DSS's Mom wants to meet me...I'm scared - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 24 Old 03-24-2008, 11:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I sent her the invite last week, she left me a voice mail today(first time I ever heard her voice!) and asked me if I would like to meet her for coffee. Of course i was excited/nervous so I called her back.

She said " I received your invite...again, and I like to meet to explain myself a little. See at first i just thought you were the meanest person in the world but now I just think you are naive."

Well, I'll be damned! That was quite the subtle blow. I offered back; "so you just want to set some boundaries and explain yourself? she said "yes". And then I explained to her that I meant no harm and that I was just treating her the way i would want to be treated plus if I were babe I would be heartbroken if my mother and my father's partner didn't get along. She was totally silent for a minute and then said "we need to meet tonight..."

I had to reschedule with her because of other reasons. She agreed, but I'm not even sure if I should! She is diagnosed borderline. She is irrational and I don't think she would be able to have a healthy productive conversation. I am prepared to respectfully end the conversation and walk away but why would I subject myself to this?!?! Because I am morbidly curious! I want to see what my honey sees! I don't know what to do. I know she just wants to put me in my place about not contacting her and such, but although I know she was hurt in the past I don't want to triangulate the babe because of her need for conflict!

help...
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#2 of 24 Old 03-25-2008, 12:00 AM
 
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Well, meet her if you're curious, but don't expect to see what your H sees or has seen; you'll get your own picture, and it'll be considerably less intimate. If she really is borderline -- diagnosed by psychologists -- then I would refrain from contacting her at all. Don't try to be polite; just avoid. You're only asking for trouble.

(I'm a little dubious when I hear people are diagnosed borderline, btw. It's a fashionable diagnosis, and my ex-MIL (psychologist) specializes in it. She has all borderline cases. She diagnoses people right and left without ever having met them. Apparently that's not unusual. She eventually decided I was borderline, too, and while it sounded unlikely to me, I was weirded out enough to ask psychologists, and even mentioned it to my lawyer. The psychologists just stared at me like 'Wha?' and assured me that no, I wasn't borderline; the lawyer straight-out laughed, and explained what her borderline clients were like.)

If she's not actually crazy, it may be worth hearing what she has to say. After all, you really have no idea what went on during the marriage. You've heard your H's side, and maybe you'll hear her side, but truth to tell you still won't know. I'd still be prepared to walk, though.

One thing to keep in mind -- just because you want one big happy family doesn't mean everyone else does. And people may reasonably decide they want nothing to do with their exes or their exes' families, even when custody is shared. Again, it's someone else's history and present.
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#3 of 24 Old 03-25-2008, 12:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
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So you think it's a no-go, huh?
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#4 of 24 Old 03-25-2008, 12:23 AM
 
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Forget about faking anything. Honestly, the kid will see through it, and I doubt you'll be able to convince the LO for too long.

Keep it civil, and respect each other's boundaries.
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#5 of 24 Old 03-25-2008, 08:10 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Annabanana View Post
She id definitely borderline. We only know because her Father called DP once he heard his daughter was pregnant to warn DP about the diagnoses. Yikes. I am aware that it is a serious diagnoses and not to be treated lightly...

If the father is the only source, I would be skeptical. Borderline personality disorder is a controversial diagnosis in that it is usually used on women with histories of abuse or other trauma. It's related to the old 'hysteria' diagnosis and has more recently been revised to "Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder" or "Disorders of Extreme Stress/DESNOS" by folks like Judith Herman and Julian Ford. These new explorations, particularly Herman's Trauma and Recovery, attempt to address the complicated political and cultural issues raised by a diagnosis often used to dismiss women survivors of abuse (often familial) as untreatable and dangerous.

It also seems to have become quite fashionable to label an ex-female partner as borderline. EVERYONE's ex-wife or girlfriend is borderline.

You've been reaching out to her in spite of her clear expression that she would like to be left alone. What is this about? Now, she wants to meet to set the record straight, so to speak, and you are having second thoughts. Ask yourself if it's easier to fall back on her 'borderline' diagnosis than to face the possible, more complicated truth that no one was perfect in the break-up?

Sounds like you are a loving step-parent to the little one. Why not focus on continuing to be a loving, stable force in the child's life and let the other stuff sort itself out with time?

Good luck to you, whatever you decide.
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#6 of 24 Old 03-25-2008, 08:40 AM
 
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it seems like she doesn't want the invites, so I'd stop them. she may think you are sending them to rub in her face that she doesn't have her son as much. Like, "hey, we have your kid and we are inviting you to see him. Just like we invite all people who aren't his parents." I can see how she might think this is mean, and then think it is just naive.


The baby doesn't need for you and his mom to be friends. He just needs you to never say one mean thing about her, and to keep loving him.
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#7 of 24 Old 03-25-2008, 10:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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...
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#8 of 24 Old 03-25-2008, 10:35 AM
 
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I realize your intentions are good. I just think this letter also crosses her boundaries. You are trying to do this in YOUR terms now--not the terms she brought back to you.

