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RoseRed135

S/O of "Do you have "toxic inlaws?" - Part 3: 'Rejecters'"

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While the "Rejecters" thread is an old one, there still seems to be some interest in it. So I'm opening a this one. If you have an IL (whether MIL, FIL, DIL, SnIL, SisIL or BIL, etc) who seems to reject you, please feel free to post about them here...

Edited by RoseRed135

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Note: This post was copied & pasted here from the older "Rejecters" thread in this same forum.

SM17

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... I found this forum when searching for help on how to deal with toxic in-laws. My situation is also a little different, because the toxic rejecter in-law in my life is a sister-in-law (wife to my husband's brother). I'm my husband's second wife and in the three years I've known this sister-in-law she has talked to me once. She didn't even say anything to me at my wedding. She's skipped every event that has been thrown in my honor (both bridal showers, a birthday party my MIL insisted upon throwing for me, a barbecue we threw when my parents were in town). When she sends anything out to the family - invitations, cards, etc - she always leaves me off the list. I've reached out to her in the past to ask a question about her child's birthday party, by email and it was ignored. My husband has two children and this sister-in-law always goes out of her way to act like a mother to the two children when we are around. She also talks animatedly to all other members of the family, except for me and my husband. I've asked my husband if there was anything that happened in the past or if she was best friends with his ex wife and he has told me no. He's asked his brother if he (my husband) did anything to offend the sister-in-law and his brother gave him some BS story about how she was annoyed about something, but now she was fine. The excuse that the brother gave was for something that he (the brother) did that he blamed on my husband and something also happened after sister-in-law had already been rude to my husband, so his story didn't add up. My husband has told me that his family is just protective of his children, but I get along fine with my stepchildren.

To make matters worse, my mother-in-law is a bit of a meddler and my husband's family avoids conflict (or maybe has convinced themselves it doesn't exist), so I don't even have anyone I can trust to try to figure out what this woman's issue is. I've barely interacted with her, so I don't think I could have done anything to offend her. I'm not looking to make her like me, just looking for advice on how to not feel dread and anxiety when I think about going to my husband's family's functions. Her behavior just makes me want to avoid all family functions with my husband's family, but I feel like I'd be behaving just like her if I skipped events to avoid her. 

 
Edited by RoseRed135
to add Note

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@SM17 - Sorry to say, it definitely sounds as if SIL (sister-in-law) is snubbing you - and sometimes, DH (dear husband). I know that must be hard to take and I understand why it is making you "want to avoid all family functions."

 I've asked my husband if there was anything that happened in the past or if she was best friends with his ex wife and he has told me no.

I was wondering if SIL were friends w/ DH's XW. when I read this^^^. However, IMO, even if they weren't/aren't BFFs, it's possible she was sympathetic to XW during the divorce. Is it possible they're still in touch?And that XW is still complaining? That could be promoting SIL's rude behavior, not that this excuses it.

He's asked his brother if he (my husband) did anything to offend the sister-in-law and his brother gave him some BS story about how she was annoyed about something, but now she was fine.

Or maybe SIL is not "fine" about whatever it was that happened, and BIL isn't comfortable admitting it. Please understand that what seems like "BS" to you and DH may be very important to SIL. If you want to know what's bothering SIL, I suggest you look back at the reason BIL gave.

The excuse that the brother gave was for something that he (the brother) did that he blamed on my husband and something also happened after sister-in-law had already been rude to my husband, so his story didn't add up.

Or does it? SM, it seems to me that you're referring to two separate incidents here, am I right? So even if the second one had nothing to do w/ SIL's behavior, the first one still might. Or, perhaps, the first one upset her and the second just made it worse. Granted, BIL may have put up smoke & mirrors for whatever reason. But it's very possible that he told DH what is actually motivating SIL's behavior.

Regardless, IMO, BIL should have taken responsibility for his own actions (whatever they were) and not shifted the blame onto DH. Nor should SIL have let BIL get away w/ pulling that. Most of all, she shouldn't take it out on you! IMO, her behavior is ill-mannered, immature and just plain mean! (((Hugs!)))

But you asked...

