My nephew recently celebrated his Bar Mitzvah. In the Jewish faith, this is a very important ritual that proclaims that the recipient becomes an adult. And all I can say is that he certainly behaved like an adult, unlike the behavior of two of his grandparents…

My Mother in Law and Father in Law are divorced for about fifteen years. It was an unhappy marriage and an even unhappier split. My in-laws can’t stand each other. And nowhere was it more evident than at the parties surrounding the rite.

On Friday night they were seated at the same table as each other. They sat on opposite ends and did not speak. My MIL did manage to make it to our table and say really nasty things about my FIL… My FIL didn’t say anything bad, but did he have a sour face the whole evening… At some point my MIL couldn’t find her purse and my FIL had it- never did quite figure out what was going on there…

At the big party of Saturday, my MIL managed to tell everyone she spoke to that my FIL cheated her out of all her money- and this includes the hair dresser that helped her before the party (the claim is false- they had to settle and she had been the primary bread winner, so yes, she did have to pay him, but as they both said they were cheated I’d guess it was a fair settlement). But remember, this is a celebration…but never did she mention her grandson, the young man of the hour. Not once.

My FIL on the other hand chose to be morose. He sat as far away from the dance floor as possible, and it wasn’t because of the volume of the music. It was evident that he didn’t want to be part of the action… So tuned out was he, when the DJ announced that the grandfather would slice the challah, three times it was announced, my daughter had to run across the floor to get him… I have to say that the cutting/blessing of the challah is a very important tradition, and it is a great honor to be the one chosen to do this… so how could you not be paying attention?

FIL also didn’t go to the dance floor when they put my nephew up on the chair…another big tradition (for those not familiar- the group encircles the honoree and a group of able bodied people lift the honoree on a chair, raising the chair up and down, while the crowd claps- it’s quite fun even though you swear the person is going to fall off the chair) FIL didn’t dance the hora. FIL didn’t dance with his daughter, his niece, my daughter or even his partner… He sat and stewed. All night.

At the Sunday brunch, my MIL sat down with her ex brother in law, and told him how much she hated his sister… Seriously- she said that the sister was a horrible person who did nothing for the family and she didn’t understand why anyone talked to the sister. Remember, it’s the guys SISTER…and obviously her exes sister…

To recap- my MIL bad mouthed my FIL to literally everyone she talked to. My FIL sat and didn’t talk to anyone and didn’t take part in anything. My MIL said her ex SIL was a bitch. I don’t think I saw either of them smile the whole weekend. Neither of them toasted or made a speech about their Grandson. For people who talk about how much their religion means to them, how much their family means to them…they sure didn’t act that way… This was a big celebration, a huge rite of passage, and they couldn’t get past themselves to enjoy it.

Does hating your ex trump everything else?

There are times when exes who have children and grandchildren must get together. Shouldn’t all parties force themselves to reach some sort of détente? Shouldn’t they get past their bitterness and rage for a few hours and enjoy the good things that came of their union, even if the union wasn’t so great?

Is bitter really what you want to be wearing when your Grandson is celebrating something?

If you had to see your ex at an event, would you try your best to have a good time, and let the resentment pass, just for that time? Or is holding on to the anger the best way to go?

Discuss:

