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Author Topic: How do I handle this? UPDATE PG 3, POST CHRISTMAS UPDATE PG 4  (Read 25097 times)

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TootsNYC

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Re: How do I handle this?
« Reply #15 on: December 09, 2014, 04:31:03 PM »
I think your only mistake is trying to treat an unreasonable person as someone who can be reasoned with. May I suggest the technique I plan to market as "Pleasant Teflon". Super nice, very friendly, utterly immovable.

. . .

The reason I think pleasant teflon works is it gives them nothing to argue against. You are agreeing that baked good are great and that gifts for the dad are great. You say all sorts of nice things about the idea, but you never agree to anything. But then you say what you will do and give nothing to argue with or complain about. You make all your details agreeable and meaningless.

Also, it's really hard to argue with someone who is pleasant, says nice stuff and is completely immovable and never explains why.

And who never gives them any details at all, actually. Make a rule for yourself: 7 words. Never mention anyone else.  Pare it down to the thinnest set of info you can deal with.


also: I get that your dad is striking out at you by cancelling the health insurance, etc., but it's not cool to say, "I had to move out, I was miserable."  (another example of: the fewer explanations, the fewer *words*, the better.)

The fact is, you moved out. (And if  you're talking money, by staying on his insurance, you  may well have been costing him money; many policies are much cheaper for 2 people than for 3. And some really hike after 3. You are upset because he's paying money instead of you--but you have emancipated yourself.


This relationship is a perfect place for you to practice the "Don't JADE" strategy.

Don't try to justify your actions, decisions, etc.
     Don't argue about them; simply say, "we're not giving presents anymore," and then when someone counters, you say, "Hmm, well, I don't want to argue with you, so I'm going to go now." 
     Don't defend yourself. They say, "that's selfish of you," or "you just had to move out," you don't say "I'm not either" or "here's the reason, it was justified!" Let their attack fly out there, and if you don't respond it will fall flat. Like, they shot an arrow, and you just dodged. You didn't put up your shield to take the impact; you just dodged.
Don't explain. Never give them your reasons. Not the real ones, not the fake ones.


Another point:
Give up on the idea that it matters whether they agree with you. They are completely entitled to have their own opinion; they can disagree with you strongly, etc. That's their right, actually. (It's yours as well.) So let go of any pressure beyond that.

This is the toughest transition to adulthood, I think--letting go of the idea that we care what our parents think, what they want. All our life until that point has been wrapped up in meeting their standards, so it's not easy. But it's necessary.
 
« Last Edit: December 22, 2014, 06:51:23 PM by TootsNYC »

tash112194

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Re: How do I handle this?
« Reply #16 on: December 09, 2014, 08:00:04 PM »
also: I get that your dad is striking out at you by cancelling the health insurance, etc., but it's not cool to say, "I had to move out, I was miserable."  (another example of: the fewer explanations, the fewer *words*, the better.)

The fact is, you moved out. (And if  you're talking money, by staying on his insurance, you  may well have been costing him money; many policies are much cheaper for 2 people than for 3. And some really hike after 3. You are upset because he's paying money instead of you--but you have emancipated yourself.

I appreciate your input, I especially liked the part about it not mattering whether or not they agree with me, although I think most of us have that slight inner need to be right and be acknowledged in our rightness lol, I just have to point out that I do pay my father to be on his insurance, so the only way he helps me is to be "part" of a plan instead of the only person on it as prices go down for a family plan than they do for a singular person. Also I don't mean "I was miserable" in the petulant teenage way like "God ur ruining my life!" I just mean that I was unhappy there, and I don't respect people who just complain about their lives without doing anything to change it, so after being depressed and getting into screaming matches over the "time I was going to do the dishes at" and being stressed and not feeling like I had a real "home" to go home to, I had to leave for my emotional well being, although I do realize how it antagonizes a fight to try to get him to understand that I just wanted to be happy in my life.

purple

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Re: How do I handle this?
« Reply #17 on: December 09, 2014, 08:35:12 PM »
May I ask why you still want these people in your life at all?

zyrs

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Re: How do I handle this?
« Reply #18 on: December 10, 2014, 12:46:27 AM »
Here is a strategy I have found useful in situations like this:

Step texts you  asking you to chip in on a gift she already bought for your father, listing who else is chipping in and giving me a price

you text back "That sounds like a great present, hope he enjoys it.  You have a good day."  (turn off phone for a while).

