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Horrible negative comments from family

(56 Posts)
TwoFourSixOhOne Wed 08-May-13 08:12:56

I've namechanged but some of you may recognise some of this as it's nothing new. I just need to get it out and get some advice or even just some hairstroking because it's making me feel utterly wretched.

My mother and my sister seem to think they can just say anything they like to me, and they seem to rejoice in saying the most awful things.

What's kicked it off today for me is that I was away seeing friends this weekend, my mum phoned last night and did a 'how are the poor children' concerned question, I said, 'they're fine, had a lovely weekend with DH, did lots of fun stuff, I had a lovely weekend too, thanks for asking, it's a shame my friends live so far away and I can't see them more often'.

My mum repiled with, 'yes, you can't just abandon your family like that for a whole weekend again, especially on a Bank Holiday. It's not fair on anybody'.


She was then really dismissive of anything else I said, just kept repeating that it was a terrible thing to have done, and I got off the phone and just cried.

I am around my children pretty much 24/7, by the way, I work from home and rarely have nights out (maybe three times a year). Not that I shoudl need to justify it, of course, but it was such an unfair and spiteful thing to say.

I was given a gift while I was away, something very beautiful and personal that my incredibly talented friend had made for me, and my sister phoned to tell me she didn't like it. Nothing else, just 'I saw the photo of it on FB and I have to say I really dont' like it'.

Well, no, you dont' 'have to say' that at all. No one has to say they dont' like something. I defended it, and myself, but then again got off the phone and just sobbed.

It's fairly constant. 'Your wallpaper's peeling there', 'Ooooh that's a hideous spot', 'Have you lost weight, you look really gaunt', 'You've put weight on, you need to diet'.

Then there's the more things like how I parent, or it's no surprise DD has the issues she has, or 'funny' jokes about my house being a candidate for How Clean Is Your House.

Whenever I decorate or move furniture around or put up a new picture, they come to my house and slag it off. It's like a complusion. When I decorated my bathroom my mum SNORTED at me and said, 'what's the point, you won't keep it tidy'. My house is fine and normal by the way, both Mum and sister live in minimalist white boxes.

I would never say anything negative to either of them. My sister is actually quite needy in that respect and takes criticism terribly: my mum once mentioned that she looked a bit porky and she went on a crash diet and lost two stone straight away. Mum never usually makes digs like that to her, it was a one off and she hasn't repeated it.

My mum has an awful relationship with her Dad, and is always telling me about the horrible digs and nasty things he says, she just doesn't seem to make the connection between that and how she treats me.

Any time I've brought any of this up, it's laughed off. I'm accused of beingt oversensitive and that they 'only say things out of concern' or that 'Oh it's just what I'm like, ignore me'.

I am just completely out of energy for it. I don't know how to process what they say, because it DOES get to me, and I do take it to heart despite knowing I shouldn't.

Cutting them out is not an option, they both live a few doors away and
the benefits of having them in our lives still, just, outweigh the nasty digs. But I am exhausted and so sad.

Thanks for reading, I know this is a bit epic.

schobe Wed 08-May-13 13:47:35

"the benefits of having them in our lives still, just, outweigh the nasty digs."

I'm just not sure about this. I do remember other threads about them and I'm very glad you won't be CM to your nieces soon, but I would imagine your relationship with them is something you're worried about if you distance yourself a bit?

It may be a good thing if your DS is with a different CM. I can just imagine all the times your CM Dsis would be pressured into letting you down in favour of something your Dsis has demanded for her kids. It would just be another channel through which to control you and belittle you.

kittyfishersknickers2 Wed 08-May-13 13:48:25

This is a really immature response but it works excellently.

Whenever someone says something ridiculous, just reply 'nyeh nyeh nyeh-nyeh nyeeeh' in the exact tone and rhythm they've just used in their sentence. It is really irritating to the other person and implies clearly that you think they're a fuckwit without you even having to say it. And yes, I got this trick from Kevin in 'We Need To Talk About Kevin'.

Alternatively, sarcasm is always a winner: 'Oh my God, you don't like my sofa? SHIT THE BED, I am so glad I am aware of this vital piece of information. I'll put it on freecycle this afternoon'. And then sort of snigger a bit to yourself.

Or if they say something personally insulting to you, just immediately pick on the most negative aspect of their appearance in return (this takes nerve).

