Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Family and Children => Topic started by: MamaMootz on January 02, 2013, 08:17:53 AM

Title: P/A Christmas Card
Post by: MamaMootz on January 02, 2013, 08:17:53 AM
I don't know how much detail I've gone into about my father's girlfriend, but she is one of the reasons that I find him so toxic. I cannot stand the woman. She is rude, has no boundaries, and says very outrageous things. I can give some background examples but let's just say that the last one after my daughter was born was the one that broke the camel's back.

I am a fat woman and I'm not denying that. However, when my DD was born and I was recovering, she stopped by the house and told me that my baby was too fat and I needed to watch out or she was going to grow up to be just as fat as I am. Aside from the fact that I just gave birth, was hormonal, and already had a lot of fears about teaching my baby healthy habits, this resulted in a cut direct for her and subsequently my father when he backed her up.

After a year, Dad and I reached a truce that was a made a bit easier by the fact that we lived literally across the country from both of them for the past 7 years. End B/G.

We moved back in October and she keeps trying to get together with us and pretend that nothing ever happened. My husband refuses to be in the same room with her and was livid a few weeks ago when we went to meet Dad at the mall and he had her with him (no, he didn't tell us first). So we were forced into seeing her and so was our daughter.

In today's mail, I received a Christmas card from her - guess what is on the cover? Santa Claus dining out with Mrs. Claus while she says "Just bring him a salad - he's on the Chimney Watchers Diet".  I'm hurt by the card and offended that she would send it.  First, am I reading something into it that isn't there or is this a direct insult? I don't think I am but my dislike colors a lot of interactions I have with her.

My question is how do I handle this going forward? Obviously I'm not going to acknowledge the card or let her know how hurt I am by it, since that will only play into her hand. I feel like I have a responsibility to myself and my daughter not to let her toxicity and remarks get to either of us, and this is especially important now that DD is 10 and is starting to be very sensitive about everything.

I can try to have a come to Deity meeting with Dad, but don't know how successful that's going to be. I suspect it may be time for another cut. I was hoping it wasn't going to turn out this way but I don't see any alternatives if the come to Deity meeting doesn't work. Ideas?
Title: Re: P/A Christmas Card
Post by: Sharnita on January 02, 2013, 08:30:09 AM
Well, it is a mass produced card, if I understand correctly.  She can claim you are misreading the intent even if you aren't.  I would not say anything to your dad about this.
Title: Re: P/A Christmas Card
Post by: JenJay on January 02, 2013, 08:32:09 AM
Does it look like the kind of card that comes in packs and that's what she sent to everyone, or do you think she made a point of hand picking it for you?

If it's the former I'd privately roll my eyes and drop it. If it's the latter, depending on how big a statement you want to make, you could send it back to her with a note that says "Harassment about my weight is why I stopped speaking to you to begin with. I don't know why you'd send me this card, but it was not appreciated. Do not contact me again."
Title: Re: P/A Christmas Card
Post by: MamaMootz on January 02, 2013, 08:37:42 AM
@JenJay, no this was an individual card picked out just for me. It's not one of those that comes in packs.

I don't plan on saying anything to my dad about the card at all. But I do need to address him ambushing us with her. None of us wants to see her, talk to her, or interact with her. This is also why my child is never spending the night with them. Ever.
Title: Re: P/A Christmas Card
Post by: Amava on January 02, 2013, 08:40:30 AM
Ask yourself:
is she worth your energy and attention?
is this card worthy of a reaction?

I would flatly ignore it. But if you do meet her again, the first snarky thing she says about your weight or about whatever she feels like criticising, especially in front of your daughter (or about your daughter!): that is the moment to tell both her and your dad it's not on and you're not going to stand for it.

