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Holding All the Cards with the Kids

Comment

Dear Annie: My ex-husband and I have been divorced for three years. It was his idea. He cheated on me with several women.

His family, however, was extremely cruel, calling me all kinds of names and telling me I was a terrible mother and the worst thing that ever happened to them. Now they won't speak to me. I was hurt and shocked by their treatment, because I thought we were friends. Not to mention, it was my ex's behavior that caused the divorce. I assume he lied to them and made them believe it was my fault.

My ex-husband lives far away and only sees the children once or twice a year. He's also more than $40,000 behind on his child support. His family lives closer, and they want to come over and see the kids on their own. My ex says his father is ill, and they don't know how much time he has left. So far, I have refused. I have no legal obligation to his family.

The truth is, I would love for the children to have a relationship with his family, but I can't get over how nasty they have been to me. They have never apologized for their behavior or reached out and tried to mend fences. On the rare occasion when my ex is in town, he will bring them to see the kids, but they still won't speak to me.

My ex tells me that I am only punishing the children by not letting them see his family. Is it wrong for me to keep my kids away from people who have been so terrible? I worry about the lies my former in-laws would tell them. — Still Hurt

Dear Still: You are holding all the cards here. Offer a supervised visitation for the grandparents. Tell them they can see the children provided they treat you civilly and behave appropriately. You will be present the entire time, and if they say or do anything untoward, that ends the visit. This allows the kids to see their grandparents, and it prevents the lies.

In time, it may also heal some of the open wounds.

Dear Annie: No one could love animals more than I do. I have had pets all my life and have served on humane society boards. Having said this, let me ask all of you pet lovers this question: How would you feel if I walked into your house and relieved myself on your carpeting or hardwood floor?

This is an advisory to all those pet owners who take undisciplined animals into other people's homes: Please don't. It is neither right nor fair. Yes, Fluffy may be just too cute, but not when she is urinating on my rugs.

A home is frequently the largest investment most of us make, and having it damaged by undisciplined animals is just plain wrong. If you must travel with a pet that is not housebroken, use a portable cage or kennel to confine the animal. — Animal Lover

Dear Animal Lover: Many people consider their pets to be their children, but they would be appalled if a child were permitted to soil their carpet. We hope your letter will inspire them to be equally considerate when it comes to their animal companions.

Dear Annie: Instead of telling "Plus-Sized Good Catch" that people tend to judge one's outward appearance, you should have told her that there are online groups made for men who love large women.

And when you printed a bunch of letters in response, only one was from a man who likes large women, but I know my husband wrote you, too. Why didn't you print his? — La Crescenta, Calif.

Dear La Crescenta: We are glad your husband wrote, but unfortunately, we can only print a fraction of the thousands of letters we receive. We try to keep our responses representative of the mail that comes in.

Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. To find out more about Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2013 CREATORS.COM



Comments

67 Comments | Post Comment
LW2: Does this really happen to you that often? And do you really think validation from the Annies will stop whoever it is that is bringing the offending creature to your home? Just wondering. Maybe speaking up or taking charge of your own house and making a reputable nearby dog boarding or doggie daycare facility available is the way to go. I'll go out on a limb and assume you're complaining about a specific dog.

If you peed on my floor, I'd call an ambulance to take you somewhere they can deal with this sort of thing more effectively and then go on a cleaning frenzy so you wouldn't set a bad example for my exemplary furry darlings.
Comment: #1
Posted by: LouisaFinnell
Sat Jan 5, 2013 9:37 PM
LW1 If your ex is 40k behind in child support I think that really goes beyond the pale and you can just ignore him and his rotten family. They clearly have zero respect for you and I doubt your children are missing out on a whole lot here.

LW2 Do you really believe that people who are socially oblivious enough to bring pets into someone else's home are going to pay any attention to your dumb public service announcement.

LW3 Are these men from those pervy groups who are only attracted to very fat women and encourage them to keep gaining more and more weight. I think I saw a move about that where there is a sadomasochistic relationship where the men feed the women until they gain so much weight they die.
Comment: #2
Posted by: EstherGreenwood
Sat Jan 5, 2013 10:15 PM
Still Hurt- The Annies are are right and take ONE more step- when you set up the visit spell it out for your former in-laws that the divorce was HIS idea, HE cheated, HE exposed you to STDs AND HE left you to support HIS children on your own. Then take the high road and invite them to visit anyway. BTW when you ask about HIS dad, tell us if HE lied and his dad is NOT dying!
Comment: #3
Posted by: Wonder Peg
Sat Jan 5, 2013 10:24 PM
ESTHER- In movies you might see anything- talking bunnies and flying cars... in REAL life, some guys just prefer plump, chubby and even obese ladies and some men fall in love with the person, no matter her shape. Better still, this works both ways. Unless someone has repealed the law of averages, yes somewhere in the world there 's got to be at least one someone in the world who gets off on force feeding their mate like s/he's a goose but mainly that's ONLY in the movies!! LOL
Comment: #4
Posted by: Wonder Peg
Sat Jan 5, 2013 10:31 PM
@Wonder Peg
I hope you're right and that it is only cinematic license. A fixation on body type, any body type just seems like a not very reliable starting point for a relationship to me, but what do I know. I guess there is an "online community" for every taste and inkling. There are certainly an abundance of sites for men that prefer big breasted blondes...lol.
Comment: #5
Posted by: EstherGreenwood
Sat Jan 5, 2013 10:41 PM
* * * * PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT * * * *

LW3 refers to the final letter on 31 October 2012 (Plus-Sized Good Catch), which itself referred to the second letter on 20 September 2012 (Enough).

Plus-Sized Good Catch had one response on 16 December 2012 (64 and Wiser in Virginia - he mentioned specialised Internet sites), and Enough had one other response on 12 December 2012 (History Lesson).

For the life of me - I cannot locate the 'bunch of letters in response' mentioned by La Crescenta, Calif. If anyone else can assist, please go ahead.
Comment: #6
Posted by: Miss Pasko
Sat Jan 5, 2013 11:54 PM
LW1: I agree with Esther, that the amount of child support owed is so excessive, it's time to cut ties with all these people.

We've seen lots of posts here BTL from women (and sometimes men) who's exes have rewritten the circumstances of the divorce to make themselves look better. It's what HAPPENS. What do we expect? That a serial cheater is just going to come out and say "My marriage broke up because I can't keep my d#$@ in my pants."? No. These are people who are accustomed to LYING so when they go through a divorce it's going to ALWAYS be the other person's fault. " Susan was a shrew and yelled at me all the time to the point where I had to leave" (leaving out the fact that Susan yelled at him because he was caught with other women, late, not participating in raising the kids, and generally being a deadbeat). It will ALWAYS be the other person's fault.

BUT, the marriage is over. And his family, it sounds like, not only has treated you badly, but has not been much HELP to you with the children. This is where I would have the issue. They don't have to like you, in fact it would be amazing if they did. BUT they do and should be willing to help with the children, especially given the fact that the father lives far away and he's so far in arrears on child support (do they know about THAT?).

The first thing I would do if I was you would be to contact my lawyer (or social services which may be able to help here) and get this dirtbag's wages attached if possible. And I would let his family know about the money. Nothing speaks as loudly as the truth and when they see, in black and white, how their son/brother has treated you, they MAY change their tune and start being nice. But until then, no. You are under no obligation in my book to accomodate them or your ex.

And don't hold your breath.

LW2:Maybe it's because you are such a pet lover that people feel they can bring their unhousebroken pets over? I would insist on crating anyways: pets tend to act strange in strange surroundings. My dog will immediately hide under couches in strange houses, whereas here she runs around from room to room happily. It's better for people to crate their animals in strange surroundings, not only for the home owners but for the pets.

LW3: Esther is actually right. There are tribes in Africa that insist on "fattening up" their girls before weddings. It has been widely documented. I believe the reason is that being overweight is seen as a sign of wealth. The standard of beauty changes quite a bit depending on where you go around the world.

