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Desperately need to help my DSs girlfriend - book suggestions needed.

(17 Posts)
helpyourself Thu 13-Dec-12 08:43:42

I think standyourground's approach is excellent- perhaps a general emotional literacy/ positivity book and keep on showing her what a functional family is like without making her feel defensive about her own.
Lucky girl to have you!

StandYourGround Wed 12-Dec-12 21:12:55

I was unofficially 'fostered' by my boyfriends family as a teen, I lived with them for years. My upbringing was horrible and I loved my boyfriends family, their warmth and obvious connection to each other. smile

I'm thrilled that you are sharing your family with your ds's girlfriend. My foster mother got me this book

mentlejen Wed 12-Dec-12 19:44:52

Your son's girlfriend's situation has parallels with my own. I grew up in a house where my parents were unhappily married, rowed often and where I never saw any affection between them. My mother is (still) consumed by bitterness about her life.

Until my brother died a few years ago, she spent a lot of time telling us she'd never wanted children. She hates physical contact, doesn't do affection and is very emotionally vulnerable and needy. She's been on her own since my parents finally split up.

My MIL is a complete contrast. Being a mother filled her with joy and their family home was always full of affection, physical contact and chatter/noise. In my twenties I found it quite overwhelming.

I'm now in my mid thirties, have 2 children and see my MIL several times a week. She's wonderful and I consider her a great friend. However, from my twenties right through to now I still feel prickly and defensive about my mum and my family whenever she's even vaguely critical. And her intentions are nothing but lovely. We've talked a lot about mothering since our kids came along but I'm now v wary of any conversations about my mother or childhood..

My advice to you is to tread gently or rather, don't tread there at all- just listen. The contrast between your family and hers is stark enough without pointing to it all. She probably has a bit of processing of her own to do. And also understand if she just finds you all a bit overwhelming sometimes!

DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Wed 12-Dec-12 19:38:54

Ps you sound lovely by the way & like you'll be a really important figure in her life whatever happens

DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Wed 12-Dec-12 19:36:59

I think I'd be very careful in your position... As another poster has said, what if they break up, she ll always be left with her own family. As tempting as it is to encourage her to become one of yours, unfortuneately she isn't and she will be bereft if she has decided to jump ship from her rubbish family to yours, & then ends up without you either.

I was that child of rubbish parents & in my 20s 'adopted' a few families, my best friends mum, a family I stayed with in a gap yr, my boyfriends family etc. And they taught me what family love was all about, but they wouldn't have ever helped me understand / analyze how awful my parents were, and am glad they didn't as I would have either got upset or decided to jump ship into their family... When really, I couldn't.

So def carry on with the positive example & being so welcoming, but don't do anything that may end up hurting her if circs change. You could get your Ds to suggest a few websites though if it would be ok coming from him? Not sure?

BerryChristmas Wed 12-Dec-12 12:06:28

She is 23 and although I have not seen it first hand my son certainly has.

Thank you for all your help and comments. I will think carefully and talk to her.

At least when she is here she is out of the environment where her parents row daily.

cowardly - I commented that her mother was 'dowdy' when discussing narcissism meaning that she was not vain and forever spending time maintaining her exterior - it was not a criticism and certainly not meant as oneupmanship I can assure you!!!

cowardlylionhere Wed 12-Dec-12 12:00:20

I grew up with a simialr set up to that- I've always felt that my mum just didn't want me, and the kindness shown to me by other families and friends has shown me what my family is seriously lacking. But if anyone bought me a book on the subject it would massively overstep the line imo. It's really not your place. Just keep doing what you're doing, welcome her into your family, but don't do it at the expense of her real family. It will stink of the worst kind of oneupmanship, as do your comments that her mother is 'dowdy', and what if things don't work out between your ds and her? She'll always be left with her family unfortunately.

DeckTheHallsWithBartimaeus Wed 12-Dec-12 11:57:58

How old is she?

I agree with The ProvincialLady to be careful with this subject.

I suppose a good book would be a fiction book which dealt with the subject but I don't know if that exists.

I had a friend who's mum was really toxic, but she would defend her mum to anyone criticising her, as she as the only mum she had IYSWIM? It was only in her mid-twenties that she began to see just how toxic her mum was and to start to move away. Any earlier and any mention of toxic parenting would have really pissed her off.

janelikesjam Wed 12-Dec-12 11:57:37

Just seen Provincial's post, I think that is what I am trying to say ...

janelikesjam Wed 12-Dec-12 11:56:46

I think showing her love and being supportive to her is the nicest thing you could do and you do sound really lovely.

You could ask her if she had thought about reading some books on her family situation as it might help?

But I think buying her one out of the blue might be a tad tricky and open to misinterpretation...

CatchingMockingbirds Wed 12-Dec-12 11:55:33

Have you seen it first hand or are you going by what she's told you?

TheProvincialLady Wed 12-Dec-12 11:52:07

Be careful about wading in with Toxic Parent type books just now. She might not be ready to process that yet, however true it is, and could resent you for criticising her mother (even if she herself is critical). How much have you talked to her about their family dynamic? You could suggest that there are books out there for people who feel their families are dysfunctional and see what she says, and let her know that there is free counselling available on the NHS.

BerryChristmas Wed 12-Dec-12 11:48:34

It never occurred to me that her mother could be narcissistic kiwi - she is a 'dowdy' woman (doesn't give a toss about her appearance) who has never worked, has no friends, and hates her husband (although she won't leave him).

But I will investigate the first book - thank you.

helpyourself Wed 12-Dec-12 11:47:04

The trouble with giving her one of the books listed upthread is that if her family found out, it would worsen an already tricky relationship. It sounds as if you have a great rapport with her- when she talks about her family could you reassure her that you'll be there for her whatever- that although you only know her as your son's girlfriend you like her and hope always to have a relationship with her, in her own right?

dequoisagitil Wed 12-Dec-12 11:45:38

Have a look at the 'Stately Homes' thread - the opening post (and rest) have useful links & book suggestions as well as supporting those with toxic parents.

kiwigirl42 Wed 12-Dec-12 11:41:45

You sound like a wonderful MIL (almost). I have similar issues due to my upbringing and my MIL understands why I don't join in sometimes etc. There is a book about Emotionally Absent Mothers which has good reviews and this one. There is also a good website for daughters of Narcissistic Mothers if you search google

BerryChristmas Wed 12-Dec-12 11:35:55

My DS has a wonderful girlfriend and we love her to bits.

However, she really is the Cinderella of her own family (except she only has one Ugly Sister, not 2!). She does so much, so willingly, for her parents and grandparents but NOTHING she does is right.

Her mother has openly admitted that she never wanted children, and my DSs girlfriend has never been allowed to forget that fact. She was not brought up in poverty (just the opposite) but emotionally so much has been lacking. However, she tries to remain upbeat.

She is quite overwhelmed by the love that is shown in our family to each other and, although she is now included in that, she still struggles with her understanding of her own family and the way they treat her.

Does anyone know of any books that I can get her that can help her understand and come to terms with how she has been brought up, please?

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