message.
Mind you, your children are old enough for you to talk to them about dh's parents now. You could tell them that if they do answer the phone and it is daddy's mum/dad, they should say "I'm not supposed to talk to people I don't know, I'll tell dad you called" and put the phone down, or something similar. My children listen to any calls on the answermachine and only pick up if it is someone they know.
I bet they are worried about How It Will Look.
So they want to try to make you pretend that all is well.
I wouldn't. It is unlikely to end well.
Is it possible that they need to tell DH something important? Maybe one of them is ill?
If your DH still would not want to see them, even if that were the case, then that's fine and understandable. However, he maybe should consider how he would feel if one of them were to die without DH seeing them again.
I know I am usually quite biased on threads like this, because my parents have both died, but I do think that if your DH has considered all of the possibilities and is comfortable with his decision then all is good.
Just keep ignoring.
TheGreat is spot on & i guess appearances are key to this sudden contact.
Toxics don't like outsiders to know their family has broke away due to their ill behaviours as i'm sure the people at this gathering do not know the truth behind your non contact hence the reasoning of wanting you all on side for the big day!
Of course they don't want their guests asking questions because it will out their true ways.
Don't be reeled in by it all again, it will go exactly the same way once the party is over and your dh will end up dealing with the consequences, as will you & your dc.
Don't text any further more, leave it as it has been.
Ah, i'm late to the party as it were
I was going to say not to reply as it gave them an in.
DH replied, it gave them the 'in'.
Now is the time to change numbers. Both home and mobile.
I'm going to do the same in the new year. Nothing to stop me doing it now really, but the 'fear' obligation and guilt (fog) are stopping me atm. Idea makes me feel ill.
After the last voicemail I actually played though, it's clear she'll never change. There isn't any point in me engaging.
"Ah, now would we like to go theirs, just us, for lunch? DH has sent the same reply and turned his phone off but is curious as to why now"
Golden Wedding for them is an opportunity for his parents to play the "perfect family" and suck you all back in again.
I hope your DH has now realised the error of his ways, he truly made a mistake in replying at all to them. Unfortunately by replying this box has now well and truly opened.
He will now have to do more than turn his phone off; he will now have to change his number for both this and your landline.
As the others have correctly stated, this is also about power and control at its heart; these people want absolute over the two of you. They do this to bully you into submission. There are truly no depths as to how low these people will go.
Now he will have to reinstate NC again. He must absolutely must ignore any further contact from these people because otherwise they will never leave you all alone; it did not take them long to send yet another unwarranted message.
Unless he is prepared to get drawn back into the cycle, he needs to put away his curiosity as to why now. If he really wants to stay nc then curiosity and the desire to really make sure they get it that he has a problem with them have to be laid aside. Let it all go.
On the other hand he may want another crack at trying to get them to mend their ways. Obviously this won't happen but maybe he's still not ready to let it go or still feels he can make them understand.
Ah, poor him, after 10 years of, NC and now he has to dig deep and go back to it.
As Atilla says, it's all about appearances. Up until now, they can get away with making excuses for his no-show at any event. This is something that will blow their illusions of a normal family out of the water, a no show at their 'big bash'.
You need to change contact numbers, they've got to him now, they'll not give up easily, as they have too much to lose.
Rest assured, none of this is about contrition, it's still all about them.
I have a different slant here. I know I haven't suffered from toxic or even difficult parents myself, and I have good relationships with my DC and their partners, so I could be totally wrong, but:
Could it be that they do actually want to make amends? The fact that they now want to see you on your own, not at a family function?
I am not excusing in any way how they behaved towards you all in the past, but it could be that as they're ageing they can see what they've lost?
Does your DH have siblings? What is their relationship like?
People like that wouldn't have let it get to 10 years Nanny.
They'd have been mortified to think they'd hurt/lost their son.
Ah DH's sister....she I'm afraid is just plain nasty. His parents were (are?) difficult/highly strung but IMO fairly decent people underneath. They have very strange ideas about what they are "owed" for the sacrifices they made to raise their DC but when we had problems it was because they were genuinely hurt. They got hurt by the strangest things and it happened a lot but they genuinely believed they had a grievance iyswim. I sometimes think they bother suffer with depression but as they would never seek help for that, I/they can't use that as an excuse for ever
SIL would stir and tell her parents how upset they should be, even though she suffered with all the same issues relating to their behaviour. i.e. they once cancelled a planned trip for Christmas because the other GPs were going to be there and they thought they (the other Gps) would spend more than them on their GC (SIL's daughter).
SIL refused to be my bridesmaid 3 weeks before the wedding, after my mum had made her dress because "it would be two faced to do it as I can't stand you"
Anyway, DH doesn't have anything to do with his sister either.
We have talked at length and often about how he will cope if/when one of them dies but he still prefers to leave things as they are. Dh says he doesn't care if they are genuine, he doesn't want to see them and he really doesn't want to go back to how things were.
I do sometimes wonder how DH managed to turn out so lovely - he says it was joining the Army and getting away from their influence as a teenager that did it.
Nanny, if they were wanting to make amends, they'd be saying so by text/email/letter. Something with the words "sorry" and "love" in it.
They could well have realised what they've lost, and want it back, but it is likely that they want it back on their terms - to pretend nothing happened and just start over, with them acting the same as always, and their son putting up with it, as always.
I think your DH has to go along with his feelings then, and if that means to stay NC then so be it.
Just reply no thank you. No explanation. No suggestion of better to meet X as you don't' want to meet at all. PIL could be using this as an olive branch, could be a bullying tactic as of course you wouldn't dare say no to a public event. Do what you feel is best for your immediate family.
It could all be for the 'perfect family image' that has been suggested but I agree with Nanny - a Golden Wedding? They must be getting on in years and maybe, just maybe, they want to make amends before it's too late and have seen the huge achievement of a golden wedding as an excuse to make the first move.
This must be something DH's instincts lead him on. Sounds like he's not buying it either.
If this were a genuine approach, it'd have been worded differently. The initial approach would be more conciliatory I think. 'I know we've have our issues/differences etc..'
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