84 thoughts on “Put It Aside

  1. Boy do I live a sheltered life. I have never seen that sort of behavior up close and personal. Too bad the two of them hadn’t just stayed home instead of bringing all of that poison with them.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. OMG! How awful and so disappointing (and disrespectful) for their grandson. My ex and I have been divorced for a long time. We had two amazing children out of that marriage and have often been together for weddings, graduations and special birthdays etc. My ex even came to my mother’s celebration of life. We both gave our daughter away at her wedding. I can’t imagine being miserable and bitter, especially in public and even worse bad mouthing family members.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Fr I can imagine why he probably didn’t wanna be apart of anything after being bad mouthed the whole time it probably made him feel terribly akward to be there.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. As adults and presumably with the wisdom attained by a certain age, these grandparents should have showed a little more decorum. They most certainly should have made the grandson the centre of attention on his special day.
    I wonder if putting these two at the same table in the first place was a rather insensitive thing to do………… Though this does not excuse their appalling behaviour.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I’m surprised they were seated at the same table.
    I’ve never experienced this with family, but I have witnessed someone making everyone uncomfortable airing 20 year old grievances at a high school reunion.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. See? What’s the point? Seating wise…the Friday dinner was for immediate family…my sil and bil put their siblings at their table. All the kid cousins were at the same table (except my daughter who was at my table) and the third table were the grandparents and sister of one of the gps.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I don’t make a point of being around my ex. I have no reason to. However if a family thing is happening then I play the adult and act civil. My adult kids all know my feelings and views. The grands are too young to get all the nuances behind ending a marriage at this point. Ultimately why make everyone uncomfortable or spoil an important event. It doesn’t take that much effort to show a bit of maturity.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Bar Mitzvas are a big deal, if not only in the religious sense, but also in a family traditional sense and in a time, effort, monetary sense as well. The grandson did his part by inviting the GPs probably fully knowing the risks…good on him…in his small way, he showed a recognition of the traditions involved. A much more mature attitude for sure.
    But I’d be willing to bet, the grandson still had the time of his life since the GPs were not the focus for him at his celebration!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He has the time of his life, but also no memories of his grandparents at all. Which is probably bad…my mil shaved badly at my daughters graduation, and though she had the time of her life, all my daughter remembers about her gm that day was the gm interrupting my speech…five times…

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Too bad for your nephew—-and for your husband to have to be a witness to all of this.

    When my dad was still alive my family of origin would usually behave at events like these. Then when they got home they would talk about all the ways they had been slighted and insulted by others at said event.

    After my dad died my mom would misbehave at things like birthday parties for my daughter—and at the time my daughter was her only grandchild. It was mostly her being snarky and making backhanded insults at the other people attending. Or she wouldn’t stop talking about herself while others were about interacting with the birthday girl. Or she would get insulted by something my MIL did(the other grandma). MIL wasn’t a perfect person but I never saw MIL do anything my mom said she did.

    Once my son was born I decided just to have very small birthday parties for him to avoid some of the trouble mentioned above.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s similar to the behavior my in laws exhibit at things like this…who slighted them, who thinks they’re a big deal, who didn’t dress right…it’s crazy stuff to dwell on

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Despite the way my ex hurt me and devastated his adult children when he made the choices he did to break apart our family, I was determined from the start to not allow anger or bitterness to overshadow the importance of keeping the peace. Because we not only share our 3 children but 4 grandchildren, I knew seeing him would be unavoidable. We share many holidays and birthdays together. He stops over at least once-a-week to see the grandkids at my house. I don’t see a purpose behind carrying all that kind of anger your MIL/FIL feel. It hurts yourself more than the other person you’re angry about. And it hurts other relationships when the anger becomes greater than the celebrations. Life’s too short. I find it sad this is how they choose to spend their time when it could have been a happy occasion for them as well.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s exactly it…it hurts all your relationships. My overwhelming memory will be of my in laws behavior, not the wonderful occasion we were celebrating

      Liked by 1 person

  9. How awful. If exes want to hang onto the bitterness so be it, but for goodness sake‘s don’t infect anyone else with it. Especially innocent people at their own celebration.And I suppose there really wasn’t a way around it. You know such as not inviting them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sure, as L said, he was having too good a time with his friends. However, he’ll probably have no memories of his grandparents. That’s probably worse

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Let the anger go. It ruins things. Isn’t it.sad.that.some adults cant get past their anger? My aunt still bitches about her ex-husband who has been dead for over 20 years and they have been divorced for 30. Let it go already! Let the.man rest in peace

    Liked by 2 people

  11. You are right. Always right.
    By the way, I had an epiphany while ‘vacationing’ from blogging: you need to be the next Dear Abby or Ann Landers or whatnot. Like, for real. I’ll bet you can monetize it and run it from your blog.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I can’t believe we are talking about two “adults” who can’t behave. They sound like miserable people who want everyone else to be miserable too. They show no respect for their religion or their grandson…or anyone else at the event. One word summary for them: TOXIC.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. What a shame that these two elderly children couldn’t think about anybody but themselves on such an important day for their grandson and his family. They disprove the old adage that “with age comes wisdom” (or kindness).

