Today, I was visited by my father, his wife, and my sister and brother. They live 1,000 miles away, and this is the first time I've ever met my brother, who just turned 5. The last time I saw my dad was when my son was born 2 years ago. They were in the area for a family reunion, which I did not make it to because I'm pregnant and wasn't feeling well. They came to my house today to visit and are flying back home tomorrow.
The only thing my father's wife said to me the entire time they were here was, "Do you have any paper plates?" She said it while her back was turned to me. She never once looked at me all day. I tried several times to start a conversation with her, and she either grunted or pretended not to hear me. She talked to my husband. She interacted with my son. But she treated me like I didn't even exist. They were here for maybe 4 or 5 hours. She complained the whole time that she wanted to leave to go to her brother's house.
I've never done anything to this woman. My dad moved halfway across the country with her when I was 5 years old, and I've seen her a handful of times in the past 20+ years. Every time I tried talking to my sister, she would call her away with some excuse, like I wasn't allowed to talk to her at all! I really don't get it, and the more I think about it, the more upset I get. Should I say something about it to my dad, or should I just let it go? Should I have said something while they were still here? Am I missing something, like have I threatened her in some way? She is acting like I'm another woman in my father's life, not his daughter. I'm just not sure how to handle this.
Why talk to your dad about it? Talk to HER about it!
"Father's-wife, I noticed when we were visiting that you seemed to be avoiding me. Have I done something to offend you?"
You teach people how to treat you. If you go around her to your dad, you confirm her notion that you "don't exist," because she's not having to deal with you.
Good point. I've never really interacted with her much, so I don't immediately think to talk directly to her. I refer to her as my father's wife and not stepmother because I never lived with them, I've spoken to her maybe a dozen times in 20+ years, and she's never made any effort to get to know me, so I don't really consider her to be anything closer than his wife. Perhaps that's part of our issue?
I couldn't agree more with 2xy.
"My goodness, is there a reason you're refusing to speak to me? Have I done something to offend or anger you?" I would confront her and I'd do it in front of others so there was no chance she could twist what you said later on.
Calling out passive aggressives and other rude people is the absolute best defense against them. If nothing else, it will teach her that she doesn't get to treat you that way, especially not in your own home! She doesn't have to like you, but she doesn't get to shun you when she's visiting you at your house.
Loving wife and mama to my sweet little son (Fall 2008) and a beautiful baby girl (Fall 2010)
When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty. --George Bernard Shaw
Yeah, I call people on their behavior when it is a problem. Other people intervening generally isn't very helpful. I'm sorry she did that though. That really sucks. :(
My advice may not be appropriate for you. That's ok. You are just fine how you are and I am the right kind of me.
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