For example, I am very fair skinned. Growing up in CA, I was so pale people made fun of me because it's impossible for me to get a tan. Landed in Japan and people were like "OH, look at that lovely white skin!" They have BLEACHING beauty supplies in Japan, whereas we have fake tanning beauty supplies here. And some places prefer women with "meat on their bones" (as my mom would say), and others (the West) tend to put women who are thin as the preferred standard.

At this point in my life, I don't really care all that much: accept me for who I am or go somewhere else is my thoughts on that. I think the most beautiful women are the ones who love THEMSELVES for who they are. Just yesterday, I met a woman who was technically "beautiful": thin, big eyes, blond hair. She was also whacked out on what the pub owner thought was meth and ended up getting kicked out of a restaurant/pub where I've never seen anyone thrown out of, especially not at 3 in the afternoon. I talked to her briefly before she was thrown out: she hit me up for money and told me a sob story. She had been sitting with two guys I know: she hit them up for money. I guess her talking to me was the final straw for the owner because she got thrown out while I was in the restroom. It was SO SAD. Here's this woman who has the looks many women would be grateful for, but she's on heavy drugs panhandling basically at a pub. She wasn't beautiful at all because her desperation came through louder than her beauty. It's more important to be comfortable with who you are, and HAPPY with yourself.... that's the most attractive quality of all.
Comment: #7
Posted by: nanchan
Sun Jan 6, 2013 1:04 AM
Re: EstherGreenwood
Why do you think that men who prefer a more weighty woman are "prevy"? There are many men that find woman of weight very sexy and or attractive. It doesn't matter what your weight is, how tall or short you are. There will be someone who finds attractive. I'm short, 4' 10'' at 110 pounds and have always been attracted to very tall men. My ex is 6' 5''. However when I met my late husband, I was surprised that I was really attracted to him, he was 5' 6''. With a 2 inch pair of heels we fit together perfectly when we danced together.
Comment: #8
Posted by: Bailey
Sun Jan 6, 2013 3:33 AM
If a dog peed on my rug or hardwood floors I would not be writing letters! I would have screamed, told the pet owner how much the cleaning would cost and tell her to get that animal out of my house! Establish a "no pets" rule for visitors, or inform them that all animals can stay outside in your yard. My 3 corgis and cat never mess in the house, but I would never dream of taking them into another person's home without first getting permission. How can anyone live with an un-trained animal?
Comment: #9
Posted by: sarah stravinska
Sun Jan 6, 2013 3:40 AM
Oh, and last word on LW3. Abby today has a column about panhandlers, and it really touched me given yesterday's situation with the blond woman. (sorry to go off topic)

It's so sad that there is no resource in this country (US) for dealing with these types of people. When the pub owner threw the woman out, she ended up in the parking lot for about an hour, trying to bum money for a ride to another part of town. The pub owner told me that she had found three boxes of neatly folded clothes in the back parking lot that later the woman moved to the dentist's office next door (empty because of the weekend). The entire pub talked about her for about an hour. How do we handle people like her? She was obviously whacked on something. I asked, do we call the police? Pub owner: they will just tell her to leave the premises, not arrest her unless she hurts someone or something. Can we call social service? Nope, she has to do that for herself.

Our options were limited on how to help her. Some of the guys in the pub started making fun of her. It was pretty obvious even to me that that she was also soliciting and the remarks people made about that was just appalling. The pub owner, a woman who I've known for years, stopped that stuff pretty quick, but it really made me think. How can we help this woman, and protect society from her, effectively?

I'd be curious from the BTL if there is some kind of emergency number or agency that would address obviously mentally ill or incapacitated (she was on drugs) or homeless people. According to the people in the pub, the local homeless encampment wouldn't accept her, because they test for drugs and alcohol before allowing people in. Even the Salvation Army requires people be "clean" before helping them. It just saddens me and scares me we don't have an option for these people: they are a danger to themselves and others.
Comment: #10
Posted by: nanchan
Sun Jan 6, 2013 3:43 AM
Re: nanchan

I agree, with regards to one party will blame the divorce on the other when it is not in fact their fault. My ex was a “serial cheater” and had a child with another woman while we were still married and living together. Of course his mother was the type “my son can do no wrong” Five years after our divorce, he and his mother came down to pick up our son for the summer (we lived about three hours apart). It has been sometime since I last saw her. As soon as they walked into my house, I looked at the ex and told him to tell her. I didn't have to explain, he knew what I meant. So he turned to her and told her the divorce was ALL his fault, he was the one who cheated. Of course she had figured that out already because of the other child. But it was important too me that he acknowledge it in front of me.
Comment: #11
Posted by: Bailey
Sun Jan 6, 2013 3:52 AM
Re LW#1------
I suppose it is common for people not to want to let their families know that they caused a divorce, and so they blame their ex. I can even see a family maybe believing what their child tells them as opposed to his ex's version.
And the fact that he is way behind in child support has nothing to do with them.
.
Normally I would say that none of this should be a reason for denying grandparents visitation with their grandchildren. But I'd be darned if I'd have someone in my home to see my kids and refusing to speak to me while they were there. (They wouldn't have to make a friend of me, but they can't snub me.)
.
And since they had bad-mouthed me to my face, I would not trust them not to do the same to my kids if they got them alone. So, if I were a really nice person, maybe I might do supervised visitation at my home--------but I don't think I'd let them come in and refuse even to say hi to me. That's not good for kids either. So unless they could at least act nice on the surface, I don't think I'd have them anywhere around my kids. Grandparents are important, but not toxic grandparents.
Comment: #12
Posted by: jennylee
Sun Jan 6, 2013 4:35 AM
Nanchan, we used to have these services, but they've all been cut. Where I live, we've closed our last mental institution. The hospital where I work is inundated with this; many mentally ill are addicted to drugs because they've been trying to self medicate with whatever they can get their hands on to quiet their symptoms (they're not necessarily trying to get high, just make the voices go away). We have become the defacto institution, but this does not work since we also have average everyday patients who have come in with pneumonia, renal failure, chest pain, etc. and we have to protect them from the mentally ill patients and the drug addicts. We lack the infrastructure to segregate them.

You can judge a society by how it cares for its disadvantaged citizens. Don't get me started on how we treat our special needs kids.
Comment: #13
Posted by: Jnanny
Sun Jan 6, 2013 4:45 AM
Re LW#2--------
It should go without saying that no one should ever show up at someone's house with their pet unless they first asked and got told yes.
.
I pretty much say no if I'm asked. I have one kitty, who is an indoor-only cat, and he doesn't like other cats or dogs. And since he LIVES there, I won't subject him to having to hide under the bed the whole time I have company who brings their pet.
.
On the occasions I travel to visit someone, I either leave him at home and have someone come in frequently to check on him, or I board him (which I think is a good thing to do occasionally, so I don't have a neurotic animal that goes into a panic if I leave him for a bit).
.
There are boarding facilities in my town, which I have checked out and know to be good ones, and I have no problem with suggesting to people that they are welcome and that I can provide the name of the facility, but that their animals cannot stay in my house. (I know that urinating or spraying is a thing animals tend to do in a strange place, and once another animal has done that in my home, my pets tend to do it in the same spot, no matter how well I clean it up. I'd just prefer not to have to get that started.)
Comment: #14
Posted by: jennylee
Sun Jan 6, 2013 4:46 AM
Re: jennylee

Disagree.

You write "And the fact that he is way behind in child support has nothing to do with them." That may be true from a legal standpoint, it may be true from a collections standpoint, but in this case, it DOES have a lot to do with them.

Likely the parents/family have NO IDEA just how bad things are for the LW. I'm not often in favor of blackmail, but when people are ripping kids off (which is what is happening here: child support is there to support the child) then I don't think it's a bad idea to let them know how much money is owed before allowing access to the children.

Putting myself in the LW's shoes, if I was in her position, I would deny access to the grandparents as well. And YES the money would play a huge part in it. I"M the bad guy, I don't get any help raising these kids, FINANCIALLY OR PHYSICALLY, yet I am supposed to bow to every whim of the family (who slams me in front of my kids)?

