The annual Christmas card

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candy

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The annual Christmas card
« on: January 02, 2020, 08:49:50 AM »
The IL‘s wished us merry Christmas and new year. Addressing our two-year-old MIL has sent a little present and wrote to the same two-year-old: your real big present is waiting for you at our house.
Half of the card was filled with their two names in descending order addressed to 1) DH, 2) DD, 3) me - there is no misunderstanding here - they are obsessed with themselves, both toxic NPD, even a Christmas card to us has to mainly consist of them, all the adorable nicknames they gave themselves written in larger letters than the rest, and they have to make sure scapegoat DIL (me) understands she is the last one in the IL‘s order.

This is the second „real, big, great“ present „waiting“ for DD at the IL‘s house since I went NC 1.5 years ago and the IL‘s told us they were done with us and we weren’t welcome anymore.

Since this year DH had written „we“-messages to his mother during her also annual emotional breakdown 3 weeks prior to the holidays, I‘ve had to repeat myself to DH that I am not okay with including me or our child in messages or other forms of communication. I am NC, I am not communicating with people who abused and stalked my FOC.

DH had stated he thought I was ok with the we-messages, although I had told him otherwise. He attacked me, said I was putting him in an awkward position with his parents. I won’t get into how wrong he was on how many levels.

That’s why this time I put my boundaries in writing. I wrote to DH that I don’t think it is his duty to call his parents for the holidays. IMO they’ll take DH‘s call as a confirmation of their abusive and toxic behavior towards every member of my FOC (DH, DD, me) being ok. It is not. But this is his choice, he is free to call them.

I reminded him that if he does call, he is not allowed to give we-messages at all.
I do not want him to give any information about me or DD to NMIL and uNFIL. No candy is doing x, no candy is pregnant, nothing about how we organize our family life, nothing about the milestones DD just hit. They have lost the privilege to know anything about us due to their past behavior.

(IMO the whole „there is a present waiting for you“ is a lie. They are too stingy to really get DD something nice, and they know we won’t come to their house. A grandiose lie that they can show around to their acquaintances and GCBIL‘s IL‘s.)

Back to what I wrote DH: There is no setting I can imagine in which DD is going to the IL‘s house to play with her present.
That is grooming behavior. MIL and FIL have not made any effort to have contact with our LO since 1.5 years. The big present waiting at grandma‘s house would possibly be ok if we had healthy relationships. Which we have not.

This is toxic. They try to divide DD from us, her parents. We are her primary caregivers. By ignoring our boundaries and by mentioning that present at their house the IL’s are trying to mingle with the sacred bond between parents and child. This is, again, not a Christmas card we may ever read to our DD. She is a toddler now. When she‘ll be older, what will she ask us?

„Why can’t I go to their house and play with my present? That’s mean of you.“
Exactly. And as long as NMIL and uNFIL go on and try to divide our family, they still haven’t understood a thing. And I, still, have no reason to believe that they will change and treat anyone of us with common decency or respect.

So, please, husband, do what you have to do. But don’t come to me complaining about your toxic FOO and need me to be empathetic and compassionate with you when you have been disregarding my boundaries on what you are allowed to share with your parents (regarding me or DD. Of course, it’s your choice to share whatever personal details of yours.)

I have been a bit furious to deal with that DH in denial of mine. It’s the third holidays in a row the IL‘s have interfered with our life as a little family. They repeatedly have been cruel and ugly to DH, the scapegoat of his FOO. And although we were able to have a more contemplative and joyous celebration than in the previous years, there are still all those thick layers of guilt and obligation DH skids on.

I‘ve been hesitant to post this, because I‘ve been reading about others experiences over the holidays which were way worse. I feel like during my 1.5 years NC this only was a minor disturbance to me personally. But then it still wasn’t the happy holidays I have wanted for my FOC. Maybe it was „good enough“ and that shall be ok.

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jazzhands

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Re: The annual Christmas card
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2020, 11:41:50 AM »
Oh wow, the gift statement in their card is toxic! It’s very manipulative and controlling to tell a young child that there’s a big gift waiting for them, only to be opened/played with at their house.
The holidays are so difficult and guilt-producing with unhealthy family members because holidays are meant to be about family. It’s awful that yours are trying to manipulate the situation with your child.
Did your husband end up calling them?

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Fiasco

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Re: The annual Christmas card
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2020, 03:55:42 PM »
You’re absolutely right that the “big gift at our house “ is hugely inappropriate. And good for you for being a mama bear and standing up for your family!

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JayBird

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Re: The annual Christmas card
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2020, 12:05:23 AM »
Dear Candy

Yes, I understand how you must feel reading this toxic message from your NPD in-laws. I see manipulation in MIL doing the "divide and conquer tactic', trying to get your DD to herself by dangling a bright orange toddler tempting carrot! IMO, this message has set you up as the "bad guy" for denying such a 'thoughtful, giant, caring' gift for DD. You have been set up to look withholding in the eyes of  DD, DH, and N in-laws.  Don't listen to this nonsense!

Healthy people run things by parents first in order to get consent. MIL is not trying to get consent. Also, I think it is quite typical for N folks  to manipulate by trying to get their "supply" onto their turf (MIL home) so as to have more control.

Grrrrr, just not ok!  Hang in there, your hunches are likely correct. Choose healthy vs obligation or guilt.

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Penny cat

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Re: The annual Christmas card
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2020, 04:12:53 AM »
Oh man I totally understand you. The manipulation is terrible and you just want to shake your husband and say wake up!! She isn’t going to change and she is so toxic we need to stop talking to her!! I’m know how you feel with your husband. For once you’d just love for him to say “no! My wife and my child mean more to me than making you happy”. I think I’ve been too supportive of my foggy husband and neglectful of my needs and my kids needs and I need to say that if we don’t go no contact  soon, he will be stuck with his mom and we will be free of this nasty woman. But that’s very hard to do. So sorry, I understand the predicament you’re in. be strong.

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Call Me Cordelia

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Re: The annual Christmas card
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2020, 09:09:56 AM »
What everyone else said!

Would DH be open to taking both the card and your written boundaries to his next therapy session?

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candy

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Re: The annual Christmas card
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2020, 07:37:07 PM »
Thanks to everyone for your support!

jazzhands, they called him. It was a 2 minutes call maximum with the IL‘s talking the whole time, random nonsense, DH was put on speaker, and it was ended abruptly. Although they were eating out somewhere, MIL interspersed to cry a little (DH cannot recall what the crying was actually about).

DH said he was anxious when the number popped up but answered the call anyway to get it over with. Except for the 10 seconds of his M crying it was like talking to strangers and he felt everyone involved was glad it was over.

A week later it’s been a „good call“ according to DH bc no one got into a rage. How sad is that?
But DH still has made progress. He has concluded there will probably be no way back to how things were with his parents  :applause:  Still glossing over his upbringing but anyhow those are more realistic expectations.

The IL‘s did not ask one question about DD or me. I appreciate they didn’t even pretend to care. It seems this has been another reality check for DH.

Call Me Cordelia, thank you for your suggestion! DH will take it to his t, and we are already discussing both pieces with our marriage counselor.