Getting married soon, what to expect?

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Penny Lane

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Getting married soon, what to expect?
« on: December 11, 2018, 03:18:48 PM »
So it seems that my SO's PDexw has figured out generally when we're getting married, and now that it's coming up I'm wondering what we should be prepared for?

So far she has been trying to harass me more by coming by our house when she knows I'll be there. But for her that's practically low-key, at least compared to some past actions. She's also started emailing SO to tell him things she wants me to do. These things make no sense like, "Please have Penny pack X in SS's backpack" even though SO has always packed up the kids' backpacks. But both of us just ignore that. I think she's sort of telling herself (or she's worried that?) I am picking up the majority of the parenting tasks now that we're getting married - but that's not true, SO is still the parent although I do help out with stuff.

But like I said that's all pretty mild for her. I'm worried she's saving it up for one giant meltdown right beforehand. Like, trying to just keep the kids from going or trying to poison their minds so badly they won't participate. Right now they're mostly excited but SS in particular seems to have some moments of doubt, usually when he's been with his mom for a long stretch. I can imagine 100 scenarios where she tries to derail the whole thing, though I think we've planned an event that she can't actually ruin.

Can anyone tell me what to prepare for? Or maybe tell me something to ease my anxiety? Wedding planning is hard enough without the added stress of an emotional terrorist in the mix!

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Stepping lightly

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Re: Getting married soon, what to expect?
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2018, 10:58:53 AM »
Hi PL- Congrats- that is SO exciting!

What to expect?  That is the 1 million dollar question.  I think when you are dealing with a PD in a high emotional situation, you should be prepared for anything.  At the end of the day, the most important thing is that you get married to the man you love.  This all may be threatening, sad, angering for BM.  We took a mountain of precautions for our wedding.  We got married an hour and a half out of town, on a Sunday (kids came back Friday, gave us a day before the rehearsal dinner to retrieve the kids if she refused to give them back.  We made the timing of the wedding vague to the kids, "sometime this fall".

This was our experience, if any of it helps you.... BM had already been at high conflict level with us since the day she realized we were serious, so we weren't sure what she would do to ruin the wedding.  I had a small heart attack the day DSD said, "Mom said she needs to know where and when to pick my dress up from the tailor".  I just responded, "It's ok sweetie, she doesn't need to worry about a thing for your dress, I've got it taken care of".  The kids were young and not so alienated, and they were just thrilled with the whole idea, so that helped.

The wedding itself went fine, she didn't interfere to my amazement.  She just tortured poor DSD afterwards about what we "allowed" her to wear.  It was the first time DSD had been able to dress up like that, and she was beyond thrilled about it.  So, of course, she went home telling BM about it.  It was nothing a normal flower girl wouldn't wear- little cutsie flower girl shoes from David's bridal and a touch of make up like all the other girls.  DSD paid for it, and was forced to come back and tell me how wrong it was for her to wear those things- and then BM's boyfriend caught me away from DH at one of the kids activities while I was trying to take pictures, and harshly lectured me about the rules of what and when DSD is allowed to wear.  BM sat within hearing distance and sniped at my responses.  I have freaking pictures of DSD's shoes and makeup for court files. 

The weirdest thing to me, was that after our wedding, BM and her BF went to the place we got married and had a "romantic overnight" there.  BF posted it on facebook.  Now- this was a place 1.5 hours away, that most people don't know about.  There is very little else to do there, but get married....so...the pictures of BM standing where I took my wedding photos was really creepy.


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coyote

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Re: Getting married soon, what to expect?
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2018, 03:26:23 PM »
Congratulations PennyLane,
I've never dealt with this particular situation. I would say continue to pay close attention to the Toolbox here. Medium Chill, Grey Rock, Keep the 3C's in mind, etc. You say, "I can imagine 100 scenarios where she tries to derail the whole thing," I say stop it. Keep focus on the joy of the event and don't give her and the negative possibilities room in your head.
Be open and honest with the kids. Listen to them and be supportive to their feelings whatever they might be. Other than that just enjoy the day!!
How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.
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The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Do you understand?
Capt. Jack Sparrow

Choose not to be harmed and you wonít feel harmed. Donít feel harmed and you havenít been. -Marcus Aurelius

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Associate of Daniel

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Re: Getting married soon, what to expect?
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2018, 05:24:29 PM »
I'm the BM in my situation, with an uNPD exH and his uNPD wife.

I wanted to know the date of their wedding so that I could surround myself with support for the day.