Um, no.

The parents need to be made aware of the facts of the past due child support. Facts like that are not subjective, they are FACTS. And WILL affect the relationship between the LW and the inlaws, just as much as conjecture and slander will.
Comment: #15
Posted by: nanchan
Sun Jan 6, 2013 5:16 AM
On the mental health topic...

My grandfather was a psychiatrist and hospital administrator. My father quotes him as saying that our mental health care system began to deteriorate in the 1960's when we began to pass laws to "protect" the freedom and rights of individuals with mental health conditions. These laws were well-intentioned, no doubt, but he believed they were misguided.

For example, they began to require that people not be held in institutions against their will if they were not a demonstrable threat to society, and they changed the rules about medicating people against their will. The problem with this is that a truly mentally ill person is not capable of making a rational decision about whether they should be medicated or institutionalized. The result was that tons of people who had previously been relatively well-cared-for in institutions ended up homeless and off their meds, wandering the streets.

I had a friend who developed schizophrenia in his early 20s. His parents loved him dearly, and could see that something was very wrong, but it took a long time before they could get anyone to do anything about it. He was no longer a minor, so they had to go through a complex legal process to have him declared mentally incompetent and to be appointed his guardians. Finally at their request the authorities came and took him to a state mental health institution for evaluation. He ended up being "in the system" for months. His family couldn't afford to pay for a private hospital, so he was in a depressing, dingy, prison-like state institution a long way from home during that time. They visited as often as they could. I remember hearing that my friend refused to take medication orally, and there were limits on what they could inject him with, so his progress was slow.

Finally a doctor declared that he was "no longer a danger to himself or others," and he was released to his parents. They were overwhelmed and frightened, not sure how they would take care of him when they both had to work. He came home on a Saturday. Hoping for him to have as normal a life as possible, they encouraged him to apply with a temp agency to see if he could get a job. On Monday he went to the agency, took the elevator to the 12th floor... and jumped off a balcony. Clearly the doctor's evaluation was just plain wrong. I'm just thankful it was only his own life he took; as tragic as that was, I'm thankful his family did not have to deal with the grief and guilt of the deaths of others.

The system is broken at every level. I'm not very hopeful it will be fixed any time soon.
Comment: #16
Posted by: Vivian
Sun Jan 6, 2013 6:23 AM
LW1: I think it is kind of sad that a man who refuses to support his children and doesn't really bother to see them accuses the LW of punishing them. You know what kind of feels like punishment to a kid? Having to wear thrift store stuff or clothes with holes in them because mom's paycheck isn't enough to buy new clothes. The LW should start seeing an attorney.

I was almost willing to side with the family a little. Yes, things get ugly during a divorce but that doesn't mean the kids shouldn't have a relationship with their grandparents. But then I reread the letter. The ex in-laws are STILL refusing to talk to her. So they want to come to her house and take her kids for a visit while refusing to be civil to her. Um. No. If they won't talk to her, you can bet that they'll have no trouble badmouthing her once they are alone with her kids.

I would tell hubby that, if it is so darn important to him, he should man up and spend more time with them so he can take them himself. If not, I wouldn't even bother with the lot of them.
Comment: #17
Posted by: Datura
Sun Jan 6, 2013 6:26 AM
LW1--"I would love for the children to have a relationship with his family, but I can't get over how nasty they have been to me." Honey let me put things in perspective for you since you seem to be in denial. Your ex-husband is a two-timing snake who divorced you and is now more than $40K behind in child support; his family were mean and cruel to you yet you "would love for the children to have a relationship with his family"? Girl, get some self-respect and stop letting your ex-husband manipulate you. Obviously this "family" produced the lying piece of shit that is your ex-husband. You should be thanking your stars and garters that your ex only deigns to see his own children once or twice a year. You certainly don't want his family to cast their nasty, toxic influence onto your children. You are not punishing your children by steering them clear of your horrible former "outlaws"; you're protecting them. I don't care how sick your ex's father is or whatever other excuses they concoct; tell this pack of loony tunes when they call for a visit the answer is No Way in Hell.

LW2--"How would you feel if I walked into your house and relieved myself on your carpeting or hardwood floor? " Pssh, obviously you've never been to one of my parties.

LW3--Maybe you should have told your husband to drag himself into the twenty-first century and respond BTL on-line like the rest of us.
Comment: #18
Posted by: Chris
Sun Jan 6, 2013 6:27 AM
Re: Vivian #16
This is so tragic--------and there are thousands of cases just like it. I agree that in our zeal to protect everyone's rights we sometimes hurt them immeasurably.
.
And the other thing is that it's not a priority moneywise with our government. If we spent just a tiny fraction of what we spend on other things (the military comes to mind, although I know that's a touchy subject-----as is foreign aid, when we have people here doing without), for health care, physical AND mental, I can't even begin to imagine what a wonderful thing it would be for our country.
.
Unfortunately, I don't ever see it happening. We give money away right and left to other countries and ignore the needy people right here.
Comment: #19
Posted by: jennylee
Sun Jan 6, 2013 6:34 AM
LW1: I see no reason to have these nasty people over. Your kids are never going to have a real relationship with them, just a couple of visits; this is really for FIL, not the kids. In fact, a couple of visits where there is clear animosity is more detrimental to the kids then cutting them out. When I got divorced my inlaws quit speaking to me; I'd never had any problems with them that I was aware of (they lived out of state) and I wrote them a nice letter telling them that I was sorry the marriage didn't work out but they were always welcome, and I included pictures of the kids. Well, my letter was ignored and my ex then had the nerve to ask me to send them pictures because it would mean a lot to them. I told him that it would have meant a lot to me if they'd answered my letter so tough for them; now they speak to the kids when he has them and that's it. My kids really don't ask about them or care one way of the other and when they are gone will have few memories of them. I have no idea what my ex told them, though I'm sure he trashed me and left out his abuse, but as I was wife number 2 and we're both b^$ches it's clear he can do no wrong in their eyes. So be it; they are the real losers here.
Comment: #20
Posted by: Kim
Sun Jan 6, 2013 6:53 AM
LW1 - Tell the nasty in-laws that they are very welcome to come to visit your kids just as soon as the $40k in back child support is paid up to date.
Comment: #21
Posted by: JeanH
Sun Jan 6, 2013 7:08 AM
LW1: Temptation is strong to refuse to allow your kids to see their grandparents and other relatives from your ex's side of the family; many people will tell you (and probably already have) that you're justified in so doing. You HAVE been treated shabbily.

However.

The fact that you wrote to an advice column makes me think that you're uncomfortable stooping to their level; that you prefer to take the high road in life even when it's not the easier choice and that this what you strive to model for your kids. That you would not sleep well if YOU were the cause of the children not seeing their grandfather before he is gone.

That you are, in short, a class act, and recognize that there are some things you do NOT out of respect for your in-laws and their right to have a relationship with your children, but out of respect for your children and THEIR right, absent abusive behavior toward them, to know and have a relationship with THEIR grandparents.

The Annies gave you great advice on how to proceed. Perhaps it will help to bear in mind that you can always cut short or stop visits if behavior toward you is inappropriate, but that if there are no visits, you can't gauge whether they've changed the behavior that was perhaps a reaction to lies they were told.
Comment: #22
Posted by: hedgehog
Sun Jan 6, 2013 7:35 AM
Miss Pasko - not everything is written on line. The Annies referred to the "thousands of letters" they receive which is not the things people are writing here, BTL. The Annies don't even look at this. Why would they? People can write directly to them.

I don't know, Jnanny, I taught for 22 years and saw Special Ed go from one small department to the largest, most expensive state-mandated behemoth in the school with mountains of paperwork for every kid whose parents tried to get them in. And believe me, while there were kids who legitimately needed the "special" personal help and attention, there were plenty more whose parents had learned how to play the system and get special privileges with little accountability. What you're talking about, whether or not you realize it, is more tax money going to pay more middle level mind-numbing bureaucracies.

