Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
My fecking family(25 Posts)
My mother (75) looks after my sisters kids (8 and 12) before and after school in my sister's house which is 2 minutes walk from the school. My Ds is in P1 and he likes to walk over with his cousins and his granny after school to play for a bit. My Dneice (8) has been playing up for the last 3 or 4 months on and off and basically bullying him, being cheeky to me, telling us it's her house and we have to leave. So we cut it down to once or twice a week. My mother won't tell her off and we have to go usually with DS in tears.
The problem is compounded by the fact my sister and her husband are quite difficult people-they never believe their kids are to blame in anyway shape or form. I am in the position where there is only so much I can say to Dneice as my mother thinks (probably rightly) that my sister would totally overreact and ban us from the house. Dneice doesn't pay any attention to me anyway as she gets her attitude that we are all a waste of space from her parents. Thing is I don't want to be in their house but that's where DS's granny is.
Anyway it all kicked off again last week after we'd been there for about 5 minutes as Dneice threw a strop and took it out on DS. It has ended up with my mother telling me that DS is not welcome there anymore as it's dneices house and it is normal that she can't be expected to get on with her cousin for 10 minutes and it's not my mother's role to discipline her grandchildren. This is the only time DS gets to see his granny and so I said if she was going to be so pathetic maybe we could all go to her house once a week instead which is 4 minutes walk in the the other direction.- Apparently this isn't fair on Dneice and her brother as they would prefer to be in their own house. It is totally ridiculous. So now DS won't see his granny at all. She is behaving like nothing has happened and I am being unreasonable.
6 years ago my sister moved my mother here from the town she had lived in all her life to look after her kids (now 8 and 11). I was very much against it as I knew that my mother would end up relying on us for everything but it was a done deal before they even told me. After my father died 20 years ago my sister basically abandoned my mother to me despite the fact my mother and I didn't get on at all. My mother has played the martyr ever since.
In 6 years here she hasn't made a single friend and refuses point blank to join anything or meet people despite me finding things for her to do and offering to take her. I used to live about 40 minutes away but the first 2 years of my sons life were such a nightmare of phonecalls telling me how lonely she was and how I was keeping him from her and I ended up travelling over every weekend because my sister wouldn't help her that in the end I moved closer figuring that at least I would get some babysitting.
I have ended up doing everything. My sister doesn't see or or talk to her most days and never at the weekend unless she wants babysitting. She didn't even remember her birthday until I told my nephew to tell her. I on the other hand because I only work 2 days a week she expects to be taken out most days and then at the weekend phones me at least twice a day with sob stories about how she hasn't spoken to anyone. I do all the hospital visits and dental appointments and shopping trips (she doesn't drive). If I don't answer the phone she phones my mobile repeatedly.
I feel like giving up on them all. I wish I'd never moved here- it was always a risk but I have made a good life for myself here and I don't want to move again. I know this is a pattern- I was always the weak one who she picked on and guilted all my life. If anything happens to me like illness I'm doing it to ruin her life. Thing was she had been a good granny to DS up to now.
Sorry it's so long.
this sounds like hell...which keeps repeating itself....i think you should try to find a psychotherapist (transactional analysis or systemic) who would help you examine the abusive patterns in your relationships....it looks to me like you are an extremely good person whom i would be very happy to have supporting me!! but its never going to be enough for your sister or mother....its not you!
It sounds grim.
Could you take a break for a while? Give yourself a month when you just say you are too busy, or its not convenient, or tell your mum to ask your sister (in return for all the babysitting).
If a complete break is impossible set some boundaries - like having your mum over once a week so she can see your son, but that's it.
Easier said than done, I know.
Crikey, the situation sounds very enmeshed with some quite unhealthy dynamics...as someone else said its not you! honestly.
That's quite hard to get your head round sometimes though as they're your family..surely it's their job to love you and be good to you! Wrong.
My mum is a good example - she is a complete excuser of my brothers behaviour (he has treated women quite badly a few times), but its NEVER his fault. But she can quite happily rip me to shreads, bless her.