You need to make yourself a blank, stone wall.

  What you have decided to do about Christmas is none of their business unless they ask you what you want for Christmas.  Then you say you aren't exchanging gifts with other adults this year.  You don't tell them about saving money for your wedding, because it is none of their business.  When dad and step get the wedding invitation, then they know all they need to know about the wedding.  Don't accept money from them, even though the money might be welcome and needed because the strings attached to it will well outweigh the short term benefits.

And please, check out Healthcare.gov if you haven't already.  There may be a more affordable option out there for you.













WolfWay

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Re: How do I handle this?
« Reply #19 on: December 10, 2014, 02:03:17 AM »
Here is a strategy I have found useful in situations like this:

Step texts you  asking you to chip in on a gift she already bought for your father, listing who else is chipping in and giving me a price

you text back "That sounds like a great present, hope he enjoys it.  You have a good day."  (turn off phone for a while).

You need to make yourself a blank, stone wall.

I worry that any kind of positive comment about the present sounds like "Sounds great, I'll chip in" to a person looking for contributions.
<3

PastryGoddess

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Re: How do I handle this?
« Reply #20 on: December 10, 2014, 02:37:17 AM »
Another vote for complete silence. For all the reasons that PPs said.

Also, it does sound like the less you have to do with them, the better, but I did want to mention one other thing.

When you're at the transition place between being a dependent and being an adult, it can be hard for people to make that transition with you, even kind-hearted people (which you're clearly not dealing with). Sometimes, the best thing you can do is be absent (or nearly absent) for a few years, and then try to establish new relationships with people once some time has passed. This happened to me inadvertently - a few years after college, I moved far away from my family, and hardly saw them for 3-4 years. Although I didn't change much in level of maturity between those years (I was already doing things like saving for retirement, and living within my means before I stopped seeing them for awhile), in their eyes I did, because they hadn't seen me for long enough that they looked at my behavior (and me) with new eyes.

It is possible that your relationship with your dad may change over time into something better. It's also entirely possible that he'll be the same mean-hearted, spiteful person that you deal with now. Either way, making yourself scarce from their lives while you focus on yours seems like it would bring you good things. It can also be useful to you, because giving yourself that break will help you to deal with his behavior in a clearer, easier way, once the baggage of his past behavior fades a bit.

This is so true.  I immediately moved away when I was 18 to another city halfway across the country.  When I finally came back, it was to move to a city an hour away.  By the time I came back to live in my hometown several years later, I was much more mature with adult expectations and bearing.  I was actually quite surprised at how easy it was for me to be treated like one of the adults and not like a kid. 

Op you have emancipated yourself and are creating a new family with your soon to be hubby.  As we say on this thread, begin as you mean to go on.  You're doing a great job so far and you've been given a lot off good advice.

Here is a strategy I have found useful in situations like this:

Step texts you  asking you to chip in on a gift she already bought for your father, listing who else is chipping in and giving me a price

you text back "That sounds like a great present, hope he enjoys it.  You have a good day."  (turn off phone for a while).

You need to make yourself a blank, stone wall.

I worry that any kind of positive comment about the present sounds like "Sounds great, I'll chip in" to a person looking for contributions.

People hear what they want to hear. The great thing about that response is that you can factually say, "I said no such thing, I have no clue why you expected me to contribute" 

BeagleMommy

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Re: How do I handle this?
« Reply #21 on: December 10, 2014, 01:41:01 PM »
Tash, I'm going to agree with previous posters who've said you've done everything you could have done.  It sounds like SM is upset that her live-in slave is no longer available and she now has to *gasp* actually clean her own dishes.

In the future, don't give them any details.  They can't argue with the basics.  You can say "Fiance and I aren't exchanging gifts with other adults this year.".  If they ask why you just say "It just works better for us right now".

By the way, just because they're family doesn't mean you have to invite them to your wedding.  On that day you want to be surrounded by those who love and care about you.  You don't have to allow them to bring their toxicity to your wedding.

tash112194

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Re: How do I handle this?
« Reply #22 on: December 10, 2014, 01:51:21 PM »
May I ask why you still want these people in your life at all?

