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Don't know what to do next

(22 Posts)
Bluepowder Sat 24-Sep-16 22:25:38

I have an issue with my stepmother and df. Earlier this year df gave me a talking to and told me to sort out my anxiety and panic attacks. This was after they wanted us to wanted us to go over for a formal meal with them and I said I couldn't handle it and suggested a picnic instead. They refused. We were staying on holiday fairly nearby so they could see my dd. They didn't get to see dd that holiday.
Now stepmother is peppering dd with odd gifts and loving cards and they both want to come up and see her. She is nervous around a stepmother who is both formal and controlling. They've also accused me of affecting dd with my anxiety issues. I feel protective both of my mental health and my dd. Stepmother's own grandchild is in a county far away and she has recently discovered her other dd cannot have children. I don't want my dd to be some kind of substitute and I find their behaviour very controlling. Df married stepmother when dd was 5.

QuiteLikely5 Sat 24-Sep-16 22:28:05

It seems odd that you went to their town on holiday but didn't meet with them ?

Why does your anxiety prevent you from having dinner with your father?

Surely your SM is making a kind gesture giving your dd pressies?

Bluepowder Sat 24-Sep-16 22:35:59

1. We would have done but then I got a talking to.
2. I'm not sure - it's to do with formal eating.
3. Yes in her mind it is. The notes that go with them are odd.

Cabrinha Sat 24-Sep-16 22:36:22

There isn't really enough info to go on.
Are you already having counselling to support you with managing the anxiety? If so, can you discuss it there? (and if not, is it an avenue you've already exhausted?)

Your stepmother could be a flipping nightmare, and you absolutely have the right (even duty) to protect your daughter from her - even if she was actually your mother.

Or she might be lovely and your anxiety isn't related to her and it is affecting your daughter.

We can't know from what you've said.

What is clear is that you don't find your father supportive, and despite SM being part of your childhood, you sound like you have no affection for her. Her treating your child as a grandchild (not as a substitute grandchild, just as a grandchild) is not unusual. My daughter has a stepgrandfather and the relationship is lovely. If my SDs have children I shall be very happy to be treated as family.

So I don't think a SM sending gifts is a sigh of something bad in itself. But you know her, not us.

Something makes you anxious about being around them... So it's OK not to be flowers
Just I would say, explore counselling options rather than leaving it as it is.

Bluepowder Sat 24-Sep-16 22:41:00

SM came into our lives 8 years ago. Yes I've had some counselling. I think at this point I may need some more. It's kind of you to say it's OK for me not to be, thank you.

MissElizaBennettsBaubles Sat 24-Sep-16 22:42:11

Earlier this year df gave me a talking to and told me to sort out my anxiety and panic attacks

Aye because that'll make your anxiety much better, right?

Poor you, OP. Anxiety sucks...


Bluepowder Sat 24-Sep-16 22:43:21

Yes, some more counselling is probably a good idea. I was previously OK with df on his own. SM came into our lives 8 years ago I don't know her all that well.

Bluepowder Sat 24-Sep-16 22:44:15

It's made it worse.

HeddaGarbled Sat 24-Sep-16 22:44:31

OK, first things first. You don't have to see either of them if you don't want to. If you don't want them to come and visit you, that is entirely up to you.

However, it does seem a shame that your daughter won't see her grandfather and vice versa. What's the problem with your stepmother? How formal and controlling?

It's not unusual for children to be shy and nervous with strangers and it does sound like they are virtual strangers as you rarely see them. It is unreasonable of them to be critical of this normal behaviour and blame you for it. I used to get the same from my family who were all uber confident and had confident children because my daughter was shy. They seemed to think it was something about the way I was bringing her up. The words over protective were used with irritating frequency.

What's your problem with formal meals? That does seem like something that needs addressing so they may have a point, though they do sound a bit critical and unsupportive.

PickAChew Sat 24-Sep-16 22:49:17

Sounds like she's of the attitude that a good talking to will make everything better (and, in her mind, make you stop being so silly) which, evidently, is pretty counter-productive!