...for advice on how to not feel dread and anxiety when I think about going to my husband's family's functions.

Please don't give her too much power. You're not going to these functions to see/speak with SIL - you're going to celebrate whatever event and socialize w/ the rest of DH's FOO (family of origin). Instead of going there worrying about her and how she'll treat you, try going there looking forward to spending time w/ the ILs you enjoy. I'm sure there are many lovely people at your ILs' functions. Please don't let one "bad apple" spoil this/that event for you. HTH (hope this helps)!

Edited by RoseRed135

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I agree with RoseRed. The SILs actions is not reason enough to avoid going to family functions if she is the only reason. Go with the knowledge she will act the same way toward you that she has been. You can show her it doesn't affect you the way she has seen it has. Just let her be as you may or may not be the reason she acts the way she does toward you and you may never know the reasons for her behavior. Just ignore her and move on. Enjoy the time you do have with the folks you do enjoy. So sorry it's to the extent she ignores even your comms regarding her children.. She is pretty childish herself. Can you go through BIL for any questions you may have or another family member?

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I agree with just ignoring her...greet her pleasantly then just move on, don't even wait for a response. Spend time with those whose company you do enjoy. The less headspace you give her the less she will bother you. 

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Thank you for your advice. 

RoseRed135, my apologies for commenting on an old thread. I did read posts in the "read here first" section, but did not see that one. 

The reason I think the excuse BIL provided was BS was because of the timing, not because of the issue so to speak. It was one incident I was referring to above, although I made it sound different in trying not to share the actual event. I think BIL was just trying to brush off DH's question. I'm assuming he knows that his wife is not fond of his brother (you'd have to not be paying attention at all to not notice), but would rather avoid that conversation. 

The incident BIL mentioned was about MIL's vacation home. BIL told DH that his wife was annoyed that he "had to do everything" to rent it out, but he hadn't told DH they planned to rent it out and admitted that because he hadn't told him, DH couldn't have known that his help was needed. Not sure why he didn't just tell SIL that no one helped him, because he didn't tell anyone he needed help, but that's his issue, not mine. The problem with that reason, is that SIL was rude to DH and to me long before (i.e. 18 months before) they had even thought of renting out the vacation home, so it has to be something more than that. Also, SIL's behavior hasn't changed since she supposedly (according to BIL) moved on from being annoyed. 

I do know that DH seemed to be invited out more to do things with BIL and SIL before he met me, but like I said, I've barely interacted with SIL, so don't think the fact that DH never sees his brother any more is due to something I did. 

DH has also thought that maybe SIL is upset about his divorce because her parents almost divorced at one point. Fair enough, but as an adult, why waste your time feeling annoyed or outraged over someone else's life. If SIL was good friends with XW, she has not kept in touch with her. DH mentioned in passing that SIL was "offended" by something XW had done while they were married, so I think it's just her personality to be "offended". 

I'm naturally a fairly friendly person, so I always talk to everyone at DH's family functions, including SIL's parents (whom I've talked to more than I've talked to SIL). I can survive at DH's family functions and going forward, I'll just not even try to interact with SIL. I now let DH handle all communication with BIL about BIL's children. It's not ideal, but I think you are all correct that I shouldn't allow her to have any power over me. I also have to accept that DH's family overall is fairly dysfunctional and unwelcoming, so need to approach them from that standpoint, rather than expecting them to be emotionally healthy in how they interact with one another. It's not an easy pill to swallow, but I think accepting and meeting them where they are is a good first step for me to not let their behavior get me down and fill me with dread. 

 

Edited by SM17
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Thanks for explaining further, @SM17! IMO, you have a good attitude:

I also have to accept that DH's family overall is fairly dysfunctional and unwelcoming, so need to approach them from that standpoint, rather than expecting them to be emotionally healthy in how they interact with one another. It's not an easy pill to swallow, but I think accepting and meeting them where they are is a good first step for me to not let their behavior get me down and fill me with dread. 