Rather than fault the U.S. for "not doing enough" (and I guarantee, no level of government intervention would be "enough" for some people) the very fact that the first thing people do when a tragedy, whether personal or national, strikes is cry for more laws, more programs, more government intervention. People have been taught to think like this over the last 70 years. Make it the "government's" fault so that it will be government's (meaning no one in particular, but everyone's money) responsibility. That's because people no longer want to take responsibility for their own lives, families, choices.
Where nanchan was upset about the woman wandering around the parking lot and wanted "someone to do something" I would say, okay, YOU"RE someone - why don't you take her home with you?

Pause to hear the outraged reasons why that's impossible.

Oh Chris, I read you if only for the kind of nuggets you gave LW2. You make me smile.
Comment: #23
Posted by: Maggie Lawrence
Sun Jan 6, 2013 7:37 AM
Re: Maggie Lawrence

Well, Maggie, I know you don't like me, I wonder if you would have been as cruel to anyone else who asked that question.

In case you have FORGOTTEN, Maggie, I have a young adult living in my house. I'm supposed to bring a DRUGGED OUT HOOKER into the house?

You really are a pip, Maggie. I am NOT a professional and this woman needed PROFESSIONAL HELP.

Sick woman. And I'm not talking about the poor hooker.
Comment: #24
Posted by: nanchan
Sun Jan 6, 2013 7:46 AM
I have to agree with Chris and JeanH today. The grandparents should definitely be made aware that their son is NOT providing for his kids. God knows what the father has said to his parents or what they might say to the kids. My own sister-in-law decided, with no consultation with either of us, that her brother and I had divorced because I was a lesbian - which I am not; she was in total denial that his irresponsibility might in any manner have contributed to the divorce.

On the mental health issue: Back in the early to mid-60s, there was a lot of abuse of the mentally ill going on in some of the state mental institutions. In 1967, Fred Wiseman produced a film - "Titicut Follies" - which spotlighted conditions in the Bridgewater State Hospital here in Massachusetts. The public airing in movie theaters of the conditions in that single facility was the fulcrum that swung public opinion on care for the mentally ill, causing the closure of many Good mental health facilities, and generated the passage of many mental health care reform laws. Sadly, what was then intended as a "good thing" has become a very bad thing for the mentally ill.

"Titicut Follies" is available for viewing online even today; you might want to check it out. That said, I fully agree there SHOULD still be a system/means by which we can care for the mentally ill - even when it is against their will if it is in their best interest.
Comment: #25
Posted by: graham072442
Sun Jan 6, 2013 7:55 AM
LW1 -
"I worry about the lies my former in-laws would tell them."
I haven't read BTL yet, but there goes the crux of the problem as far as I'm concerned. But by that token, I would be VERY worried about what your ex may tell them also. Thankfully, he doesn't see them often.

Chances are that your ex painted you as the whore of Babylon to his family, told them you were the one who cheated and asked for divorce. "In time, it may also heal some of the open wounds"? Not unless some, ah... inaccuracies are corrected and some attitudes are vastly changed. There can be no healing if fresh wounds keep being inflicted.

For the sake of your children, I suggest you call a meeting with the grandparents, stating to them that, if they really want to see their grandchildren, they WILL see you and talk to you. Then I would get to the bottom of it and find out what he told them, then providing them with the correct information and informing them that they may have supervised visits. Remind them that you owe them nothing, and that you are being very generous to grant them that, considering what their deadbeat dad son owes you AND his children.

If they ask, why supervised, you may add that you are not interested in your children turning against you like they themselves did, because they will have been fed the same lies your ex gave to them.

If they indignantly turn this down, you will have done what you could and kept to the high road, while still retaining your dignity. Extending a hand with the olive branch doesn't include getting your hand bitten off. You can then tell your wonderful ex that you did offer, but that they insist on treating you like garbage because of the lies he told them.

But I must warn you - people who do things like that rarely perceive as deserved the consequences of their actions.

As a case in point, I used to allow my landlord to go into my place unsupervised if he needed to do something and I was out of town. The last time I permitted that, they vandalised my kitchen and purposely created such a mess that I still find traces of it. The direct result, of course, is that I won't let them in anymore unless I'm on the premises, and sent them a registered letter to that effect - it was a privilege, and they abused it, they have now lost the privilege. They're very indignant about that, and they went and told the upstairs neighbours that it was "all my fault" that they didn't have water for two days.

I found out when I asked them to pick up my mail when I had to be out of town for a week, and they said, sure, but the next time there is a plumbing problem, we would expect you to be a little more cooperative, and that's when I found out what dear Jenny had told them - at least some of it. God knows what else she told them.

It's amazing how many people who want something from you, still demand that you allow them to treat you like shit. I guess a lot of people have never learned diplomacy 101, as in, that you attract flies better with sugar than with vinegar!

Comment: #26
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Sun Jan 6, 2013 8:41 AM
Re: Vivian

Thank you for an excellent (16) if tragic post.

I think there are a lot of issues at play here.

1. The first issue is how do we deal with people IMMEDIATELY who are obviously on drugs or mentally ill when they present themselves in social situations (such as the pub yesterday). There is currenly no mechanism to handle these people: the police won't arrest them unless they commit a crime, and these people aren't capable (at least at the moment) of making the decisions to contact social services (which also will not pick up someone and take them to a shelter or rehab).

2. The second issue is how to deal with these people with SHORT TERM SOLUTIONS (one month? six months?). From what I've been told (Sorry to bust your bubble, Maggie, but I did call my church yesterday to see if they could help. Sheesh), the "tent city" in our area wouldn't accept this lady as she was/is obviously on drugs. The tent city here has had a LOT of issues with local home owners who don't want it located in one area as they believe it will decrease property values so they are extra vigilent about drugs and alcohol. The problem is so bad for some of the homeless in the area (and many of them are mentally ill) that our parks are now policed at night. Section 8 housing requires applications and an address to receive the paperwork... it's a catch 22.

3. The next issue is how to deal with LONG TERM SOLUTIONS for the truly mentally ill, such as the situation you describe. Awhile back, I saw a documentary about a mental patient who deliberately committed a crime so that he would be incarcerated and could get his meds again. What is WRONG with this picture??

Mental issues are a HUGE issue right now and I really hope these are addressed with the health care package
Comment: #27
Posted by: nanchan
Sun Jan 6, 2013 8:56 AM
Re: Maggie Lawrence
Great Post Maggie! I couldn't agree with you more. Seems like more and more want the government to take care of them from cradle to grave or is that womb to grave. I have no issue with those that truly need help but far too many know how to play the system. I have a cousin who has been on welfare since she was 16 years old, and is now on disability because she's over weight! She certainly knows how to play the system. The woman is 59 years old, has never held a job, ever!!!!! but has a Masters Degree. The only reason she has that is when California started cutting back on welfare, she either had to get a job or go to school. Which by the way, the state paid for.
Comment: #28
Posted by: Bailey
Sun Jan 6, 2013 9:23 AM
Re: nanchan

IF this woman at the pub was a danger to herself or others, then the police should have been notified. There are laws regarding public intoxication, if nothing else she at least would have had a place to sleep it off for awhile.
Comment: #29
Posted by: Bailey
Sun Jan 6, 2013 9:44 AM
LW2 - how often does this happen to you? Ask your friends to not bring their pets to your house. Pets generally don't like moving around like that and even well behaved onces can pee from excitement or fear when overstimulated.

