Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Should I tell my Dad that he treats my Dsis and I unequally?

(24 Posts)
FlynnRyder Fri 11-Apr-14 13:27:05

My DM passed away about 10 years go. My DSis is 2 years younger than me and is very needy.

We both have two DCs, lovely DHs and live fairly near each other. We used to be really close but in the last few years I think I have drawn away a bit as I find her so needy. She complains all the time, always says how "poor" she is (whilst going on exotic holidays, eating in Michelin starred restaurants, living in a lovely big house, shops at Waitrose, has a nanny and a cleaner (and doesn't work)). She complains about everything, she always has to be the victim.

While DH and I live in a much smaller house, shop at Lidl etc. We get buy and we're definitely not poor but we struggle sometimes. But we are so happy. We feel very blessed, we love our life and while things can often be tough (I'm in remission from cancer, our DD has a physical disability etc) we are not complainers.

However, my Dad is ALWAYS doing stuff to support my DSis, he gives her money (that he doesn't give us), he often babysits for her "so that they can relax" (which he never does for us, we've never had one day or night away from the DCs), and always goes on about "poor Dsis" and how everything's so hard for her (just parroting what she complains about).

I have talked to him about this before but he just said sorry and then nothing changed. Should I bring it up again?

The problem is now that it not only affects my relationship with my Dad, I'm really starting to resent my DSis and if anyone ever says "poor Dsis" I feel so angry.

I don't want to feel like this but not sure how anything is ever going to change sad

Logg1e Fri 11-Apr-14 13:37:04

I think that you should focus more on what you want things to be like and talk to your dad about that instead.

NMFP Fri 11-Apr-14 14:14:46

My brother and his wife are always moaning about how poor they are, and they have convinced my mum that they are in dire straits. They are much, much better off than me. My brother is also as tight as a gnat's arse.

I have to listen to my mum worrying away and it makes me angry!

Hissy Fri 11-Apr-14 19:39:48

You're expecting something that has always been this way to just change.

It won't. I'm sorry sad

Holdthepage Fri 11-Apr-14 19:54:44

Same here, my DB plays my elderly DM like a fiddle. New car, £4k plus various small amounts of cash, he "borrows" but never pays back & she constantly feels sorry for him due to the unending stream of moaning/whining drivel. I wish I had the answer to be honest. My response is to make sure that everyone else knows what he is up to, even though he thinks everyone in the family thinks he is a prince, Ha!

Maybe confront your DSis & ask her to stop milking your DF, appeal to her better nature. I can't do this with my DB because he doesn't have one.

FlynnRyder Fri 11-Apr-14 22:34:53

That's the thing though, I really don't want to badmouth her, and I don't think my Dad would listen anyway. So you're right, things probably won't change.

But how do I cope with it without becoming resentful and bitter? I don't want to be.

Aussiemum78 Fri 11-Apr-14 22:45:36

I would just cut off every "poor sis" with

"with all those holidays, they must be ok"
"if money was short, dear sis could get a job...or do her own cleaning"
"dear sis has a beautiful house doesn't she?"
"how nice of you to give dear sis some babysitting, did they go to that fancy restaurant again"
"babysitting again? It must be so tough for her that the nanny won't work extra hours"

Or just keep asking "why do you think dear sis is having a hard time? She looks fine to me"

Were you the capable and independent one growing up? I completely understand....

FlynnRyder Fri 11-Apr-14 22:59:09

Yes I suppose I was the capable one. Always knew what career I wanted to do etc. I suppose part of the resentment is that we've been through some seriously tough times with no support, but Dsis gets support and sympathy for the most trivial things. I don't how to deal with that. I want to be able to shrug it off but I can't.

UptheChimney Fri 11-Apr-14 23:05:15

Sadly, the copers in this world are rarely helped. I'm a coper, my sister in law is not. I coped with early widowhood, small child etc without parental help (my mother does not like the cold of the north so won't visit outside of July). My SiL and brother had 3 days a week Granny babysitting.

It sucks.

And most people will tell you to suck it up. And IME, if you talk to your father about it, he will be shocked & offended. It won't change anything. We are all assigned our roles in families, and it's clear what yours is. Typically eldest daughters are exactly as you describe.

I tend to just be glad I'm a coper. I'd hate to be so ineffectual as my SinLaw. But it hurts, no denying that. It's good you can let off steam in here.

BillyBanter Fri 11-Apr-14 23:11:21

Do you ever ask for help or support?

While your DSis does sound like a whiner who doesn't know how lucky she is, presumably when she feels the need of support she asks for it or at least lets her 'need' be known.

BillyBanter Fri 11-Apr-14 23:13:33

I suppose the way to look at it is to be proud of your independence and glad that you're well off but still unhappy with your lot all the time like your sister. She is damned to be whiney and needy as much as you are damned to be a coper.

Aussiemum78 Fri 11-Apr-14 23:24:52

Yep, I was the typical high achiever but nobody really noticed.

My sister just turns up and shes awesome. My parents over compensated because they almost lost her so everything she survived to do is amazing.

