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To think my niece's mother is abusive?

(8 Posts)
fortyandgoingdown Wed 27-May-20 21:07:12

Asking for advice really on how to help and support my niece. She is 17 and a half, and for about 5 years now her mum (my DB's wife, but my DB is useless with his DD and just leaves them both to it) has been writing long-winded, personal posts about my niece's personal life on her Facebook. Really personal stuff that my niece clearly confided in her about in confidence. Boy trouble, bullying, school refusal, periods meltdowns she's had etc. And they weren't posted in a "lighthearted" way or meant to spread an antibullying message, they were done for her to garner support and sympathy for herself. For example, along the lines of "DD up in bed crying this morning, refuses to come downstairs and go to school because some child said X to her. 3rd time this week I'll have had to go to student services. Nobody supports me, I don't know how to mother her." etc. DN eventually took to actively responding to these long posts saying "Mum please take this down." (sometimes the responses were a lot more angry and having a go at her for posting it and really, I can't blame her).

In the last year or so the posts have stopped, I expect as people caught on and stopped responding to them or giving them any attention. But DN's mother is still overbearing in other ways. I reached out to DN after one of the Facebook posts in which she begged her mum to take it down, and since then she's occasionally confided in me about things her mother has done.

She is extremely overbearing. DN will tell her things in confidence about rows with friends, boy troubles etc, and then her mum will contact these people/their mums personally because she's "sick of seeing her DD sulking". I told my DB to have a word with her about it but he says he thinks it's just her trying to be a good mother. DN is perfectly neurotypical and does not need her mother to be getting involved with such things, and becomes extremely distressed by it. It has ruined several friendships for her and she now has somewhat of a repuation over it. Last night she rang me in tears saying she had a row with her latest boyfriend (only been with a couple of months, her mum hasn't even met him) and as any teenager would do, attempted to confide in her mum about it. Rather than attempting to support her, her mum found this lad's mother on FB and sent her a long-winded message asking if her son was ok and if he could reach out to DN. His mum then told him and he was pissed off by it and had another go at DN and has now dumped her. DN was saying to me that she feels like a mug for confiding in her mum about things and now feels like it's her fault because she "should have learned her lesson". She tells her college tutors about social anxiety she had when she was 12 (she grew out of it) leading to them creating a support plan for her which she really doesn't need. My DB is useless and just blames social media and refuses to see a problem with his wife.

I honestly don't know what to do to support DN.

OP’s posts: |
LouiseTrees Wed 27-May-20 22:43:58

The problem is definitely the mother but I suggest that she’s either a helicopter mother ( genuinely wants to make way for her child rather than let them be an adult) or a narcissist (everything is about her). Social media most definitely hinders both scenarios. I think you say to your niece that she tells her mum that sometimes all she wants is an ear, she doesn’t want anything done about the situation and if tells the mum that if she doesn’t stop approaching stuff in a less nuclear way then she’ll confide in someone else.

saraclara Wed 27-May-20 22:52:44

Why does your niece continue to tell her stuff? Have you asked her?

peperethecat Wed 27-May-20 22:53:19

Her mother won't change. Tell you niece to put her mother on a strict information diet and come to you instead if she wants someone to confide in.

Cherrysoup Wed 27-May-20 22:55:25

Tell her to stop telling her mother anything! She can tell you stuff and use you as a sounding board. At least you won’t bloody tell the world on FB!

3LittleMonkeyz Wed 27-May-20 23:06:55

Does sound a lot like other narcissist mothers I've known but also like a mum I was friends with who had EUPD/BPD. Whatever the cause she obviously has no respect for DNeice's privacy, possibly because she sees her only as her child not as an Actual person in her own right, with independent feelings etc. Unfortunately whatever the cause your DNeice is the one who will have to put clear boundaries in place (and constantly reaffirm them!) as well as not giving her information, as her mother is clearly incapable of doing so

Ellisandra Wed 27-May-20 23:10:33

Said that she has to, but at 17 your niece really needs to wise up and stop expecting better from her mother. You can help her by listening to her to help her avoid her mother, and telling your brother he’s a useless sack of shite.

IncrediblySadToo Wed 27-May-20 23:16:39

Life lessons (shames she's learning them due to her own mum, but...)

Don't confide in the local megaphone

Keep doing the same thing, you'll keep getting the same results

You can't change other people's weapon, but you can withhold ammunition.

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