Re: Sarah

You'd started screaming if a dog peed on your floor? How very emotionally stable of you. Not hysterical at all. Also, what's the going rate of a few sheets of paper towel and some vinegar these days, anyway?
Comment: #30
Posted by: Zoe
Sun Jan 6, 2013 11:15 AM
I happen to work for a county agency. We cater to everything from down syndrome to emotionally unstable individuals. Believe me, help is there, hard to find, but available. My clients live better than me and my children. They have docs, nurses, staff 24/7. They eat well since im there cooking meals I couldn't even afford to cook at home, because I make next to minimum wage. Im glad my clients have such a great life including more social events than even my highschooler enjoys. Back in the 50s and 60s they were in deplorable conditions. There is help out there. It just takes time to locate.
Comment: #31
Posted by: LolaT
Sun Jan 6, 2013 11:53 AM
I happen to work for a county agency. We cater to everything from down syndrome to emotionally unstable individuals. Believe me, help is there, hard to find, but available. My clients live better than me and my children. They have docs, nurses, staff 24/7. They eat well since im there cooking meals I couldn't even afford to cook at home, because I make next to minimum wage. Im glad my clients have such a great life including more social events than even my highschooler enjoys. Back in the 50s and 60s they were in deplorable conditions. There is help out there. It just takes time to locate.
Comment: #32
Posted by: LolaT
Sun Jan 6, 2013 11:53 AM
I happen to work for a county agency. We cater to everything from down syndrome to emotionally unstable individuals. Believe me, help is there, hard to find, but available. My clients live better than me and my children. They have docs, nurses, staff 24/7. They eat well since im there cooking meals I couldn't even afford to cook at home, because I make next to minimum wage. Im glad my clients have such a great life including more social events than even my highschooler enjoys. Back in the 50s and 60s they were in deplorable conditions. There is help out there. It just takes time to locate.
Comment: #33
Posted by: LolaT
Sun Jan 6, 2013 11:53 AM
Re: Bailey

Again, you reply on a post without reading it.

The police won't arrest someone without them COMMITTING A CRIME. Just because several patrons felt threatened by her, and she was kicked out by the owner, doesn't constitute a CRIME. That's why she was able to panhandle in the parking lot without fear, because it's not illegal to panhandle here. She wasn't stealing, she wasn't taking swings at people, she was asking for money and being a nuisance, but she was NOT committing a crime, so therefore the police could do nothing about it.

And that's the whole POINT. There are people out there who do this type of stuff all the time. Going into downtown Seattle a few weeks ago, I was struck by how many more homeless there were there than when I used to work there a couple of years ago. I was waiting for the bus, and a guy just hovered over me. What could I do? Have him arrested for hovering? You just don't do that!

There has to be a some kind of a happy medium here where these people aren't incarcerated, but are spoken to and steered in the right direction for services.

As for Bobaloo/Maggies right wing stance on this: I am about as conservative as they come, but I am adamantly for some type of government intervention for these people who are posing potential and sometimes REAL threats to our society. This is NOT about "cradle to the grave" assistance. This is about PUBLIC SAFETY. Sometimes all it takes for these people to really SNAP is a seemingly inconsequential event.

FWIW: In the old days (as Vivian says) there were options for enforced incarceration. And during that time, many other social services were taken care of by the church (food banks etc). I'd rather see the money used on extended use of food stamps (longer than 6 months) used for mental health care and have churches etc. work the food banks. As one person said today at Abby: in 1970 one in every 50 people were on food stamps. Today, it's one SIX. That is draining our federal budget far more than it would take to assist the truly mentally ill or even to provide some short term assistance to addicts.
Comment: #34
Posted by: nanchan
Sun Jan 6, 2013 12:13 PM
Re: visiting someone with your pet without checking first, of course it's a dumb idea. I have had this happen fairly often though: someone will drop by for a visit (scheduled or unscheduled), then I'll hear a dog barking in their car (barking whenever someone walks by the house). The friend will then ask if I'd mind if they bring their dog in "just for a minute" to make him stop barking. I used to allow it, but three times of having dogs poop or pee or throw up on the carpets changed my mind. My policy changed to "no, your dog can't come in under any circumstance," even if you assure me that she/he is "always well behaved."
I've also had people try to guilt-trip me into letting the dogs in (it's hot outside, the dog is locked in a hot car, can't we bring him in just for a minute?) (etc.) ... and I've also gotten a ticket from the cops for violating the community noise ordinances because there was a barking dog in a car parked outside my house. I presented the ticket to my friend who had brought the extremely obnoxious barking dog. She did not pay the ticket and did not visit again... good riddance.
One family friend traveled everywhere with her obnoxious, ornery dog… when we asked her why she didn't leave the dog at home, she said, "Oh, if I do, she'll miss me so much she'll tear up the apartment!" … a totally nuts way of again trying to make other people responsible for her pet's misbehavior. (The one time I allowed her dog in, it tore up the room we locked it in in my house.)
The point being, of course people shouldn't allow pets they don't know inside of their homes. But it's easier said than done sometimes. It can be complicated. The onus shouldn't be on the homeowner to handle the situation, it should be on the jerky or oblivious pet owner who confuses their pet with a child, and takes it everywhere they go, and expects everyone to "love" it because they do, then gets pissed at people who don't share their attachment to the animal.
So to any pet owners reading this: Don't assume your pet is welcome in someone else's house. It's not. And don't ask your friends to solve your pet problems. And don't get pissy, self righteous and defensive when you read this. It's your choice to have a pet, and your problem if it rips up the house while you're away from home.
Comment: #35
Posted by: Nowhereman
Sun Jan 6, 2013 12:46 PM
Re: nowhereman

That reminds me of when my FIL sent me an angry email the day after we had a meal at their house, because I didn't pet their stupid shih-tzu that was barking and running around and jumping on my legs. When she continued to misbehave, that was deemed my fault because the dog requires the guest to pet her before she will calm down. Apparently.
Comment: #36
Posted by: Zoe
Sun Jan 6, 2013 1:02 PM
Re: LolaT
LolaT is right about one thing. Case in point: I have a cousin who is developmentally disabled and a ward of the state because his parents are dead. He got colon cancer? No problem, he had doctors working with him round the clock on diagnosing and treating it, giving him several checkups a week, and had surgery and a stay in a nursing home to recuperate when he needed it, all at no cost to him. Dirty house? They send over a housecleaner to straighten it up. Social security not paying enough? They give him food stamps and a ride to the food bank. I am NOT begrudging him any of this, he definitely needs it and can't take care of himself. People who can work and pay their own way, should do so. So as LolaT said, help is out there for folks who are very needy. I would add, though, they really have to have an advocate, usually a family member, to find the help for them, to persist, to help solve problems when they happen, to help hook them up to social services when they need them. Lots of people fall through the cracks.
Comment: #37
Posted by: Nowhereman
Sun Jan 6, 2013 1:15 PM
Dear Annie,
I am so frustrated,a few of my neighbors think it is o.k. that their dogs come into our yard and relieve themselves. We ourselves have a dog,but spent the money and had invisible fence installed,so our dog does not roam the neighborhood,nor goes into someone else's yard. I have mentioned to my neighbor's that I am tired of cleaning up after their dogs,and it just fell on deaf ears,not to mention our trim on our windows is completely scratched from our dog going crazy when their dogs come into our yard. I am so frustrated and angry,and have actually thought of purchasing a paintball gun with clear balls,my only problem is that I am not always home when this happens. We also had one of our neighbors call us when they thought our dog was in their yard,but it wasn't our dog,she was sleeping in front of me on the floor,it was the neighbor's dog. Funny how they don't hesitate to call me. What would you do?
Comment: #38
Posted by: Judy Rees
Sun Jan 6, 2013 1:23 PM
Re; Judy Rees

In your shoes, if safe to do so, I would seize the dogs and bring them to the pound. Pets should not be permitted to free roam neighbourhood. Including cats.
Comment: #39
Posted by: Zoe
Sun Jan 6, 2013 1:32 PM
Nanchan, this has nothing to do with my "liking" or "disliking" you. I like you when you write sensible, to-thje-point posts without being snarky. I dislike you when you write endless personal anecdotes and go on the attack when it's completely unnecessary. And FWIW, I haven't seen bobaloo comment today so don't know why you included him in your address to me. Are you imagining things?

