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Sibling rivalry and babies(10 Posts)
Hi, I am first time poster, and would like some thoughts/ideas on how to manage this life situation (likely to be long). I am a single parent with a 9 month old, child's father is an alcoholic and unreliable, provides no physical or financial support and better out of the picture. I got pregnant early in the relationship and chose to keep the baby, it's been hard but he is a super awesome little dude and I am so so blessed to have him in my world. I moved back with my parents before he was born and he is securely attached to both his grandparents and me. I have had an up and down relationship with my family and had moved away for work before getting pregnant. My family is warm and loving but also very enmeshed, fairly anxious and passive aggressive at times. I have a great job which I recently returned to after 7 months maternity leave, some good savings now and Hope to buy a small place for me and bubster in the next 12 months. I am.intelligent and hard-working (hAve 2 undergrad degrees and a masters in a challenging subject area) but hAve ongoing anxiety and difficulty regulating emotions which has limited my options at times (currently seeing help for this and know my management strategies well). I am very active and have lots of acquaintances but no really close friends atm, no one who could help with bub at short notice. I am not perfect and am probably overly dependent on my parents sometimes, but I am.generally a kind and generous person and a people pleaser Anyway enough of the backstory. one of my siblings has had ongoing MH issues from a teen (now late 20s), this had a big impact on my teenage years and early adulthood - I felt very responsible for them and largely missed out on socialising/boyfriends etc partly due to chaos at home and need to be available. This person is also very close with my mum in particular and I think they are fairly codependent/mutually needy. Parents have been very supportive of all their kids but this person had some big ticket items bought for them and ongoing focus of attention for many years. They married someone 25 years older than them after a brief relationship, partner has history of drugs and alcohol (was clean and in recovery when they met, now dry but not working a program and is gambker/emotionally abusive. They have a 3 year old, big mortgage and on tight budget. My sibling has been pretty ok for the last 2 years or so and studying part time and working.she was heavily reliant on my parents and other sibling for emotional support, free childcare 4 days a week, staying with my Parents 4-5 night s a week. She has always been fairly competitive and strongwilled and tends to call the shots! there is a family dialogue about her that she is struggling, in crisis , all the time and has been for years. After I got pregnant she was nice about it but a bit flat, and announced 4 months later she was also expecting. Her relationship was very rocky and I don't think her partner wanted another child, she has said that she manipulated the situation to have another (not sure what that means). Her baby is now 5 months old and my parents will look after both babies while we are at work and both My sister's kids one day of the weekend so she can work. She has already had 2 1/2 years of pretty much full-time childcare from my parents as well as holidays, help with their mortgage etc. My other sibling also helps her with emotional support and childcare (but now has a newborn herself). My other sibling didn't contact me or help at all over 7 months of my mat leave after bub was born, forgot to invite me to things, was passive aggressive about my son )(said he looked like a gorilla, was too active etc) and only wanted to talk baby stuff once she was preggers, borrow my baby gear etc. Rant over - I am struggling with jealousy and hurt that my siblings are not supportive and selfishly that my so and my journey into motherhood is being crowded by other babies. I wish that the sibling with the MH issues had not had another.child and that she would stop being so needy when I really need my parents support. I feel like she had another child because she wanted the attention and was worried she would not have all of my parents support without it. I am jealous of the attention her children get and feel compromised when I am.expected to look after her toddler and 5 month old as well as my son. I wish I had more external support and that I didn't feel so triggered and invisible in my family. Thanks for hearing me, would appreciate advice about how to act as an adult around my parents and siblings, not let hurt and jealousy drive my actions and how to be my own best friend/loving parent and strong and fierce advocate for my beautiful little boy.
Gosh op. I don't think I can give you any advice as I'm useless at that kind of thing but I wanted to say how we'l I think your doing! I don't want to sound patronising but you sound very switched on and emotionally astute. You can see you family for what they are and your looking at buying a house next year. That's brilliant and a lot more than many people (me) have achieved. Perhaps you need counselling and work on boundaries??
Wow. You have a razor sharp focus - it was a joy to read your op.
Not very focused myself today but just wanted to say I relate to your story about your neglectful/vying for position siblings. I used to think there wasn't enough love to go around but I'm not sure that's quite the answer...
I agree therapy would be a good step forward. Eg you have all forged relationships with addicts... which suggests it was modelled somewhere in your primary family and you have gone on to replicate it in your adult relationships. That is the first thing that stands out to me and is an indicator of some deep dysfunction at the root of your family.
That said, you wouldn't know my parents are addicts (except they are addicted to each other: nothing left over for their kids) but they are children of addicts. It's not always clear cut. It sounds like you know a bit about addiction though?
My siblings still vie for position, snipe and sneer and are endlessly aggressive, nasty and jealous. Abusive, in short. I am nc with them thank goodness. It is a huge relief to step out of the game.
Therapy will support you as you grieve for the parents and siblings you not only want but need.
I don't mean it was a joy to read the content iyswim!
You've a clear perspective on things but it is just complicated. I'm the invisible one on my family whose role is yo service the needs of others. Eventually I've resorted to distancing myself from them as I found it was suffocating me.