So it's not just about SIL then? In fact, perhaps the problem w/ her may be just the tip of the iceberg (no pun of any kind intended)? I agree that "accepting them and meeting them where they are" is a good way to begin to ward off any negative effects of their behavior. But I think you might also want to cut back on how often you see them - not b/c of SIL but b/c of this "unwelcoming" family as a group... Food for thought...

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Yes, DH's entire family is dysfunctional, but most of their dysfunction is directed at one another, not directly at me. I've had some problems with MIL meddling in our lives (and inserting herself in conflict with DH and his XW), but only SIL and one of DH's cousin's wives, have been openly hostile to me. Also, SIL's behavior is the only behavior that truly confounds me. 

I've also noticed that in his FOO, DH is the scapegoat, the one who can never do anything right. I don't think that's true, because his brother and sister make plenty of their own mistakes, but that's the role he plays in the family. So, I have to approach them from that lens as well. Maybe they think he's made another mistake in getting remarried and choose to act weird or toxic, rather than saying anything to him. 

In general, DH described his family as "hard to get to know". The only person who has been really friendly to me is another of DH's cousin's wife, so someone also from a different FOO. The real challenge is that DH's family is close by and my family is 2500 miles away. Because of my stepchildren, we are rarely able to see my family, making me feel as if I'm out here alone amongst DH's family who hasn't seemed to accept me. Whenever we go to see my family, everyone is so happy to see me and DH (and even his kids if they come along), that it further emphasizes my less than ideal situation with DH's family. I guess that's part of being married and having in-laws, learning to deal with other people's FOO, the good, the bad, and the ugly. 

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And then there are just people who want all newcomers to kiss their butts.  Instead of just being friendly and respectful, they feel that newcomers need to "earn" their way in.  Also, these people like to play the game of newcomer trying really hard to become a part of the group and the already established keep kicking them down.  Not saying this is your SIL and other cousin, but just how some people are.  Your SIL also may be established as queen bee - maybe no one like the XW and she sees you taking her place.  You keep on doing you and let her keep on doing her.  It must be very hard to be the type of person to always be unhappy, easily offended, always letting the chip on your shoulder keep getting bigger.  So tiresome for them.

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As far as accepting my SIL and DIL...just the fact that my daughter and son loved them and chose to marry them and then have children with them and stay together for 12 and 15 years...means that I will accept them as my ACs choices.  Always has and always will.

Now my mother in law was a different story and not worth sharing again.

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On 12/5/2017 at 11:07 PM, SM17 said:

Yes, DH's entire family is dysfunctional, but most of their dysfunction is directed at one another, not directly at me. I've had some problems with MIL meddling in our lives (and inserting herself in conflict with DH and his XW), but only SIL and one of DH's cousin's wives, have been openly hostile to me. Also, SIL's behavior is the only behavior that truly confounds me. Is it possible, though, that it's just a symptom of the rest of the family's dysfunction?

I've also noticed that in his FOO, DH is the scapegoat, the one who can never do anything right. I don't think that's true, because his brother and sister make plenty of their own mistakes, but that's the role he plays in the family. So, I have to approach them from that lens as well. Maybe they think he's made another mistake in getting remarried and choose to act weird or toxic, rather than saying anything to him. Or perhaps their rejection of you is an extension of their treatment of him. That wouldn't be unusual, iMO, sorry to say.

In general, DH described his family as "hard to get to know". The only person who has been really friendly to me is another of DH's cousin's wife, so someone also from a different FOO. The real challenge is that DH's family is close by and my family is 2500 miles away. Because of my stepchildren, we are rarely able to see my family, making me feel as if I'm out here alone amongst DH's family who hasn't seemed to accept me. Whenever we go to see my family, everyone is so happy to see me and DH (and even his kids if they come along), that it further emphasizes my less than ideal situation with DH's family. I guess that's part of being married and having in-laws, learning to deal with other people's FOO, the good, the bad, and the ugly. 

I'm not clear on what your SC (stepchildren) have to do w/ how often you can visit your FOO. Is it b/c of your SC's schedules? Is it hard to travel w/ them? Does their mom object to their going? Or??