That's great that you've made a good life for yourself there, there's no need to move BUT you need to distance yourself emotionally and start analysing what's going on, then you can modify your behaviour and put boundaries on place so that you're not in a position where they can hurt or get to you.
Letting of any guilt is crucial (what do you have to feel guilty about; you sound lovely), if its deeply ingrained, it's difficult, but you can do it..maybe some counselling could help so you've got a safe place to say what they hell you like? Good luck x
It sounds like you've done an enormous amount for her, but got yourself into a bit of a doormat role. I think some good therapy would help you a lot.
That role is probably decades long in the ingraining so you'll struggle to break it, but it's probably the only way you'll get a more healthy role.
I'm very sorry but it sounds to me like your mother takes you utterly for granted and therefore chooses your sister's side over yours, since she is much more independent and she's at less risk of loosing your sister than she is you.
The only person who can change this dynamic is you. Possibly slowly at first by making it clear there are some things you won't do, start with small things.
Sadly, it does not sound possible to ensure a relatinship between your son and his granny. It can't just come from you, it has to be between them, and she is choosing to make it impossible for him to see her.
That's her choice, no matter how she will dress it up and maybe turn it back on you making it yoru fault. it isn't. It's hers. But you are the one who will have to stand tall and act with self respect and not let her mess you and your son around.
A relationship on any terms, being a doormat, is no good relationship at all. Sorry. You can't teach your son to simply give in to everything your neice says or does, which sounds like the only way you can be sure to still see them ... at least until they take umbrage over something else.
You might have to grieve for what should be a much more respectful, caring relationship btw, but isn't.
Oh thanks for replying everyone. I thought this had got sucked into MN unanswered yesterday and I was feeling a bit sorry for myself. I have basically been ignoring her since last week. I try not to be a doormat and can be quite forthright but she has controlled me with guilt ever since I have been a child and I have been conditioned to do my duty.
You are all right- I need to disentangle myself and let the guilt go.
We have the same problem with DH's parents - his sister is a tantrum throwing narc who has a pathological need to be top dog at our expense. It was much easier to deal with that as I the guilt wasn't so strong for me so ignoring it is much more simple. Though it's a bit shit for Ds who knows he is second best there.
I think that's why DH and I are together. We were the sensible older kids who were quiet and never caused a fuss but are only needed by our families when they want something
I think drawing a line in the sand now is probably the right thing to do as I know when my sister's kids stop needing someone to look after them my sister will just dump her and I will end up with all the burden.
I think you can change the dynamic.
Is there any chance you could talk to your mum about how you feel? Especially around your son wanting to spend time with her.
Enjoy the peace! If you can't go visit your Mum at your sisters due to niece then enjoy the time off?
When you are enjoying some downtime turn your phone off? Invite your Mum over to see your DS but not when you're on your own. Ask your sister to take her to her next appointment that falls on your sisters day off?
You need to stand up to this situation. In your shoes I woud be delighted to be barred from your sisters house!
I have to say this last week has been great- I feel free after the initial upset.
I did try to talk to my mother rationally about the whole issue to try and find a solution and her reply after accusing me of being unreasonable was ' Your father has been dead for 19 years and every single day of that I have been lonely and unhappy and you and your sister made my life a misery before he died and have continued to do it after'. That was the conversation shut down.
OK. So she's not happy. I'm not surprised if she's looking after children for her daughters and with all the effort and trouble its not working out.
This is where I get pissed off with my own mum. Won't tell me what she wants, only oozes disappointment and dissatisfaction. Expects others to resolve issues when in fact she holds all the cards.
Trouble is, some women of this generation have no idea how to get what they want for themselves. They probably worked really hard and put others first. Sadly, society at the time let them make all the sacrifices and gave no thanks.
Its a lot to change a mindset at that age, but maybe worth a try if you can find the right approach?
NMFP It is really hard to change your mindset even when you actually want to do that.
It is impossible to change someone else's mindset.