You're in a tricky situation as you are currently dependent on your families support and childcare. Can you plan for more independent in time? Hard to to with childcare costs as they are. But maybe with another single parent?
Is there scope for raising this with your parents productively? I must say my impression is its all so enmeshed you'll just reap schtunk and no progress.
I'd be wary of hanging around in that atmosphere for too long. I tend to get sucked in again. Although you found remarkably clear sighted.
Don't feel bad about feeling jealous. It's OK when you have that kind of sibling to get fed up with how much resource they duck up when you could really fo with some (money, time, support, consideration )
Thanks for the feedback - in terms of an update my parents been looking after my DN for around a week - ok but he gets fretful. I have had some work.stresses and sent some not so good emails to my mother and sister about how I think the relationships are dysfunctional and I did say that I thought my,sister's choice to have another kid was irresponsible given her situation - that was probably not ok but its out there now. I think it is more that she lied about birth control to get pregnant and the timing of it. I also.said that I,will.fins a daycare place for my son and.i felt unsupprted by my siblings. Anyway next morning I was a VERY BAD Person,.sibling had obviously shot off the email to all family members. Sort of made up, but I also had a Facebook rant about it (none of my family are Facebook.friends with me, my choice).mutual.friends must have spotted it, as well as query about the issue on a public Facebook site (no names identified). So now I am a am VERY Very bad person, all through my parents, disappointed face and told to take the posts down (I did). Told it is SERIOUS and could link sis's arsehole partner to his work - I don't think so as there were no names id'd and they would know about his past. Told by parent that I they are worried for my mental health as I am.normally so,lovely (read compliant/passive?) l am sleep deprived but I think being sick of the enabling and ongoing drama and wanting to take a step back is not a bad thing? It is interesting that all information is filtered.through my parents and my sister obviously.went straight to mummy for validation rather than engaging directly, and no-one contacted.me 're Facebook just my parents mafia. So I need.to clean up my act a bit and make some apologies about method of communicating (and yes it was childish to post on Facebook about personal issues!) But it is the same old pattern about closing down dialogue that is uncomfortable and challenging ie my sister's choices are not great sometimes and it does chew up a lot of family resources, and that I feel unsupported by my siblings at a time when I need support. It gets shut down into 'you are nuts'/don't.air.dirty laundry in public. Fair.enough re.privacy stuff but I am a bit at FB stalking. I am.not.going to be ashamed about this, I need.to back off on the judgement of my.sibling but stick to my.boundaries. also probably put my money where my.mouth is re childcare and moving out. Parents were dismissive of my.moving out, saying I would end up sleeping on .a park bench[!] I need to have an exit strategy that is considered and adult and owned by me as far as possible. Stop being a drama llama myself! But giving myself.a break as I have trouble sleeping, still breastfeeding and working 3 days,.difficult.home environment and no stable emotional support.
On re reading that, I think I am WAY too invested in my family and what they feel/think/need as well as wanting parental approval. If I didn't feel financially/physically dependent on them I wouldn't care what they thought and the VErY VERY VERy bad person face,.hushed voices like someone died or there is a bad smell in the room, because it hurts the FAMILY.... need to get my big girl pants on and be ok.with disapproval. I would.love to get people's feedback on what living arrangements work best as a single parent, sharing or renting by yourself (looking to buy in time). I could move closer to work, but that would be outside my circle.
I think I am also weirdly addicted to shame, I.was cringing when being told.off by.my parents - direct line back to childhood but also wallowing in it a bit. It may be that negative attention is better than none, in a dysfunctional,way,and that being 'fixed.is a buzzAnd yes.I am a fully grown adult!
Think I need a hobby! So tomorrow is to own up, put up and make amends.for hurt caused but go gently.with myself and not allow it to turn into a shame fest or for my parents to get a power trip out of it. Insist that they can only speak for themselves, not my sisters or THE FAMILY.
My son and my own well being are my.only concern and all the rest does not belong to me. That being said, I need to ease off on the sibling and respect.her right to make her own choices.
On another issue, when my mum looks after my DN she calls him 'my (her) baby, seems.a bit odd?
I think you've taken a few steps backwards by moving in with your parents and have reverted back to an healthy childhood dynamic. You're a grown woman now with a child, look forward and not back. Keep your head down until you can move out
Wow, I appreciate you are in a hard place BUT your parents have given you a massive amount of support when they are already stretched. You really need to stop comparing what they do for your sister vs you when they've been so very generous.
What on earth did you expect to happen sending the emails and the FB post? Someone presumably told your sister unless you have got very lax security settings. I would personally be utterly furious is anyone did this to me. You just cannot say that someone should not have had their child and expect no come back.
I think you do owe them an apology and then possibly look at all of you improving the family dynamics. At the moment you and your sister are behaving like children toward one another. Your parents may not be perfect but I feel sorry for them. Caring for all these babies at a time when they might be out having some fun and still getting a load of squabbling from the so called adults.
You do indeed need to move out and create some distance but make it up with your family first. Sorry to be harsh but even if your sister has been a pain for years that doesn't excuse you. However I do hope you get it sorted and feel better soon.
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