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Please advise me how to sort this out (relative related)(7 Posts)
Hi there, I am, and always have been, very close to an Aunt of mine. I'm 30: she is almost 60. She was never able to have children and my Mum, to her great credit, allowed her sister to develop a very close bond with me. So far, so great. My children even refer to my Aunt by a special name, and she has a special role in their lives.
However, over the past few years, my Aunt seems to have really aged, mentally, IYSWIM. It's as if she finds difficulty in enjoying life. When I was at uni, we used to see eachother once a week and have shopping days in town; we used to have a laugh. But now, she doesn't like going out anywhere, is always in a rush to return home if we do. She gets bogged-down with details of other's business and, well ... I'm just finding it difficult to cope with. This constant dower. (We see her a couple of times a week, on her days off. I'm a SAHM at the moment so it's difficult to 'get out of' this routine. I've thought a break might be good, but don't
know how to instigate it, as she knows my routines).
I'm well aware that the fact she couldn't have a baby is painful for her, to this day. I know that she loves me and my children, but I don't always feel she appreciates
our company. My Mum has approached her about depression, but my Aunt won't do anything about it.
She's very sensitive by nature, so I have to be extremely careful how I approach her about this - even though she can be harshly blunt with me.
The most recent example is that I wanted to take the kids on a day trip to a farm, but my Aunt's response was that it's smelly and would make my elsest dc sick
Any advice, please, because I'm screaming inside.
Something else I meant to add: my Aunt is a massive hypochondriac, not only about her own health, but the health of others.
My eldest dc has been knocked around a bit by winter bugs since February; one illness after the other. But now my Aunt keeps nagging me to get her blood tested because she thinks my dc looks pale, skinny and doesn't eat much (we all have fair skin, my dc is the perfect weight for her height and she hasn't been eating much whilst she was poorly. Her appetite is back now).
Just another thing that is driving me nuts.
Although you have a routine, as your dc get older your routine changes, ie you go to the park more, play dates more, later bed etc etc, so you can explain you can't see her as much due to activities for the dc.
She might not want you over all the time- some people don't like small children, noise, sticky fingers, interrupting etc, so could she come to you and then she can control when she leaves? Does she have a full life?
You still took your dc to the farm and had a great day didnt you? You didn't stop at home because of her opinion? They are your and your dh dc to make decisions about, not her. I can understand you feeling sorry for her as she hasn't had dc, but does she ask for pity and want to make decisions?
It sounds to me as though you need to back off a bit with discussing all your family stuff with her, and re your dc and being skinny, just say breezily, " doc says he's fine, so lets talk about something else" and keep repeating it til she stops interfering ( and you letting her)
Lavender, I'm sorry to say that she does not have a full life. She works 3 days per week, has 4 off: sees us for 2 of those days and does housework for the others. She used to have a very active social life - up to about 2005. Then it's just gone downhill, hence my DM thinking she might be depressed.
As far as I can see, I don't think my dc's annoy her, but perhaps this is something she keeps to herself. My youngest is a mucky little pup, so maybe this might get on her nerves somewhat. She comes to my house usually 1day per week and I guarantee she always stays til 4:30.
We are going to the farm this week. I'm not going to let her stop that. Quite honestly, she expects
pity compassion and also expects to be involved in certain decisions, which I am finding increasingy infuriating. My DM sometimes agrees with me, but most times defends her with reasons why she is like she is and why I should bend (she has no children, she was the youngest child in their family, she's sensitive, etc).
I agree about not talking to her about personal things to do with the kids, although this will be difficult because my DM talks to her about it, too. I often have the same conversation twice: once with each of them, so I know they've discussed things, usually to try and sway me to do something (such a take eldest for a blood test.)
It happened last Friday. I'd literally just arrived at her house and she point-blank said my dc needed to see the dr: "Why dont you just TAKE her?!" Making me doubt my reasons why I think she's okay, making me feel like I might be missing something - you know, are my Aunt/DM seeing something I'm not? (I know they're most likely overreacting, but this is how I sometimes feel).
It's overfamiliarity, I suppose. I'm getting very tired - and starting to feel angry and upset recently - about it. I feel like I dot want to see her sometimes; the day is so predictable. I feel like I can't just pick and go because she knows where I'll be going.
Could you try not running everything past your dm as well? Just don't discuss what you plan to do so its not a topic for them to have an opinion on or sway you?
This might means spending less time with them depending on how strong you are with changing the subject. Or saying " yes, dh wants to discuss it later, I can't be bothered to go on about it now, what are your plans?"
If you have always asked advice and allowed them to decide things for you it will take some work and some time to change your relationship to one of equality not guru and disciple iyswim
This sounds so difficult. It can be tricky navigating unsolicited advice from one parental source, but this sounds like double that. I agree with Lavender, that you may need to not run things past your DM or your Aunt, so pull back from both.
Do you think that, if you did not make any specific arrangements with your Aunt, she would follow your routine and thereby show up where you would be? It doesn't sound like the relationship has any voluntary aspect to it if that is the case. It sounds overwhelming and smothering.
Thanks both, I think that there is advice there that I can use. It seems that distance is needed, and for me to put a stop to the smothering/control.
I don't have much time to answer now so will provide a more detailed answer tomorrow, but yes, purr my Aunt would follow me up to where she expects I'd be. Or, she'd text to tell me she will be coming over at a usual time.
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