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Toxic family dynamic

(18 Posts)
AmberCurtain Sun 24-Sep-17 23:42:10

My mum does ALL of my sisters childcare.....at one point she helped me out too but then told me it was too much. I dropped my hours at work (taking a pay cut) expecting my sister to do the same and instead she increased hers and swooped in on the days I had freed up.
I find I regularly make plans with my mum only for them to get cancelled because my mum is exhausted.
I had made plans for my mum to attend an important appointment with me next week and she said she'd come along. Told the kids that she'd said yes.....they were really excited. She just called to say my sister is working that day so she won't be coming.....she didn't even mention to my sister that we had a prior arrangement and could she find an alternative. I have regularly had her decline doing things with me before because my sister had already "booked her services"
My sister is so ungrateful for the help she gets. All she does is complain about my mum and yet my mum carries in helping and pushing me further and further away. it's massively effected her relationship with my children.....she has even said that herself.

to top it all of my sister loves to tell me how hard she works and criticises me if I say I'm busy or have a lot going on.... "I thought you only worked mornings?" she makes me feel like I'm being lazy because I chose a job that fits around my kids. We struggle financially but I decided that it was worth it in order for me to have time with the kids whilst they are young. She constantly tells me she is "skint" but can afford trips to Disney and centre parcs and then makes awkward comments that clearly make my kids feel like they are missing out- the whole family are going to CP at christmas in term time and we can't afford it plus I'm not willing to risk getting in trouble for taking the kids out of school in term time. They regularly discuss it in front of my children and keep pressing me to come or let them take the kids.....undermining me when ive already said no.

I'm ranting but I needed to vent because I feel like I'm going to explode! I find the whole situation exasperating.

Sn0tnose Mon 25-Sep-17 00:41:53

I have a... difficult relationship with my sister, so my response isn't based on maintaining the peace.

When she next makes a snarky comment about you only working mornings, or not being able to afford things, say 'yes, I reduced my hours so mum had a break from childcare during the week, but you don't seem to have respected that'. If they make comments in front of the children, firmly say 'Stop! I have explained to you why we can't come and I'm not willing to discuss this anymore, particularly in front of the DC'.

Having said that, I think you need to come to terms with the fact that your mother is more than capable of saying no, but that she's chosen not to do so and that even though she knows her relationship with your DC is being damaged as a result, she still hasn't said no.

A shit situation for you.

AmberCurtain Mon 25-Sep-17 10:21:58

My sister is a bully and I feel like my mum is almost stuck in an abusive relationship with her. If my mum says no my sister just nags and bullies until she gets her own way. I've highlighted this to my sister many times. last time it resulted in a massive argument where she hit me.....not particularly hard but she hit me. She thinks I'm jealous of her and thats why I say stuff. I have explained to my mum that she is only going to stop her behaviour if my mum stands up for herself and if the No comes from her.
My sister is incredibly controlling and manipulative and I distance myself from her as much as I can. I don't want to sever all ties as my children adore their cousins as do I......I just think that me and my sister are very different. I'm not 5 years old any more she she can't control me.

I guess you are right......I have to set my expectations with my mum....it just hurts. I feel like she is choosing to have a relationship with with sister and facilitate her childcare above her relationship with me and my kids. it's shit. She is the only grandparent my children have sad

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 25-Sep-17 10:39:32

Amber,

re your comment:-

"I feel like she is choosing to have a relationship with with sister and facilitate her childcare above her relationship with me and my kids. it's shit. She is the only grandparent my children have"

Yes that is what she is doing here and it is indeed shit.

My guess too is that your mother has always favoured her or let her get away with far more than you for her own reasons. If you are seen as the more "capable" one (my mother certainly sees me as such but then you are trusted, well left actually, to get on with it) then the one who is deemed less able (like my brother) gets more help. It could also be the case that your sister will stop your mother seeing her children if she does not comply with her childcare demands.

She may well be their only nan but children really do need emotionally healthy grandparents, not those who keep on disappointing both mother and grandchildren here.

AmberCurtain Mon 25-Sep-17 11:01:05

My daughter has been having lots of issues lately......we think it could be an attachment disorder as her dad walked out when she was 2. (that's a whole other thread) but in relation to this I don't think it helps when my mum is so flakey to make her feel that she has security from her family.
me and my mum have a lot in common with our tastes, interests etc we are both pretty laid back. We have always got on well. There is quite a bit of conflict between my mum and my sister......growing up she was an absolute nightmare are sometimes we all dreading going home. She used to physically beat the s**t out of me as a kid. She has a very different relationship that what I have with my mum......I dunno......it's hard to articulate. I feel like my mum gets more from me emotionally that she does from my sister......she also relies alot on me when my sister has been nasty and upset her.
Over the last 5 years my mum has changed drastically. She is nothing like the person she used to be......she has no energy for anything. She gets obsessed with puzzles or knitting and won't engage in conversation. she used to come over regularly for tea and movie nights. That's all gone now. I just want my mum back.

PollytheDoily Mon 25-Sep-17 11:26:08

This is so sad.

Your sister sounds awful! Your poor mum and you. flowers

Hissy Mon 25-Sep-17 12:37:35

Who used to beat the shit out of you when you were little?

Could you ask a friend to help with child care while you go to your appointment?