Edited to add: Or yes, better yet, be proactive and tell your dad never to ambush you like that again. If you don't want to see her, you don't want to see her. That's your right.
Title: Re: P/A Christmas Card
Post by: Hmmmmm on January 02, 2013, 09:25:04 AM
Actually, I would send the card off to your father telling him that based on the last blow up she is either mean, completely insensitive or just plain stupid but you will not have anything to do with her.  And if he tries to force a relationship he will be removed from your lives. 
Title: Re: P/A Christmas Card
Post by: TurtleDove on January 02, 2013, 09:36:12 AM
I think you are reading into this, but even if the GF intended it as a jab, don't let her know it "worked."  If your weight bothers you, or your daughter's weight bothers you, do something about it.  But don't allow the GF to play any role in this decision. Be blissful and stupid (quickly becoming a go-to phrase for me to have a happy life).  Blissfully assume she is not trying to harm you and just thought it was a funny card (not my style of humor, but I highly doubt it was intended to be offensive and it does not offend me).  Don't waste your energy trying to figure out if she is getting a jab in, and dont' waste your energy upset about what she thinks about you if you do not value her opinion.
Title: Re: P/A Christmas Card
Post by: MamaMootz on January 02, 2013, 09:48:06 AM
I think you are reading into this, but even if the GF intended it as a jab, don't let her know it "worked."  If your weight bothers you, or your daughter's weight bothers you, do something about it.  But don't allow the GF to play any role in this decision. Be blissful and stupid (quickly becoming a go-to phrase for me to have a happy life).  Blissfully assume she is not trying to harm you and just thought it was a funny card (not my style of humor, but I highly doubt it was intended to be offensive and it does not offend me).  Don't waste your energy trying to figure out if she is getting a jab in, and dont' waste your energy upset about what she thinks about you if you do not value her opinion.

Thanks, Turtle Dove. I'll admit that my weight bothers me and I am doing something about it, but there is a long backstory with it, toxic behaviors and eating disorder that I didn't put in here because it's a very long story. But I am sensitive about weight comments and she knows it. If it wasn't downright mean, it was at the very least quite insensitive of her to send me this card.

My daughter, thankfully, takes after my husband and is thin but she is built like me with a large frame. I just don't want any toxicity coming her way about what she *might be* someday based on me, if that makes sense.

Title: Re: P/A Christmas Card
Post by: SPuck on January 02, 2013, 09:49:42 AM
I'd say if you want immediate relief you could destroy the card in the most destructive way possible.

As for moving forward, do you want a relationship with your father? It sounds like you won't be getting one with out the girl friend.
Title: Re: P/A Christmas Card
Post by: yokozbornak on January 02, 2013, 09:50:45 AM
I would reach the same conclusion as you based on past history, but that doesn't mean we are correct.  She may have been making a statement or it may have just been a bad choice in cards.

I think the real question is what are you getting out of a relationship with her? It sounds like the only thing is hurt and angst.  Based on that alone, I think it's fine to let your dad know that you are uncomfortable with her and don't want to spend time with her.  Then let him proceed as he sees fit. 

Also, as someone who has always struggled with my weight, I just wanted to let you know that I understand where you are coming from.  In the last couple of years, I have finally been able to lose and am working on maintaining.  Finally cutting out some toxic people who caused me nothing but hurt and anxiety has really helped me stop eating my way through my emotions.
Title: Re: P/A Christmas Card
Post by: onyonryngs on January 02, 2013, 09:51:38 AM
There was no way that wasn't intended as a jab.  She knew what prefaced the previous cut direct and did it again anyway.  I would tell your father that as she has not changed and you can't pretend everything is "normal" when the issues were never addressed in the first place, that you have no choice but to discontinue seeing either one of them until apologies are made she makes a very great effort on her part to change.
Title: Re: P/A Christmas Card
Post by: bloo on January 02, 2013, 09:55:33 AM
Mamamootz, I think not responding to or about the card is the correct way to go.

You've given enough backstory, to me, that this was a jab at you.

Beautifully done by her as if you did bring up the issue with either your father or her, she'd just throw up her hands and say, "What's she complaining about now?! I was trying to do something nice! It's just a joke on the card!"

She gets to look like the 'victim'. GF -1 / MamaMootz - 0

Going forward is tricky in a situation where you still want a relationship with your Dad. But, really, the problem is your Dad. He picked a person for a companion that wants to poison your relationship with your Dad. He buys into it. He supports her but gets to look like the 'good guy' because it's not actually him doing these mean things to you.

I'm a big believer in keeping toxic people (AND their enablers) out of my life. If you've reached your threshold and you've already done a cut-off in the past, I don't see where another 'come-to-deity' meeting is going to be worthwhile but there would be nothing wrong with giving it a try before just going silent in the relationship.

Keep the mental and emotional health of your kid(s) as a focus and every interaction from here on out, question 'what effect will this have on my kids?' That will give you a pretty good idea of how to deal with these people as things evolve.
Title: Re: P/A Christmas Card
Post by: weeblewobble on January 02, 2013, 09:57:23 AM
I wouldn't respond to the card.  She's trying to stir up trouble.  I think this is her way of saying that no matter what truce you've made with dad, she's going to say whatever she wants.  I would keep this harpy as far away from my daughter as humanly possible.  Then again, I would also consider launching her into space like a satellite if the resources are available.