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I refuse to attend any event that my ex and his wife are at! Not attending means that the attention of that sort of anger will not dampen the event. Yes, some divorces are so evil and so bitter that people will never get over it. Before it happened to me I didn’t have that sort of outlook, it has been 20 years for me and I still will not ever step into a room with him. Tried several times over the years but it always ends the same, better to just remove myself from the situation. This means my children (him and I never had children together) will now celebrate several events without me there unless they don’t invite him. Not sure this helps in understanding your situation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I appreciate your honesty. It take a mature person to avoid situations that are mentally/emotionally challenging and you are aware of your limits. I respect your decision to remove yourself from the situation, because you realize it’s not your ego that’s the most important thing

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thanks LA!

        Not easy thing to do and it has caused hard feelings even when I don’t attend but better that than some idiot screaming in my face, cops called, and some Jack…going to jail.

        Missing my sons wedding due to the tension of the situation was not fun for me at all but better than taking the focus off his special day.
        I know many of your commentators have said that people should just get over it…not always possible in the worse of divorce situations. I really don’t think it is ever fair to give anyone that sort of advice. We should all be so lucky to not have to walk a day in a bad divorce situation.

        I do think that going around at a special event and making it all about your troubles instead of focusing on what is actually happening that person needs therapy.

        Maybe your MIL and FIL could benefit from it if they could just get past the “all about me stuff”.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Here’s my thing. If two people voluntarily go to an event, they should have to suck it up. It’s not about them. If they know that their ex triggers negative stuff, they have to bow out.

        Liked by 1 person

  15. Sometimes I think people get so deep into their anger and resentment they don’t know how to get out of it. Sadly I think they they will never change and I feel sorry for your husband and the family. They ruined a wonderful celebration. I hope someone at some point will sit down with them and tell them how unfair it was.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. My heart goes out to your nephew. I hope his parents make it a point to explain that such conduct is unnecessary so that the cycle does not continue.

    Even though we are no longer married, my ex-husband and I get along well whenever we attend our daughter’s events together. It has nothing to do with us; it’s all about her. It would appear that your husband’s mother was unable to pick up on that concept.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Your parents-in-law are a fine example of people who have no boundaries, nor respect for those of other people. Listening to this story, I’m not surprised how much your husband values being seen as the easy-going good guy. Family dynamics eh?

    Liked by 2 people

  18. LA,
    Frustrating, isn’t it? This could be a story line on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, except, of course, it’s real life. My parents were married for over 50 years. They fought like cats and dogs in public. They had no concern for who was or wasn’t there. It embarrassed me…until it didn’t. I learned to ignore and then to walk away whenever they would start. Suddenly, I’d remember that my family and I had to leave for some reason or another. The first couple of times, they were caught by surprise. Eventually they caught on that we weren’t going to try and stop them, we just weren’t going to be witnesses or participate. I didn’t even have to confront them. Actions are louder than words. It’s funny how they learned to get along better in our presence, which isn’t to say they got along great…they just kept their rancor to themselves…at least when they were around us. They both had legitimate complaints and they both knew how to trigger each other. Ugh. The expression is: there’s a fine line between love and hate. They both loved each other, though sometimes it was hard to tell. I love them both. I wasn’t going to put up with their ridiculous behavior. Took me years of therapy to learn to get the hell away from that misery.

