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More problems with my cousin - advice needed, please

(9 Posts)
MolotovCocktail Fri 03-May-13 09:34:02

Hi there, I posted last summer (under a different name) about a problem that I was having with my cousin.

Here is the link for that so as to provide detailed information/context and not to repeat myself here: www.mumsnet.com/Talk/relationships/1522114-My-cousin-my-baby-and-me

Things haven't got much better since then and there was another argument last night. I'll briefly explain over the last few months what's gone on in the lead up.

My cousin and I met up in a cafe (neutral territory) at the beginning of last August for her to meet my then 16wk old baby. I was still upset but hid my feelings. We had a nice time but didn't see eachother for a while after. I tried to arrange another meet-up before the kids returned to school, but she couldn't make it.

Anyway, I hadn't heard from her, then out of the blue, in
October, I had a really gushing text saying how she was going to be opening a shop. I had about 5 texts in
one day. The more over the next few days. I was irritated because it's the most I'd heard from her for months and it was all about her. I just couldn't share her excitement.

We usually see one another over Christmas but neither of us got in touch for Xmas '12. My DD2 had bronchiolitis (an RSV infection) just before Xmas, which is past of the reason why I kept away.

Fast forward to March this year and a family party which I made sure I attended. Things were a bit frosty between my cousin and I but we did start talking ... until a friend of hers came over, tapped her on the shoulder and she turned away from me whilst I was in mid-
sentence. I didn't see he for the rest of the night.

That just reinforced what my problem is with her. I always feel that I am secondary to her. I mean, okay, I am, I accept that. But she's so rude and doesn't seem
to know it.

Okay, so within the last few days my DF has had a significant bday. Cousin did not send him a card. My DM called her to ask why not, cousin went around at
8pm to drop a card over and there was an argument between the two of them. Relevant to this, cousin thinks that:
1) I think the world revolves around myself and my kids (It does - maybe her problem is that my world doesn't
revolve around her?)
2) She feels unwelcome at my house (she is very welcome, but usually doesn't accept my invitations. When she does visit, I'm lucky if she stays more than 1/2 an hour)
3) She thinks I 'shirked' at Xmas; that DD2 'just had a cold' (No, bronchiolitis is not just a cold).
4) She's pissed that I haven't visited her at her shop yet.
5) She thinks that I was being 'precious' about being
angry at how long it took her to visit my dd2 last year, when she was newborn. She didn't understand my DM when she said that cousin must then be 'precious' about my not visiting the shop.

It's all getting very tedious, with a 'she said, she did ...' tone. What do I do? I'm not sure what I want from this relationship anymore. I don't think I want to properly fall out, but I don't know how to handle it and happily move
forward. Any advice is welcome.

TIA

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 03-May-13 09:41:25

Distance yourself. Stop caring what she does, says or thinks and get on with your own life, your own friends and your own family. They're what matters. If there's some big extended family event she'll be there but you don't have to do anything other than be polite and pass a few pleasantries. Otherwise, if she thinks she's not welcome in your home, you might as well take advantage and make her perception reality. She's only a cousin. I don't understand the anxiety.

foolonthehill Fri 03-May-13 09:44:17

Suggest Polite distance, no expectations of close relationship, care or concern. keep your emotional energy for those who fill your life with light, love and mutual respect. Try not to care what she thinks, and try not to allow others to get involved...I find the phrase "....xxx and I are just very different people" then move the conversation on covers most things when others try to stick their oar in.

best wishes to you

Iatemyskinnyperson Fri 03-May-13 09:44:49

Your far too invested in this. Why are you getting so upset? Shunt her to the edge of your world, focus on yourself , family & real friends.

TBH you sound a bit too obsessed with her

AllThatGlistens Fri 03-May-13 09:55:23

Oh my word... How old are you both? Honestly, you're wasting a lot of time over something so trivial grin

There's no law that says you have to get on with people just because you're related to them! Distance, distance, distance.....

HotBurrito1 Fri 03-May-13 10:20:22

If you have a friend or family member who lets you down you can only lower your expectations or ditch them. Expect less, take her on her terms and smile when you see her. You don't really have a lot of other options.

Don't get why your mum rang to ask her why she didn't send a card...

DIYapprentice Fri 03-May-13 10:26:12

I'm assuming in this context you have no siblings, and so your cousin is your only 'family' of this generation. Because otherwise I can't really see what the really big deal is about staying close to your cousin. (But then again I have loads of cousin, so only keep in touch with the ones who are truly my friends).

So in effect, I'm guessing she is a bit like an older sister, but any potential fall out wouldn't be quite so bad because you have different, albeit related, parents. So I will base my answers a little on that.