But it's done her no favours as an adult, she thinks everything she does is "special" and is very immature. she seems to have issues settling down, maintaining jobs, maintaining relationships, finishing anything, spends frivolously, but is oblivious why.

I get along with her ok, but as an adult it's like trying to be friends with a 19 year old - she is in her 30s.

MexicanSpringtime Sat 12-Apr-14 01:02:51

At least you appreciate life, which is worth gold.

I've been in a similar, though less significant, situation with a friend, not quite the same, but none of our social circle ever had any energy left for doing other favours as she was so good at the poor-little-me stuff.

It's a nuisance, but you are much better off in the end with your good approach to living.

Eminybob Sat 12-Apr-14 03:28:54

Maybe your dad doesn't realise you need any help from him because you outwardly don't appear to need it? You said you are really happy and don't ask for help from him. How is he to know you secretly do?
On the other hand your sister whines and moans and gets sympathy any support.
If you would like help from your dad you should ask for it.
I know it's the same with my DP, he moans his brother gets money and help from their mum, but if she ever offers it to us he refuses! confused

BlondePieceOffFluff Sat 12-Apr-14 06:52:34

Do you want your dad to start helping you or to stop helping her? If it's the first, have you tried asking for help? You don't have to lower yourself to her money-whining or other-whining level. Just ask outright for the normal type of help that is given within a family, like baby-sitting or whatever you might need/want help with. Sometimes people don't offer to help because they think we are doing fine and that we prefer to manage on our own, or sometimes they don't see that we need help or does not have the imagination to think what they could help with. Your dad may simply not be "tuned into" seeing that you might need some support as well because you always managed, people can be really blinded by habit sometimes. Try asking and see what happends.

Oh, and a healthy dose of reality-checks like suggested by Aussie upthread could also be applied.

UptheChimney Sat 12-Apr-14 09:12:28

I don't know about the OP, but I suppose that if I were really obviously in difficulties (as OP says, cancer & ill child) then I'd feel a bit hurt at having to ask, rather than help and concern being offered as a matter of course.

I guess that we do expect (or some of us do expect) that families look out for each other, rather than have to be asked for support & help. Having to ask shouldn't be necessary.

juneau Sat 12-Apr-14 09:27:30

What's wrong here is that actually your sister is MUCH better off than you are and yet she's the one getting all the help - no wonder that disparity is leading to resentment. I think I'd do as Aussiemum78 suggests and remind your DF each and every time he says 'poor sis' about her good fortune in life and the many material advantages she has. She really doesn't sound even remotely hard done by - just a born moaner.

UptheChimney Sat 12-Apr-14 09:32:35

Money is often really symbolic in families. It might feel to the OP that she is less loved, or not loved unconditionally, by her father. That's a tough place to be, whatever strength of character the OP has. thanks

Sophieelmer Sat 12-Apr-14 09:35:06

Have you considered asking your dad for help yourself? You can't begrudge your dad helping your dsis if you won't ask yourself. If he is anything like my dad then he will not be a mind reader!

Start by asking your Dad for some small support for yourselves - asking him to babysit one night so you can go out sounds ideal?

Just take small steps towards redressing a clearly unfair family dynamic.

Good luck!

NMFP Sat 12-Apr-14 09:56:04

I wonder if your dad feels 'needed' around your sister, and that makes him feel good, especially since his wife died.

Could you ask him for advice or help with small jobs that would ensure you get a bit of attention and he feels needed?

FlynnRyder Sat 12-Apr-14 14:36:16

Yes I think you're right that I don't really ask him for help/support, I do kind of feel that it should be offered rather than demanded. I'm not sure how I feel about asking for it. I'm not sure why.

I guess I feel that my Dad shouldn't be giving his money away anyway, he might well need it in the future. I also think that my DSis's behaviour is wrong, so don't want to copy it myself.

But then, I get what some of you are saying. If I don't do anything, the situation is never going to change.

Still feeling very confused.

NMFP Sat 12-Apr-14 15:15:37

You don't need to ask for the same things. That's why I suggested you ask for advice, or you could ask him to do something for the children that is special to 'grandad'. And don't feel bad about it - he'll feel valued and he'll gain a lot fro seeing more of his grand children.

BlondePieceOffFluff Sat 12-Apr-14 17:53:37

Whining and moaning about money and other unreasonable things like your sister is doing is a world apart from asking nicely if he would mind baby-sitting, advise on something, help out with something within what could be reasonably expected within a family or amongst close friends. Perhaps, as was said upthread he likes feeling needed. Perhaps he feels that you don't need him because you have always been self-reliant. And perhaps he would love that you ask for help with something and thereby include him in your life in a way that makes him feel usefull and relevant.

You could choose to be hurt by him not offering help that you think is obvious that he should see is needed/wanted. And you can choose to continue to question why he is not. Or you can simply start asking him for help and find out whether he is happy to give this or not. You might be dissapointed, but at least then you know where you stand. More likely is, I would think/hope, you will be pleasantly surprised.

With regards to your sister, she seems to be taking the piss and for all you know she might be fully aware of this, or not. As mentioned above, serving up some reality-checks now and then should be fun and might achieve something. If not, at least you get to get it off your chest.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now