Make it clear to your dad that continued contact with you and your family is contingent on you NOT having contact with this toxic woman.  This means no visits to your home if she is with him, no visits to his home if she is there, no "ambushes" in which you meet dad somewhere and he doesn't tell you she will be there.  If he can't handle that or tells you that you are being unreasonable, restate that those are your terms and it is his choice whether he can meet them.

Title: Re: P/A Christmas Card
Post by: Amara on January 02, 2013, 11:45:46 AM
Quote
Going forward is tricky in a situation where you still want a relationship with your Dad. But, really, the problem is your Dad. He picked a person for a companion that wants to poison your relationship with your Dad. He buys into it. He supports her but gets to look like the 'good guy' because it's not actually him doing these mean things to you.

I agree with bloo; the problem is your Dad here. Sure, the GF is the one actually performing the acts but she is wholly supported by your father. Not in a kind of "rah rah" way, but the fact that he continues to be with her and not say anything. He has, in essence, chosen sides.

I find that terribly sad, that his daughter, in his view, is not worth protecting from vicious jabs. He is doing it passively by either not choosing to be aware of what GF is saying or doing, or he agrees with her, even unconsciously.

Telling him about the card would be useless. I think you need to accept that they are a pair and that neither her treatment of you nor his passive acceptance of it is going to change. If that is indeed true, then the only thing you can control is your reaction to this. Do you want to do a cut direct of both, or is there something else that will give you the serenity you seek?
Title: Re: P/A Christmas Card
Post by: NyaChan on January 02, 2013, 11:55:22 AM
Regardless of what this card means, I don't think this is a person you are ever going to enjoy.  This is someone whose every action and word to you is likely going to be taken, due to your history with her, in a bad way.  That is a direct result of her consistent bad behavior and not on you.  There is a person who I have figured out that no matter how much time passes, I can never forgive enough or forget enough of their behavior to enable a cordial relationship - if I have to see that person, it is always going to be stressful and put me on edge.  I think your stepmother is that person for you and you are right to consider putting her out of your life permanently. 
Title: Re: P/A Christmas Card
Post by: GrammarNerd on January 02, 2013, 12:43:13 PM
I would say it was a jab, just because she knew what caused the first cutoff.  It was a comment about your weight.  So, IF she wants a good relationship and wanted to extend the proverbial olive branch, what ON EARTH would possess her to send you a card that deals in any way with weight, even if it's a joke?  There are SO many generic cards out there, so I just come to the conclusion that she had to have an agenda to choose this specific one.

So at the most, she was trying to bait you and insult you, and at the least, she's an insensitive idiot.  You don't need to be around either type of person.  Because even if she's an insensitive idiot, you'd still be on your guard around her.

I'd let your dad make the next move.  Let him contact you.  Be polite but don't mention the GF or the card.  If he wants to ever meet in person, then you can make it clear that you will meet him only, and you will leave if he tries to ambush you with GF again.
Title: Re: P/A Christmas Card
Post by: learningtofly on January 02, 2013, 01:33:45 PM
That card was awful.  Had she thought the meet-up at the mall went well and had she thought to send you a card of any kind, the time was a few weeks ago right after the meet-up.  By waiting until new year's to send this she was getting in a jab.  What a nasty woman.
Title: Re: P/A Christmas Card
Post by: ettiquit on January 02, 2013, 01:46:18 PM
Definitely don't respond and increase your efforts of avoiding her.  She wants a response to that.

Also, I love this:

Be blissful and stupid.

Sounds like a good new year's resolution for me!
Title: Re: P/A Christmas Card
Post by: Calypso on January 02, 2013, 01:59:02 PM
I wasn't a big fan of Dr. Laura, but I did listen to her show once in a while and a recurring motif was that a lot of men will put their girlfriends over their children, especially their adult children, as the price of getting some.

So, the real question is, how much does your Dad want a relationship with you and his grandchild, when weighed against how much he wants a bed partner?

You can't make him have the priorities you want him to have. He hasn't been standing up to GF for 10+ years (except, evidently, he's decided not to marry her------I wonder how much that bothers her?)----and I doubt he'll start now.

I agree with the posters who said don't respond in any way to the card. Let her think it got lost in the mail.
As for a come to deity meeting with your Dad----if you want him in your life at all, even a little, think long and hard before going there. Because, he might just make the wrong choice.
Title: Re: P/A Christmas Card
Post by: Kaypeep on January 02, 2013, 01:59:44 PM
I agree the card was a deliberate move on GF's part.  But I think you are better off ignoring it and not giving her any satisfaction at all.  As for your dad, I'd speak to him and remind him that you are still holding firm on not wanting GF in the picture, and that her presence at the last meet up made you very uncomfortable and you don't want a repeat of such a meeting again.  if you meet your dad with DH again, I'd have DH go ahead to scout things out, then call or text you if the coast is clear.  If it's not, he should leave as well and then you can call your dad and let him know that his disregard for your wishes means you can't meet him anymore.  Sad, but I think totally necessary.
Title: Re: P/A Christmas Card
Post by: Roe on January 02, 2013, 02:33:02 PM
Ignore the vile card.  Destroy it if it makes you feel better. Or better yet, burn it while doing the evil laugh. 