Anyhow, you're not "alone" now b/c you have us. :)

 

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I have a DIL, soon to be ex DIL, who rejected my sons entire family from the get go because  (and I quote) “I can’t see why you should be happy with a loving family when I don’t have one.” Her exact word to him on his birthday one year when w were all toasting him and saying nice things to him. She got up and said she refused to say anything nice about him and then followed it with that bit of news. 

Turns out out she had some serious mental health issues and much as we have empathised with her and tried to help her, we watched her abuse our son for years until he finally left. But off course the story is not over as the courts have her custody for the simple reason that their little baby is very young, and so now we are standing hat in hand, begging for a chance to be a part of our grandson’s life, and she loves making us hurt. 

Sometimes life just sucks

Edited by Gigima
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46 minutes ago, Gigima said:

I have a DIL, soon to be ex DIL, who rejected my sons entire family from the get go because  (and I quote) “I can’t see why you should be happy with a loving family when I don’t have one.” Her exact word to him on his birthday one year when w were all toasting him and saying nice things to him. She got up and said she refused to say anything nice about him and then followed it with that bit of news. 

Turns out out she had some serious mental health issues and much as we have empathised with her and tried to help her, we watched her abuse our son for years until he finally left. But off course the story is not over as the courts have her custody for the simple reason that their little baby is very young, and so now we are standing hat in hand, begging for a chance to be a part of our grandson’s life, and she loves making us hurt. 

Sometimes life just sucks

So sorry about this situation! Does DS (dear son) have visitation though? Or is he working on that? B/c if/once he gets it, then, perhaps he can share some of his time w/ you and DH (dear husband), and you won't have to wait for/find yourselves "begging" XDIL to see the kids.

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I was married for many years to a man (the family baby) whose entire family simply didn’t think I was good enough for their little boy. It devastated me as I was very young when I got married and didn’t have a great home life so I desperately wanted their acceptance and love. We really started out great, and I believed it could have worked out for us, but between their constant disappointment with him choosing me and the arguments we had because of the way they treated me, they eventually poisoned our relationship so much that he too started finding fault with everything I did and kept going on about how he deserved someone better than me.

They would ask him, every single time they saw him, when he was going to divorce me because they felt he “deserved better”. Initially they did it when they thought I couldn’t hear but they often did it in my presence later on. They didn’t like my family or me as we were too liberal and “artsy”, they didn’t like my family or me because we weren’t religious, they didn’t like the clothes I wore, the fact that I didn’t wear make-up around the house, the way I cooked, the way I kept house, the way I raised our children. Later when my mum was diagnosed with schizophrenia they didn’t like me because I had to be “crazy” like my mother. They gossiped about me and treated me like rubbish.  When xFIL and xMIL came to our home they would openly be rude to me and say the most horrible things to me while he just sat there. If I asked him why he didn’t defend me he would say he either didn’t hear them, or that he wasn’t as “argumentative” as I was or that I deserved what they said. Eventually I decided I had enough so I left him and told him to kindly go and find that darned perfect woman. He made me the offer that since “no one in their right mind” would want to be married to someone like me, we could stay married if I accept his side of the marriage to be open so he could see other women, until he found the “right one”. He also asked me to write him a profile for online dating sites so I told him where he could go and left. My heart and self image were wrecked, so I went into therapy, returned to study and changed my career, travelled and enjoyed my life, while he went about trying to find that perfect woman he (and his family) believed he “deserved”. 

Somewhere along the way I found the most amazing man who adores me as much as I adore him and who is truly the dad I always wished my children would have. We have been together for many years now and my children love him as much as he loves them. Meanwhile my xH finally found that “perfect” woman of whom both his parents and the rest of his family approves and married her a year ago. Less than 6 months into the marriage he told DS that he was thoroughly miserable as his 2nd marriage is even worse than his 1st was. xH also recently called me (supposedly about one of the children) and suddenly out of the blue, and obviously totally baffled, asked me how it was that me and HD were so happy? I just laughed and hung up on him. What can I say? I am very happy and really don’t hold too much animosity towards him (I consider leaving him the best decision I ever made) but I would be lying if I didn’t say I’m glad the karma bus finally came around for him. 

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21 minutes ago, Gigima said:

I’m glad the karma bus finally came around for him. 