    Now my husband’s ex has wigged out…for reasons specific to her and aren’t what I’d deem rational. Who said she has to be rational? She’s sure as hell not going to let that stop her. David and I’ve been together for 30 years, which means I’ve been around this woman at family events for 30 years. We’ve never had any confrontations or issues before. I’ve stayed out of her line of fire because why put myself there if I don’t have to? Last Thanksgiving, she started crap with anyone she could. No one knew what to do. She wasn’t going to stop. She didn’t care. She had tantrum after tantrum. Then she came after me. Tried to bully me. I was shocked but stood my ground. Told her she was being rude, which she was…but it got her the attention she was hoping for. Incredibly sad situation when the only way to get attention is the negative kind. I refuse to be around her at this point because I deal with enough silliness in my life. Not interested in dealing with her toxicity, too!

    My point is: you cannot control anyone else’s behaviors or attitudes…only your own. (Okay, maybe your kids when they’re still little enough…and that’s debatable.) You choose what you’re willing to put up with and not. You can get up and walk away…or you can remind people that you are a blogger and if they don’t cut the garbage out, you’re going to put it on your blog. You’re going to name names and you’re not going to make them look like anything than what they’re being…selfish a-holes. Manipulative? Sure…but sometimes it’s whatever works. (BTW, I’m just kidding about telling them you’re going to make them a…star, baby…by putting them on your blog! I wouldn’t recommend this because this has too many ways it can go sideways and end up hurting you! Still, you want to be able to say that! I do say, well, you know…I write…more fodder. It gives them a reason to at least think about it.)

    Sorry this happened, LA. All I can say is: if someone wants to bitch…let them bitch…just not to you. If someone wants to sulk, let them…by themselves. People are going to be who they are. Believe it or not, these two people want you to think that this is about the other person, but it’s not. It’s about their own inability to cope with their insecurities/demons in a healthy and respectful manner. Their personality disorders (probably undiagnosed, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have them…are running their lives and trying to interfere with others’.) Thankfully, they are more than just their behaviors. They are blessed that loved ones will still love them despite their bull. If you believe they have a personality disorder, and you will probably never know for certain; and, by the way, only a board certified mental health provider can diagnose — and you’ll never be privy to that info (I believe my husband’s ex does), there are wonderful videos that provide commonsense and real-life solutions/responses to someone’s narcissism, borderline personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder, dependent personality disorder, etc. Dr. Ramani on You Tube is amazing!

    I know this was long. Hope some of this helps! Mona

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In theory I get that it’s someone else’s behavior, and not a reflection. And personally, I was the mother in the market that if my daughter threw a tantrum in the market cause she wanted candy, I would just continue on with my shopping. She only threw one tantrum in her life….but…it’s more sad for the grandkids, because these are the memories of their grandparents…

      Liked by 1 person

  19. I’m just finishing a Russian novel, in which the Russian wedding tradition of guests shouting “Bitter, bitter” is described. After the shouts of “Bitter,” the bride and groom kiss to change the bitter to sweet. I’m sorry all this strife and drama marred what should have been the happy occasion of your nephew’s bar mitzvah. If my divorced parents behaved this abominably, I would tell them that I’m sorry they chose to deny themselves the happiness of the occasion by sitting there glowering and talking trash about each other. I would then say that from now on, neither of them will be invited to any family occasions: weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs, dinners, Hanukkah, bris, birthday parties, nothing, until they commit to being civil to each other, until they pledge not to sit there sulking and ruining other people’s joy, and until they agree to set a better example for the young people in your family. Life is too short for this sh**.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. That is just crazy! I don’t get it. Adults behaving like spoiled children is ridiculous! Thankfully I have never seen much of that kind of behavior in my family and I’m Jewish. So it’s your in-laws, not the tradition or the religion that was the cray cray!