I don't really haha. I'm trying to distance myself from them as much as I can, my fiance and I have talked about it and we both kind of agree that while they can have their surprisingly halfway decent moments, they're pretty much a poison. I just wish I could find a way to distance myself so that they, and the rest of my family understands that I'm not the "wrong" one. The rest of my family has this tendency to still view me as the sullen attitude filled thirteen year old that I used to be (even though the reason I was like that was because my home life was a constant turmoil of "you never come out of your room! thats why no one talks to u!" *sits in the kitchen to do my homework* *everyone walks in the house without even acknowledging me or responding to my greetings* and fights all the time and resentment from my stepmother and my father taking out his bad day or his unhappy relationship on me) I just didn't know how to handle everything I was feeling. I would get screamed at the entire way to a family function, and get told to clean myself up and put a smile on my face and it was no one's business what we talked about, so when of course when everyone else in my family was like "why dont u ever smile! cheer up! act like u want to be here!" and my "parents" were acting friendly to me and telling my family "i don't know why she has such a terrible attitude!" I just got more and more moody and attitudey. I didn't handle it well but I was only 13 so I've developed some emotional maturity since then and have stopped taking my parents actions out on the rest of my family. I know that it doesn't really matter if people know that I'm right as long as I get out of a situation that makes me unhappy, I just hate being portrayed as this immature brat who "rejects her loving parents" when I'm really just trying to make my own way in the world and cutting out negative people who only bring me down.
Also I think cutting ties with your family is kinda scary, at any age, and I know I'll always hope it could have been different, and I want to take the time to make sure that I've done everything I can to salvage the relationship before I shut them out forever. I don't want to look back on cutting them out of my life with regrets or "what ifs" I want to be able to confidently say "I did my best, and it was in my best interest to gtfo of there." lol. Thanks everyone for all your advice!

MrTango

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Re: How do I handle this?
« Reply #23 on: December 10, 2014, 01:52:12 PM »
I'd completely ignore any further communication from your father's wife.

Cut her off completely, block her phone numbers and email addresses.  If there's anything really important that your father needs to contact you about, he can do so himself.

Deetee

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Re: How do I handle this?
« Reply #24 on: December 10, 2014, 02:10:12 PM »
As someone else said upthread, cutting/minimizing ties for a while can make a big difference.  My stepdad and I never go along growing up (nothing like you though. he was a decent guy, but we had personality clashes.). After I finished university and came back to visit, he treated me like an adult, not a petulant teen and I behaved like an adult, not a petulant teen. We get along great now, but it took the distance first.

So maybe you will end up with a decent relationship, but it will NOT be your childhood relationship. So getting off the insurance (though sucky in it's implementation) was a good thing. Keep your distance and then start to form a relationship of adults....or not..

Jones

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Re: How do I handle this?
« Reply #25 on: December 10, 2014, 02:44:23 PM »
Where is Pirate? She would be a good one for you to speak with about experiences cutting parents out of your life, Tash. She speaks in the forum every so often about how freeing it has been.

I suggest you reject any Christmas gift your SM and dad try to give you this Christmas. If they try to make a big deal of it, calmly explain you have nothing to give in return, and don't feel comfortable accepting their...well, charity.
A real desire to believe all the good you can of others and to make others as comfortable as you can will solve most of the problems. CS Lewis

tash112194

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Re: How do I handle this?
« Reply #26 on: December 10, 2014, 03:44:13 PM »
Where is Pirate? She would be a good one for you to speak with about experiences cutting parents out of your life, Tash. She speaks in the forum every so often about how freeing it has been.

I suggest you reject any Christmas gift your SM and dad try to give you this Christmas. If they try to make a big deal of it, calmly explain you have nothing to give in return, and don't feel comfortable accepting their...well, charity.

