Author Topic: cut offs time outs with the least amount of Drama  (Read 3568 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

darkprincess

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 294
cut offs time outs with the least amount of Drama
« on: May 09, 2013, 04:36:06 PM »
My husband has a sister and her husband that we have chosen to cut off. We would like the least amount of drama possible and I would love to hear any and all of your ideas on what to do. I recognize that some drama will happen but it we can limit it all the better.

BG Not to go into too much detail but the toxic behavior includes lying, stealing, borrowing money without repaying, selling birthday and Christmas gifts given to niece at pawn shops, not bringing their families agreed upon share of potluck items, Easter eggs, money for rented items. They have brought their pets when they knew pets were not invited. They join everyone at the zoo/museum/restaurant and then "forget" their wallet. There has been hints but no concrete evidence of animal abuse, child neglect. The list goes on. 
There are 4 other sibling in addition to DH and the CO sister, for a total of 6 siblings. All but two are married and have children. The extended family has many family activities that everyone is invited to, including holiday gatherings and all birthdays. Many of the family even do a joint vacation. In recent years all of the siblings have begun to scale back the activities due to this couples behavior. Everyone has dealt with it a little differently sometimes with quiet Time outs, canceling the traditional holiday gathering so they do not have to not invite them etc. We are the first to cut them off.
At the final straw but before we did the cutoff DH attempted to contact his sister 5 times, he called, used facebook, went to their house, texted he even asked other siblings to ask sister to call. They refused to return his calls or messages.

End BG, DH told each of sibling that our family was cutting off sister and her family. He told them that we are not asking them to get involved and respect their choices to do whatever they want to do. He let them know that this is our choice and we accept the consequences that this might have. We may chose to not attend family events if they plan on attending and we will not be participating in an joint rentals, arrangements, vacations, etc. We made sure that they knew that we plan on making an extra effort to do things with each of the siblings families because it is likely that we will not be participating in family holidays and birthday parties. None of the other siblings were angry about our choice. So far this has worked very well. The level of drama in our lives has decreased. The times we see family may be less but we have more fun.

SIL 2 told me that CO SIL just noticed, 4 months after the fact, that we had blocked her on facebook. So summer is starting and we have been invited to a day at the beach with the family. CO SIL has said she will not be attending. DH has to work but I plan on attending with my kids. A friend told me that I should be worried that this is a trick and SIL may show up. Even if this isn't a trick, at sometime we will eventually bump into each other no matter what we do.

We have both decided that when this happens we will keep our cool, be as polite as possible and then find an excuse to leave. But what do we do if she continues to ask why the CO, or starts to scream, call names, etc. It is not an appropriate conversation at a fun family gathering. We were willing to talk about it 4 months ago when we tried to get a hold of her, but now we just feel done.
She usually comes without her husband and this is about both of them so we did not want to have the conversation with just one of them. They both lie to others and each other so a conversation without both of them is pointless. In reality we only are willing to stop the CO when they both start asking responsibly. DH believes any conversation will simply be more lies, excuses and unkept promises.

LadyL

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2833
Re: cut offs time outs with the least amount of Drama
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2013, 04:45:57 PM »
It sounds like a modified cut direct since you are willing to acknowledge their existence if you end up in the same place. The key to all of this is icy cold detachment. You say "hello" and keep walking. You excuse yourself when they try to join your conversation. If they confront you, you tell them "this is not the time" or "I'm not having this discussion." Be willing to leave if you need to. The main thing is to stay calm, cool, and collected and not worry about how it makes *you* look if they go off. It solely reflects on them. They are a stranger to you and a stranger randomly yelling at you, you would ignore them and then leave if they didn't stop.

Hmmmmm

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6252
Re: cut offs time outs with the least amount of Drama
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2013, 04:56:09 PM »
I think your plan is fine. If she starts drama, tell your host thank you but we will be leaving now and grab your stuff and leave.

If she asks politely "Why have you cut us off" you can say "This isn't the place to have that conversation. I'll let DH know you'd like to discuss." Don't committ to a discussion just let her know it will be your DH's decision.

VorFemme

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 12584
  • Strolls with scissors! Too tired to run today!
Re: cut offs time outs with the least amount of Drama
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2013, 05:51:23 PM »
"I think that you need to speak to your brother about that" and keep going (any small children that need to be fed, hydrated, get sun screen applied, taken to the bathroom, etc. will work as a distraction to explain why you aren't stopping to talk).
Let sleeping dragons be.......morning breath......need I say more?

doodlemor

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2142
Re: cut offs time outs with the least amount of Drama
« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2013, 07:41:05 PM »
I POD the others.  As long as you remain calm and collected her behavior will not reflect on you.  If SIL or her husband start yelling they will just make themselves look ridiculous.

Here is a link to LadyL's thread about dealing with difficult people, in case you missed it.  You may find some good advice there as the comments grow.

http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=127731.0

I'm not sure that you owe these people a very long explanation.  They likely know what they do, and plan to continue the mooching behavior because it benefits them.  Don't let yourselves get caught in a trap in which they control you by demanding explanations.

CaffeineKatie

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 319
Re: cut offs time outs with the least amount of Drama
« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2013, 10:39:35 PM »
Sounds like you have a good plan--I'd practice saying "This is not the time or place to discuss this" while walking away.  Good for you that you are willing to eliminate toxic people from your family life--your children will appreciate it in the long run.

kudeebee

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2155
Re: cut offs time outs with the least amount of Drama
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2013, 12:33:40 AM »
If you are cutting them off, then you don't interact with them at all.  If they show up at events you are at, you stay away from them, if they join a group, you leave, if they badger you with questions an icy "this is not the time to discuss this" is the correct answer.  You will have to be prepared to leave if they won't leave you alone.  Let sil/bil scream and yell and carry on.  Do not react, walk away and leave if needed.

