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AIBU to find this situation deeply distressing??

(29 Posts)
joliejolie Thu 31-Jul-08 11:23:21

I have wanted to post about this for ages, but have not because I worry my SIL might be a poster! In the end I thought I would post this and then if she is a member, she can explain herself. Be warned, it is long, but I really need help!

I married into a family many years ago and it has always been a bit of a struggle for everyone to get along...well, for me anyway! Without giving away too much, my SIL is the perfect mother! In her eyes and my MIL eyes anyway. Everything I have done with my children has been compared to her...every little thing. "SIL's dd was potty trained at 18 months, walked at 9 months and was speaking in sentences at two" and various other complete lies are told to bring me down. For the most part I have not really cared because I know it is all just bs and is just a way to belittle me.

My ds was a late walker. I went to HV to have him checked over and she said he was perfectly normal and that he just had a cautious personality, which I already knew. She said he looked like he would be a duck walker at first, but it would straighten after a year or two. I told her that I was not worried, but that I felt like I needed and "explanation" to give dh's family. She said to ignore everything they say unless they are a HV, GP or have a degree in childhood development...which they don't!

Well of course the next time we were all together the subject came up and led to a huge row and I am still a bit upset by it almost a year later. He is walking now, but is not potty trained and is not a clear talker at 32 months. He is very clever, but in different ways...like drawing clear pictures of animlas and putting together jigsaw puzzles. He can also use a computer really well, knowing exactly how to navigate the internet...sadly, putting "ffkjruu78r47748fjn" gets no results...which frustrates him! grin

He is loving, energetic and perfect, just in no rush to do anything!

On to SIL. She has 3 children and the two youngest have a different father (her current partner). Her middle child (the oldest with partner IFSWIM) is quite smart and has been quick to talk, walk and be potty trained. The perfect child to anyone from the outside looking in (not perfect by any stretch though...at all!!). SIL loves doing comparisons, even though she says she doesn't and it makes me so angry!! During our last argument, she actually said "I am not trying to compare the kids, but look at how my ds does this"! Not someone who can define the word COMPARE obviously! I have kept her at a distance since our big blow-up last summer, but we are seeing her next week.

I can deal with her behaviour, but her oldest daughter should not have to. We were having dinner last summer and Granny (my MIL) had too much to drink and blurted out that she (her granddaughter and SIL oldest daughter) was "slow"!! I was completely shocked! What kind of a Granny says that?! She is still quite young and it seems so harsh, almost like she is considered slow because her younger sister is so smart. I went mental and said it was an awful thing to say! SIL confirmed that her dd's school have basically said she is slow and there was nothing they could do for her! A Primary school...said that? I don't think so!! It makes me so angry because she is not slow at all!! angry

If the school said that about my daughter I would be taking heads off! SIL insisted that they used the word slow and that her reading and writing were fine, but her maths were very weak. I said that they should give her a chance and not write her off at the age of ten as a no hoper. If anything, they should just give her a bit more help, not instill in everyone that she is slow. I am not at all convinced the school has told her that she is a hopeless case like SIL has said she is! The funny part of it all is that SIL is not the most intelligent person I have ever met. My dh is very intelligent and was an avid reader as a child just to learn more about anything he could. SIL left school at 16 to get married and got almost no GCSE qualifications. I am not trying to judge her, I am just trying to understand why she could be so harsh with her won child.

I know MIL and SIL love her, but I cannot fathom what would make them say these things and even repeat them to other people! MIL has since talked about it many times and I have just sat and said nothing, because arguing is futile!

This little girl doesn't ever see her father and as much as SIL says her current partner treats her as his own, it is not true! She is always made responsible for the younger siblings because her mummy (my SIL) cannot cope on her own. It makes me feel sick. I feel sick just typing this! sad

Are there any other mummies and grannies out there who would ever say their dc/gc was "slow"?! What an archaic word for some deeply ignorant people. It is no wonder that I cannot get along with them. What if they were saying similar things about my wee lad for not walking when they thought he should have? It breaks my heart!

cornsilk Thu 31-Jul-08 11:25:04

My mum uses language like that. It's a generation thing. Try not to let it upset you.

batters Thu 31-Jul-08 11:29:59

hmm not sure I would use MN as somewhere to post so that your SIL can "explain herself" frankly.

TheCrackFox Thu 31-Jul-08 11:34:43

just ignore her - I agree with Cornsilk that it is a generational thing. Both My DS were potty trained at 3 years and my mum was horrified. I asked her if she had ever had to include on an application form what age she was potty trained. Soon shut her up.

VictorianSqualor Thu 31-Jul-08 11:38:20

I wouldn't have said it no, and certainly not at this age.

joliejolie Thu 31-Jul-08 11:48:43

That is not what I meant batters. I just meant that I was not going to NOT post for fear of her seeing it. I doubt she is a poster anyway.

