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  1. #1
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    Default Manipulative people. How to manage?

    I'm truly at a loss here.

    My husband's ex wife is pretty manipulative and histrionic. She can put on a good show, but the bottom line is that she will do/say things just to create trouble or get her way.

    On the whole, I like her on the surface. But she has thrown me under the bus on more than one occasion and I just don't get it.

    I will get the okay from her on something (like buying plane tickets for the kids) and then she'll tell my husband that I never got her permission, throw a huge fit, they can't go now, etc until we remind her that I've got it in writing.

    The problem is that with his job now, he can't be on email during the day and isn't reachable by phone to resolve this stuff. So i've just spent the better part of my morning going back and forth w/ her about Christmas and plane tickets. I feel like I have to defer to her because she's the mom and I cant' get a hold of Dad.

    Husband told me I was clear to get tickets. I emailed her to confirm pickup times because in the past, she's not been available to get the kids and I've had to spend more money to change tickets or ask my friends to get the kids from the airport.

    She's now (I think) playing dumb about the holiday plans and there's not a damned thing I can do about it but hold off until they can talk tonight (again).

    I just don't know how to deal with people like this!

    It does me no good to "stay out of it" because I am ultimately the one who has to deal with everything.

    It does me no good to confirm before acting because I get thrown under the bus depending on someone's mood.

    It does me no good to assume that just because it IS confirmed that it will happen. And then it's still somehow my fault?

    I don't get it.

    All I'm trying to do (today) is buy some flipping plane tickets!!!!

    Is there a good way to do this that i'm totally missing?
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...



  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by BuddyRoo View Post
    I'm truly at a loss here. My husband's ex wife is pretty manipulative and histrionic. She can put on a good show, but the bottom line is that she will do/say things just to create trouble or get her way. On the whole, I like her on the surface. But she has thrown me under the bus on more than one occasion and I just don't get it. I will get the okay from her on something (like buying plane tickets for the kids) and then she'll tell my husband that I never got her permission, throw a huge fit, they can't go now, etc until we remind her that I've got it in writing. The problem is that with his job now, he can't be on email during the day and isn't reachable by phone to resolve this stuff. So i've just spent the better part of my morning going back and forth w/ her about Christmas and plane tickets. I feel like I have to defer to her because she's the mom and I cant' get a hold of Dad. Husband told me I was clear to get tickets. I emailed her to confirm pickup times because in the past, she's not been available to get the kids and I've had to spend more money to change tickets or ask my friends to get the kids from the airport. She's now (I think) playing dumb about the holiday plans and there's not a damned thing I can do about it but hold off until they can talk tonight (again). I just don't know how to deal with people like this! It does me no good to "stay out of it" because I am ultimately the one who has to deal with everything. It does me no good to confirm before acting because I get thrown under the bus depending on someone's mood. It does me no good to assume that just because it IS confirmed that it will happen. And then it's still somehow my fault? I don't get it. All I'm trying to do (today) is buy some flipping plane tickets!!!! Is there a good way to do this that i'm totally missing?
    she is a ~derogatory term for female genitalia~ Full Stop. I don't think there is anything you can do. However, I'd adopt a more professional approach: DH can't be reached until the evening? Why should you bother to go endless rounds with her? It's not like that would net you any results. Send her an email (and print hers out...) outline the plans, then shelve it until the other parental unit is available. She messes with you, because she can. She uses the girls (her own flesh and blood, what a charmer) to make your life miserable. because she knows you care about them so they won't have to sit at the airport until her royal PITAness picks them up. (don't airports have facilities to stash unacompanied minors until pickup arrives? A friend of mine said 16 was the cut-off, legally speaking, for the preferred treatment!)
    Quote Originally Posted by Bristol Bay View Post
    Try setting your broomstick to fly at a lower altitude.


    4 members found this post helpful.

  3. #3
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    Default

    She likes to do things via phone with DH. So as far as I understood, this convo was already had. I got the go ahead with regards to them coming home w/ DH via car. All I had to do was get the return flights!

    Now she's playing dumb about the departure (via car) which means I may end up needing to buy additional tickets because I can't get a hold of DH and he can't step in.

    As far as sitting at the airport, I won't let that happen...if worst comes to worst, I'll rent a sedan to take them home. (i mean, hire a service)

    They don't count as "minors" at the airport now at 13 and 14 unless we pay extra for that but since I sit at the airport with them to get them on the plane on this end and it's a direct flight, we don't worry too much. They know my friend/colleagues and those folks will pick them up if needed, but it's always a crap shoot. We're new to this...just in the last few months. This is not the first issue by far, but there's a lot more $$ on the line now so while I was told to buy the tickets, I'm now not wanting to because buying two sets of one ways is more expensive.