Be prepared that if you go to the beach she may show up. If she stays away from you, you can stay.  If she won't leave you alone, be prepared to leave.  Clue the kids in ahead of time that you aren't sure how long you can stay and that if you say it is time to leave, they are to help you clean up and go.

I would be leary of letting them back in until they really show signs of changing, not just say the words.  At least do not get involved in joint rentals, vacations, etc with them--or let it be known that you will pay your share and no more.  If the other sibs want to pick up the tab for sil that is up to them. 

TootsNYC

  • A Pillar of the Forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 30461
Re: cut offs time outs with the least amount of Drama
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2013, 10:46:36 AM »
an icy "this is not the time to discuss this" is the correct answer. 

I agree with most of kudeebee's advice (priming the kids, especially--smart suggestion!).

But I don't agree w/ the "icy" part.

I vote: Be Teflon. Anything she says doesn't get a reply; let it slide right off, like eggs in a Teflon pan. Wriggle out like an eel. Evade, evade, evade.

I agree with the advice upstream to always, always be calm and distant. "Icy" creates drama--it can make *you* look bad. And it will prolong the conversation, both the later ones about the incident, and any that are right now.

Just be vague, "Oh, hmm." Focus your gaze elsewhere, have a vague smile, and leave.

darkprincess

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 294
Re: cut offs time outs with the least amount of Drama
« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2013, 10:56:38 AM »
OP here, thank you for the advice. To clarify we have already refused any thing that requires a financial contribution that they will be involved in. This could be something as small as a birthday cake for great grandma to renting a boat for a family reunion. We will bring a separate gift or not participate.
I am going to practice the phrases everyone mentioned and I am prepared to ignore them, walk to another part of the beach or to simply leave the beach and go home.

I now see my one piece of uncertainty and after talking to DH he has it too. Although we tried we never were able to tell them we were cutting them off, I guess it isn't necessary and probably would cause more drama than to continue the avoidance. It was part of our original plan but they wouldn't answer our call. Our brains were still on this plan, but after thinking it through it isn't necessary to talk to them about it. However it costs us nothing but a little time to meet them at a coffee shop for 15 minutes to tell them why they are no longer invited to the events for family that we host.

Only if it comes up, and only if they attempt to talk with us at a neutral and agreed upon time and location will we explain. But we are not going to try or initiate, anything. They only reason we are even keeping this possibility open is that the rest of the family would see this as the right thing to do and Sometimes you do things for family harmony, especially if it won't cause us harm. There is nothing they could say to make this better. But DH is willing to tell them that when we see their actions change we may rethink this.

bopper

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 12199
Re: cut offs time outs with the least amount of Drama
« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2013, 10:59:52 AM »

Only if it comes up, and only if they attempt to talk with us at a neutral and agreed upon time and location will we explain. But we are not going to try or initiate, anything.

I think this is a good plan.  You don't want a relationship, so don't reach out at this point to tell them that.

TootsNYC

  • A Pillar of the Forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 30461
Re: cut offs time outs with the least amount of Drama
« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2013, 11:03:56 AM »
Even if they bring it up, I wouldn't explain it.

In fact, I'd flat-out deny it. "Oh, no, I'm sure you're imagining things. It's just, we're pretty busy. Excuse me."

No possible good can come of saying, in any way, "We are deliberately deciding not to have anything to do with you." That's drama forever, and for everyone.

Be Teflon.

Don't *announce* your boundaries.

Just *live* them. It's more effective that way.

For one thing, if you tell them there's a boundary, they're going to have something to aim at, and they'll WANT to break that boundary. If you just LIVE the boundary, they'll just sort of get used to it without thinking about it.

Sort of like fish in an aquarium. Supposedly if you put a glass tube in the middle of the aquarium and leave the fish in there long enough, then when you take it out they won't swim out of that area because they're so used to there being a barrier there.


Lynn2000

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4760
Re: cut offs time outs with the least amount of Drama
« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2013, 02:58:42 PM »
Tough situation, but it seems like you guys have been handling it well so far, and you have the rest of the family's backing (or at least tacit approval). I understand what you mean about wanting to tell them why, for the sake of family harmony, so you can say that you tried--right now they can claim that they "don't know" why you're treating them this way, boo-hoo.

But even if they try to set up the required circumstances for such a discussion (neutral location, calm demeanor, etc.), I feel like it's not really going to do any good. If they're the type to confront with yelling and lies, they're not going to suddenly make an about-face after just a few months. And with their history of deception, it's very likely that after the meeting they'll claim something totally different for your reasoning, something that purposefully makes you look bad or petty. "They're mad because we forgot our wallets at a restaurant that one time!"

I think you just have to live your lives the way you want, and trust that other, more sensible people in the family will look between the two of you and realize who they ought to believe--the calm, reasonable, quiet people; or the yelling, lying, drama-causing ones. And frankly if anyone still goes with the latter, you may want to rethink spending time with them, too. I guess my point is, it might be better to focus less on what other people in the family think about what you're doing, and just be confident in your decisions yourselves.

It seems like explaining your decision to the rest of the family went well, but don't feel like you always have to do that, or have to do it repeatedly with the same people. It was probably good to give them a head's-up about your changing financial contributions, for example, but there's other aspects where it's really no one else's business what you do or why you do it. If you decide you don't ever want to explain to the cut-off ones why they've been cut off, that's your choice and shouldn't necessarily be up for discussion by anyone else.
~Lynn2000

Deetee

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5482
Re: cut offs time outs with the least amount of Drama
« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2013, 03:35:17 PM »

Don't *announce* your boundaries.

Just *live* them. It's more effective that way.


I just want to agree with this.