My xH took a bumpy, unpleasant ride on the karma bus as well....then called me to apologize for his part in the collapse of our marriage...for us that resulted in rekindling our old friendship. After all, he was my kids' (very loving) dad...He & DH became cordial and my life became a little easier. The all inclusiveness was good for everyone.

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2 hours ago, Gigima said:

I was married for many years to a man (the family baby) whose entire family simply didn’t think I was good enough for their little boy. It devastated me as I was very young when I got married and didn’t have a great home life so I desperately wanted their acceptance and love. We really started out great, and I believed it could have worked out for us, but between their constant disappointment with him choosing me and the arguments we had because of the way they treated me, they eventually poisoned our relationship so much that he too started finding fault with everything I did and kept going on about how he deserved someone better than me.

They would ask him, every single time they saw him, when he was going to divorce me because they felt he “deserved better”. Initially they did it when they thought I couldn’t hear but they often did it in my presence later on. They didn’t like my family or me as we were too liberal and “artsy”, they didn’t like my family or me because we weren’t religious, they didn’t like the clothes I wore, the fact that I didn’t wear make-up around the house, the way I cooked, the way I kept house, the way I raised our children. Later when my mum was diagnosed with schizophrenia they didn’t like me because I had to be “crazy” like my mother. They gossiped about me and treated me like rubbish.  When xFIL and xMIL came to our home they would openly be rude to me and say the most horrible things to me while he just sat there. If I asked him why he didn’t defend me he would say he either didn’t hear them, or that he wasn’t as “argumentative” as I was or that I deserved what they said. Eventually I decided I had enough so I left him and told him to kindly go and find that darned perfect woman. He made me the offer that since “no one in their right mind” would want to be married to someone like me, we could stay married if I accept his side of the marriage to be open so he could see other women, until he found the “right one”. He also asked me to write him a profile for online dating sites so I told him where he could go and left. My heart and self image were wrecked, so I went into therapy, returned to study and changed my career, travelled and enjoyed my life, while he went about trying to find that perfect woman he (and his family) believed he “deserved”. 

Somewhere along the way I found the most amazing man who adores me as much as I adore him and who is truly the dad I always wished my children would have. We have been together for many years now and my children love him as much as he loves them. Meanwhile my xH finally found that “perfect” woman of whom both his parents and the rest of his family approves and married her a year ago. Less than 6 months into the marriage he told DS that he was thoroughly miserable as his 2nd marriage is even worse than his 1st was. xH also recently called me (supposedly about one of the children) and suddenly out of the blue, and obviously totally baffled, asked me how it was that me and HD were so happy? I just laughed and hung up on him. What can I say? I am very happy and really don’t hold too much animosity towards him (I consider leaving him the best decision I ever made) but I would be lying if I didn’t say I’m glad the karma bus finally came around for him. 

I am so sorry you had to endure such emotional abuse from your pathetic exH and your IL's, and it really is a testament to your strength and resiliency that you got out of this marriage, gave these losers the boot, and made such a good life for yourself.   

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5 hours ago, Mame925 said:

My xH took a bumpy, unpleasant ride on the karma bus as well....then called me to apologize for his part in the collapse of our marriage...for us that resulted in rekindling our old friendship. After all, he was my kids' (very loving) dad...He & DH became cordial and my life became a little easier. The all inclusiveness was good for everyone.

I am so very glad for you that your xH learned something from his experience. I wanted that and offered my xH a friendly separation when I told him I wanted a divorce. I let him save face and did so many things to make it amicable. I told him I will always care for him, I’ve known him all my life, we grew up together, and I do believe that there are many types of love and I will always care for the part of him I knew back then. Never the way I used to, but in a fond way, because he was a good part of my childhood and early adulthood. Plus he is and will always be our children’s father. However he did some very low and mean things to throw that back into my face during our separation (before our divorce), and then post divorce behaved and continues to behave very selfishly and nastily towards our AC, including being a large part of why our US xDIL left our DS. All of these, especially the things he did to our AC are reasons why I am glad the karma bus got him.

