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How much contact with toxic relatives do you think is needed to begin affecting DC?

(15 Posts)
Absofrigginlootly Fri 27-May-16 20:04:49

what I mean is, not outright abusive, violent, alcoholic fuckwits, but a sort of general low-level, disregarding boundaries, complete lack of respect, narssistic-traits type stuff.......But not quite 'bad' enough to just say "right you've crossed the line there, I'm going NC!"

Does anyone have an opinion or experience difficult people and how much contact with them do you think is ok? What I mean is, would the fact that they had loving, consistent and emotionally responsive/healthy parents be enough to 'off set' a once every 3 months for a few hours visit?

I know my first response would be "why have any contact at all?!"
But I'm talking about people who are difficult but not outright, obviously abusive if you see what I mean? And I guess most people have some good qualities and life is messy sometimes and not always black and white.

Just very interested to hear people's thoughts.
Thank you smile

mummyto2monkeys Fri 27-May-16 21:58:59

I think if you are going to stay in contact with a narcissist, the most important thing is to make boundaries and stick to them. You don't even have to tell the narcissist what those boundaries are, but have the conversation as a couple, decide together what you are prepared to put up with. Decide what behaviour is an absolute no. Do research on narcissists and the roles they put people into, then watch like a hawk and be prepared to go NC if you need to. Whatever happens do not let your children witness the abuse. For some families this will work, in our case we found that the narcissists couldn't help themselves, we have been NC for four years and are happier for it.

Aussiebean Fri 27-May-16 22:01:09

And never leave your dc alone with them.


mummyto2monkeys Fri 27-May-16 22:05:22

Absolutely what Aussiebean said! Never leave the room and never allow them to whisper into your child's ear either.

mummyto2monkeys Fri 27-May-16 22:18:34

Sorry I didn't really answer your question, my four year old was traumatised after one visit, and just by something relative said.

unlimiteddilutingjuice Fri 27-May-16 22:19:14

My parents come from toxic families. Both sets of grandparents were indifferent to us as kids but Dmum and Ddad did whatever they could to facilitate a relationship "for our sake"
Contact with grandparents was confusing and mildly unpleasant. It certainly contributed to a sense of not being good enough as we were expected to look pristene and be absolutely silent (obviously unreasonable in retrospect).
I remember being made to feel "naughty" over not much: getting up from my seat, speaking when not spoken to, eating a lolloipop they had given me hmm.
Dparents were not aware of a lot of this btw. I didn't want them to know Id been "naughty" so kept it to myself.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sat 28-May-16 06:40:08

You perhaps think that on some level they will a) be better behaved this time around because of the children and b) you hope against hope that such people will become better people. Neither scenarios a and b will ever happen by the way. Adult children of narcissistic people do tend to believe that fantasy however.

Narcissistic people in particular make for being deplorably bad grandparent figures. They also tend to over value or under value the relationship with their grandchildren. Its quite painful to watch a narcissist interact with a grandchild mainly because there is no interaction. Its like watching a repeat of a tv show you have always hated.

BTW narcissists will actively rail against any boundary you care to set them and will ignore it. Infact they have already done this.

Toxic people do not fundamentally alter. If they were not decently behaved to you when you were younger what makes you at all think they will at all be now?. You have already seen evidence that they will not and cannot behave decently. Do not deny what you are seeing with your own eyes. Bad behaviour from relatives should not be at all rewarded even with an infrequent visit.

You would not have tolerated any of this from a friend, family are really no different.

If your children see these people being nasty to you and you taking this abuse from them, it sends them mixed messages. It shows them that difficult relatives must be appeased at all costs; its a tactic that simply does not work and allows you to be continually walked over.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sat 28-May-16 06:41:13

Are you still seeking these people's approval on some level?

unlimiteddilutingjuice Sat 28-May-16 07:44:45

"Its quite painful to watch a narcissist interact with a grandchild mainly because there is no interaction."

This is exactly what my grandparents were like. I have taken DS to see my Nana and she was like that with him as well. Actually she fawned over him as a baby and completely ignored him as a three year old (our only 2 visits).

Absofrigginlootly Sun 29-May-16 23:00:04

Sorry for lack of replies, I've not been feeling well. Plus there's a time difference.

Thank you for your comments.

No I'm not seeking their approval..... Have released myself from any sense of seeking approval or caring what they think mostly many years ago.

I guess where I struggle is that these people can be nice and are in some ways very dedicated..... But I guess ultimately I don't trust them not to or themselves first so DH and I would NEVER ever leave our DC alone with them don't worry!!

The type of behaviour I'm taking about for one set of grandparents is just generally still viewing me as a child, not respecting my decisions or acknowledging my feelings.

The other set of grandparents (PILs) consist of one completely openly disinterested grandparent and one who would like nothing better than to swoop in and take over completely. And with parenting practices that are widely out of date and emotionally neglectful.
I have currently gone basically NC with that set because of some massive overstepping of boundaries and refusing to apologize and the NC is easy to maintain right now because we live abroad.

But DH and I are thinking about the future.

The first set (my parents) are exhausting to be around BUT have never 'done' anything since DD was born that would warrant a cry of NC more just like I say, generally treating me like a child and DM has some narcissistic tendencies (certainly NOT NPD territory- not that bad) but bad enough to make me miserable growing up at times.

I don't know, I don't want to cut them out, they're my parents..... I would do if things got bad enough.

But I just wanted to hear from people who had experienced similar - difficult relatives bs how they managed it and what the outcome was. And how it affected their children, if at all.

Thanks for reading my ramblings! grin

purplebud Sun 29-May-16 23:23:07

We see dm once every couple of months for a meal and df once a year . That's plenty for me. I still have to repair minor damage to dd after dm encounters. I take mild tranquillisers for the visits.

Theymakemefeelstressed Sun 29-May-16 23:37:01

Our visits are every three months or so. I deal with it by drinking.

My DC are young adults now but from a young age they work out that there is a pecking order and they weren't at the top!

My mother would try and and buy their love by spending a lot of money on plastic tat but emotional support has been zero. She in particular has said some hurtful things to my DD in the last few years.

Absofrigginlootly Mon 30-May-16 15:01:20

Thanks for your replies..... Sounds stressful!!

Do you think your DC derive anything positive from their relationships with their grandparents?

purplebud Mon 30-May-16 16:27:11

To be fair on mine, yes she does - my df is quite sweet with her - and from my dm she at least learns to be tolerant of older people! She doesn't have the same history with them as I do and I am with her all the time. I'd rather have her know them a little than not at all.

DownstairsMixUp Mon 30-May-16 16:34:18

My dh has a horrible sister. Shes very spoiled and reckless (think jumping in and out of relationships, the latest being pregnant by a man she had been with six months) most are scared of talking to her because she cuts people off but dh isnt hence sil throws hissy fits literally tells tales and causes rifts. She eventually stooped so slow as to completly ignore our kids not sending birthday xmas cards etc so they were asking what theyd done wrong and did aunty x not like them? The minute she brought the kids into it we cut her off. We dont get invited to events she goes to but tbh we dont care. Shes not a very nice person. Anyway that was our boundary, the minute you bring kids into petty squabbles, gone!

As for his dm and step dad (both violent alcoholics) they live 100 miles away so we keep visits to once every few months which keeps them enjoyable and at least they see the grandkids.

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