You haven't burst any bubbles of mine, you'll be glad to know, but I must tell you that there is a point of compassion fatique in this country - a well-earned one. It's the point where everyone is supposed to feel bad (and impotently expect the government to DO something) for everyone - drunks, drug-addicts, the depressed, the homeless (and that sub-category you don't hear much about called "bums") the lame, the halt and the blind....and on and on until you hit a wall. And that's where I say, okay, the woman wandering around in the parking lot who got thrown out is an adult, she apparently had money for the drugs she took - and will take again when she gets more money - and you know what? I'm okay with that.

If you or your church or some group wants to "help" her, whatever that means to her, more power to you. But stop demanding that we need yet another government funded program to decide whether or not someone is a danger to themselves or others. In a free country, that's the price you pay for civil rights - you don't get taken in for things you haven't done. Unless you'd like to live in a country where any behavior out of the oridnary is considered suspect. Sounds a lot more dangerous, in my book.
Comment: #40
Posted by: Maggie Lawrence
Sun Jan 6, 2013 1:38 PM
Re: nanchan
Apparently you didn't READ my post. Here's a repeat in case you didn't understand it. "IF this woman at the pub was a danger to herself or others, then the police should have been notified. There are laws regarding public intoxication, if nothing else she at least would have had a place to sleep it off for awhile". My point being PUBLIC INTOXICATION IS A CRIME. If she is a DANGER TO HERSELF OR OTHERS, police are REQUIRED to call EMS and have her transported to the hospital. If she was none of the above then of course the police can not intervene.

I truly do not understand why you have to be so snotty, I was NOT attacking your post! Get a grip on yourself.
Comment: #41
Posted by: Bailey
Sun Jan 6, 2013 1:41 PM
Re: Maggie Lawrence

I'm pretty sure nanchan was talking about me.........but hey I could be wrong.
Comment: #42
Posted by: Bailey
Sun Jan 6, 2013 1:57 PM
Bailey: I'm pretty sure a PUB OWNER would think to have the woman arrested for public intoxication, don't YOU? IF she thought it was possible. She didn't. Again, you didn't read the post. We all asked the owner what could be done, there was nothing. UNLESS the woman had committed a crime, she could not be arrested. But of course, you know more than a woman who has owned four bars and nightclubs for over 20 years, so I bow you to your expertise.

Maggie: I completely understand the fatigue. Again, I am a conservative and I have this argument with some of my (like minded) friends all the time. I am against many social programs because I feel that many of them don't give people a way out, although I think we've made loads of headway in the last few years. There is still abuse. It's rampant. No one is saying that these programs are secure: nothing is.

BUT, again, it's more about safety and building a productive society. Example: a friend of mine was incarcerated for 25 years for drugs. Do you know how MUCH that cost the taxpayer? He wasn't killing people, he wasn't doing anything that isn't even LEGAL right now (he was dealing pot, which was recently legalized here in WA). But for 25 years, he sat in jail. Contrast that with Gary Ridgeway, the infamous Green River Killer, who was given a life sentence (which 25 years can be for some people) because he killed almost 50 prostitutes. It's a WHACKED system that values life the same as it does drug dealing.

This is very big problem, and not one I can solve today or probably ever. And I do get the fatigue. But to toss these people (drug addicts and people with mental problems) into jails or to throw them aside altogether, is to create a MUCH BIGGER PROBLEM. There has to be a way to address these situations, and we have to find it.
Comment: #43
Posted by: nanchan
Sun Jan 6, 2013 2:30 PM
@ Maggie Lawrence RE: #40

As Lise B. would write: CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP! Great post! You said everything I was going to say (and with considerably less snark than I would have.)

@ nanchan

"she was able to panhandle in the parking lot without fear, because it's not illegal to panhandle here."

"I was waiting for the bus, and a guy just hovered over me."

"There has to be a some kind of a happy medium here where these people aren't incarcerated, but are spoken to and steered in the right direction for services."

"This is NOT about "cradle to the grave" assistance. This is about PUBLIC SAFETY."

Honey are you feeling okay today? You aren't making a lick of sense. If these people aren't breaking any laws, then how is public safety an issue? If you don't want to be bothered by panhandlers, then just give them a few dollars and walk away back to your idyllic life in the burbs where "those people" don't live.
Comment: #44
Posted by: Chris
Sun Jan 6, 2013 2:36 PM
Lw2: Recently I was approached by a panhandler at a self-service gas station (in California). I waved him off and he went away--I thought. When I went inside to pay for my gas and came back, a bookbag (which was under the dash in my front seat, not obvious from the window) was missing. The security cameras showed him coming back to my car and opening the door on the far side. The manager said that she had called the police on him a number of times for harassing her customers. I did make a police report but never heard any more about it. Fortunately, there was no money in the bag, just two Bibles and notes for classes I lead.
Yes, I remember when there were more institutions, and when the psychoactive drugs were developed, the thought was that mentally problemed people could be treated as outpatients. What of course happened is that the community clinics envisioned never happened, and the patients couldn't be depended on to take the meds. I've had to work with a family member who was seriously depressed, and it took quite a while to get her appropriate help because she was in no condition to get help herself.
Comment: #45
Posted by: partsmom
Sun Jan 6, 2013 3:27 PM
@partsmom
Just out of curiosity -- why would you in this day and age leave your unclocked car unattended? That's just inviting trouble. I thought people had better sense than that.
Comment: #46
Posted by: sam
Sun Jan 6, 2013 3:41 PM
Re: nanchan
This will be my last response: You are the one that indicated that she was a "DRUGGED OUT HOOKER" your words not mine. Plus you also indicated that she was "also soliciting", which is also illegal. And YES there was something YOU could have done If you were so concerned about her, you could have offered to either take her to the ER or offer her a cab. So you apparently weren't THAT concerned. You just wanted someone to help her as long as it wasn't you.
In Washington, public intoxication is also known as a “drunk and disorderly.” Being charged with public intoxication means that you must be behaving in a manner that disturbs the peace or endangers yourself or others. A first offense normally carries a penalty of a night in jail until sober and a fine. Typically, a charge of public intoxication by itself results in a night in jail and a fine up $500, which could be waived if you go to a state-sponsored alcohol program.
There was a point in time when I used to enjoy your post. But you have become a bully and condescending with other posters myself included who do not see things the way you do. I have no problem with different points of view and enjoy civilized debates but it obvious to me that you are no longer competently able to do so without being quarrelsome. I'm done with you, I don't have the time or energy to deal with you.
Comment: #47
Posted by: Bailey
Sun Jan 6, 2013 4:15 PM
A strange dog shouldn't be allowed to roam free in your home without supervision. If you don't have a crate that you can put the dog in, it should be kept on a short leash at the owner's side, with the owner watching it all the time. The dog's behavior is the owner's responsibility.
Comment: #48
Posted by: JeanH
Sun Jan 6, 2013 4:59 PM
LW2 -
I'm afraid EstherGreenwood is quite right - people who do things like tat are totally clueless, and convinced their precious little darlings can do no wrong. They generally feel the same way about their mannerless brats.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

@nanchan #10
"There are tribes in Africa that insist on "fattening up" their girls before weddings. It has been widely documented."
The African men I know (and I know many) all have women who are plump to say the least.

"It just saddens me and scares me we don't have an option for these people: they are a danger to themselves and others."
Yes, they are, and it saddens me too, but the problem is, no resources are going to be effective at all if "these people" don't want to help themselves - that's the problem here. They WANT to be strung out. The minute they're truly interested in getting off the juice, there's plenty of help available.

@Jennylee #12
"I don't think I'd let them come in and refuse even to say hi to me. That's not good for kids either."
Damn right. All they'll get out of this is a crash course on how to treat their mother like shit. Kids learn from example.

#19
"If we spent just a tiny fraction of what we spend on other things (the military comes to mind, although I know that's a touchy subject-----"
Ho ho ho. The USA military budget is bigger than all the countries of the world PUT TOGETHER. Even a tiny fraction diverted here and there would represent a LOT of money.