As far as the ambush, I'd bring it up to your dad and if he pulls that again, just leave them standing there. 
Title: Re: P/A Christmas Card
Post by: Redneck Gravy on January 02, 2013, 02:46:55 PM
As far as the ambush, I'd bring it up to your dad and if he pulls that again, just leave them standing there.

POD

And I would mention the card to him and tell him that you think she is an insensitive ogre for mentioning your weight and you prefer it not happen again.  If he mentions it to her, she will claim you have no sense of humor, took it wrong...whatever, you can't win but you can put him on notice that you will not tolerate this any more.  The woman is a bully - what else would you call it?
Title: Re: P/A Christmas Card
Post by: Calypso on January 02, 2013, 02:54:08 PM
The GF isn't worth much, but, really, I'd be a lot angrier at my Dad if I were in the OP's shoes. He brought her into the family, so to speak, and he's tolerating her treatment of his daughter.
I'd probably also (if I were the OP) displace my anger towards the GF---because it's just too darn scary to get mad at one's Dad.
Title: Re: P/A Christmas Card
Post by: bloo on January 02, 2013, 03:03:17 PM
The GF isn't worth much, but, really, I'd be a lot angrier at my Dad if I were in the OP's shoes. He brought her into the family, so to speak, and he's tolerating her treatment of his daughter.
I'd probably also (if I were the OP) displace my anger towards the GF---because it's just too darn scary to get mad at one's Dad.

Yep. Saw that over and over in DH's family. Due to his parents remarriages, DH has numerous siblings (step, adopted, half).

Most of the chaos is on his bio-Dad's side.

In my 20+ years with DH I've been witness to wives and mistresses and girlfriends coming and going and I usually observed a sibling from one of the previous relationships giving the stinkeye or attitude to a current girlfriend, wife or newest sibling-type person.

But never any attitude to the bio-dad.

Same cycle, different people.

Mamamootz I'd still not discuss the card with either of them but any issues should be handled with your Dad. He bears the lion's share of the responsibility in this whole, sad situation.

Title: Re: P/A Christmas Card
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on January 02, 2013, 03:12:49 PM
The GF isn't worth much, but, really, I'd be a lot angrier at my Dad if I were in the OP's shoes. He brought her into the family, so to speak, and he's tolerating her treatment of his daughter.
I'd probably also (if I were the OP) displace my anger towards the GF---because it's just too darn scary to get mad at one's Dad.

Same here, it's him who is choosing the vile gf over his daughter, and I'd be hurt more by the father who would rather be with that nasty piece of work than stick up for his child.

Do you have a fireplace Mamamootz? I bet the card would make for good kindle.
Title: Re: P/A Christmas Card
Post by: Autumn Rose on January 02, 2013, 06:59:45 PM
Ignore the card.

Make no contact with your dad.

When he does call you, tell him in no uncertain terms:

"Dad, I love you.   I want to have a relationship with you.   I understand and respect that you are with ***.
However, I dont love her.   I dont want a relationship with her.   Should you wish to see me, you will need to do so alone".

At this point, it really is up to your dad...

((HUGS))
Title: Re: P/A Christmas Card
Post by: postalslave on January 03, 2013, 09:04:39 AM
Ignore the card.

Make no contact with your dad.

When he does call you, tell him in no uncertain terms:

"Dad, I love you.   I want to have a relationship with you.   I understand and respect that you are with ***.
However, I dont love her.   I dont want a relationship with her.   Should you wish to see me, you will need to do so alone".

At this point, it really is up to your dad...

((HUGS))

I agree with this. The wording to "Dad" is perfect if he does call.

The only thing I would do differently is burn the card. Seriously, set that hate card on fire. 
Title: Re: P/A Christmas Card
Post by: MamaMootz on January 03, 2013, 09:12:26 AM
Hi, OP here.

You have all hit it on the head, I think.