Ds seemed fine with them marrying but I wanted to know the date to support him with his nerves (he was part of the wedding party) and with any realisations that his parents really were  not getting back together. Wishes he still had at the time.

UNPD exH ignored my requests for the date but demanded I cut ds's hair in the week preceding.

I wasn't interested in the where or what. Just the date.  I had no intentions of causing drama.

But uNPD exH had a massive meltdown a day or so before.  He demanded I pick up ds on changeover day (day after their wedding) 3+ hours later than normal and in a location an hour's drive in the opposite direction from where he knew I needed to get to afterwards. (Church)

I said I'd change the location but not the time.

WW3 erupted. His sister was dragged into it and I undoubtedly was smeared to the ends of the earth.

A few months later: Christmas.  I receive from his uNPD wife a framed photo of ds taken at their wedding in his wedding outfit.

Beautiful photo but - really?

The frame was deposited at the op shop and the photo is at the top of a wardrobe somewhere.

Just my 2c.

AOD

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athene1399

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Re: Getting married soon, what to expect?
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2018, 06:28:38 PM »
Penny,

I'm sure I'll be feeling the same way as you with an upcoming wedding, but as an outsider emotionally I'm going to say try your best to not let BM ruin your day/weekend of the wedding. Because that's what she probably wants to do, so don't let her. Easier said than done I am sure.

It sounds like you've already brainstormed every scenario, and that's really the best you can do. If you needed BM to drop the kids off anywhere prior to the wedding or pick up after, maybe have a backup person who can give the kids rides to where they need to be? Little things like that. Prepare for small things that you can control. I like SL's idea of not letting BM get involved in any way (like don't let her pick up dresses/tuxes for the kids). And day of...don't look at your phones. Deal with her drama later once your night is over.

So try your best to not worry.  :) This is your guys' special day! And it sounds like you are already doing good with ignoring messages that don't need to be responded to. So keep that up. And if she asks for any details, I would try to keep it as vague as possible. Don't let her get under your skin. That's what she wants.

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Stepping lightly

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Re: Getting married soon, what to expect?
« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2018, 07:14:06 PM »
Oh- and the rule on our wedding day- DH and I were not allowed to say her name.  It was OUR day.

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Latchkey

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Re: Getting married soon, what to expect?
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2018, 12:45:20 AM »
Congratulations Penny Lane!

For me, in my 2nd marriage, we both had PD exes. Mine was in a pretty good place because he was involved with someone else and didn't care so much, at least not until I started demanding child support. He thought once I remarried I didn't need or deserve child support. He also became extremely jealous when my DD's actually liked their StepDad. That's another story. With my H2's BPDexW she was upset, she left town for a couple weeks.

So, keep it low key. Make sure it is on your time, well within your time. Don't rub it in her face nor expect her to be happy either. It is your day though and you deserve to enjoy it. Get all the family support you can and make sure others are aware and available to "run interference" with her or with possibly upset kids (My dad took then SS9 aside  who had threatened to stand up and "object to the marriage" at one point, and talked with him before the wedding) so you two can focus on the fun stuff. ((That "upset SS9" btw is about to turn 21 and though I'm no longer married to his Dad, we are close and I am one adult he can trust in his life.))

We never got a photo with all the kids and us together so the photographer took pics separately and we made montages. Basically respect the kids and don't force them into being in the wedding or expect them to be thrilled on the day of. Respect that they might freak out for a bit but if they get space things will be ok. If you have aunts or uncles or cousins around to help them that would be awesome too.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2018, 12:52:55 AM by Latchkey »
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Penny Lane

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Re: Getting married soon, what to expect?
« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2018, 02:02:47 AM »
Thanks everyone! This all feels very comforting even if just to know that others have survived similar situations.

I guess I spoke too soon about her acting relatively mild. Turns out learning that the wedding is coming up soon really set her off. Since I first posted, she's sent a bunch of emails that literally don't make sense, like SO can't figure out what she's even trying to say, she tried to say we have to get rid of my pet before we are "allowed" to get married, and she's demanded that SO give her a whole bunch of parenting time for no reason. I guess none of it is surprising. We've seen this sort of meltdown before and the good news is I still want to marry SO!

I especially like this advice:
You say, "I can imagine 100 scenarios where she tries to derail the whole thing," I say stop it. Keep focus on the joy of the event and don't give her and the negative possibilities room in your head.

You are so right! There's only so much we can do to prepare for various doomsday scenarios. At the end of the day, either she'll come up with something to derail it or hopefully won't, and it will be what it will be. I'm still working on that radical acceptance! Thanks so much coyote, I went back and looked at the toolbox and it really grounded me, even just remembering that these are patterns and there are tried and true strategies to deal with them is soooooooo helpful.