    Gah.

    I just wish she could be cool about this. It just seems like whenever it gets down to the wire, she gets down to business being difficult.
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...



  4. #4
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    Default

    Tell hubby to put on his big boy pants and make all of the arrangements, including vuyumg the tickets. You need to be taken out of the equation and let the two of them duke this lut. Good luck amd God bless.


    21 members found this post helpful.

  5. #5
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BuddyRoo View Post
    It does me no good to "stay out of it" because I am ultimately the one who has to deal with everything.
    Why do you have to be the one to deal with everything? I REALLY think you should renegotiate this somehow. I've been a stepmother for a long and and DH's ex-wife can be extremely difficult and overly dramatic. I NEVER dealt directly with her until SS was an adult and she had calmed down and matured considerably. I'd be polite to her when I saw her, take messages for DH or SS, but I never allowed DH to put me in the position of negotiating with her, making plans with her or anything else that really was work to be done between the two of them.

    I did not marry her, I did not have a child with her, she's not my cross to bear. I really don't understand how your DH has been able to put you in this position...my DH got it right away when I said, "No, thanks, I'll leave decisions and arrangements up to you two, just keep me posted".


    25 members found this post helpful.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by BuddyRoo View Post
    She likes to do things via phone with DH. So as far as I understood, this convo was already had. I got the go ahead with regards to them coming home w/ DH via car. All I had to do was get the return flights!

    Now she's playing dumb about the departure (via car) which means I may end up needing to buy additional tickets because I can't get a hold of DH and he can't step in.

    As far as sitting at the airport, I won't let that happen...if worst comes to worst, I'll rent a sedan to take them home. (i mean, hire a service)

    They don't count as "minors" at the airport now at 13 and 14 unless we pay extra for that but since I sit at the airport with them to get them on the plane on this end and it's a direct flight, we don't worry too much. They know my friend/colleagues and those folks will pick them up if needed, but it's always a crap shoot. We're new to this...just in the last few months. This is not the first issue by far, but there's a lot more $$ on the line now so while I was told to buy the tickets, I'm now not wanting to because buying two sets of one ways is more expensive.

    Gah.

    I just wish she could be cool about this. It just seems like whenever it gets down to the wire, she gets down to business being difficult.
    this is why she can manipulate you.
    she has your number on speed dial.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bristol Bay View Post
    Try setting your broomstick to fly at a lower altitude.


    4 members found this post helpful.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Canaqua View Post
    Why do you have to be the one to deal with everything? I REALLY think you should renegotiate this somehow. I've been a stepmother for a long and and DH's ex-wife can be extremely difficult and overly dramatic. I NEVER dealt directly with her until SS was an adult and she had calmed down and matured considerably. I'd be polite to her when I saw her, take messages for DH or SS, but I never allowed DH to put me in the position of negotiating with her, making plans with her or anything else that really was work to be done between the two of them.

    I did not marry her, I did not have a child with her, she's not my cross to bear. I really don't understand how your DH has been able to put you in this position...my DH got it right away when I said, "No, thanks, I'll leave decisions and arrangements up to you two, just keep me posted".
    Unfortunately, while I'd love to be hands off, it's just not very possible in our current situation with DH's job. Hell, he may not even be here in the country while they're here. It's hard to say.

    I've always been the one with a more flexible schedule so when the kids get stranded, I get them. This is a woman who, no joke, agreed that if hubby were to die, I'd continue taking his visitation...and this was before we were married. She is not exactly your typical mom. She likes the idea of it. But not the responsibility of it.

    Me being uninvolved just results in me being even more inconvenienced because everything becomes a surprise. It's not fair to the kids to leave them stranded somewhere. It's not fair to them to think they're coming home but then don't. I'm trying to think of them first and put the adult stuff on the back burner. But Mom makes it hard.
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...



  8. #8
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    Default

    Agree that she messes with you because she can.

    My sister used to do the same thing when we would make travel plans for our mother. After years of bending myself into pretzels to accommodate all the changes in plans, I finally just started saying "No problem, just let me know when Mom gets here". After I stopped engaging in the craziness, not only was I lot happier, the plans stopped changing.

    So she says you never got her permission. So what? Who cares if she pitches a fit. A couple of times of playing dumb and letting her sort the mess out on her end will solve things.

    Like with horses, a horse can only pull when you pull.

    Good luck with it.


    6 members found this post helpful.