You're very astute, looking ahead and seeing the scenario when your mum is no longer 'of use' to your sis; followed at some point by mum being the one in need and sis expecting you to step in. I can see why moving away to put some distance between yourselves and avoid that, at the right time for you and your son, over the next few years, might feel excessive
although an option in the circumstances - but shifting the balance now seems like an excellent plan. What a nasty thing for your mum to say.
That's not the worst thing she has said. She told me on more than one occasion she understood people who said they would've preferred one of their children to have died instead of their husband.
I am now spending today trying to avoid my inlaws incessant phonecalls. They rarely see us as they are not much interested in DS and all their family time goes on SIL. (which is probably a blessing)
Their neighbours who are not much older than them have both suddenly got dementia and PIL are now desperately trying to pretend they are interested in seeing DS after all these years as they realise that when their turn comes we are the nearest family. SIL and BIL wouldn't have them. It is so transparent it's laughable.
I'm not sure how DH and I are such saps- even when we get cross they all just ignore us and carry on.
Say clearly that you're not happy with something that you don't like that they want you to do. And then refuse to do it. Stand firm.
Do it as often as necessary until they get the messge. They'll kick and scream but they will in the end.
The worst thing you can do is make it clear you don't want to do something and then do it anyway. Your mum does not respect your wishes even when you state them I suspect; you have to show them by actoins that you expect and insist on being taken seriously
Just had another massive row with her on the phone. She is saying she didn't say any of the stuff, I am rewriting history. Anyway Friday is a weekend day not a week day so he can come then if he wants. I'm keeping her grandson fom her. She is an innocent victim of my mailicious campaign. etc etc.
I stuck to my guns and told her that when she says this sort of stuff it makes me realise what I am doing is the right thing.
turn your phone off for the rest of the day.
sometimes you just need a day off from all the shit.
Thanks. I will. I will have to avoid her at the school gates and then DS and I will go to the cinema to see The Lego Movie (snore).
I would think your Mum, being 75, is totally and utterly exhausted by looking after two children in her daughter's house. At that age, she needs to be in her own home, have necessary peace and quiet when she wants it and not have to put up with bickering daughters. Sorry that sounds harsh but I would imagine she doesn't have the time nor energy to make a life for herself, she is too busy looking after GC and coping with the fact that one of her daughters only speaks to her when she wants babysitting. Awful!
I don't actually bicker with my sister - I have learnt years ago just not to interact much with her in an attempt to keep her happy.
My mother doesn't do anything with her gc- she takes them to school (literally 30 second walk) and picks them up and then it all gets a bit Lord of the Flies until their parents turn up. She just sits there all day unless I take her out. She is fully fit but extremely lazy- she always has been.
She caught me at the school gates and started with the crying- she has always done this ever since I was little to get her own way. I ended up taking DS back to my sisters just to stop the nonsense. (the tears dried up very quickly). Apparently when she said he wasn't allowed there during the week she didn't mean Fridays as that was the weekend (what a load of bollocks). So I have agreed to let him go there for an hour every Friday.
The poor little old lady is the bit she plays but she has been mainipulative and emotionally neglectful all my life so I'm just not buying it.
She has manipulated you again. Why do you want your ds to be around such a nasty person? She implied that she wishes you were dead ffs!
Ds was so pleased to see her and his cousins. I didn't stay around. I came back to pick him up and that's what I'm going to do from now on. She knew she'd gone too far this time and actually she said she was sorry. I also am going to stop being available for her whenever she wants and let my sister do it. This week was a revelation.
I'd tell your mother that Friday is a week day and she knows where you live, should she want to see him or you.
Lets hope your mother realises you are no longer a doormat. Your niece sounds like she is learning from her mother and grandmother in the manipulation stakes.
Well also if your son really wants to go there, tell him to sort out his problems with his cousin by himself.
She caught me at the school gates and started with the crying- she has always done this ever since I was little to get her own way. I ended up taking DS back to my sisters just to stop the nonsense. (the tears dried up very quickly). Apparently when she said he wasn't allowed there during the week she didn't mean Fridays as that was the weekend (what a load of bollocks). So I have agreed to let him go there for an hour every Friday
You've just given in to her again.
Join the discussion
Already registered? Log in with:
Please login first.