My eldest DSis had a real 'mother' thing going. She felt she had the right to do and say whatever she liked to me. She thought she could tell me what to do, that I should be running to her for advice all the time, etc, etc.

But, like you and your cousin, she and I are very different people. She left home when I was 8 years old, so I never really knew her as a sister that lived with us, but rather just visited.

It is only now, in my 40s, that she has finally pulled her head in. Spent most of my 20s and 30s arguing with or ignoring her (didn't live in the same city, so ignoring was relatively easy). It was only because of my parents that we maintained some sort of contact for many of those years.

Being the older one, she would have been used to being the one in control, being the 'bossy boots'. Things matter if SHE decides they matter.

This may change, it may not.

If you want to keep in contact with her, you need to draw a line under what has happened and decide how you want this relationship to proceed.

Clearly you don't want to be at her beck and call.

Arrange a time for her to come and see you, but make sure it's a time when you won't be inconvenienced if she doesn't come (a day when you could plan a picnic in your own garden, etc). If she cancels, it will then only be mildly annoying rather than aggravating.

Pop past her shop one day when it suits you, but only that, pop past on your way elsewhere, so that she knows you've made a bit of an effort and are thinking of what's important to her, but you will do it in a way that fits in with other things in your life (don't rub it in though!!!). The thing is, running your own business is pretty special. Lots of people have children (she has!), but not a lot of people have their own shops. What she has done actually IS out of the ordinary, and would have taken a lot of guts to do.

If she cuts you off or walks away again when you are mid sentence, just laugh and walk away. It's possible that this is her, and she does it to everyone, not just you.

Also, why shouldn't she prioritise friends? Friends are people you have chosen to have in your life, they have also chosen to have YOU in THEIR lives. That's pretty special, actually. You and she don't have a lot in common by the sounds of it, so please don't get upset that she makes more time for her friends. Quite honestly, I think you should start thinking about prioritising YOUR friends as well (a bit of an assumption here, given that you haven't actually said anything about your own friends!).

Friends are the ones who you help out, and will help you out. I'll bet she has had friends help her set up her shop, and bounce the idea of having a shop with. Why should she prioritise you over them? Let's face it, you HAVEN'T even seen the shop, and certainly didn't know anything about it before hand.

Also, babies are cute, for some people. But even my best friend's DD, I love her, and I do love cuddling her every now and then, but bloody hell I'm happy to hand her back and I'm bloody happy that time of my life is over. Babies are hard work, and I just don't have the energy or, TBH, all that much enthusiasm for them. When your children get older you can forget how overwhelming and consuming those early days/months/years are. It's quite nice to have lunch or a coffee without the input interruption of children and hard to put up with it again when your's are older.

Just accept that the relationship needs to be on a different footing, and try to move on on that basis.

MolotovCocktail Fri 03-May-13 18:38:30

Thanks for your replies, everyone. I think the overwhelming collective opinion is to keep a distance. Really like fools advice about having people in your life who give 'light, love and mutual respect'.

DIY, yes, your assumption about our relationship is pretty spot-on. I explained lots about this in my previous post; essentially, I am an only child, our mothers are sisters. Cousin is 41, I'm 30, she has a 40yr old brother (who I don't see much of).

I grew up thinking that our family was exceptional, in that we were a very close extended family. However, there seem to be issues from both sides that stem back years. In the past, I wanted her to be my 'big sister' but it just hasn't worked out that way. We are very different and I think I'm past wanting that now, tbh. I've been left high and dry by her too many times. I have my DH and DDs, a wonderful DM and
another aunt who I love to bits.

I take your point about her prioritising her friends. I don't have a
problem with it anymore (usedto get quite hurt by it). It's just that when I was in my late teens and 20s, I wanted to be part of her social circle. I thought she was so cool! A couple of her friends are
the same age as me. Also, her youngest child is only a bit older than my eldest and I thought this would have bought us closer, but in reality, it hasn't.

Anyway, yes, she should keep her friends close and I should prioritise my friends. I have actually been developing friendships with some women over the last year or so whose children are in my dd1's class,
and that has helped. I'm not some saddo who sits alone seething about this! I just need a way to move forward and maintain civil terms with. I really do love her, but we just don't seem to know who the other one actually is anymore.

I agree that the shop is a big deal to her. I disagree that 'anyone can have children so it's not as special' (at least I think that's whatthe poor was). My line of thinking doesn't lead me to that conclusion. I have a degree, and a higher degree, which mattered hugely to me - another thing that was met with limited interest by that side of my family. Not really important here, I'm just trying to illustrate that having children isn't the only 'accomplishment' of mine, IYSWIM smile

Thanks again all, lots to think about.

MolotovCocktail Fri 03-May-13 18:41:15

(at least that's what I think the point was) is what that parentheses was supposed to say!

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