AmberCurtain Mon 25-Sep-17 14:19:55

My sister.....she was horrible to me. She'd hit me with shoes-the kickers ones with the thick heal on them, crush me behind doors between the door and the wall, whip me with her violin bow. it wasn't all the time but it went on for a good few years.
The appointment was to look around a senior school......it a massive decision and I wanted my mums input. The kids were really excited that she was coming along and that we were going to make the decision together.......I know it's not life threatening and critical but it's another disappointment to my already rather bruised mental health. I've felt so low at work all morning

SeaEagleFeather Mon 25-Sep-17 14:35:38

If my mum says no my sister just nags and bullies until she gets her own way. I've highlighted this to my sister many times. last time it resulted in a massive argument where she hit me.....not particularly hard but she hit me.

I'm afraid you have a bit of a stark choice, amber.

Either you stand up to her, or you become subordinate like your mum has.

Either way * I've highlighted this to my sister many times. last time it resulted in a massive argument where she hit me.....not particularly hard but she hit me* -this- is completely unacceptable.

As with an abusive partner, you need to call the police.

YOu should not stand for being hit just to keep the peace. It isn't a peace. Your sister is bullying you relentlessly; you're on the way to being defeated, not peace.

Also if she's hitting you when there's an argument - I should think there's a good chance she's hitting her young children.

It is incredibly hard, just as it is with an abusive partner, but you need to step back mentally, see what's going on, and put boundaries in place every .. single ... time as sn0tnose said.

KimmySchmidt1 Mon 25-Sep-17 14:43:13

You seem to be making out that your sister is the problem, but isnt part of the problem that your mother prioritises her over you - or at least is so weak that instead of pushing back against your sister so she can spend time with you, she always caves in to her?

Have you tried talking to your mother about her inability to manage this situation and how that makes you feel? She is the parent, albeit you are both adults, she does have a responsibility to you to treat you fairly. It may be that she sees your sister as a "taker", a stronger personality, and that you are her buddy in sacrificing yourself like she does to avoid confrontation. But she is wrong to see it like that, and you should gently communicate that to her.

Hissy Mon 25-Sep-17 14:49:57

My love... kindly may I ask the following:

Why - when there has never, ever been any evidence to indicate that she DOES give the shiniest of shits about you, your kids or any aspect of your happiness, do you consider her 'input' in any way of value?

Your mother failed to protect you then, and she is showing you now how unimportant you are.

I would strongly advise that you leave your revolting and abusive sister behind and let your mother go too.

I'm sorry, I know personally how much this hurts.

you cant keep coming back for more and more approval from people who won't give it to you.

They resent your happiness.

Make no mistake, neither one of them would think twice to prevent your children being harmed if they could get away with it.

Hissy Mon 25-Sep-17 14:51:53

I'm on my own, and I took my DS to the senior school meetings.

the ONLY input you need is your own intuition and the input from the child who will be going. You will just know if the school is right for your child. make sure that you consider and visit ALL available options. It is SO important that your child is happy and excited

Wallywobbles Mon 25-Sep-17 15:44:59

Hissy great post.

FuzzyFelt14 Mon 25-Sep-17 16:43:28

Agree with Hissy.

flumpybear Mon 25-Sep-17 17:08:25

Sit your mum down and talk to her properly, tell her everything calmly and clearly

You should get some support too and your sister should find a nursery part of the week

ChasedByBees Mon 25-Sep-17 18:02:50

I think your mum is taking you for granted and if you withdraw (and show her what she is at risk of losing) perhaps she will make a change. Before that, I think you need to say how she is disappointing your children and neglecting her relationship with them.

She is the only one who can change this and at the moment she is choosing not to.

AmberCurtain Tue 26-Sep-17 20:42:46

I appreciate all the replies....my mum has M.E which is hard when looking after my sisters kids.
I completely agree that this is only ever going to change when my mum stands up to my sister but I don't think that will ever happen. I'm not going to cut my mum out of my life......the assumption that I get nothing from her is wrong. I love spending time with her, we have similar interests and when we are able to get time together to do them together it's lovely. She is always at the end of the phone and has listened to me cry my eyes out when I'm at my witts end with my daughter and the problems we are experiencing with her. I love my mum so much as do my kids. I just wish I didn't have to play second fiddle to my sister......I wish my mum was the person that she used to be......I don't think she ever will be again. She's been ground down and hollowed out. she's a shell of herself. I wish she was happy because she seems sad a lot of the time.....she's tired.....and worn out. part of this is her aging and the fact that she's had it pretty tough throughout life but I blame a lot of it on my sister.

I guess this whole thread has highlighted to me that nothing will probably ever change so I need to reduce my expectations and stop allowing myself to be disappointed.it's a wasted emotion in this situation.

Liara Tue 26-Sep-17 21:04:06

I have a sister like that, and it drives me mad the way my mother enables her to continue being abusive by never standing up to her.

But I've had to let go. I think it is because my mother feels terribly guilty at how my sister turned out (I understand, I'd be gutted if any of my children were as nasty as she is) and feels like the only way to make up for it is to be there for her gc, to protect them a bit from the effects of having such a bitch for a mother.

She is just not willing or able to see the effect it has on the rest of the family.

I am now basically non contact with my sister (and consequently her dc), as are the rest of my siblings.

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