People like this are just bullies, and the most effective way to get them to stop is to return the offensive. They are doing it to feel superior to you and this is the way to stop them.

I personally would just not bother having contact with them. Why should you have to put up with this kind of shit?

fuzzywuzzy Wed 08-May-13 13:49:09

Pull strings with your nicer sister, cry at her and tell her you can't afford as much as witch sister clearly can.

I'd also stop taking care of witch sisters kids as of now on the grounds you have to find your own childcare which clearly will take time.

Make sure you have back up childcare for your children as I'm not entirely convinced your nice sister has the stamina to hold off your mother and other sisters influence.

How old are your children, if school aged, can you make an arrangement with another school mum to drop off kids in the mroning and she picks up in the evening?

After school clubs/nursery?

Any friends who will help out?

I'd totally cut mother and other sister out.

don't let them in your house, screen phone calls and dont answer them. If they ask shrug and be vague and dont apologise about anything.
I do that, if the person I dont want to speak with finds me anyway and demands to knwo why I wasnt answering my phone I reply, I didn't want to answer my phone/I was busy etc.

Stop caring what they think, put yourself first and decide what you want and then go for it, they don't care about riding roughshod over you and yours, screw them.

MadBusLady Wed 08-May-13 13:53:28

"You're being over-sensitive" gives me the rage.

The correct response is "No, my responses are normal, I know this because nobody else in the world except you two makes me 'over-sensitive'. You're both just fucking horrible and need to take a look at yourselves."

Or as much of that as you can manage. smile I don't know what else to suggest really. The trouble with doing the sarcastic etc replies is that they sound like they could out-nasty anyone.

TwoFourSixOhOne Wed 08-May-13 13:56:36

I've just worked out the figures based on my CM friend having DS2 instead , she was already going to have my older two before and after school and I'm fairly confident she'll have space. It works out to leave us £500 for food, petrol, fun, instead of the already tight £700 it would have been. But, do you know what? That's a fortune, and will be worth it to not have them all involved.

Otherwise I'm just swapping the stresses of CMing for family for the stresses of hving a family CM. Plus it means only one drop off/pick up.

See, a problem shared is indeed a problem halved. Thanks so much thanks

Charbon Wed 08-May-13 13:57:01

Personally, I would strongly discourage your own children having too much exposure to these attitudes, so if you and your partner can find an alternative childcare option, I'd recommend it.

I'd also encourage you to project a few years on and think about how younger women in the family will experience this. Your own daughters and daughter-in-laws. Your sons and their views about women. Your children's experience of sibling relationships and mother-daughter dynamics.

Distance and self-containment is really the best option, even if total detachment is not desired. Plus lots of counter-influences and attitudes from other adults such as your nuclear family friends, godparents etc.

MadBusLady Wed 08-May-13 14:04:54

Another low-effort thing, you could start sweetly saying "Sorry, I can't remember" when they start questioning you about your activities, because then they haven't got anything to get their teeth into. It'll obviously be a ridiculous lie, but what are they going to do?

Smellslikecatspee Wed 08-May-13 14:07:13

For a start what the fuck is it to do with them where you go and what you do????

Your children were safe and happy with their Dad. I mean fair enough if you'd pulled some randomer in off the street and said you'd be gone and hour and came home 4 days later. . . .

You really need to disengage from these people.

If at all possible don't use any family for your childcare, no offence to your nice sister, but the others will poke and niggle and still find fault.

You'll be constantly stressed and you don't need that in a new job.

And then as nicely as possible you need to toughen up a bit flowers they pick on you because you get upset and give in. I dont mean to blame you, they shouldnt treat you like this but they do.

You have 3 choices, carry on, cut them off or start pushing back.

You sound like a nice person, you don't have to be mean with it. Just be busy when they call, dont invite them around for a while and if they're the type that just turn up, well carry on what ever you were doing or remember somewhere you need to be.

Or play 'insult' bingo, its always good for the soul. . .

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 08-May-13 14:12:48

What Charbon wrote in her earlier post to you.

This is really about power and control - your sister has become a carbon copy of her own toxic mother.

