Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
This is a Premium feature
Ashamed of my sister(33 Posts)
Our parents separated over 10 years ago. Mum isn’t interested in meeting anyone new and devotes herself to her grandchildren, my sister’s 2 dcs.
Dad recently told us he’s been dating someone who he’s serious about. They’ve known each other about a year and after lockdown, dad introduced us to her. I like her, she seems kind and most importantly, makes dad happy.
But my sister is absolutely horrible to her. Barely acknowledges her and is bullying dad into ending the relationship. Unfortunately dad has a blind spot when it comes to my sister because she was quite poorly as a child (preemie) although she’s not had any repercussions as an adult. Dad had said he’d try and help her buy a house before he met his new partner but now he’s not sure he’ll be able to afford to after all. She is furious and blames his new partner although I doubt she has anything to do with it.
Frankly I am ashamed of how my sister is behaving. Yes I get that she’s disappointed about not being able to upgrade her house but she currently lives in a nice place albeit smaller than she’d like. I can’t believe that she’s actually putting her selfish needs ahead of dad’s happiness.
Our mum doesn’t want dad to move on either and so between them, they’re making dad’s life miserable. He’s really down about it and I’m worried that the stress is going to get the better of him and he’ll lose his partner because of it. This has happened before with a previous girlfriend and I have to confess that I was also miserable to her and don’t blame her for leaving in the end. But I learnt my lesson because dad was so sad after she left and I felt ashamed of not being a supportive daughter to my dad and wanting him to be happy.
How can I get my sister to see that she’s effectively making dad make an impossible decision. Basically she’s saying it’s her or his partner and I think that’s really unfair.
Also, dad has a heart condition and high blood pressure so any sort of stress is best avoided. I just don’t understand why she can’t see that she’s causing him a lot of anxiety when he should be able to enjoy his retirement with someone he loves. Not everyone is lucky enough to find someone in later life. He had looked after us our entire lives and it’s his turn now. God she is frustrating!
Agree it’s not fair on your dad, your sister is a grown woman, she shouldn’t be behaving like this and your mum is definitely not helping. What is their justification for this?
I’d be inclined to talk to your dad and make it clear he has your support. Ultimately he is a grown man and will make his own decisions, but it would help if he knows that his happiness is important and that you have his back.
I’d also have a strong word with your sister and mum and tell them to grow up. It may well cause a bigger fall out, if they throw their toys out of the pram but I personally couldn’t hold my tongue.
Thanks Justjoshing. I have tried to talk some sense into my sister but she’s thick as thieves with mum and when they gang up on me it’s horrible.
I’m not blind to dad’s faults which is that he’s always given in for a peaceful life no matter how unreasonable mum was. She was very clear that my sister was her favourite when we were growing up and I had a pretty miserable childhood because of it. She was always picking on me and telling me I was fat and that my sister was the pretty one etc.
I wish for once dad would stand up to her but I know him and he won’t. I’m worried that it’s going to drive his new partner away when she realises that mum still has a massive hold over him and that my sister uses that to her advantage.
She sounds incredibly selfish and entitled and unfortunately people like that can’t be reasoned with. She needs to understand that if she forces this decision she might not come off the winner especially if this is a pattern of behaviour.
I don’t think you can change your sister but maybe you could support your dad by reassuring him that no matter what happens you will always be there for him. You could maybe suggest you three going out for dinner so that she can feel a different dynamic with (at least one of) his children, I’m sure that would help him and her feel better about the situation.
I would tell your sister and mother what insufferable arseholes they are, and I would implore your dad to live his life and choose happiness.
OP, you could have written the story of my life with this. It's almost a carbon copy of my experience with my mum and sister. My aunt once summed it up perfectly....your mother loads the gun and your sister fires the bullets. It's awful and has ruined my relationships with both of them because I refuse to join in. I have explained to my dad that I'm not getting involved but he knows that I am also powerless to stop it. It's so poisonous that I've just removed myself from being around them as much as possible. My mum slags my dad off at every opportunity which is just painful to listen too. And to be honest, I think my sister is just a bitter, unkind individual so I try to stay away from her as much as I can. No real advice for you but just to say I understand and feel for you. It's horrible to be in this situation.
My aunt once summed it up perfectly....your mother loads the gun and your sister fires the bullets.
OMG that is absolutely spot on.
Your whole family is dysfunctional and enmeshed.....everyone has a designated toxic role - even you.
Why do you feel the urge to rush in and rescue your DF?