I just feel really down and I thought maybe because there are so many mums here, that people might understand!

lulumama Thu 31-Jul-08 11:53:32

why not tell them that this upsets you? it clearly does and you feel angry too

slow is a generational word, does not make it right however, i would make your feelings very clear, and then at least you will have got it off your chest.

some children are 'slower' at doing things than other children. neither of mine walked until 16/17 months, DD did not speak until 2.5 , so they were slower than other children. it does not always mean anything awful, it can simply be a fact. depends if slow was used here to mean something harsher...

sounds like there are a lot of other issues here and you need to speak to your family and get your point across

hope your SIl is not a poster as i don;t thikn MN is the right place to have an open family disagreement.

SlartyBartFast Thu 31-Jul-08 11:58:53

perhaps a better phrase would be late developer, other than that, you did say granny had had drink. having a "slow" child must be hard for your SIL. whatever way the teacher labelled it, she has picked it up as "slow"

SlartyBartFast Thu 31-Jul-08 12:02:05

anyway that mignt explain why she likes to "compare", perhaps she is secretly worried that her middle child is "slow" too?

it seems qutie normal to compare, if irritating.posts are full of it here, and conversations in mums and toddlers full of it. her child can write her name, mine can't blush
or mine can (gloat)

OurHamsterisevil Thu 31-Jul-08 12:02:35

I don't think you can just say it is a generational thing if the SIL is using this word for her own child. What a pity for the poor child. She will just give up and not try at school. I also doubt that the school said there was nothing they could do. Extra tuition rtc. would help most children I'm sure.

tiggerlovestobounce Thu 31-Jul-08 12:06:29

It is just a word, maybe not one that is favoured at the moment, but what difference does it make.
Surely the main thing is to make sure that your neice is getting all the help and encouragement she needs, not getting upset about the word they use to describe it (which could have easily been a lot worse!)

Skribble Thu 31-Jul-08 12:08:21

First and foremost you have to realise that SIL and MIL are so far up their own arses that their opinions and comments are wore nothing. You know that they are talking crap most of the time, I know it is hard but you really have to not take it to heart and trust your own instincts with your own child.

My DS was a very large baby, not chubby but large in that he looked like a perfectly formed 3 mth old when he was born. Now he crawled and walked on schedule with all those development books but his speech and toilet training was way behind. So he looked a lot older than he was and sounded even younger, you can imagine the commentsa and criticisims I got pushing him arond in a buggy when he looke old enough to go to school and sounded like a 1 yr old.

It hurts, but you have to concentrate on him and not other people negitive comments. Believe the experts not a relative who is obsesed with one upmanship and constant comparisons it shows her insecurities really.

My son is now 11yrs and bloody amazing, no he isn't a rocket scientist but he has skills in many areas and is doing extremly well at school, oh and no he isn't in nappies any more grin.

BlingLovin Thu 31-Jul-08 12:13:07

Also, children don't have to be good at everything? Why do your MIL and SIL think that if she's bad at maths, that makes her slow? I'm not great at maths myself but have always done well in english, history etc and have a great job. My DP couldn't write a history essay if his life depended on it but got good marks in languages and fairly good science marks.

TinySocks Thu 31-Jul-08 12:18:35

People that are like that (very competitive) deep inside are very insecure. You say she isn't very bright, so she is probably using her middle daughter to boost her confidence.

I have come across people like that (thankfully not family). I have a child with special needs and another 18month old who is very clever but also takes him time to do things. When people try to show off their kids' latest achievments to me, I say something like "Oh that is wonderful he/she is doing so well, CLEVER boy/girl" whatever.
Because I think these people need this sort of reassurance. This just shows them that these comments don't get to you, you don't care and I am very careful never to comment on what my kids can or cannot do, because that just gives these people fuel.

Regarding SIL treatment of her eldest daughter, it is awful. And if I were you, evertime I saw that little girl, I would probably give her extra cuddles and lots of reassurance. For example, give her little jobs to boost her confidence, ask her for help with something, etc.

joliejolie Thu 31-Jul-08 12:27:08

I was just hoping someone would confirm for me that there was no way the school would say slow ever!

Further to my earlier post, I do seriously doubt my SIL does post here and we have never discussed MN. I would never intentionally bring a family situation up on these boards and only posted because I was confident that she would never see this. I perhaps used the wrong choice of words when suggesting she could explain herself. Not what I meant at all!

I was only posting because I am exhausted by all of the comments. My dh said she was a very highly strung mum and shouted all the time when he was a child. She is now living alone and spends her days as she chooses and she makes little comments to me that I should calm down and relax more!! I have 3 kids, money worries and various other stresses like everyone else and I just want to tell her to piss off! I wish I could rewind 30 years to see how she dealt with all of the situations that I think I deal with quite well! To top it all off, I have noone to discuss anything with because dh does not want to get involved! Which is why I came here.

