Last night, Bill came home from work and read to me the super long text message his stepmother sent him. It was a pretty rambling thing, mostly full of accusations that Bill doesn't like his dad and reminders that his dad is getting old and will die someday. And, of course, I was also mentioned in the text.
My husband's stepmother, who was at our wedding in 2002, referred to me as "Ginny" and said she knows I don't like her. She also claims she doesn't know why I don't like her. She can't see why I wouldn't find her a delightful person when she sends Bill text messages full of poison.
Okay... well, if stepmother-in-law wants to know why I don't like her, we can start with the fact that I married Bill fifteen years ago this November and she still doesn't seem to know that my name is Jenny... as in Jennifer. It's not Ginny, as in Virginia. My husband was married to his first wife for almost ten years. Her name was Sabrina. SMIL has no trouble remembering or spelling Sabrina's name. Why can't she commit my name to memory?
The truth is, when I met Bill's father and stepmother, I thought they were nice enough people. However, on the occasions we have visited them (and we always go to them; they don't come to us), we have mostly sat around and talked about Bill's ex wife and kids. I have been told that I have no right to any opinions about what happened to Bill during his first marriage. SMIL has never seemed interested in getting to know me and, in fact, has at best treated me like an interloper who has invaded the family. At worst, she's acted like I broke up Bill's first marriage, which simply isn't true.
Another reason I don't like my husband's stepmother is that I think she's very immature. She has been married to my husband's dad since 1979, yet she still is very bitter and angry toward Bill's mother, who is a truly lovely person. My husband's mom is nothing like my husband's ex wife. She never withheld visitation when Bill was growing up. She never pressured Bill's dad to pay child support. Even today, she has kind things to say about him. Stepmother in law seems unable to understand that my husband's mom gave her a gift. If my mother in law hadn't divorced Bill's dad, where would SMIL be? Maybe married to someone else or single?
SMIL claims that FIL is the best guy in the world. But what kind of guy says, "When I die, don't tell Bill?" Did he really say that? Or is SMIL creating drama? Either way, I don't appreciate it when she sends Bill text messages full of emotional blackmail because he then shares them with me and gets me upset. If FIL really did say something like that, SMIL should not have told Bill. She could have simply sent a nice text message that says, "Hey Bill, if you have time, could you call your father?" That would have been kinder and just as effective as her lengthy diatribe about what a terrible and neglectful son Bill is. Who wants to read that? And what makes her think that sending it is going to make Bill or me like her more?
I did not have a problem with Bill's stepmother when I first met her and I never wanted to be at odds with her. But she is a toxic person who doesn't seem to have respect for other people. And she doesn't even know my name after almost fifteen years of marriage. She acts like she is the only person who is allowed to be upset about anything. She wants us to visit and call and treats it like a duty, but she doesn't make phone calls and visits pleasant. So now I don't like her. Sending Bill shitty text messages is not the way to get me to like or respect her more. Meddling in Bill's relationship with his father is no way to inspire goodwill. And if she has a problem with me, she could speak to me directly. That would foster respect. Instead, she's a coward.
Bill did send his stepmother a response that said he would talk to his dad on the phone. Stepmom responded in a rather panicked way that she hadn't told Bill's dad that she'd sent the message. That makes me wonder if SMIL made up the whole thing, including the comment about not telling Bill when he dies. I told Bill that he needs to tell his dad that his stepmother is sending him nasty texts. If it were me, I would also tell him that SMIL told Bill that he'd asked her not to tell Bill when he dies. I have a feeling that Bill's dad would not have wanted her telling Bill that, even if he did say it. She needs to face some reprisals for trying to emotionally blackmail Bill and putting words in Bill's dad's mouth.
There is a name for this kind of communication. What SMIL is doing is a classic case of triangulation. She is communicating on behalf of someone else and spinning information. I have no doubt she's talked to her husband about Bill's response, but put her spin on it. The end result is that Bill and his dad aren't talking to each other, but they are both upset. The way to stop that is to speak directly and cut SMIL out of the loop. She really has no business meddling. Maybe she's feeling lonely and neglected and stirring up drama is one way she can feel alive again.
I don't spend a lot of time thinking about my husband's father, stepmother, ex wife, or ex kids anymore. I've finally been moving past all of that shit. That's why it's very upsetting when someone tries to pull me back into the morass. I have asked Bill to send his stepmother a text requesting that she leaves me out of her shit. Otherwise, I will be forced to send her a personal response that I know she won't like. And if Bill's father should die and SMIL doesn't tell his only son, she will soon find out what it's like not to have any communication. I have a feeling that Bill would not forgive her.