My husband and I bet on the decision Hayley would make about giving Christian the £5,000 he had asked for. He said that, knowing Christian was manipulating, threatening and bribing her for it, she wouldn’t give him the money. I said that, knowing he was manipulating, threatening and bribing her, she would give it to him.
My husband thought that Hayley, in her moral surety of right and wrong, would be strong enough to simply say no; she would not be bribed by anything or anyone, including grandchildren. He believed she would not allow anyone, including Christian, to back her in a corner and use her guilt, love and generosity of spirit in such a blatant rip-off.
I thought she’d give him the money because she didn’t want the insult to be given voice, to be out there requiring acknowledgement. I thought that, despite knowing that she was being bribed and bullied, she would choose to swallow that hurt in order to avoid another larger one to be said aloud. If she said no, she’d still know the manipulation he had attempted and she would have to hear the words she feared he’d say; you owe me this, you were never there for me, you can’t be a father to me and you’re certainly not my mother. Those words plus the knowledge of his manipulation would live in her mind forever. Why run that risk? Justify the money as an inheritance to your child, whether deserved or not, think about your own feelings of guilt toward him, and move on – lalalala I can’t hear you say nasty things about me.
But Christian turned nasty even before she had told him yes or no about the money. I wanted to change my betting position. When he started the accusations of ‘you owe me’ and the like, I thought she’d say (as I think I then would have) sorry, changed my mind due to having to listen to your vitriol. But she is a better person than I. Despite the figurative slap in the face he gave her, she took out her chequebook and asked “are you sure that’s enough”. I think church-going young Sophie could learn some lessons in true Christian behaviour from the non-religious Hayley. She understands what turn the other cheek means.