Is he not capable of managing his own boundaries - and also why would you? He is a grown adult.
Has he asked you to? Doubt it.
He also has a soft spot for your DSis - that makes him very flawed as a parent - he let you down terribly if that’s what you are left with. Also these mild mannered types are v quietly selfish - their own personal discomfort trumps everything - they stand by silently when shit is going down. I suspect he didn’t protect you as a child from your mother. Don’t assume he is meek and weak.
Your DF is entitled to change his mind about money - but has he been equally fair to you both financially?
If your DM and DSis are so unpleasant why are you engaged in their lives?
Look outwards to more emotionally healthy, warm, radiant friends - distance yourself from this lot.
Have a read up on codependency and see if anything resonates. You are getting stirred up within this totally futile toxic mess that has never changed and never will - an alternative is to emotionally detach from it all. You might need therapy given both of your totally emotionally inadequate parents who have left you feeling over responsible with minimal boundaries.
He also has a soft spot for your DSis - that makes him very flawed as a parent - he let you down terribly if that’s what you are left with
Yes I think he did let me down as a child because he didn’t protect me from my mum’s anger towards me. But I’m over it now and just want him to be happy. He’s not a bad parent just a weak one I think.
You can only be responsible for your own actions/behaviour OP, if DF loses his partner due to his lack of boundaries that's on him, if he continues to let DM and Dsis rule his life, that's on him too. I know it's hard watching someone you love be treated badly but he's a grown adult, you manage your relationships and let him manage his.
He’s not a bad parent just a weak one I think.
His favouritism of your sister is now biting him the arse, that’s not your problem. Maybe if he wasn’t weak and owned his contribution to his circumstances, he wouldn’t be a victim of them.
What do you do? Exactly what your father did when didn’t protect you, nothing.
Why did they separate? who was the instigator? Yes I agree that you are all unhealthily enmeshed and need stronger boundaries. Your dad being weak is his problem to solve not yours.
I know that dad isn’t perfect but his heart is in the right place and it’s just that he’s too scared of mum and my sister giving him a guilt trip if he doesn’t do exactly as they want. He took ages to introduce his new partner to us and I don’t blame him. Probably knew she’d run a mile if she introduced her too soon. As it is I suspect she’s getting cold feet after having met mum.
I don’t think there’s much you can do about your sister or mother.
If I were you, I’d reach out to the new partner. Take her out for a coffee and a chat. At least she will then have a better picture of what she’s in for, and can make more informed decisions for herself.
Why did they separate? who was the instigator?
Mum had an affair but sadly he died after only being together 2 years.
I really feel for you OP! And while it's all good and well to say that your dad is a grown man who can make his own decisions, it's still not nice to have to sit aside and watch as other people make someone you love unhappy.
I think the suggestion of going to dinner with you, your dad and your dad's partner is a really good idea, it will show her that his whole family isn't against her and make her realise she has some support if she wants to continue the relationship. Sometimes even just knowing you have one person on your side is enough.
I agree with Maybelou.But do remember if your DF marries his friend and dies before her, all he has could go to her DC if she has any, unless it's sorted beforehand.
I would want the very best for your Dad, and don't understand how your Mum can have such a hold on him now. Your Sister is being very selfish and disagreeable in her way of thinking, and does not have your open and sensible way of seeing things.
I am not sure how you can get your Dad to go forth with his own life without bothersome other people interfering, but hope he will be able to, it's simply not fair to spoil his new found happiness in later life.
Honestly, and in the nicest possible way, I can't think of anything that can be gained for anyone by you getting involved in this. Not your dad, not your sister, and most especially not you.
You've decided your dad is blameless in this - that is, as other posters point out, debatable - so just concentrate on what you can control. You can forge a great relationship with your dad and his new girlfriend. The rest you should just keep out of. It's none of your business and you can't change it.
Also, in the gun/bullet scenario you have the role of your dad's bullet-proof vest.
I would meet up with your Dad and possibly his partner.
I would be straight with him
"Why are you letting your Ex wife and daughter ruin your happiness? Are they going to look after you in the future"
Why is his partner even meeting your Mum? It sounds a bit enmeshed.
Your parents haven't been together for a DECADE, why is he introducing his gf to his ex? You all sound like adults, so I'm assuming it isn't about shared custody and the children meeting the new woman
They sound horrendous, so your mum had an affair which ended her marriage yet doesn’t want your dad to have a new partner? After 10 years??
The pair of them are unhinged and your dad needs to toughen up or he’ll end up a lonely old man.
Please login first.