These people are toxic and the only way forward for you ultimately is to stop taking part in their sick toxic power games. They know very well what buttons to press, they enjoy doing so. You really need to disengage both mentally and physically. This dynamic as well has likely been going on for years; you keep coming back in the forlorn hopes they will change. Such people do not change.

Note too that these people have never apologised for their actions nor even take any responsibility for same.

You need to adopt a different tack now because what you have tried to date has not worked.

RabbitsarenotHares Wed 08-May-13 14:51:25

Sounds like my family, OP. My counsellor was horrified when I told her about a recent incident with my mother. I'd just come back from a holiday abroad during which I'd met up with a penfriend I've had for the last two years. It was the first time we'd met face to face and I was telling my young god-daughter how much my penfriend had enjoyed meeting me. My mother turned to my gd and said "Well there must be something very much wrong with her then!". This confused my gd who loves me to bits, and upset me (not the first time she's said things like that), and for once I pulled my mother up on it. In response she got upset, and told me she "didn't mean it". So why say it?????

Over the years she's constantly told me that any bloke who wanted me would have to be mad, and that my future spouse doesn't know how lucky he currently is having not met me yet. She criticises my weight, but would never dare say anything to my sister (who is obese, I'm not even overweight). As a teenager she'd tell me I smelt when my period was on (I didn't) and then moan that I changed my ST so often. Any pet I've had since moving out from hers she's told me I shouldn't get as I couldn't look after it (despite having grown up with animals, and being more than capable). I could go on.

My sister is different, but similar. She wants my friends, and when they refuse to co-operate she slags them off. My mother is allowed to give me nothing of hers, my sister has to have it. She throws tantrums when she doesn't get her own way (she's in her 40s, not a toddler).

So, I have no advice, but know what you're going through. I'll be reading this thread for help.

Cabrinha Wed 08-May-13 15:05:58

You can't change them, so you have to change your response to them. The poster who mentioned having a bet in what they'll criticise? This REALLY works! I'm actually disappointed now if my dad doesn't lead with a criticism!
It gets easier the more you actively practise it - but you have to stop caring what they say /think.
Well done on the CM!

Lavenderhoney Wed 08-May-13 15:33:33

Your dh must be a saint! - have you thought of moving, as having them in your lives doesn't sound much benefit. Having family close is great if they are nice, not so if they are destructive emotionally. Personally I would look at moving, or a plan to, just to gain some distance and have the ability to have friends round without fear of judgement and to have some privacy to raise your family and conduct your life with your dh as you see fit.

Great you have a solution for your dc- I wouldn't discuss it with them as its just ammunition for them. In fact, anything you do is judged and discussed at your and your dh detriment. You have to stop telling them your business, and reduce time with them.

It's no good thinking they are going to suddenly be the extended family you wish for, and sacrifice you, your dh and your dc on the altar of family ties. I did it for years and have broken free some years ago now. I feel sad occasionally, but the memories keep me strong.

My dsis used to be like this, to some extent, and always gave a little laugh "no" and a smirk when I said " did you mean to be so rude?" So I just skipped that bit and went straight to " what a horrible thing to say! I have to go now, I can see it won't end well"

And my dm and df - bit of straight talking " if you speak to me like that again you won't see me again. So please keep quiet if you can't be pleasant- I'd rather you cancelled than invited your vitriol into my house"

But of huffing and exchanging glances then they were ok. If they had left in high dudgeon that would have been ok too.

Then I made tea and discussed the gardensmile

Salbertina Wed 08-May-13 16:29:22

Feel for you, Op. its tough going but i really agree with Chardon about looking to yourself first- only one you can change! And be super-vigilant of own behaviour w other women, with dc etc etc . It tends to be intergenerational ("they were fucked up in their turn" and all that) so worth trying to break the cycle- as I'm sure you are! Am similar with v difficult dm and copycat golden dsis...aargh. Am Trying to move away from labelling them toxic as they're also the creatures of their upbringing. Sigh.
Good luck!

AdoraBell Wed 08-May-13 16:49:37

I haven't read your other threads, but it seems to me that there is no real benefit to continuing with these relationships, never mind benefits that outway the stress. Plus, your DS will be better off with another CM simply because he will not witness the person who looks after him while Mummy works slagging his mum off and causing her distress.

What does DH feel about the situation with your mother and sister? You mentioned getting into debt while on your starting salary, would that be life changing debt or a manageable amount? Talk it over with DH, find an unrelated CM and look at the numbers. You may need a CM, but you don't need these people.