  9. #9
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    Default

    I agree with the others on here. She does this to you because she can, and she knows you'll get stressed about it. She is passive-aggressive, and probably a few more things too.
    You can't fix stupid-Ron White



  10. #10
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    The problem is that with his job now, he can't be on email during the day and isn't reachable by phone to resolve this stuff. So i've just spent the better part of my morning going back and forth w/ her about Christmas and plane tickets. I feel like I have to defer to her because she's the mom and I cant' get a hold of Dad.

    So email her the facts:
    You and DH agreed on MM/DD that the kids will fly in to ___ on MM/YY. The flight options are X and Y. Which one do you prefer?


    Period


    100% factual emails w/ zero fluff are hard to get around. If she tries, just re-send the exact same email. No fluff, no puff, pure facts.


    8 members found this post helpful.

  11. #11
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    Sorry that you have to deal with this BuddyRoo. I don't have any good advice, but I will tell you that I have the sense that it has to do with her jealousy of you.

    Dealing with manipulative people is hard, and more than one of them I've had to put at arms length. My brother's ex I've had to draw some hard lines in the sand with and tell her I was not willing to participate in her games *full stop*. Not going to play. I was the only one that she stopped with her drama and histrionics with. She'll call my mom in the middle of the night to tell her about something that my brother didn't do. Crazy crap.

    Anyway, my ex is a little similar in that he's extremely manipulative. Luckily, my DS is 17, and sees his dad for what he is :-/ I say luckily, but it's very difficult for him, and I keep being sorry that I didn't let him walk out of the kid's life when he wanted to before he was born.

    *hugs*



  12. #12
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    Email her to inform her when she is supposed to pick up the kids, and copy the whole world, including husband, in-laws, and what not so she cannot play dumb. Ask her to find you and talk to you if your plan does not work with her schedule, and then tell her what times are good for you, and ask her to find a return flight that does work for her and also satisfy your situation - Do NOT find one for her. In the email inform her politely that you will try to accommodate her schedule, but you will proceed with yours if you don't hear back from her by so and so time.

    You need to push the task back to her, instead of onto yourself. You need to take charge instead of letting her. That's all.

    I have dealt with extremely manipulative people all my life - my own mother is one master manipulator. Taking matters into your own hand, be less considerate, and be extremely assertive in your own way is the only way dealing with them.


    4 members found this post helpful.

  13. #13
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    you don't have to leave the girls stranded. but you don't have to tell 'Mom' that.

    As to permission...you don't need hers when your husband tells you to buy the tickets.

    meaning, while you are the acting agent, he is the one doing the doing. Like a secretary buying plane tickets for the boss (ok, not exactly a flattering simile but you get where I am getting at)
    Just tell her DH bought the tickets. End of story.It really does not matter who did the ordering.
    And a few hours won't upset the applecart that much either.
    let her stew, don't play her games!
    Quote Originally Posted by Bristol Bay View Post
    Try setting your broomstick to fly at a lower altitude.



  14. #14
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    Oh, I like that. CC whomever else is expecting the kids to arrive at her place, too. Cheery, factual, and 100% upfront.

    I wouldn't talk to her on the phone if my life depended on it.


    5 members found this post helpful.

  15. #15
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    BuddyRoo - I *completely* feel for you! I am engaged and my fiance's ex-wife is *just* this way! It frustrates me to absolutely no end sometimes, but I try to keep my emotions in check about it and not let it bother me as much as is possible.

    I am lucky in that my fiance is both willing and able (and I know you said yours is not able because of work) to take care of *all* arrangements himself. He has never once put it on me to do anything in regard to communication with her. I do have to do a kid-swap with her on a regular basis, and at one time I asked fiance if I should have her number in case she or I can't make it at the designated time. He said that wasn't a good idea, and the more I'm seeing of her, the more I know he is right! He is the intermediary with everything, and he accepts that responsbility because he knows it is right.

    I feel for you so much - I can only imagine what it would be like if I were in your shoes and *all* of that fell onto me. And I know the ex-wife would be as uncooperative as she could be because I, like you, care deeply about my 2 step-kids (boys in my case). And I wouldn't leave them waiting at the airport, either.

    Sorry - I guess I don't have any real words of wisdom. I mostly wanted to say I totally understand and send you a {{HUG}}. Other than that, I'll just echo whomever said to get as much in writing as possible and print it out. My fiance texts with his ex - not optimal for printing, but at least he does have a record of everything she says so when she breaks plans, there is no question.



  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by katarine View Post
    So email her the facts:
    You and DH agreed on MM/DD that the kids will fly in to ___ on MM/YY. The flight options are X and Y. Which one do you prefer?