SL, I love the advice about not even saying her name and I think we're going to implement it!

The weirdest thing to me, was that after our wedding, BM and her BF went to the place we got married and had a "romantic overnight" there.  BF posted it on facebook.  Now- this was a place 1.5 hours away, that most people don't know about.  There is very little else to do there, but get married....so...the pictures of BM standing where I took my wedding photos was really creepy.

This is SO CREEPY. And actually now that you mention it BM has been doing some copying of us too, in super weird ways. Like, the kids and I ordered a very specific item for their dad as a surprise for the wedding, well I guess now BM has ordered the EXACT same thing. Like, so obscure that there's no way she came up with it on her own, the kids must have told her about it and then she bought it for herself too? Other stuff like that too that I'm just putting together. Fortunately there's no way she's going to the place where we're getting married, at least not anytime soon.

I will definitely make sure to NOT send BM pictures of our wedding day (not that we'd want her to have them anyway...) and there is no way on earth we'd let her handle dresses or anything else. It seems like the kids are mostly excited although I'm a little worried she's going to try to kill their enthusiasm, we saw a little of that right after SO told her.

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HotCocoa

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Re: Getting married soon, what to expect?
« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2018, 10:49:54 AM »
My advice for dealing with someone who seems like a malignant narcissist is to "go dark."
Get off all social media.  If you are on Facebook, deactivate your account and create one with a new name for just the immediate people who need to know about wedding plans.
Stop reading her emails.  Let your ex handle that.  Tell him you are taking a break from it.
Don't talk about her in the home.  Especially not with the children.  Try to deflect if they say something about her.  "Oh that's ok she said that, now, about these other things..."
Don't ever be within range of this woman.  Especially not alone.  Be alert.  If you see her, walk away, get away, do whatever you have to do.
Just be as supportive as ever with the children.  You sound like you are very supportive of them and YOUR new family.  Protect it.
Like AOD said, her ex ramped up his poor behavior and it was his own wedding.  She will try to ramp it up. 
Block her texts. 
Also, make sure your wedding photos are protected.  Let the photographer know that no one else can get anything unless they go through you.  Same with dresses, tuxes, catering, flowers.  I wouldn't put it past her to try to sabotage something.  Flying monkey's tried to sabotage and blindside me with different things like emailing a photograpy studio directly to get access to pictures.  To change things on a menu.  To do any and all sorts of dirty tricks to ruin what is yours.  Protect it all and feel free to notify the wedding venue that nothing should ever be talked about unless it is to you directly.  To let you know if anyone calls about anything. 
Yes, it sounds like paranoia when I type it all out like that, however, these things happened to me and I don't think anyone should have to go through that.  Protect yourself especially at all times and enjoy your day.
I also wanted to say, if BM wanted more time with the children, she gets what she gets from a court order.  However, if you decide to try to appease her, she will never quit.  She may not quit now, but knowing the answer is always no is a good start.  She's not a safe person.
Good luck and congratulations on your upcoming wedding! 
The smarter you become about narcissistic abuse, the crazier the narcissist will say you are.

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athene1399

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Re: Getting married soon, what to expect?
« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2018, 11:05:07 AM »
Quote
...if BM wanted more time with the children, she gets what she gets from a court order.  However, if you decide to try to appease her, she will never quit.
Exactly! If you give a PD a cookie...they will expect the whole bakery next time.    :cool2:

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Penny Lane

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Re: Getting married soon, what to expect?
« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2018, 02:25:52 PM »
HotCocoa, that doesn't sound paranoid to me, that sounds like someone who REALLY gets it! This is all amazing, practical advice, thank you! I especially like the stuff about the wedding photos/vendors. I don't think she could track them down but she's been getting REALLY obsessive about this so I guess I wouldn't put it past her. I'm sorry you've had to go through all this but thank you for sharing so I can be prepared!

The good news is, neither of us is really big on social media, both of our accounts are locked down and neither of us have even posted anything about the wedding. In fact I don't think there's anything online anywhere about the wedding, I guess unless someone else posted it somewhere. I'm pretty sure the only way she could've found out about it was from the kids. We tried to be somewhat vague but we also didn't want to hide stuff from them, so they could've told her enough that she put it together with our vacation/holiday schedule.