Despite all of this he also continues to act as if he owns me, even all of these years later. At every family function me and DH are unfailingly polite and gracious towards him and his new wife, however while she always acts like I don’t exist, he looks down his nose at my DH and always pretends he can’t remember his name. He has mortified the AC so many times with his behaviour towards us at these events that I am surprised they still invite him. He also still continues to harrass me with calls, always pretending it is about our children, but invariably it ends up being either to whine self-pitying about his love life or to ask me intrusive personal questions about my relationship.

At least he has stopped suddenly appearing at our ACs homes whenever I am there with some or other gift for me. It always amazed me how a man who could never remember enough what I liked to ever buy me a birthday or anniversary present could perfectly remember what I liked once we were divorced. I think he no longer appears because our AC twigged on to the fact that he only ever visited when I was there and stopped telling him when I was visiting. 

I keep hoping he will grow up, but he’s running out of time in which to grow up, so I’m kind of losing hope on that front. 

Edited by Gigima

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@Gigima - So sorry you had to go through that painful 1st marriage! And that XH still causes problems now, even interfering in DS' marriage! What an awful, unhappy man! And what cruel, rejecting ILs you had!

Kudos to you for having the strength to get out of that marriage and start a new life! Not always easy, I know, for someone whose self-image has been battered. Very wise, IMO, to have sought counseling, as well!

Glad you found your wonderful DH and that you're both "big" enough to be cordial to XH and his new W, even though they are rude in return. I know you're not looking for advice here, so I hope you don't mind my saying that I think you and DH should stay as far as possible from them at events. No need for you to bear the brunt of their ill manners if you don't have to.

He also still continues to harrass me with calls, always pretending it is about our children, but invariably it ends up being either to whine self-pitying about his love life or to ask me intrusive personal questions about my relationship.

Hopefully, you screen your calls and don't pick up for him or end the conversation as soon as he starts to "whine" or ask those "intrusive personal questions." No reason you should be subjected to this.

Hope you continue to enjoy your new marriage! :drinks:

 

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12 minutes ago, RoseRed135 said:

@Gigima - So sorry you had to go through that painful 1st marriage! And that XH still causes problems now, even interfering in DS' marriage! What an awful, unhappy man! And what cruel, rejecting ILs you had!

Kudos to you for having the strength to get out of that marriage and start a new life! Not always easy, I know, for someone whose self-image has been battered. Very wise, IMO, to have sought counseling, as well!

Glad you found your wonderful DH and that you're both "big" enough to be cordial to XH and his new W, even though they are rude in return. I know you're not looking for advice here, so I hope you don't mind my saying that I think you and DH should stay as far as possible from them at events. No need for you to bear the brunt of their ill manners if you don't have to.

He also still continues to harrass me with calls, always pretending it is about our children, but invariably it ends up being either to whine self-pitying about his love life or to ask me intrusive personal questions about my relationship.

Hopefully, you screen your calls and don't pick up for him or end the conversation as soon as he starts to "whine" or ask those "intrusive personal questions." No reason you should be subjected to this.

Hope you continue to enjoy your new marriage! :drinks:

 

Thanks so much RR! We actually do try to stay away from them at events but try not to be too obvious about it as we don’t want people to feel awkward because we are awkward. I screen my calls, and at one stage ignored all calls from him for months as I know our children are old enough to talk to me themselves if there’s an issue. However with the breakdown of DSs marriage he was moved in with XH as he doesn’t have any other family nearby and really needed some support, so I have been accepting calls from xH again as he has been very concerned about DS being depressed and asked me what he should do about it. So that unfortunately opened the door again for a new wave of harrassment. DS has however decided to move out as he found there was very little support there and his stepmother is very passive aggressive towards him. When he speaks to his father about it he is told “just ignore her, she’s like that with me too”, but since he has just come out of an abusive relationship he is finding it very stressful. I’ve been supporting him with daily calls and he knows he can call me anytime day or night so it seems he has decided that is better support than what he gets from his father and he is better off on his own. It concerns me a little bit but his BFF is like a son to me and I know he will let me know if he is concerned about DSs depression deepening or anything like that. 

Edited by Gigima

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