That's why Canada decided to can the weapons development, military nuclear and fighter plane development programs in the sixties. Given that our entire population fits into three American metropolises, the government realised that we couldn't compete even if we put every Canadian in the poorhouse. We have the real estate, but not the taxation base. It made more sense to sign mutual assistance treaties, and that's exactly what we did... another thing the layman doesn't understand: these treaties have to be respected, and THAT'S why Canada has been officially in Afghanistan and unofficially in Iraq.

@Jnanny #13
"You can judge a society by how it cares for its disadvantaged citizens. Don't get me started on how we treat our special needs kids."
AND our veterans with untreated PTSD. They served their country and the thanks they get is to end up on the streets. Puke.

@Vivian #16
"Our mental health care system began to deteriorate in the 1960's when we began to pass laws to "protect" the freedom and rights of individuals with mental health conditions. These laws were well-intentioned, no doubt, but he believed they were misguided. For example, they began to require that people not be held in institutions against their will if they were not a demonstrable threat to society, and they changed the rules about medicating people against their will. The problem with this is that a truly mentally ill person is not capable of making a rational decision about whether they should be medicated or institutionalized. The result was that tons of people who had previously been relatively well-cared-for in institutions ended up homeless and off their meds, wandering the streets."

Welcome to my soapbox.I really have a bone to pick with those asinine, bleeding heart, do-gooders who were screeching, "these poor people, they've never committed a crime and they're in jail, boo-hoo-hoo"! I couldn't agree with you more. CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP , standing ovation!

My condolences for the loss of your friend.

@Chris #18
"Maybe you should have told your husband to drag himself into the twenty-first century and respond BTL on-line like the rest of us."
LOL!

@Judy Rees #38
I don't understand. You said you spent the money and "had invisible fence installed", so how come the neighbours' dogs can still get in? Doesn't that work both ways?

Anyway. If that doesn't work, then build a REAL fence. A big and sturdy one, and make sure there are no gaps.

@Sam #46
Sorry, Sam, but most people leave their vehicle unlocked for two minutes while the go pay for gas. With the purse out of it, and the keyx not in ignition of course... but unlocked, because they're not parked, they're at the gas station and gone only gone for two minutes. Please - don't blame the victim here.

Comment: #49
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Sun Jan 6, 2013 6:44 PM
LW1: The Annies are right. You DO hold all the cards, but you seem to need a dose of confidence so you can play them to your best advantage. Remember, you are in complete charge when it comes to your children. If your ex in-laws can't handle that, then it is their problem, not yours. All the same, I also agree with the Annies that you should allow supervised visits with the grandparents, and the grandparents only. No other family members should be invited to the first visit. They may try to cajole you into unsupervised visits, but hold your ground. Tell them what is necessary when it comes to why you divorced. You have no reason to spare their feelings.
Comment: #50
Posted by: JustWinBaby
Sun Jan 6, 2013 6:48 PM
Re: Lise Brouillette @Judy Rees #38
I don't understand. You said you spent the money and "had invisible fence installed", so how come the neighbours' dogs can still get in? Doesn't that work both ways?
Lise the invisible fence is a cable / wire is buried on the perimeter of the property that is connected to a transformer that connects to electricity. The dog wears a special collar that gives the dog a slight shock when it attempts to "cross the line" as it were
Comment: #51
Posted by: Bailey
Sun Jan 6, 2013 7:02 PM
Re: locking cars at the gas station --- since the subject has come up -- I'd guess it depends on where you live. I live in Seattle, in the north end, in a decent part of town. No one would consider this a dangerous neighborhood. I didn't used to lock my car but I do now. This is after two experiences having items stolen from my car when I was at a gas station, and once at a post office. (Each time I was only away from the vehicle for a couple of minutes.) And this is in a "good" part of Seattle, a mostly laid back and friendly city.


There may be cities where you can leave your car safely without locking it, but Seattle isn't one of them. I also would be disturbed if any female friends made that mistake because rapist could have climbed into their car in those two minutes away from it, and be waiting in the back seat. I'm a 6' 180 pounds guy and I wouldn't take that chance.
Comment: #52
Posted by: Nowhereman
Sun Jan 6, 2013 7:51 PM
Looking back at my last posting, I realize the last paragraph may not have been totally coherent. What I was trying to say was, I'm 6' 180 pounds, I can take care of myself in a scuffle, but I wouldn't leave my car unlocked then climb into it without checking to make sure no one's in it. If a female friend of mine had the habit of doing that I would seriously fear for her life.

BTW, apart from the things stolen at the gas station and post office, when I left the car unlocked for a couple of minutes, I've had items stolen from my vehicle when it was parked in front of my house. It's just common sense to get in the habit of locking your car every time you step away from it.

I'm not saying any of this to blame the victim but saying that to stay safe in a city, you have to use your head. If you don't, there is a reasonable possibility you will get robbed or hurt. There's a difference between blaming people and advising them to take rational precautions.
Comment: #53
Posted by: Nowhereman
Sun Jan 6, 2013 8:02 PM
Re: Miss Pasko
Perhaps "Plus-Sized Good Catch", "Enough", "64 and Wiser in Virginia" and "History Lesson" qualified as a "bunch" to "La Crescenta"?

Comment: #54
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Sun Jan 6, 2013 8:33 PM
Re: Bailey
Thanks for the clarification. I have never had a dog, so I don't know these things. But I also suspected there could be an explanation, which is why I suggested a real fence, which does go both ways.

@Nowhereman #52
Good flamin' grief, man, now you're putting the heebeejees into me. I would never leave my van unlocked in front of my house (not in THAT nutcase neighbourhood), but at the gas station... yes, I have, no later than tonight!

Comment: #55
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Sun Jan 6, 2013 8:39 PM
Hi Lise, sorry to give you the heebeejeebees :) You probably live in a safer part of the world than I do. Seattle's generally a pleasant place but there are some problems now and then. I'm glad you're safe and haven't had problems.
Comment: #56
Posted by: Nowhereman
Sun Jan 6, 2013 9:02 PM
Re: Lise Brouillette
If "most people" do that, then "most people" are stupid. Any time you leave your car it should be locked and the keys with you.
Comment: #57
Posted by: sam
Mon Jan 7, 2013 1:55 AM
Re: sam

Your "locking doors" convo reminds me of a person I know who lives in a really bad neighbourhood. After having their (locked) car broken into multiple times, they put a sign in the window saying "The car is unlocked, nothing of value inside. Feel free to look". Last I heard it was working!
Comment: #58
Posted by: Zoe
Mon Jan 7, 2013 8:54 AM
Re: Zoe
Sounds like a good idea!
Comment: #59
Posted by: sam
Mon Jan 7, 2013 1:42 PM
I never lock my convertibles. That's a new top waiting to happen. Just keep everything I want to keep in the trunk.
Comment: #60
Posted by: Penny
Mon Jan 7, 2013 1:54 PM
Re: hedgehog
I agree with your answer to LW1. I had a similar situation with my ex-husband, who is also an alcoholic. He never paid one dime of child support, yet I never withheld visitation. I never spoke negatively about him to anyone other than my parents. It also helped me to release negativity, by writing all my feelings down in a journal. I never even considered keeping my boys from their paternal grandparents, in spite of our lacking relationship. I was a very young, single mother and I was consumed with providing for my kid's needs, emotionally, spiritually and financially. My adult boys now tell me I did the right thing. They have a very tenuous relationship with their father who remarried and moved 3,000 miles away. They saw him through their own eyes and their relationship with him is 100% because of him, and not my influence. Kids of divorce have enough of their own feelings to reconcile. They certainly didn't need to deal with my emotions, feelings or anger toward others. Believe me, anger and resentment can be seen and felt by little ones. The grandparents are not to blame for decisions their son makes as an adult. Why would you punish them and your children because of their father's actions. Besides, there are two people in a marriage. No one is 100% to blame when it fails. The best advice I received was from my father 15 years ago: Forgive but never forget. Learn and grow from your failures, so you can enjoy success when you achieve it, with no regrets. I went on to run a successful corporation and became a strong, positive role model for my boys. I met a great man 10 years after my divorce. He loved my boy's and was the father they deserved. Together we had a son whom we all doted over. I don't think any of this would have been possible had I not heeded this advice. Good luck to you. You deserve happiness!
Comment: #61
Posted by: KarmaDiva
Mon Jan 7, 2013 2:12 PM
Re: KarmaDiva
"The grandparents are not to blame for decisions their son makes as an adult. Why would you punish them and your children because of their father's actions."
The grans indeed are not responsible for their son's decisions and actions, but they ARE responsible for their own. And choosing to believe his lies and treating the mother of their grandson like shit are two of them.