Lavenderhoney Wed 08-May-13 19:48:00

I also suggest, if you can, to sort out the finances and arrange your life whilst not remembering and saying" omg what will they say/ do when they find out"

They are taking up too much headspace iyswim, and it helps to put the awful comments away, so they don't upset you and distract you from normal conversations with your dh and other friends - it's just practice.

It helped me, as dh was supportive but felt going over things endlessly wasnt helping. It's ok to vent on here thoughsmile

Hissy Wed 08-May-13 19:56:22

My love, you (and your CM sister) sound like you are in an abusive relationship with your other sister and your DM.

Make it your goal in life to end the current over involvement in your life, and ultimately? MOVE away.

These people are VILE. Narcissists by the sounds of it tbh

DrHolmes Wed 08-May-13 20:30:29

Sounds like they are jealous of you and put you down to make themselves feel better.

Why would you need to lie about an extra night away? They are idiots and think they caught you out when infact they know nothing.

I would distance myself if I were you. You don't need them but they need you to make themselves feel good.
I got angry for you when you wrote about your sister saying she wanted to use your other sister for CM meaning you can't. I'd have said "tough shit!"

Could you just ask your nice sister to do your CM for when you are on the lower wage for a wee while and then agree to get another? Tell your nice sister to prove your nasty sister and mother wrong.

thermalsinapril Wed 08-May-13 20:35:20

For ideas on how to stand up for yourself without getting drawn into the negative stuff, I'd recommend an assertiveness book such as "A Woman in Your Own Right" by Anne Dickson.

cjel Wed 08-May-13 21:04:16

Sooo pleased you've decide to go elswher for childcare hopefully the start of becoming moe independant from them Be proactive more and you'll find you aren't etting so stressed by them because you are not having so much to do witht he. Time to look after youself now!!!

LilyAmaryllis Wed 08-May-13 22:27:18

That's a great decision to go with the other childminder. Well done you. I'm sorry that your DM and DSis's have been cruel and heartless.

Limelight Wed 08-May-13 22:44:37

OP you're getting great advice so I'm not going to butt in. Just wanted to say have you read Persuasion? I suspect you'd find some synergies in the Eliot family.

Probably completely inappropriate but it's been my overwhelming feeling as I read your thread.

And you know, fuck'em. You're clearly dead nice and they are massive twatfaces.

topsyandturvy Thu 09-May-13 10:00:10

I know this is no help with your dreadful family, but have you looked into child tax credit or whatever it is called, the payment which helps to offset the cost of childcare? Also many/most employers used to offer the inland revenue scheme (is it still going?) where you have money deducted from your gross salary which is used net against child minding costs, which basically reduces your bill by around 20%. Maybe someone with more up to date info could post for you as I havent used these things for a couple of years

topsyandturvy Thu 09-May-13 10:00:43

also I think you should nurture your relationship with your nice sister, this will make you feel good about yourself and more secure in who you are

Salbertina Thu 09-May-13 10:03:48

Topsy- thats excellent advice oh for my own "nice sister", just got the one jealous, narcissistic version

Think earlier post was suggesting employer childcare vouchers.

DontmindifIdo Thu 09-May-13 10:20:16

i would stop offering information about my life and start cutting them out, being too busy for them (and feel free to drop bitch sister in it for childcard ASAP)

Otherwise, think in advance what they are going to pick on and think of ways to turn it round as an insult, so you going away for a weekend from your mum could have been dealt with a "really, would Dad not have coped looking after us for a few days so you could have a break? Wow, I didn't really remember him being a shit father, it's so great how DH is with the children, he's a proper partner. I do feel sorry for the sort of woman who've married a man who thinks having children means a woman should give up her own life. It's so sad as well that so many woman have nothing else in their lives than work and kids, they tend to be bitter and dull."

Your decoration, don't tell them about it, don't show them, if they do come round and see it, and insult say "well gosh we do have different tastes, I'd hate to live in a house that's all plain, it just seems like people with houses that lack personality have rubbish personalities themselves. Your house is quite plain isn't it?"

But generally, just cut them out. Be unavailable see nice sister, screen calls for bitch sister and mother, send texts if you see you've got a voicemail.

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