    At my sons wedding, my ex and I walked our son down the isle. That’s tradition. It didn’t bother either of us. I guess it’s a matter of doing what’s right.
    How sad and utterly ridiculous for two grown people to be more concerned about fighting their ex than celebrating the the child. Both your in laws were selfish and immature. Sheesh!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. And the worst part is, it was all they talked about for a year…ooh the bar mitzvah..can’t wait for the bar mitzvah…it was the only thing they were looking forward to

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s a difficult situation for some people. I have a close friend who dreaded going to a wedding about a year after her divorce. However, she was close to her friend and her daughter and so she went to the wedding.Meanwhile her ex had remarried his much younger secretary and was attending too. My friend (who I’ve known since college) was put at the singles table rather than the friend’s table, and her ex and his new (pregnant) young wife were at the friend’s table. She told me her husband and their shared friends ignored her the entire night at the wedding. She had no problem seeing him but he was not happy and griped about her. What bothered her was that she was isolated from anyone in her age bracket since she was put at the singles table with the brides single friends. Being excluded bothered her. So, she has decided not to go anywhere she’ll feel uncomfortable.
        For her family holiday celebrations they split visits. One goes to the first Passover Seder, the other goes to the second Seder. That works for them. My first husband and I don’t hold grudges. It seems to us that’s silly. But some people let their jealousy or anger make them behave foolishly. People need to just put on their big girl or big boy pants and stop acting like babies.

        Liked by 1 person

  21. From your blogs I thought your parents were a problem. They sound like saints compared to your in laws. My mom never got over the divorce from my dad that happened when I was 23. They have never seen each other since. At my wedding, I didn’t invite either one. My brother gave me away. I think that they both 90 they could tolerate seeing each other, but it won’t happen due to their age an inability to travel.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Let’s try this again 🤣 I hit the send button too early last time. So I don’t think holding on to anger is good at all, anger is poison. But I get that it’s hard to let go of resentment. I have two exs, and while I can be civil around them, I don’t really want to be around them. They remind me of very painful events for which I think I’m owed an apology, but I doubt that’s ever going to happen. I wouldn’t behave like your FIL did though. This event was about another person, not the in-laws. They should have recognized that

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hated my ex, and I don’t know how civil I would have been if I had to be around him. But if you must be in the same place, you have to ride it out…I think…

      Liked by 1 person

  23. They never should have been seated at the same table, but that’s beside the point. Every effort should have been made to at least be civil to one another or appear somewhat interested in the proceedings. How sad for your nephew on such an important day.

    I hate my ex, and the reason is very valid. Still, I like to think we would put those differences aside for an important occasion. Fortunately, there never has been one since the divorce and many states separate us.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. I’m so very sorry for your nephew that his grandparents chose their grudge against each other over honoring his special day. I know some marriages and divorces leave permanent scars, but I also know it is possible to act like an adult and put on a happy face with the occasion requires. And this occasion required! I have a good friend who went through a very difficult divorce, but she never once let it effect how she treated her son, and neither did her ex. They both acted like adults, as well as parents, at all the important milestones for their son. And you know what? Their son turned out just great! Even better, my friend and her ex now get along just fine, and are almost friends. Amazing what can happen when you choose the high road.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We have a friend with a contentious relationship with his ex. They had too separate bar mitzvah parties…he took the post event brunch for his very small fan ily and select group of friends, and she had the more lavish party with mainly the kids friends that evening. Oddly, the guy was the one to include his ex mother in law and ex sister in law to his hosted party. His ex did not invite them to hers…. Crazy how people get

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  25. Such a shame, I don’t understand how they as his grandparents could have behaved that way on what was his big day, a day that should be remembered as a happy time

    Liked by 1 person

  26. That may be something I’ll have to deal with at some point down the road. For right now, though, just over a year since my divorce was final, I’ve been able to dodge being in the same room or anywhere remotely close to where my ex might be. I’ve already told the daughter who still talks to him that I hope to get there someday though I’m not sure when or if I ever will.

    Liked by 1 person

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