She is not looking for validation from you about what a good mother she is. You are also not someone she is looking for support from. You say your feeble attempts at contact are your way of wishing her peace and healing--that is HER business and her healing. Just let it go... It sounds like it is more about your issues.

I suggest you either drop it totally and let her initiate any further contact or you go out to coffee with her on her terms and just deal with what she has to say. That's just my opinion with the limited info presented. Please don't take it personally.
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#9 of 24 Old 03-25-2008, 10:36 AM
 
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I would go. I would go without expectations of seeing a monster or an angel. I dont' think she would accept your letter sounding sincere, but in person there is less likelyhood of misunderstanding.

If she sticks to calling you naive and telling you horror stories about your husband, oh well... At least you tried. As long as you are certain that you will not fall in into the same trap of namecalling, I'd strongly consider going. It would give her a chance to form an opinion of you.

Besides, my curiousity would eat me up

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Raising Alice in Wonderland (DSD, 17), and in love with a Superman
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#10 of 24 Old 03-25-2008, 11:02 AM
 
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I realize your intentions are good. I just think this letter also crosses her boundaries. You are trying to do this in YOUR terms now--not the terms she brought back to you.

She is not looking for validation from you about what a good mother she is. You are also not someone she is looking for support from. You say your feeble attempts at contact are your way of wishing her peace and healing--that is HER business and her healing. Just let it go... It sounds like it is more about your issues.

I suggest you either drop it totally and let her initiate any further contact or you go out to coffee with her on her terms and just deal with what she has to say. That's just my opinion with the limited info presented. Please don't take it personally.

I agree . . . and the part describing how she shows up in your dreams leaves you vulnerable to seeming unbalanced--not something you want if you've already been involved in a contentious custody situation.

Have you considered your own therapist to sort through some of the unresolved issues around this clearly difficuly and painful situation? You may find more peace this way than by trying to control your relationship to the birth mom.

I hope it all works out for you!
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#11 of 24 Old 03-25-2008, 11:33 AM
 
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leave her alone. good grief. do not send that follow up letter.
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#12 of 24 Old 03-25-2008, 11:41 AM
 
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I agree dont' send the letter. go out to coffee with her. I had very similar issues with DSS mother. She got upset that we did not invite her to our wedding but that we did invite her later to our wedding party, baby shower etc...She also at some points really wanted me/us to send her mother's day stuff etc.. now she seems to resent those things. She has called me and just wanted to talk about how hard things were, how bad DH was, how badly he treated her. This I just listened to did not agree did not disagree.
She also wanted to have me operate as a go-between btn DH and her when she felt like she couldnot talk to him.This I refused to do. I reitterated my interest in having a relationship with her but not at the exclusion of her havinga relationship with DH and I absolutely refused to act as a go-between with her and DH.

So after the long ramble my advice. Go to coffee if you feel like you can listen even if that means you have to listen to her talk badly about DH, and tell you things that you know are lies. DSS mom was also diagnosed Borderline and I do not know if this is an accurate diagnoses but I know that I read lots of books on how to deal with someone who is borderline and how borderline people behave and it was helpful for me to continue to tell myself that she was sick and that I needed to use kindness and compassion. Do not tell her intimate details of your life she might be tempted to twist and use against you. Before you go I would set really clear boundaries for yourself with you and DF about what you will not tolerate and what you are not willing to be in your relationship with her. If you don't feel this is doable I would not go, and I would not send her the letter.

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#13 of 24 Old 03-25-2008, 11:48 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Oh the Irony View Post
I realize your intentions are good. I just think this letter also crosses her boundaries. You are trying to do this in YOUR terms now--not the terms she brought back to you.

I suggest you either drop it totally and let her initiate any further contact or you go out to coffee with her on her terms and just deal with what she has to say. That's just my opinion with the limited info presented. Please don't take it personally.
I think this is sound advice. Often as the step parent we want to create that good working relationship between ourself and the ex. I know for me, I take it personally that my SS's mom remains hostile toward me, even though logically I know I am not doing anything to her. But if I were to invite her to something we hosted for SS, she would perceive it as an insult/instigation, whether I intended it as such or not.

Although you mean well, it sounds like this is about you and how you would like the relationship to be. If your SS's mom percieves you as "naive", she obviously feels that you only know your DP's side of the story. If you put yourself in her shoes, getting an invite to your child's first birthday from some one you may resent as the "other woman" (true or not true, it's how the mom may feel, which is her reality) would not necessarily be well received. From her vantage point, especially if she hasn't done the work to move herself forward emotionally, it could seem like you are rubbing your--which used to be her life-in her face.

I agree that you need to let her come to you on her own terms
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#14 of 24 Old 03-25-2008, 11:56 AM
 
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I don't think you should send the letter or meet with her. I think you are setting yourself up for disappointment. Let it go. You have the man and the baby part time. I think from her perspective you have won. I would leave it alone.
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#15 of 24 Old 03-25-2008, 12:15 PM
 
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Definitely don't send the letter.

