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.
Could you help to give me a bit of perspective please?(10 Posts)
Since my Dad split from my Mum a few years ago he's had a really hard time of it.
On top of having depression, the loss of his future/home/roots in the community hit him hard and I was genuinely concerned he was thinking of taking his own life, even up to this time last year.
He met a woman (who I'll call Barbara) online a few weeks ago and I'm so happy for him, for the first time he's making plans for the future and has someone special to spend time with after being so lonely (they've already moved in together, planning on renting out his other flat, getting rid of their belongings, going around the world next winter, but that's a thread in itself ).
They've been round to ours quite a bit since they've been together. Now I freely admit I'm very unsociable and can look at people from a negative point of view, but in this situation I'm really trying to be positive so I can be happy for my Dad.
The problem for me is that Barbara is very intense and 'attention demanding', by this I mean you have to give her your full attention all the time and just listen to her talk, no chit chat or pauses so you can respond or let the conversation flow.
For me it's incredibly draining but I'm determined not to be selfish or make it about me, so I need to get to grips and find a way of dealing with it.
I'd be really grateful if you could give me your opinion on some of the stuff that's come up and whether you think I'm being prickly about how she is, or whether you think it genuinely is a bit OTT. Obviously I can't say anything to Dad, so it's ways of dealing with it on my own I'm looking for. Things like -
-When I have got a word in she keeps cutting me off when I'm talking, she's done this by yawning right in my face with no hand up, turning right round to look out the window, starting to talk to dad when I'm mid sentence etc. When she does it I just stop talking, but she never acknowledges I was saying something or goes back to it.
-2 YO DD2 was handing Dad some nuts and bolts while he was doing something, I was stood behind holding her hand, and when she went to get some more to give him, Barbara said 'Oh no, you can't have them they'll go in your mouth' and covered them up. I was letting DD get them and stood with her! So Barbara took it upon herself to make decisions about what my child can and can't play with. I've seen posters on here saying they were too shocked to say anything at the time, and that was me. If I had said something though it would have created an atmosphere and I didn't want to upset Dad.
-They bought a huge trampoline for our DC, a very generous and going to be well used present. But they just turned up with it and set it up. Our garden is long but not very wide and it's 8 ft high, DH and I were a bit at each other after they'd gone that the didn't even think to ask us before deciding to put up this enormous toy in our garden.
-Any time she talks to or about the DC, it's always with a negative interpretation. So when DD2 was shy at first, it was because she didn't like Barbara. She took our 10 YO to task three times because she was having her tea when they came round unannounced and DD didn't offer them any food, saying 'we're starving here, it's very rude not to offer anything you know'. Pretend joking, but not IYSWIM?
I've tried to keep it short and I'm totally open to being told they sound like normal things I needn't be worried about. Setting them aside, Barbara has made a real effort to make DD1 feel welcome when she went round to stay the night with them, and to hear Dad laughing again is priceless so I'm not looking to make waves or scupper their relationship or anything.
Thanks for reading.
It's really tough. The lady sounds pretty needy and so does your dad, to have started living together after a matter of weeks.
I suspect you will have to give it time to get to know her.
Do you know anything about her background, family, home town? Is she feeling brittle herself about the situation? The rudeness does seem quite odd.
I have tried to think we need time to get to know one another LineRunner, maybe it's not happening as quickly as she'd like, I'm not really one for opening up.
She comes from a town nearby, has said about quite a bit of her life and some of it sounds a bit stressful.
It is a bit odd for so much to come across like that so quickly, it makes it hard to 'read' what kind of a person she is.
You sound like you need to be more politely assertive. That's my advice.
About the cutting you off when you start speaking . . . my dad does that, it's almost like he doesn't hear me but will talk loudly over me. I suspect he has ADD and he can't pay attention to what I am saying. Don't know if that's the problem with Barbara though!
So what you do, next time you are talking and she cuts you off speak really loudly, wave a hand in front of her face and say "er HELLO!!!! I WAS S P E A K I N G!!!"
Do that each and every time.
My mOther in law talks over everybody, and cuts off everybody in the way you describe Barbara doing. It's just who she is and we all just tend to put up with it. Does Barbara do it to other people or just you?
Re the way she is with your DC and the trampoline gift, I wonder if she's just really unsure what her role is, iykwim? Is she supposed to act like a granny to them or just a friend or what. So maybe she's clumsily trying to step into more of a gran sort of a role?
I agree it sounds a bit needy that they've taken things so quickly but I wonder if it's maybe just because they've both seen how tenuous life is and are grabbing at happiness with both hands.
I would quietly moan about her to my friends, but not actually say anything to her, and just bite my to gue and be happy dad was happy if I were you. But then I'm really not one for confrontation so others may say differently.
I have tried to be assertive with other things she's said/done G1nger, but anything I say has the potential to sound as though I'm being shitty with her and I can't risk it, plus I don't want to feel like I'm justifying how I am with the DDs to her because really it's none of her business and not for her to pass comment on us.
So not wanting to sound shitty would kind of put the kibosh on saying "er HELLO!!!! I WAS S P E A K I N G!!!" much as I'd like to
I've wondered whether she's perhaps nervous, or like you say KD, unsure of where she fits in.
Both the DDs stick to my Dad like pieces of velcro when he's round, they've got a brilliant relationship and that must be difficult to negotiate for her.
She has said that because they're both in their 60's they want to do things while they can, which I totally agree with. It just makes me a bit uneasy.
Could you have a very mild word with your Dad? Something on the lines of 'I'm so glad your happy and I like Barbara but I'm a bit concerned that she's nrevous when she comes here because of the rapid fire talking. Is that normal for her, or is she on edge?'
interfering being 'helpful' over the DCs I'd say every time 'no it's ok thanks, I said they could do it, have it... or whatever'. I think you need to at least assert yourself there minimum.
Think I'd be a bit concerned about the speed of this, after all neither your dad or barbara really know each other in that time do they? Even if your dad has chosen to go on fast forward on this relationship doesn't mean you have to.
Agree with pickgo, especially about the speed of this relationship - and they can't possibly know each other. Is your dad a passive sort of man. Barbara sounds a nightmare to me to be honest but I think she is threatened by you (cus you are your dad's daughter) and this maybe the reason why she is behaving like this. She sounds very insecure too and may well want to dominate your father. I think a quiet word with you dad is a good idea, and be quietly assertive relating to the children. Does she have children of her own - what does your dad know of her background? Hope she's not a gold digger!
Thanks for replying.
I would really like to find out how Dad really feels about the speed of it pickgo, but because Barbara's always there and would see any emails/texts I can't bring it up. I do wonder if he feels a bit pressured with her changing where he lives and mapping out the next few years.
How did you know Nana?
Yes, he's passive and was
very quite dominated by my Mum, it could be that he was looking for someone to 'tell' him what to do after being lost for so long.
I've thought that as well about her feeling threatened, but I thought it about our DDs rather than me, which makes be a bit nervous.
Whether it was intentional or not, I don't know, but they've been quite persistant in pointing out she has her own income and house etc, which sounds genuine, so hopefully she's not taking him for a ride.
Join the discussion
Please login first.