This other mom wonít give up

  • 7 Replies
  • 576 Views
*

Call Me Cordelia

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • 1412
This other mom wonít give up
« on: February 21, 2021, 01:06:53 AM »
So I had regular play dates going with this other mom for a short time, and I stopped them when it was clear how dysfunctional this family was. Iíve dodged all her subsequent attempts to get together, which has been fairly easy with COVID, but Iím amazed she hasnít taken the hint when I donít respond to her texts, or just say we arenít available. Itís dragged on like this for months. We are involved in a community organization together so she knows we arenít quarantined or anything and get together with other people. (Covid is way down in our area.)

I donít want to get together with her and her kids now or ever. And now sheís emailing me suggesting we work more closely together in the organization, ccíing the leadership. Ugh. I feel like a confrontation is going to be forced sooner or later. Looking for advice.

*

Penny Lane

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • 1941
Re: This other mom wonít give up
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2021, 12:48:41 PM »
Wow. This is really awkward. You're not doing anything wrong here - you're allowed to set boundaries! you don't have to hang out with people you don't want to! - but she also isn't necessarily either. She's allowed to invite you to stuff and to be a little obtuse about social cues.

I think it's probably too awkward and direct to give her the real reason you don't want to hang out. But can you make it clear that your nos are permanent nos, not one-offs?

The best script I came up with: "Thank you so much for thinking of us. >y bandwidth is overfull right now and I'm not going to have time to (have playdates, volunteer, whatever) in the foreseeable future, so I need to decline. See you around (organization)!"

Unspoken: Your bandwidth for being around dysfunction is 0, and there's more than 0 dysfunction in the world so your bandwidth for that is going to be overfull.

It will still probably be awkward - she will notice that your bandwidth is not to full to see other people. And it will probably hurt her feelings. And she might not handle it well. Or she still won't have to get the hint and you'll have to move to blunter. But I think starting with the bigger picture conversation is a kindness to her, so that she can move on to other people who do want to spend time with her, and to yourself, to hopefully end what feels like intrusive invitations.

Again remember that you didn't do anything wrong! Some situations are just awkward, and the best can do is get through it with as much grace as possible, ideally (but not necessarily) allowing her to save face as much as possible.

*

Call Me Cordelia

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • 1412
Re: This other mom wonít give up
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2021, 11:53:04 PM »
Thank you, Penny Lane, that is good advice! I didn't see you had replied until this morning. :doh:

The funny thing is, I ended the play dates by saying something similar to what you suggested. Something like, "You know, I realize I have been doing too much and the play dates are no longer working for us. Sorry to disappoint the children but I need to stop doing them."

She offered to take my kids by herself in response. I merely said no thank you. She made another offer for the future. I said thanks, I'll keep that in mind. That was maybe 5-6 months ago now. It was quiet for a little while. Now she's been offering a time to have my kids over every week or so now.

So, do you think I need to just come out and say I don't feel comfortable having you watch my kids?  :unsure: It would just as likely be fighting words.

*

Penny Lane

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • 1941
Re: This other mom wonít give up
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2021, 11:19:03 AM »
Yikes, yeah, she's definitely not picking up on some very strong signals.

Question, do you think she's like, PD dysfunctional? Or is it more like, she's not pleasant to hang out with but she's probably not a bad person.

I guess your next course of action depends on what your goal is. Is your goal just that you don't have to do playdates with her? Or is it that you want her to stop asking for playdates?

I don't think you have to come out and say you don't want to have playdates with her. In fact I probably would not, because that's sooo awkward but also because you don't really know how she will react. Like you said, fighting words. That has the potential to dramatically escalate the situation (from awkward social thing to her trying to go full on war with you.) If you suspect that she is more than dysfunctional but truly toxic, I would especially not do this one. You certainly can do it - there are benefits to everyone of being direct - but that's probably not the route I would go.

If your goal is to avoid playdates, well, congratulations, you're already accomplishing that goal. I don't really think you need to do much different than just continuing to say no thanks. Most likely she will eventually get the message even if it takes much, much longer than you think it will.

If your goal is to get her to stop asking you could try another big picture conversation, like, no, all of us are just doing too much and I don't see playdates as on the table for the foreseeable future. The other thing is, could you shift your mindset so that it doesn't bother you so much when she sends an invite? I know it is so hard and frustrating to have to keep saying no to this. But if you could make it into a thing that's much less emotional work for you, then problem solved (at least mostly).

All this advice is assuming this is regular run of the mill social awkwardness. If your gut is telling you it might get bad, like stalking level, I highly recommend the book The Gift of Fear. It lays out how to best extricate yourself from a (potential) stalker. But, hopefully, this is not anywhere near that level and you can disregard it.

Do you think maybe her kids really love your kids and are begging to see them? I don't know that that really changes your course of action. But it's a more benign explanation that might make it easier for you to shrug it off.

*

Call Me Cordelia

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • 1412
Re: This other mom wonít give up
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2021, 02:12:16 PM »
I donít know exactly what her story is, but I think I know enough. She has identified herself as an ACON and her husband is defffffinitely a malignant narcissist. Definitely fleas, and she has shown herself to be incapable of receiving critical feedback gracefully or at all in other contexts. Which is why Iíve until now absolutely refused to JADE except for the hedge about ďtoo much.Ē

She might split and go full on war with me. I actually knew her slightly as a teen/20-something and she got in her head that I didnít like her and she made things super weird. There was no basis in reality for her thinking that. If she did do that again, I could survive it but why poke the bear?

I only engaged in the first place for the sake of her kids. It seemed they were often excluded and as a former excluded kid myself I had compassion for that. We also live in a close knit community, and I wanted to be as generous as I could be, doubtless weíd matured since our teens. :stars: Well, that was some foggy thinking. Now I know without a doubt why they are held at armís length. Not fair, but gotta put my family first.

Unrelated to my actual question, but itís helping me to put some perspective on my own childhood experiences. And I think this whole relationship has triggered a lot of stuff for me to work through.

Thanks again for your input, Penny Lane. I guess Iíll keep on keeping on. Youíve helped me sort out the my stuff/your stuff.

*

Happytobefree

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • 77
Re: This other mom wonít give up
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2021, 05:56:12 PM »
You could possibly just respond, "Thank you for offering, how kind of you, but no thanks."  On auto pilot.  Rinse and repeat until if and when she either gets the hint or gets tired of hearing your robotic response.  lol

*

Penny Lane

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • 1941
Re: This other mom wonít give up
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2021, 11:49:41 AM »
Yeah she does NOT sound like the kind of person who you can safely tell the truth to. Good luck! Hopefully she'll move on soon.

*

Jolie40

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 244
Re: This other mom wonít give up
« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2021, 12:41:41 AM »
don't know how old your kids are now but maybe you can say "we don't do playdates anymore"

I decided early on that we weren't going to do playdates, EVER
one person was miffed but I said we just don't do playdates
to me-  it's babysitting someone else's kid & I did enough of that as a teen
« Last Edit: March 03, 2021, 12:44:54 AM by Jolie40 »
be good to yourself