    Period


    100% factual emails w/ zero fluff are hard to get around. If she tries, just re-send the exact same email. No fluff, no puff, pure facts.
    Oohh!!! Some great ideas posted here while I typed up my long response. I love this one perhaps best, along with cc-ing and, if this doesn't work for her, making her do the arrangements! I know fiance's ex-wife wouldn't want to deal with all that.

    Best of luck!!!!



  17. #17
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    No. You and I sort of discussed this several days ago. You have three options. Bite down and take it, stand up to the ex-wife, or make the hubby deal with it. If you haven't had the discussion with him that you're having with us, then there's a big hole that needs to be filled.
    Thus do we growl that our big toes have, at this moment, been thrown up from below!


    7 members found this post helpful.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by minnie View Post
    Tell hubby to put on his big boy pants and make all of the arrangements, including vuyumg the tickets. You need to be taken out of the equation and let the two of them duke this lut. Good luck amd God bless.

    Yep. Ditto that for sure!
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  19. #19
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    She's playing you, as you already know. Would she really let her kids sit in the airport at the other end? Really? She may jack you around, but would she really do that? If so, she's simply unfit.

    If DH can't take charge of this due to his job, then I would use the "Copy all" function on my email and use it to document everthing: "DH, this is to confirm that you and our beloved ex-wife agreed that the kids would visit on MM/DD, and that BEW agreed to be available to pick them up from the airport. I will get the tickets as you instructed."

    And then "DH, I have tickets for the little darlings, as you instructed. They fly out at XXX and arrive at XXXX, returning here on flight XXXX which leaves XXXXX" blah, blah, blah.

    Treat her as you would a recalcitrant employee in a closely allied division at work - not someone you can fire, not someone you have to impress, but someone you have to work with because the boss expects you to because you're working on the same project.

    But really, quit letting her wind you up, dear. She gets way too much pleasure out of it.


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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by BuddyRoo View Post
    I'm truly at a loss here.

    My husband's ex wife is pretty manipulative and histrionic. She can put on a good show, but the bottom line is that she will do/say things just to create trouble or get her way.

    On the whole, I like her on the surface. But she has thrown me under the bus on more than one occasion and I just don't get it.

    I will get the okay from her on something (like buying plane tickets for the kids) and then she'll tell my husband that I never got her permission, throw a huge fit, they can't go now, etc until we remind her that I've got it in writing.

    The problem is that with his job now, he can't be on email during the day and isn't reachable by phone to resolve this stuff. So i've just spent the better part of my morning going back and forth w/ her about Christmas and plane tickets. I feel like I have to defer to her because she's the mom and I cant' get a hold of Dad.

    Husband told me I was clear to get tickets. I emailed her to confirm pickup times because in the past, she's not been available to get the kids and I've had to spend more money to change tickets or ask my friends to get the kids from the airport.

    She's now (I think) playing dumb about the holiday plans and there's not a damned thing I can do about it but hold off until they can talk tonight (again).

    I just don't know how to deal with people like this!

    It does me no good to "stay out of it" because I am ultimately the one who has to deal with everything.

    It does me no good to confirm before acting because I get thrown under the bus depending on someone's mood.

    It does me no good to assume that just because it IS confirmed that it will happen. And then it's still somehow my fault?

    I don't get it.

    All I'm trying to do (today) is buy some flipping plane tickets!!!!

    Is there a good way to do this that i'm totally missing?
    I think Lex pretty much nailed the situation in post #17.

    DH needs to be the one dealing with this stuff. If he can't email or be available by phone at work, ever... he should do it before or after work, or on the weekends, or whenever he is able. You can do things FOR him (buy plane tix for such and such a date, for example) and then email him the confirmations, which he can send on to Herself as necessary.

    If you and your DH are on the same page about the arrangements, and you stop trying to be the great coordinator, she will likely give up the game she is engaging in.

    It seems to me like you allow yourself to be put in to the position you are in at the moment. You don't have to be put out if you make the requested arrangements and they don't work - let your DH deal with that. The two of you have to be united on what the plan is, and then he can/should do the negotiating if necessary.

    DH says, "I've arranged for the kids to come for the holidays; please buy plane tix for Saturday." You say, "sure no problem, around what time?" He says, "I can be there between noon and six." Then just find the best flight in that timeframe, and hand them over. If his ex gets her panties in a twist about it, you can just say, "So sorry, I'll have DH call you to discuss." Then disengage, nicely but firmly.

    Seriously. You can't win this one by staying in the middle.
    **********
    We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
    -PaulaEdwina


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