Keep on picking safe venues. If she;s not amenable, ask her to explain why. Sounds like oyu've already explained to her why meeting her on home territories doesn't work for you and hs'es poo-poohed that.

and yy to counselling.

PickAChew Sat 24-Sep-16 22:49:42

apols for late night tired typing!

Joysmum Sat 24-Sep-16 22:52:17

Have you posted about them before as I vaguely remember another thread where there was anxiety around formal eating?

Bluepowder Sat 24-Sep-16 22:56:47

Yes, Joymum. That was probably me. Ok, it's evidently my problem to sort out. And to keep some firm boundaries.

Ninasimoneinthemorning Sat 24-Sep-16 22:59:13

op it sounds like these two make your anxiety worse. It's actually really ok to not see them at all. If it feels weird or not right then it probably isn't.

Sitting down to a formal meal with some one that can be difficult isn't easy at the best of times and then chuck in anxiety and no wonder you declined!

You said gave you a talking to about your anxiety - what do you mean? How was he when you were growing up? Could he be a trigger? It sounds like your SM is so it's perfectly acceptable to not be around her.

Does your anxiety truley affect your dd? Or is it just your dad putting that thought there?

You don't have to give any of the gifts to your dd and not if the notes are a weird or a bit creepy.

Anxiety is bad. I have it myself. What coping strategies to you gave in place? Do you do much meditation? Or exercises?

Cabrinha Sat 24-Sep-16 23:00:24

Ah sorry, I read it as SM appearing when you were 5, not your daughter.

So she's 13... It's nice when families get on, but she doesn't just have to accept a woman she barely knows as her grandmother. And I say that as a woman who is on the verge of marrying into two SDs! Just because she married your dad, doesn't make her anything to your daughter. Lovely if they do forge a relationship - but it can't be forced.

If the gifts (or messages) make your daughter uncomfortable, then intercept them.

It doesn't sound like you'd be comfortable challenging then yet - so prioritise counselling.

You say you were OK with eating with your father before, and it's since SM? Yet SM appeared when you were an adult. So I do wonder if you're projecting something onto her - it's a big thing for an adult to be affected by another adult. Counselling!!!! flowers

Cabrinha Sat 24-Sep-16 23:03:19

Sorry, didn't word that well... It's perfectly normal for adults to be affected strongly by other adults!
I meant, it seems a strong reaction if you don't know this woman... that's why I wondered if it was other issues projected onto her.

Bluepowder Sat 24-Sep-16 23:06:35

I love all your responses, they're really helpful. No I've always been uncomfortable with formal eating since I was 16 or so. It will trigger a panic attack unless I am allowed to cope with it in my own way.
Being around df and SM is hugely uncomfortable for me - so they've seen me at my anxious worst for the past 8 years.
I will intercept any more notes as they sound a little desperate.

Bluepowder Sat 24-Sep-16 23:10:07

My dd is occasionally anxious at night. They wanted her to go and stay with them on her own and were not at all happy when I refused.
I meditate.

Joysmum Sat 24-Sep-16 23:21:25

I seem to remember you got some great advice before.

I'm so sorry this is still ongoing for you. What you say about boundaries is right, not only that though but you need to think your way around this do that you can have certainty that you are logical and entitled to these boundaries so you can stop having unrealistic expectations of this woman and stop placing so much importance on what she's feeing about your boundaries.

You make the rules regarding you and your little family and are entitled to do so. If she doesn't like it then tough, she can shove it

You have the power so exercise it flowers

Bluepowder Sat 24-Sep-16 23:25:31

Reading that made me feel very sturdy and determined, so thank you. Joysmum. I sort out my issues and hand theirs back to them.

Joysmum Sat 24-Sep-16 23:45:50

I hope you can, but by bit as it'll be so hard. It'll be worth it though.

You can do it but it'll take determined nation and tenacity. Go for it Bluepowder and keep going for it wink

Bluepowder Tue 27-Sep-16 21:20:27

Done. Laid down some boundaries. Asked for space. I think/hope it will be OK for a while now, while I sort myself out a bit.

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