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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.

DontmindifIdo Thu 09-May-13 12:01:59

I do think that limiting their access to your life (so not doing their childcare, not using others for childcare), not telling them about things going on in your life, if you're going away or buying a new sofa or redoing your bathroom, or changing jobs etc will help.

It's hard to not tell 'difficult' parents things when you've been trained to seek their approval (I know, been there) but it does really help. Limiting information and limiting access to you. I only present stuff to my mum and dad as 'done deal' because they would always have an opinion, and even if it was something they would approve of, I realised by including them in discussions beforehand gave them the impression they had a right to make the choice (not just influence my choice, for them to make it and me to be told anything else was wrong). So making the right choice was also wrong because it made them think what they thought matters more than what I wanted and that by involving them, and that I still needed them to 'help' me make decisions.

smilingthroughgrittedteeth Thu 09-May-13 10:59:28

My grandmother is like this,

My mum cut her out a long time ago, she will be polite to her at family occasions but that's the extent of their relationship, she is also quite happy to tell her to stop being rude and keep her opinions to herself.

My uncle also refuses to have anything to do with her and won't even come to a family party if she's going to be there.

My aunt sees her once a week and it always ends in tears, she's actually my nans favourite so doesn't get as many insults as everyone else but she's a really sensitive person and the slightest criticism upsets her, she's too nice to cut her out or give as good as she gets unfortunately.

I used to just ignore her and reply to everything she said with "if you say so" but I've been really unwell in the past year and have just discovered that I may have a problem with my kidneys, it's made me less tolerant with her and last time I spoke to her she spent 25mins shouting at me for not ringing her after I'd had surgery to tell her how I was. I hung up on her and refused to talk to her for 3 weeks, dp answered the phone and just told her straight that I have enough crap to deal with and until she apologized I didn't want to speak to her, she apologized last week so I am talking to her again but she now knows that if she carries on I will cut her out forever.

You sound like my lovely aunt op, if your not willing to cut them out of your life then you need to start being more assertive with them, cut them off mid sentence with a cheery "enough criticism for today thanks" and change the subject, just shrug and say "I suppose your allowed an opinion" or just let them rant on whilst you stare above their heads thinking about something else then when their finished walk towards the kitchen and say "are you done because Im going to put the kettle on I was just thinking I could do with a cup of tea, what was it you were saying I think I drifted off for a bit"

I think your doing the right thing using your cm friend instead of your sister

TwoFourSixOhOne Thu 09-May-13 10:45:33

As ever, thanks so much for all the fab advice. We are planning to use childcare vouchers, one of the issues was that the training wage minus childcare vouchers woudl take me under minimum wage (which means they can't offer them) but my sister was going to charge me less to compensate.

I've made my mind up to use outside childcare now, we won't starve and it'll be worth it to minimise my family's influence on things.

I remember years ago, when we bought a dining room table without going through the usual round of picking one out with everyone's input (seriously). I found it so hard to do, my instincts were all to check with Mum that it was ok. Things are a lot better since then.

DH is very good at telling them off, my mum adores him and will let him tell her to butt out.

We need to move to a bigger house soon and it's unlikely to be in the same road, I think we are going to look at the villages, and move far enough away that they can't pop in unannounced and judge my life.

My sister (toxic one) said yesterday that Mum finds it hard because I live very differently from her. I'm a 33 yo mother of three fgs. Not a teenager.

My sister did everything right, after a blip in her teens, she got a good job straight of of school, met her DH, bought a house, had DC. My life has travelled other paths (I was kicked out 15 which may have something to do with it...) but I have done well for myself in the last seven years or so and now live an incredibly 'normal' life, married, mortgage, middle class pursuits (IYSWIM). Mum can't let go of the image of me as fucked up so she feels entitled to 'guide' me constantly. It's exhausting.

Sorry for brain dump, this is all very helpful thanks

Squitten Thu 09-May-13 10:35:05

Well done for finding a solution to the childcare issues. MUCH better not to have to deal with these people.

You know you don't have to accept all this from them. I know other people have suggested ways to be clever and get your own back but there is another way. Just hang up the phone. Every time your family say something nasty, just put the phone down. You are not obliged to explain yourself, you're not obliged to tolerate it. Just refuse to listen to it.

I suspect that trying to change their attitudes will be an utterly draining waste of time for you and how many more days are you going to waste in tears? Just hang up or walk away as soon as the rubbish starts.

This doesn't have to be your life.

lottieandmia Thu 09-May-13 10:29:03

I haven't read the whole thread but it sounds like you have a toxic family. My parents are the same, and I really sympathise.

I spent years trying to work out why they were behaving the way they did and it was a total waste of my time. Remember that with people like this - it is not about you, it is about THEM and their insecurities and what toxic parents do is to use their children as a dumping ground for all their unresolved issues in their lives.

As others have said, you have to try to get to a place where you no longer care what they say or what they think. It is the only way. You will not be able to change them, but you can change the way you react.

It is easier said than done - I think I've managed to get some distance via therapy.

DontmindifIdo Thu 09-May-13 10:20:59

oh yes and check childcare vouchers for both you and DH claiming them.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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!!!

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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!

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

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!

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.

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.

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. . .

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?

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