Cutting The Ties That Bind Me


It’s not easy for me to let go.  Let me just say that upfront.  I am the type of person who tries to see the big picture, to give the benefit of the doubt and to try not to take offense when someone is hurtful.

But as much as I have felt it’s the good girl’s role to do those things, they’ve been a hindrance to my cutting the ties with my EX’s family.  Time and again, I’ve made excuses for their bad behavior, but I’ve had enough.  Finally! as my friends have said recently.

It clicked yesterday and the door shut on my waffling between cutting the ties and leaving the door open in case they wanted the relationship that they continue to say they want.  Truthfully, their actions have spoken louder than their words, but I was deaf to it.  Until now.

As my kid so intently put it, You are trying to be the good girl, to do what’s right and to be kind.   You are worried about their gossiping about you and making up stories.  But they are already doing that and they have been ever since Dad left us.  You and I know the truth of the situation.  Who cares what they think or say?  As your kid, I know the truth so I don’t listen to their gossip.  I know who my Mom is and that’s enough for me.

Then my kid left to spend the required overnight visit with Dad and the grandparents.  I went back into the house alone and cried.

I cried because my kid was right.  I cried because I was grateful for my kid’s reading of the situation.  I cried because I hate to hear that they are gossiping about me with lies.  I cried because I thought I was healed and obviously I’m not.  I cried because I cut the ties with my EX husband, but hadn’t yet let go of his family and I must do so now.

You’d think it would be easy as everyone tells me to just be done with them and not think about it.  Friends advise me to live my life and not care.  So why do I continue to care?

I spent 26+ years as a part of their family.  As my MIL (mother-in-law) said a few weeks ago when I saw her,  I really wish you had had an affair so that I could hate you.  It would be easier for me, but I know you didn’t.  I replied I am not that type of person and never have been.  I know this whole situation is hard on all of us.  And then I dropped the subject.  But her words startled me.  Who says things like that?

What held me in the chains of connection with them was my bond to her and to her husband.  They were like my own parents, that’s how close we were.  But it’s obvious that she’s having a hard time in accepting that her son walked away from his wife and kids without explanation or cause.  He just didn’t want to do this anymore.

As a Catholic who doesn’t believe in divorce, this was hard for her to accept.  But now she is apparently over it and rejoicing that her son is divorced and dating, but can’t seem to figure out where I fit in her life.  I can’t be in her life and yet there’s a piece of her who wants me.  But on her terms, when it’s convenient for her and when her son is out of town.  There’s the guilt that she feels because she knows he chose to leave his family and he’s a reflection on her.  In her own mind.  And she’s perfect, so he’s not acting perfectly.  Until now because he’s saying he’s happy with the new girlfriend.  Funny how the Catholic thing can be dropped by the wayside when it’s convenient.

It’s a twisted relationship for sure and I’ve got to cut the ties that bind me.  I don’t have time for toxicity in my life these days.  Onward and upward, right?



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16 Responses to Cutting The Ties That Bind Me

  1. TJ Fox says:

    Something I’ve learned over the last year is that how we deal with family is exponentially different than how we would deal with anyone else. The excuse that they are family is always there, forcing us to give them a latitude that we wouldn’t dream of from any other person in our lives. Sadly, it is the toxic relationships with family that can do the most harm over time. It is incredibly hard to let go of family that does harm, in part because of who they are supposed to be in our lives. When they aren’t what they are supposed to be, it is hard to deal with because, no matter the circumstances or fault, it feels like failure. For me, cutting out those toxic relationships did wonders for my life on all levels and even helped my kids in ways that I never foresaw. It made me realize that I was hanging onto the idea of what I thought those relationships were rather than the actual relationship. It is so hard, but in the end, it was incredibly rewarding. Good for you for taking this step, no matter how hard it may feel in the beginning.


    • janieleeds says:

      Thank you TJ!!!! You’re spot on! I am hanging onto the idea of what I thought those relationships were instead of seeing the actual relationship for what it is now. Knowing you’ve walked this path and succeeded, helps me to be more determined to do the same. Thanks for inspiring me and for understanding and sharing. It really helps xo

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The in law relationship is a paradox…’s like you said, they want you in your life on their terms. It’s like that for a lot of people while they’re still married! You need to do what’s best for the mental health of you and your kids! Stay sane!!


  3. roseelaineblog says:

    Right, onwards and upwards 😉 I met my first husband when I was 15 at school, we married when I was 20. I ended our marriage, there was no one else involved. All his family obviously turned towards him….. bloods thicker than water! It was as if I did not exist. That broke my heart because I thought I was family!

    After about 6 months I spoke to my mum in law, well I cried as I tried to explain how unhappy I had been with her son and we made up. However we can never be as we were although if we see each other at family gatherings we always tell each other, I love you.

    Divorce is the saddest thing. Everything does change, it does hurt but trust me, you will grow and benefit from it. There is much better waiting for you out there!


  4. MoJo says:

    Can you stop the conversations with them beyond kid stuff? They just hurt you. They don’t deserve that power, and you don’t deserve the hurt. I think it’s time for those once viewed as in-laws to be relegated to the role of outlaws!


  5. Pingback: Ex-Mother-In-Law Troubles – Can You Help Me Please? | Authentically 50 ~ Embracing Life's Changes

  6. Pingback: An Amazing Success! | Authentically 50 ~ Embracing Life's Changes

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