One thing to remember is that you all aren't one big happy family. She is not your family and you are not her family, chosen or otherwise. The child has two families now and you are part of one of them.

I know you mean well, and I really understand the emotion you're having and the good will you want to show. But she's not receptive to it. So, hopefully this doesn't sound harsh, but, if she wants to be left alone, just leave her alone.

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#16 of 24 Old 03-25-2008, 01:46 PM
 
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I guess I am the only one who thinks it is weird your partner sabotaged your meeting. Good luck, you sound like you have good intentions but I think distance is better, especially since you think she has mental problems.
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#17 of 24 Old 03-25-2008, 02:00 PM
 
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I guess I am the only one who thinks it is weird your partner sabotaged your meeting. Good luck, you sound like you have good intentions but I think distance is better, especially since you think she has mental problems.
I noticed that, too. Yes, it sounded odd.

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#18 of 24 Old 03-25-2008, 02:45 PM
 
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I think it's more odd that she had to ask him to borrow money for coffee.
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#19 of 24 Old 03-25-2008, 02:49 PM
 
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Also, there's something else here.

It sounds like there may be a bit of unresolved guilt here regarding whatever role you had at the time of their (complicated) breakup. She can't absolve you of this, and it isn't fair to put her in that position. It's not her burden. You need to let go and forgive yourself for whatever feelings you have surrounding that issue. You need to let go and move on just like she does. Best of luck in this.

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#20 of 24 Old 03-25-2008, 06:23 PM
 
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I agree with all the pps. Frankly, if I got a letter like that from a girlfriend or wife of XH's, I'd be a little freaked, and begin to wonder what she was teaching or saying to my dd in her need for (what I felt to be inappropriate) closeness. And don't tell her, unsolicited, that it's an honor to love her baby, even though it is. She's a mother; she's protective; you're a stranger she doesn't particularly want to know.

Sometimes there's nothing wrong at all with tolerance, civility, and a prudent distance. It doesn't have to be a lovefest with all of you.

I would also caution you against using pity and a presumption of mental illness as a coping mechanism. Invariably pity is a demeaning thing, and I've found that usually it's misplaced. Just accept her for whoever she is, and go from there. I've found in dealing with my ex (who's been on mental illness disability for years) that diagnoses are of limited meaning, and that it's best simply to deal with what he actually does, without attempting to mindread, interpret, or use "tips and tricks" to coax some kind of reaction or behavior.

Good luck --
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#21 of 24 Old 03-25-2008, 06:25 PM
 
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I think you should stop with the notes and just meet her for coffee. The notes are weird and incredibly presumptuous. And you keep sending them even though you know they make her angry.

I find it really odd that you've never seen her - after two years of joint custody you've never been present for a pick up or a drop off?

Even if she is certifiable, she is a person and the mother of your stepson and I don't see any reason why you shouldn't meet her.

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#22 of 24 Old 03-25-2008, 08:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I guess I didn't explain myself or the situation clearly. I appreciate the advice but I think I'll be nodding out of this post. It's too exhausting defending myself to what I thought was a support forum. I was eliminating tons of extra info to be fair to her even though she doesn't really deserve it. I guess I made some mistakes along the way but at least I tried and at least I was optimistic. I only was treating her the way I want to be treated. But the golden rule I guess doesn't apply in this case. My bad.
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#23 of 24 Old 03-25-2008, 08:43 PM
 
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I guess I didn't explain myself or the situation clearly. I appreciate the advice but I think I'll be nodding out of this post. It's too exhausting defending myself to what I thought was a support forum. I was eliminating tons of extra info to be fair to her even though she doesn't really deserve it. I guess I made some mistakes along the way but at least I tried and at least I was optimistic. I only was treating her the way I want to be treated. But the golden rule I guess doesn't apply in this case. My bad.
You explained yourself clearly enough, but folks had different perspectives, which is one of the benefits of a board like this one. I'm not sure what you expected? All the yucky details of her behavior aren't really necessary when it comes to giving you feedback on the letter. It may sting or may not be what you wanted to hear, but I think you received some valuable advice.

Also, if you feel that you've done your best, in spite of her outrageous behavior, why not leave well enough alone? The 'golden rule' does not apply when we try to impose our expectations or desires on other people, right?

Best of luck to you.
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#24 of 24 Old 03-29-2008, 11:15 AM
 
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I have to ask as in reading the posts that something is missing, but I'm wondering where your dp is in all of this? How does he feel? Did he in fact sabotage the meeting? Why have you not met prior to this? It seems as though your dp is not supporting you for some reason, I would be questioning that. Does he have something to hide? I also wanted to say that if I were you I would be reaching out to her aswell. Not to invade her space but to attempt to create a more comfortable sittuation. I understand the desire to make peace for everyone involved. Relationships like this can be toxic and it seems as though you are the only one addressing the issue. Good for you! At least you are setting an example for the little one on how to treat people.
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