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Are my DC bullying me or am I too sensitive?

(29 Posts)
KouignAmann Sat 12-Apr-14 16:34:41

I have just got back from a lovely holiday abroad.
I paid for 2 of my DC, my DP and his 3 DC to go on a weeks break to get to know each other a little better as we are buying a house together this year.
All are adults! The oldest are earning and support themselves.
We had a lovely week of sport and sunshine and I cooked and cleaned and DP and I paid for meals out as well as all activities. The DC did washing up. It was a good week overall and we did feel like a family.

My DD22 was a brat at times. She criticised my tea-making, my jokes, complained when we got lost and DP was map-reading, tutted and sighed at me and made me feel like shit. It reminded me of her DF and why I left him.

DS19 wanted banter. This meant pretending to push me down steps "for a laugh" and joking unkindly until I felt like crying. When I asked him not to speak to me like that he said I was too sensitive.

Incidentally the DC got on very well with DP and with his DS23 and DS17 but not his DD21. And by the end of the week DS had plenty of banter with the boys.

Please tell me - should I just accept this was a bit of boundary testing in a new and weird blended family and I was too easily upset? Or are my DC treating me the way my ExH did and I need to draw a line? I am feeling a bit raw right now.

CailinDana Sat 12-Apr-14 16:40:39

Your DC are adults. The time for "boundary testing" is long past. Time for a srious chat with them I think.

Lilaclily Sat 12-Apr-14 16:43:34

That's awful behaviour
My extended family do this too - ie my brother, take the piss out of me to make others laugh

KouignAmann Sat 12-Apr-14 16:44:57

Since I left their DF and the family home four years ago they haven't lived with me so I was quite anxious for it all to go well. I think some of this was just normal hurly burly family life and I should have bawled them out for being brats but I didn't want to spoil things. I need to stand up for myself and stop being a doormat don't I?

AtrociousCircumstance Sat 12-Apr-14 16:45:18

Your DC seem to be treating you as your ex would have. In some sort of weird attempt to make the new family structure feel familiar perhaps? And/or express their more negative feelings about the blend?

Whatever the motivation it is not ok and they need to know it isn't.

You're not being over-sensitive. This cannot be allowed to become the norm.

KouignAmann Sat 12-Apr-14 16:55:50

Yes Cailin I will reflect back to them when I have sorted my head out.
And Lilac I am sorry you get it too. "Banter" isn't funny when you are the butt of it.
Thanks Atrocious I think you have it right. Luckily DP is a placid and easy going soul who can stop bad behaviour from DC with a friendly word usually. And I get on fine with all his DC even if they have to be prodded with a stick to help out like most youngsters!

It isn't a huge issue as most of the DC will be living and working away from us, but I don't want Christmas and holidays to be battering occasions for me. They need to show a bit more respect!

Roussette Sat 12-Apr-14 16:59:30

I would imagine that your DC were showing off in front of your partner's DC's. That's what kids do - they like to come across as cool in front of others. I am often the butt of my DC's humour but in a loving sort of way and I shrug it off (I'm not saying you're sensitive, but this is just my take on it)

KouignAmann Sat 12-Apr-14 17:07:55

Yes Roussette definitely true of DS who likes to lark about. And I did manage to return some of it too.
But DD was being a stroppy princess at times. If she was 7 or 14 I would have read her the riot act but didn't feel comfortable. Oh dear. Sometimes I don't like her very much sad even if I love her lots!

KouignAmann Sat 12-Apr-14 17:11:33

And there is a whiny bit of me saying "look how you treat me after all I have done for you!" that isn't very appealing either.

Logg1e Sat 12-Apr-14 17:14:24

I can't stand this new use of the word banter. Growing up, "banter" was an exchange of quips, ribbing and shared jokes between people familiar with each other. It kind of cemented the bonds of friendship and was about group norms.

Recently it seems to be just nasty comments which you can't question otherwise you're lacking a sense of humour.

jungletoes Sat 12-Apr-14 17:29:01

I think that if banter upsets the person it's intended for then an apology is in order. We all go to far sometimes, I know I have, and I am very apologetic to anyone I've upset. For me that's the important difference, if you're upset by banter and told "you're being sensitive" then that person cares not that they've upset you. Therefore it's bullying.

Roussette Sat 12-Apr-14 17:32:41

I do know what you mean Kouign. One of my DC's (similar age) was really quite thoughtless last night but there is a tendency there for thoughtless behaviour. I should have spoken out but I was just too tired, it wasn't anything major, and I couldn't be bothered as I know where the conversation would have ended up, probably in an argument. Sometimes kids can be bloody selfish, sometimes we can love them but not like them very much. At other times they make up for the selfish stuff by the bucketload. As long as you get appreciation sometimes too?