For those of you that are saying that he chooses her side over mine, yes to a point. He does whatever is easiest for him. Part of the problem is that I know he agrees with her about my weight. He has always been horrified by fat people. He also hates conflict so very much that even if I brought up that I was upset about anything with her, he would prefer to sweep it under the rug and pretend it doesn't exist so that he doesn't have to weather any conflict between her and I. He's an ostrich. So while he might understand why I'm upset, he wouldn't do anything about it, regardless of what she did or said.

I have come to accept that he cares about me as much as he can, but he has a lot of issues that I can't fix. I can't change him, but only the way I react to him (and her). She is an extension of him and he chooses to live with her. I do not.

I have decided not to bring up the card at all.  No point. I burned it yesterday in the kitchen sink and that felt pretty good. I think from now on any envelopes that come to us from her are just going to get automatically tossed. I don't need that kind of negativity in my life. I'm trying to focus on more positive things this year.

What needs to be addressed with him is the ambushing.  I am planning on sitting down with him after our final move this weekend and just telling him  no more ambushes or we leave. Period. And I know he will try it again so we need to follow through.

Thanks to everyone for the advice.

Title: Re: P/A Christmas Card
Post by: MrTango on January 03, 2013, 09:13:26 AM
I'd say if you want immediate relief you could destroy the card in the most destructive way possible.

This was my first thought.  I suggest fire.  Fire can be very cathartic.

\Of course, be safe about it!
Title: Re: P/A Christmas Card
Post by: JenJay on January 03, 2013, 09:40:45 AM
Ignore the card.

Make no contact with your dad.

When he does call you, tell him in no uncertain terms:

"Dad, I love you.   I want to have a relationship with you.   I understand and respect that you are with ***.
However, I dont love her.   I dont want a relationship with her.   Should you wish to see me, you will need to do so alone".

At this point, it really is up to your dad...

((HUGS))

This is excellent!

As to the update - That sounds like a very good plan. Best wishes!!
Title: Re: P/A Christmas Card
Post by: bloo on January 03, 2013, 10:46:00 AM
Thanks for the update, MamaMootz!

Good plan. I'm glad you did something cathartic for yourself and it sounds like you see things quite clearly.

I was going to post earlier a suggestion of tossing next year's card without even opening it, but held back because what if there was a check or gift card in it? Maybe that wouldn't happen in your family dynamic though.


Best wishes....
Title: Re: P/A Christmas Card
Post by: Otterpop on January 03, 2013, 11:57:55 AM
Good job OP.  Burning is cathartic.  (Maybe have hubby open next year to check for money, then straight from his hand into the fire!)  If GF asks about this years card, you blissfully reply "What card?"  With such a puny, vile person, you actually hold all the power.
Title: Re: P/A Christmas Card
Post by: Amara on January 03, 2013, 01:48:57 PM
Quote
If GF asks about this years card, you blissfully reply "What card?"

Yeah, that darn post office. They keep losing things. Probably best not to send any more."  >:D
Title: Re: P/A Christmas Card
Post by: poundcake on January 03, 2013, 02:59:24 PM
Quote
If GF asks about this years card, you blissfully reply "What card?"

Yeah, that darn post office. They keep losing things. Probably best not to send any more."  >:D

THIS!
Quote
I think from now on any envelopes that come to us from her are just going to get automatically tossed.

I wouldn't, just to be safe. If you don't want to know the contents, either send them back, or have a trusted friend open them, just to make sure you aren't throwing out something important. I did this once from an ex roommate who turned psychotic and it turned out to be a copy of a bill. My not knowing she had sent me this bill only made the problem worse.

Good on you for burning the card, though. You may be fat -- as am I! -- but she's ugly, inside and out. (I won't say you can diet, because really, who cares if an ugly person thinks you're fat?)
Title: Re: P/A Christmas Card
Post by: TootsNYC on January 03, 2013, 03:14:44 PM
Be blissful and stupid (quickly becoming a go-to phrase for me to have a happy life).

Love this!

What a recipe for happiness.

(and how infuriating a reaction it would be for someone who is trying to be mean)

But how protective of yourself it is! You are brilliant, TurtleDove.
Title: Re: P/A Christmas Card
Post by: TurtleDove on January 03, 2013, 03:19:55 PM
Be blissful and stupid (quickly becoming a go-to phrase for me to have a happy life).

Love this!

What a recipe for happiness.

(and how infuriating a reaction it would be for someone who is trying to be mean)

But how protective of yourself it is! You are brilliant, TurtleDove.

I can't take credit for the concept - I think it's Dr. Laura Schlessinger who coined that phrase (anyone know for certain?) but it really helps! I have had several situations where I am intellectually certain a person was trying to hurt me but I acted as though I was happy and didn't grasp the jab and two things happened: 1) the person gave up and 2) I won!