Dear Chump Lady,
I’ve recently discovered my sister is back in touch with my ex husband – following each other on Social Media and WhatsApp messaging and birthday cards have been exchanged. I have had this information for a while, but it came to a head and I couldn’t bottle in anymore that this really bothers me.
She saw first hand the disgusting way in which he emotionally abused me for months while I pick me danced, he lied to all of us and behaved in the most appalling way that showed him to have zero empathy. She was who I phoned in the middle of the night, in tears of anxiety when I had to run out of a supermarket because I had a panic attack, was there to bolster me when I finally left and now, is back in touch with this man.
I told her that her being back in touch with him has really hurt me and I consider it to be disloyal. She said she was doing it for my daughters — they have indicated that they’d like him and I to be friends one day and I have explained to them that that won’t happen; we won’t be friends, but will be civil when I have to come across him.
They are teenagers and need to understand, I think, that it’s okay to not be friends with someone anymore who treats you so badly — there are consequences. So I don’t get the excuse. We ended up having an argument about it and she basically told me to fuck off. I haven’t spoken to her since, I don’t have the inclination to at the moment.
Am I being over-the-top here? I hate the thought of not having her in my life, but I just can’t get over the fact that she is actively back in contact with this horrible man. Any advice would be appreciated Chump Lady and Chump Nation.
Here’s my first cynical Chump Lady thought — she’s sleeping with him, or would like to. Because really, who spends that much time, even WITHOUT infidelity, investing in their brother-in-law? Messaging and birthday cards? Like many people, I only have the vaguest notion of who my brother-in-law is. (Are? There might be more than one…) Larry?
That’s some above-average engagement there for someone you used to know. Let alone someone who brutally used and discarded your sister. I think you may be gaslighted here. Oh sure! It’s totally NORMAL to volley messenger texts back and forth and craft hand-written birthday missives in a casual “just thinking of ya!” kinda way!
Uh, no it isn’t. I’m thinking of the tiny subset of people I actually message with, which splinters down to the sub-subset of snail mail birthday cards. My parents? I grant you validation that this is weird.
Weird is actually my nicest interpretation. What this really says about your sister is that she’s A-Okay stepping over your vanquished and sobbing body for kibbles. She’s high on some male attention, and your heartbreak doesn’t factor into it. Hell, WHO HE IS doesn’t factor into it — the guy is a cheater and an emotional abuser.
She’s either okay with that ( = she has crap values) or she doesn’t believe it ( = she thinks you are making the abuse up), or she thinks you deserve his abuse ( = she is a monster). None of these positions are “neutral” — all of these positions are either all about her (crap values) or a conspiracy against you (you’re making it up, or you suck).
Of course you’re upset!
What this is NOT is In The Best Interests of the Children. Since when did teenagers need an emissary? What is she, Jimmy Carter? “For the Children” is the refuge of scoundrels everywhere. It’s the best way to slap “virtue” over shittiness.
Why are you burning those books? For The Children!
Why are you eating all the cookies? I was saving The Children from high-fructose corn syrup!
Your sister isn’t nobly inserting herself into your children’s relationship with their father to save them. Teenagers are quite capable of having (or not having) relationships all on their own. Nor is she Setting Forth a Better Example of How One Should Interact With a Miscreant. Will shall show him tender mercy and understand his brokenness! We shall send him a Hallmark Shoebox greeting card! And welcome him into the loving folds of our family!
She’s doing this for HER and no one else.
You can untangle it, or you can avoid it. I’d suggest a lot of distance. Let her discover the wonderful dysfunction of your ex for herself, if she’s so keen. You go work on that new life and leave her to WhatsApp shitheels.
She’s showing you who she is. That’s sad, but useful information. If it were my sister, I’d demote her to casual acquaintance. Larry?