Quote
...if BM wanted more time with the children, she gets what she gets from a court order.  However, if you decide to try to appease her, she will never quit.
Exactly! If you give a PD a cookie...they will expect the whole bakery next time.    :cool2:

Haha! No kidding. They actually just got a new court order that gives SO more time. So basically she's quibbling about the details of implementing that but somehow her "interpretation" (that doesn't match any of the actual words in any court order) is that she gets way more time than what they agreed to. He hasn't given in so she's getting really aggressive and nasty. I guess it's a perfect storm for her - she's really mad that she has time with the kids than before, she's dealing with holiday stress and her ex husband is about to get married. I'm sure it's a tough time for her right now so I'm trying to have lots of empathy. But also, it's very likely she will try to ruin my wedding, so it's hard to feel too bad for her!

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Penny Lane

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Re: Getting married soon, what to expect?
« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2019, 09:21:21 PM »
Hi everyone! I wanted to give an update to this for anyone in the future who might be going through the same thing.

BM had a bit of a meltdown for a few weeks and then totally dropped it. I think she got distracted by the holidays and then her resulting annual money troubles.

She did send SO (now DH!) a bunch of aggressive emails leading up to it. She did NOT try to prevent the kids from going or do any of the really terrible things I imagined. And if she tried to make the kids feel bad about enjoying the wedding, it didn't work. DSD said "I can't wait to go back to school and tell all the other kids I got a stepmom!"

Like all you wise people already knew, I should've stressed less about it and focused more on my own family. (In retrospect, duh!)

One annoying thing that was mostly funny: She had asked SO for a good time to call on the day of and the days before and after, and he told her a specific time. That time passed, no call, and we turned off our phones (of course) so we could focus on getting married. Found out later she apparently called DURING the ceremony (I'm not sure if she knew or it was just a coincidence) and sent him some angry texts about how she thought he said he would be flexible. Then when she called the kids the next day she didn't acknowledge the wedding in any way. I guess she was just pretending like it didn't exist. Just fine by me!

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Stepping lightly

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Re: Getting married soon, what to expect?
« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2019, 11:19:42 AM »
Congratulations!!!!  So glad everything went as planned!! 

Always easy to say you shouldn't have stressed in hindsight, but with an unpredictable person...you just never know!

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Latchkey

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Re: Getting married soon, what to expect?
« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2019, 12:18:26 AM »
Congratulations!!
So glad to hear all  went well and the kids are doing great.
Good work !
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HotCocoa

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Re: Getting married soon, what to expect?
« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2019, 10:59:32 AM »
Congratulations! :)
So glad everything went off as planned! :thumbup:
The smarter you become about narcissistic abuse, the crazier the narcissist will say you are.

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Penny Lane

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Re: Getting married soon, what to expect?
« Reply #15 on: January 15, 2019, 12:46:15 PM »
Oh, I meant to add this, for those who might be in my situation in the future: I was really worried about the kids' reaction and if a wedding would be a disruption in their lives. We told them it's OK to have bad feelings about this (I'm glad we did, I think it lessened the impact of any manipulations BM tried) and you can talk to us if you have some concerns. Then DH checked in regularly to see if they had any reservations he or we could address.

But if anything it's been the opposite. They seem thrilled that I made a permanent commitment to their dad and to them. I didn't think anything in their day-to-day life would change much, and it really hasn't. But the psychological effect seems to have dramatically improved our relationship (which I already thought was good!). I wonder if before, in the back of their minds, they were seeing their mom's boyfriends come and go and wondering when I would leave as well.

Of course it helps that the schedule recently changed and they're with their dad (us) more often as well, so there's more stability in their lives in that sense as well.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2019, 01:02:41 PM by Penny Lane »

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Stepping lightly

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Re: Getting married soon, what to expect?
« Reply #16 on: January 15, 2019, 01:30:26 PM »
Hi PL,

That's so great!  I am so happy for you all!  We had the same experience when we got married.  We were very alert to the kids' feelings, concerns etc. , and answered any questions they had (with the exception of where/when the wedding was).  We moved right after the wedding, so that was a huge consideration with us as well, trying to balance things for the kids.  It was immediately after the wedding that DSD started calling me "Mommy".  This seriously melted my heart, but I explained to her that name is reserved for her mother, and we could come up with a special name for me if that was what she wanted.  She insisted, "Mom doesn't let us call her "Mommy", so you can have that name".   They call me by my first name now.  We had one of those signature boards at the wedding, and DSD wrote "I am so excited, now we get to have fun together for the rest of our lives!".  We hung that where we see it everyday!

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athene1399

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Re: Getting married soon, what to expect?
« Reply #17 on: January 16, 2019, 12:05:24 PM »
Congrats, Penny!!  ;D