I really hate that though, gift giving should not be done with the expectation that something be given in return. The rest of my family actually operates this way. I even had mentioned to my father weeks before this texting incident that we weren't going to be able to afford Christmas presents for everyone, and he was fine with it. It makes me wonder if he ever brought it up to her though, I almost wonder if she's being extra spiteful to try to make us feel bad about it. The responses I received from the rest of my family about Christmas this year have been "well what do you want for Christmas, I'm not taking no for an answer" and "we just want to make sure we see you on the holiday, what are your plans"
You know, behavior that makes you actually want to do stuff for these people. And I'm really not saying "gift giving should not be done with the expectation that something be given in return" with an "you'd be lucky if I considered buying a gift for you" attitude, I just mean that my entire reason for giving gifts shouldn't be because I want you to buy me something, thereby making your gift to me a token so I can receive something in return, that defeats the entire purpose and makes "gift giving" something selfish.  >:( lol. I just think her reaction is a testament to her personality. No family mentality.

Jones

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Re: How do I handle this?
« Reply #27 on: December 10, 2014, 04:10:03 PM »
I hate that mentality too. But you know how SM will take and spin your accepting anything from them, she's made that clear. In all good conscience you cannot accept anything from them anymore or they will treat you as a dependent, petulant child.

ETA: by "them" I mean your parents. If extended family is kind and reasonable, by all means continue to associate with the extendeds.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2014, 04:14:35 PM by Jones »
A real desire to believe all the good you can of others and to make others as comfortable as you can will solve most of the problems. CS Lewis

zyrs

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Re: How do I handle this?
« Reply #28 on: December 11, 2014, 01:53:21 AM »
I'm trying to distance myself from them as much as I can, my fiance and I have talked about it and we both kind of agree that while they can have their surprisingly halfway decent moments, they're pretty much a poison. I just wish I could find a way to distance myself so that they, and the rest of my family understands that I'm not the "wrong" one.

This might be a little harder to do  - some people will see any backing off as 'but they're family, why are you treating them so badly?'.  And there is the probability that no matter what you do there might be someone who gets mad at you for it.

Doing a cut  so that it doesn't seem like you are is much trickier than just a direct cut off because you have to put effort into always sounding friendly and cheerful but just being incredibly busy.

When they call: "Great to hear from you!  I'm sorry, was just heading out the door.  I'll call you back as soon as I get a chance." and just don't get a chance.

If they stop by and you see it's them out the window go to the door and grab your coat and purse or whatever and open the door before they get a chance to knock.  Be surprised and say; "Oh, it's so good to see you!  Unfortunately I was just heading out. " and then leave.

Any plans they want you to make you say; "I'll need to check my calendar." and then later you say that 'you have previous plans.'






tash112194

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Re: How do I handle this?
« Reply #29 on: December 11, 2014, 08:06:54 AM »
I'm trying to distance myself from them as much as I can, my fiance and I have talked about it and we both kind of agree that while they can have their surprisingly halfway decent moments, they're pretty much a poison. I just wish I could find a way to distance myself so that they, and the rest of my family understands that I'm not the "wrong" one.

This might be a little harder to do  - some people will see any backing off as 'but they're family, why are you treating them so badly?'.  And there is the probability that no matter what you do there might be someone who gets mad at you for it.

Doing a cut  so that it doesn't seem like you are is much trickier than just a direct cut off because you have to put effort into always sounding friendly and cheerful but just being incredibly busy.

When they call: "Great to hear from you!  I'm sorry, was just heading out the door.  I'll call you back as soon as I get a chance." and just don't get a chance.

If they stop by and you see it's them out the window go to the door and grab your coat and purse or whatever and open the door before they get a chance to knock.  Be surprised and say; "Oh, it's so good to see you!  Unfortunately I was just heading out. " and then leave.

Any plans they want you to make you say; "I'll need to check my calendar." and then later you say that 'you have previous plans.'

Actually this part is very easy, my father has never been to my apartment, does not know where I live, (when asked for my address I give them my PO box) and doesn't call. The part I have trouble with is not wanting to go to the holidays that are always hosted at their house, or go to see my grandparents (who live in an in-law apartment on their property) without making it obvious that I'm trying to avoid interacting with them. As far as the holidays go, I want to see the rest of my family but especially with the situation with my step mother I almost want to skip going to their house at all so the gift situation never comes up. Although I do feel like this would be rude to the people who knew our situation and still decided they wanted to give us something, and the people who said "all we want is to see you for the holiday", I guess I'm struggling with how to alienate my parents without severing ties with my entire family or becoming even more of the black sheep by avoiding my parents when no one else knows how they really act towards me.