If I were in that situation, I would punish them for being undeservingly comdemning, rude and hostile to me, not because of their son's actions or non-actions (in the case of derelict child support payments).

However, I WOULD make sure to tell them about that and the cheating, and who asked for divorce - just so the i's are dotted and the t's barred. Chances are they'll not believe a word of it (again, for which they are themselves responsible and not their son), but they can't possibly choose between two versions of events if they only got one.

Comment: #62
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Mon Jan 7, 2013 3:10 PM
Lise, except your actions are not punishing the grandparents. They're also punishing the kids. Absent any abusive behavior toward the kids, I believe parents owe it to their kids to encourage visits, even if the adults don't get along, and that cutting grandparents out of a kid's life should be reserved to serious offenses against the kids physical and emotional well-being. IOW: Feeding them foods to which they are allergic; allowing them in a boat or canoe without a lifejacket or a car without proper restraint; ridiculing the child, etc.

Of course, if the LW sees the grans modeling inappropriate social behavior toward HER (via uncivil remarks, etc), this calls for the end of that visit, immediately, because snotty remarks about her actually hurt the child, too. Those kinds of remarks -- OR the LW's criticism of her ex-husband -- if they are important, need to be made privately, between just the adults.

If LW has taken the high road this far, I believe she will feel better about herself by not withholding visitation because of behavior three years go, or because their son isn't paying the child support he owes. At the end of the day, she has to look in the mirror and see what kind of example she wants to set for her kids.
Comment: #63
Posted by: hedgehog
Mon Jan 7, 2013 4:55 PM
Re: Lise Brouillette
I agree with you, with one exception. You wrote, "If I were in that situation, I would punish them for being undeservingly comdemning, rude and hostile to me, not because of their son's actions or non-actions (in the case of derelict child support payments). "
How would you punish them? By not allowing them to see their grandchildren?
It is likely the grandparents believe their son's lies. Most people believe what they are told. It's human nature. LW1 should write to them or sit down with them and explain her position regarding supervised visits. If they can't resolve their feelings for the sake of their grandchildren, they can opt to see the kids when their son has visitation. Their loss. Punishment should never be the first opton, if it's the kid's interests that are at heart.
Looking back, my only regret was that I didn't forgive my ex sooner. I held onto my anger for a couple of years. My anger gave him power over my life and my happiness far too long.
By extending the oiive branch to the grandparents, LW1 will be able to live without regrets where they're concerned.
Comment: #64
Posted by: KarmaDiva
Mon Jan 7, 2013 10:15 PM
Re: hedgehog
"Lise, except your actions are not punishing the grandparents. They're also punishing the kids. "
And you think parental alienation would punish them less? This sure looks like a prime case in the making.

Surely you realise the likelihood of them trashing the LW to her own children is extremely high? I did suggest supervised visits - after the air has been cleared. But, if they insist on digging their heels in their own shit, the woman is under no obligation to host or even tolerate the presence people who are hostile to her.

It's bad enough when the ex takes them himself to visit, but fortunately this only happens once or twice a year. Do keep in mind that falsehoods that keep being repeated without being refuted end up being believed.

"Feeding them foods to which they are allergic; allowing them in a boat or canoe without a lifejacket or a car without proper restraint; ridiculing the child, etc."? I would include feeding them toxic lies in which they'll emotionally drown and ridiculing their mother.

"this calls for the end of that visit, immediately, because snotty remarks about her actually hurt the child, too."
Well, this is my whole point. And there cannot be any even supervised visits until a frank discussion about propriety has taken place, otherwise snotty remarks WILL happen. And this cannot happen if they insist on ignoring her in her own home.

"At the end of the day, she has to look in the mirror and see what kind of example she wants to set for her kids."
That's right, self-respect comes to mind. And this cannot happen if she herself exhibits none - kids learn from example.

@Karmadiva
Okay, this wasn't clear, so let me rephrase it:
If I were in that situation, it is not because of their son's actions or non-actions (in this case, derelict child support payments) that I would "punish" them, but because of their undeserving condemnation and their rude, hostile behaviour towards me.

And frankly, this to me would not be a "punishment" so much as a cause to effect relationship between actions and consequences - as in, treat someone like garbage, believe lies about him or her, and that someone will not want to be around you or do you favours. You don't attract flies with vinegar.

But you seem to think that they should get to be as vicious and nasty as they want, and that it should never carry any consequences, because "it's human nature to believe what you're told". Why? She's not even married to their son anymore and she owes them nothing - not even grandparental visits.

"It is likely the grandparents believe their son's lies. Most people believe what they are told."
Except that they're not 8 years old. They're supposed to be old enough to separate the grain from the chaff. But for that, they would have to be willing to LOOK at the other version.

"LW1 should write to them or sit down with them and explain her position regarding supervised visits."
But that's pretty much what I'm saying, so I don't understand why you're arguing with me. Except that so far, they have refused to listen to anything she might say. Perhaps you think she should just try to make them see the light, and if they won't, just forget it then, and resign herself to letting them treat her like shit? If that's the case, then I don't agree with you.

And btw, I don't suggest a letter. Even if she sent it registered so that they have to sign for it, there is no guarantee that it won't end up in file #13 unread.

"it's the kid's interests that are at heart. "
The kids' best interests are to NOT be exposed to someone who is an irrational enemy of their mother.

"Looking back, my only regret was that I didn't forgive my ex sooner. I held onto my anger for a couple of years. My anger gave him power over my life and my happiness far too long. "
Ah, so THIS is what this really is about.

Except that, rereading the LW's letter to make sure I didn't miss anything, I see no evidence of her still being haunted by bitterness about her divorce. She very matter-of-factly recounts the gist of the circumstances and current situation, without any particular emotion. The only problem she has is that "she can't get over how nasty they have been to her", and only because they want to come visit the kids, while STILL not talking to her, which is an unreasonable demand to start with. Don't project your own situation onto the LW's, because yours and hers are different.

Sure, "by extending the oiive branch to the grandparents, LW1 will be able to live without regrets where they're concerned.", but not unless things CHANGE in the future, and she doesn't keep being subjected to the same ol' yurunda. Otherwise, she's just being a doormat and rewarding bad behaviour.

Comment: #65
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Tue Jan 8, 2013 8:29 PM
I used to have problems with my mother-in-law and her dog. They would come and stay with us for about a week in the Spring and again in the Fall of the year and of course we had her little dog too. The dog would pee any where it wanted to. It upset me to no end. I suggested crating the dog or at the very least, putting it in our bathroom, but my husband and his father wouldn't even allow me to suggest it to my mother-in-law. The family was afraid of setting her off. So whenever the dog would have an accident, I would hand my mother-in-law the cleaning supplies and say, "Little Buffy had an accident, here ya go, it's in the ______(which ever room it was)." She got very upset and snapped at me that I should be able to clean up a little mess - and I responded back, it isn't my pet. She was much more vigilant after that about making sure her dog did his business out side.
Comment: #66
Posted by: flynhome2003
Wed Jan 9, 2013 10:35 AM
Re: Bailey
A boarderless fence works on an electronic signal. The dog wears a special collar and if they try to pass over the boarder of the fence, it will zap them, they quickly learn not to go "over the fence". A neighbor's dog isn't going to have the special collar, so they can come and go as they like.
Comment: #67
Posted by: flynhome2003
Wed Jan 9, 2013 10:55 AM
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