This visit next week is happening whether I want it to or not, but my ds still wont go anywhere near the potty and looks at it, shakes his head and says "Oh...no"! I will be judged and it hurts.

I cannot really say anything because it is not my family and these people are not big on expressing feelings to each other. I have a hard enough time with dh opening up to me!

lulumama Thu 31-Jul-08 12:28:55

sad you don;t consider them your family,

you either need to put up or shut up, in the nicest possible way

not saying anything will only make you more stressed

your DH should support you if it upsets you so much

joliejolie Thu 31-Jul-08 12:29:37

Thanks tinysocks. Last time I saw my neice, I took her shopping and we bought a little stuffed toy from the Disney Store. Her mum reacted very badly and said "don't you have enough stuffed toys?".

I do see that I really cannot win here!

Miaou Thu 31-Jul-08 12:42:34

My parents have some friends who have seven children, and for ages I would hear about this boy of theirs who was "slow" and "would never be able to have a job that required brains". To that end, they gave him lots of physical jobs around the home so that he would be able to get a job doing "something" when he was older.

A couple of months later I was astounded to discover that the quiet, mature lad who came in the library to borrow books and CD Audio books by the barrowload, was this "slow" child (and that he was the older brother of two very silly naughty boys who were constantly getting into trouble for messing about). This boy is NOT slow. He is dyslexic (which does not stop him reading voraciously) and is very quiet, unlike his gregarious brothers. I feel so sad for him, that his parents have just written him off (they say all these things in front of him too sad)

HonoriaGlossop Thu 31-Jul-08 12:54:20

jolie, the only way to deal with this is to accept that you and MIL/SIL are on different wavelengths. There is never going to be a meeting of minds, or opinions. What you and your DC do is not going to be seen or valued for it's own sake but only in terms of how they can use it to make themselves feel better.

I think when you're talking to them just have a mental picture of those different wavelengths you're on; there's no path between them IMO.

By all means speak up and voice your opinion; you have a right to do that; THEY clearly voice theirs to you. But don't expect them to listen!

chipmonkey Thu 31-Jul-08 13:03:25

I do find it hard to believe that the school would say a child was "slow"
My eldest 2 boys have SEN's, ds1 has ADD and ds2 has dyspraxia, and when they were falling behind EdPsychs were consulted and diagnoses sought. ( Not bloody quickly enough but it was done!) The word "slow" was never used.

My MIL was exactly the same wrt potty training as in "All of ours were trained by 2"
Now, I do find this hard to believe as a lot of the traits my children have are also traits shared by my dh and BILs so I doubt very much that they were trained by 2! Just do what my dh does, keep droning "every child is different" and ignore, ignore, ignore!

chipmonkey Thu 31-Jul-08 13:05:20

Miaou, in a lot of ways my dh was "written off" by his parents, I suspect he may have ADD as well. But it just made him all the more determined to do well, he is now the only one of his siblings with a degree!

lucyellensmum Thu 31-Jul-08 13:12:53

It just sounds like you are determined not to like these people. Fair enough - don't see them, that way their behaviour wont upset you. Focus on YOUR family, theirs like the millions of other, less than perfect families in the world, are not your worry.

paros Thu 31-Jul-08 13:21:09

lise that you will never win dont you . The reason she feeds you all this rubbish ( about how her kid is better than yours ) is because she is so insicurwe (sp) she is so scared that your child will ever do anything slightly better than her child so she likes to get in first . The thing I always think of is when mothers at school compare is that maybe her child is ahead developementally(BIG SP LOL) now but if you think about it they will not be sitting next to each other in their respective jobs in the future so what does it matter . She is just insecure so just smirk when she says anything . And reply I hear what your saying (this phrase means to me I hear you ,I think you are talking total crap But I hear you . ) you sound like such a nice aunty . Are you trying to make up for her mother LOL . I bet the school didnt say that I mean what good school would . Keep doing what you are doing and If I was you I would be ill that weekend you have to see them why go through that rubbish if you dont have to . Best of luck

Jux Thu 31-Jul-08 13:45:13

Well you can always emphasise what your niece is good at - it sounds possible that they're so fixated on their comforting little labels that SIL and MIL haven't even noticed what she's good at or what good qualities she has.

Tortington Thu 31-Jul-08 13:51:04

i can't see why you entertain thesepeople in your life - if your dh wants to seethem fine.

if i were you i wouldnt engage with them firther - and no it isn't as easy as it sounds to do this to famiy - but thee comes a point where you have tor ealise that 'family' is not a trump card for being a total wank bag.

stay away

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