<pondering when the last time my DC's were appreciative. Oh yes, I do remember youngest being quite sweet recently. Phew!>

KouignAmann Sat 12-Apr-14 18:07:26

With DD it is "when she is good she is very very good and when she is bad she is horrid!" so one day she will be a grump then the next she will be the life and soul. She has such a strong personality she can light up the room or dampen it with her moods. I have always found her hard work as she is fiendishly intelligent and could out argue me at 3! But underneath I know all my DC really want me to be happy and when they have upset me they make amends and show they care. And they did thank me nicely at the end of the holiday.

Nanny0gg Sat 12-Apr-14 18:11:02

What was the problem with your DP's older DD?

KouignAmann Sat 12-Apr-14 18:28:46

Complete clash of cultures. My DC and DPs DS are interested in sport and exercise and healthy eating and politics and ethical debates. DSD is interested in sunbathing and drinking and shopping and snacking. But it was a holiday and for all of them to choose how to spend their time and money.

KouignAmann Sat 12-Apr-14 18:34:35

I like her by the way - she is funny and not as intense as the rest and laughs at herself. She couldn't understand why my DD was so stressy! I think the family mixture is quite a balanced one now.

Six kids! How did that happen... <<reaches for wine >>

badbaldingballerina123 Sat 12-Apr-14 19:58:45

I have this a lot and its not nice. The trouble is when they're grown up , and don't live with you, you don't really have any authority over them anymore. Plus your reluctant to spoil the visit / day out by raising it.

I don't like the word banter. I think it's piss take , sly digs , and jokes at someone's expense along with showing off. Sadly I can imagine in time I will simply avoid mine. Not nice though when they remind you of an ex !

Lweji Sat 12-Apr-14 20:37:31

are my DC treating me the way my ExH did and I need to draw a line?

I think this. sad

You do need to tell them that you won't accept such behaviour. And accept no excuses.

wyrdyBird Sat 12-Apr-14 20:56:56

I agree with Lweji.

This isn't normal burly burly of family life, and your DC are far too old to be brats.

My DD22 ...criticised my tea-making, my jokes, complained when we got lost and DP was map-reading, tutted and sighed at me and made me feel like shit.

DS19 ......pretending to push me down steps "for a laugh" and joking unkindly until I felt like crying. When I asked him not to speak to me like that he said I was too sensitive.

If you were talking about a partner, I would tell you he is abusive.

I might be able to get past tutting and sighing in a teenager, but your DD is too old for that, and she's hurting your feelings. Tell her to stop.

Your DS needs stronger intervention. Pushing people near stairs is dangerous. He knows that: he's not a child. Cruel 'jokes' that make you want to cry aren't jokes, just bullying.

Please, tell them never to repeat these behaviours - or else. Tell them to show more respect, and respect yourself too. Don't minimise or normalise bullying, for the sake of your health and wellbeing, and for the sake of other people in their lives.

KouignAmann Sat 12-Apr-14 21:00:41

Yes I need to spell out what is unacceptable when I find the right moment.

After all they have their EA dad as a role model and he has convinced them I am to blame for everything and I suspect undermined me.

RandomMess Sat 12-Apr-14 21:03:45

Perhaps practice some good humoured one liners to say back?

To your DD in particular "blimey to you always criticise everything?" Tease her about her brattish behaviour and if that doesn't work a calm "there is no need to be so unkind to me"

Your DS I would find very hard to cope with but perhaps "that is hurting my feelings" if he retaliates with you being too sensitive then a simple "perhaps I am but I've told you how it's making me feel so please show me some sensitivity"

They aren't going to learn to behave better towards you unless you name it and tell them it's not ok.

KouignAmann Sat 12-Apr-14 22:48:22

Wyrdy I know you are probably right although I have been trying to ignore the signs. My DC have adopted some EA behaviour learned from their DF I think. I have left that relationship but there is still a job to be done.
And random thanks those are good suggestions I will try.
Time to put my big mummy pants on and sort my babies out!

wyrdyBird Sat 12-Apr-14 23:22:58

I'm sure they did learn it from their father, and I'm really sorry you've been left with the fallout from his EA.
Sorry too if my post seemed bossy. I'm upset on your behalf!
Good luck with the big mummy pants brew

Hissy Sun 13-Apr-14 10:09:34

Were they living with him when you left?

Did you post about it at the time? It rings a bell.

If they stayed with him, then of course he's tainted them with his abusive traits.

All's that's needed is you to draw a line, remind them that you left their father for this kind of treatment and that you won't allow this kind of behaviour in your life.

Remind them that as your ExH was dumped for being abusive, so will they be by their partners so if they sort it out now, learn how to be kind and choose to treat those they love with respect, there's a chance they'll not repeat his mistakes.

Behaviour is a choice. They choose how they behave, you choose if you accept it or not.

You can always state that you paid for the holiday this time, but wouldn't again if that's what it ends up as, any more than you would be throwing lavish Christmases or similar.

Be very clear on your boundaries. They are non-negotiable.

Lweji Sun 13-Apr-14 11:15:34

You have to consider that this is probably how he has treated them all these years. sad

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