Struggles After The Holidays

I’ve talked about how I used to have to deprogram my kids after they spent extensive time with their dad and their dad’s family. It would take a few days to detoxify them and stand up to the one who seems to return from visits with a narcissistic snipe to him. This one in particular picks up on the ex’s narcissism so easily, speaking to me like his dad used to do. Which is something that I don’t tolerate well.

So Wednesday night, they ate dinner with their dad’s family since I had the kids on Thanksgiving. The day after Thanksgiving they spent the day together as well. I have no problem with it because it includes their whole family so my kids get to see their cousins on that side of the family.

This morning the kids come downstairs dressed to leave. I ask where they are going and the older one informs me that they’re going to their grandparents with the whole family to decorate the tree. Again this was a tradition which I have no problem with since they’ve been doing this since they were little. However, it always bugged me since once the kids decorate their grandparents’ tree, they don’t want to decorate ours.

I ask when they want to decorate our tree to which he replies that one tree is enough and he isn’t doing ours. I ask then why he’s going to the grandparents’ house and he tells me that she is making food for them. (You know I make all meals here, right?) I reply that I didn’t know that they were going and that I hope when they return we could decorate ours. He tells me that he’s not doing our tree. I remind him that it’s our family tree in our home. As I lean in to kiss him goodby, he tells me he doesn’t like the way I’m speaking to him with an attitude and a bit of a snear. So I turn away and kiss his brother and say goodbye.

I’m writing because I’m angry. I’m hurt. I’m aggravated with the dismissal. I know this is his picking up his dad’s family energy after spending so much time with them this week. Part of me wants to give him the silent treatment when he returns. Part of me wants to talk to him in a stern voice. Part of me wants to talk with him and explain how that behavior and attitude isn’t welcome here. Part of me wants to tell him to leave….

The joy of being an ex-wife of a narcissist…and working on being co-dependent no more.

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13 Responses to Struggles After The Holidays

  1. bone&silver says:

    That’s hard! Sorry you have to suffer this. Perhaps leave the tree decorating for another few days, so it becomes something special, not a chore? Teenagers are tough! Very self- obsessed; hold firm in your boundaries but don’t lecture, that won’t work. Perhaps make a special meal & activity out of doing the tree… and even if you start with the younger one, with fun music on, perhaps the older one will still join in? But you can’t force it… sending calm courage ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Letitgocoach says:

    Decorating the Christmas tree has always been a special time for my daughter and me. She dated a guy for a while who lived in England, so when Christmas rolled around she was either in England with him, or they had their own plans. I’m perfectly capable of decorating a tree, and so are you. I got tired of waiting for her to have a tree decorated so went out and bought my own tree. It’s made completely of tinsel and covered in white lights. If it was anymore shimmery you’d need dark sunglasses to view it. We’re supposed to go pick out a fresh cut tree next week, but even if we don’t, I have a back up and she knows it. When our young adult children begin acquiring their own life, my hope is that we as Mother’s will confidently display our own life too.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dwight Hyde says:

    Very sorry you are feeling angry and hurt, Janie. It’s definitely hard when traditions start coming to an end. With that though there’s opportunities to create new ones that work for everyone. Big hugs to you❤️


  4. Aw this broke my heart. The good news is you understand intricately where it’s coming from and learning to cope with it.

    Maybe a new tradition is due for just you guys? Something that’s not duplicated and belongs to only you and them at your house?

    It’s tough to convince teens, I know. I’ve often just walked away and figured they’ll come back later, when some years have passed…


  5. Ainsobriety says:

    I’m sorry.
    The silent treatment is never a good choice. It will hurt you more than the kids.

    I forget, but I think your kids are older. If they aren’t interested in Christmas decorating, are you? Are you choosing to do it for yourself?

    I decided this year I didn’t want the hassle of getting everything out. So I bought a small led tree and put it in the window.

    No ornaments. Just sparkly lights.

    I did put up outside lights today, because I like them when I drive up.

    The rest is work of resentment. Every year I have done everything. If I complain they all say I want it. So, I’m doing what I want.

    Cleo loves it. She’s always happiest when I decide for myself. Smart teenager.

    Hugs and honesty – Just pause and ask yourself how much of this is leftover feelings of being left out and not really your sons to bear.

    Love to you. I only have your best interests at heart.


  6. Aw I’m so sorry to hear this! I wish I had some advice that could help you. I’m thinking of you and your kids… {{Big Hugs}}


  7. scr4pl80 says:

    Oh hugs. That must be so hard. Does the other one notice? Sometimes if one of my kids says something snarky the other ones will call them out.


    • janieleeds says:

      Hey Janet! You hit the nail on the head b/c the other son noticed and called him on it too! Now let’s see how things develop because we’ve had a few talks since that day. Thanks for your kindness and supportive hugs. Big hugs to you too

      Liked by 1 person

  8. TJ Fox says:

    That sucks so bad! I know you love your kids like crazy, but there is no excuse for that kind of behavior. Maybe you need to sit your son down and give him a little perspective on why his words and behavior were hurtful and wrong. That people that genuinely care for each other never should speak to each other in that manner. Remind him that he is being graciously allowed to live under your roof and that comes with some basic respect requirements. He isn’t required to decorate your tree and can absolutely decline, but he certainly shouldn’t get nasty when you express your wish to share that tradition with him. You shouldn’t have to deal with that level of toxicity under your own roof. I hate that you are experiencing this with your kids. It is heartbreaking to see habits and behaviors in our kids that are harmful or ugly, especially when they reach an age where they are settling into their adult selves and our ability to point them in a better direction just isn’t as effective anymore.


    • janieleeds says:

      Thank you TJ. I agree with you and I did have a good talk with him (actually several) which were really interesting so I may write a post about it. I really appreciate your support and understanding. Big hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Beth W. says:

    Oh, Janie, I just read this. I’m so sorry. That is super rough, I think especially since it is taking you back to the way the ex spoke to you. 😦 My oldest son has a tendancy to talk down to me, what my daughter calls “mansplaining”. It doesn’t come from his dad, just too many years of doing his own thing and being very opinionated. I used to just let his comments go, but lately, I have started snapping back at him. I don’t think it hurts to let them know when we are upset. Perhaps they will change their behavior, perhaps not. (Mostly not here, I’m afraid.) I hope you are able to find an opportunity to sit down with him and hopefully express how hurtful his behavior was to you. Kids can be awesome, but they can also be incredibly frustrating!! Sending positive thoughts your way.


    • janieleeds says:

      Thanks Beth! I am sending positivity to you too with the ‘mansplaining’ LOL I get it, but I understand how you feel. I think they need to learn how it sounds and how it feels to hear when they speak that way. I appreciate your kindness. Big hugs

      Liked by 1 person

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