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Bullying genes or learned behaviour?

(5 Posts)
Celticcat Fri 10-May-13 07:57:22

Have posted before on ea dh, wondering now about dsc.
Re dh, we are undergoing counseling and it is effective, if only at the stage that I feel validated and can more easily spot passive aggressive behaviour. Or actual bullying when it happens and will point it out. Not over by a long shot btw, but dh has come far just by admitting wrong doing and consciously trying to better his behaviour.
Which brings me to dsc: he will now pull up dss on rude behaviour right when it happens. I have left discipline of dsc to dh as they are only here when he is present as a rule, few exceptions, but never had trouble when they're alone with me. I notice though that dss, 12 1/2 and exceptionally young for his age, is only ever rude to me in front of his dad. My gut reaction tells me he's emulating dh passive aggressive behaviour as his rudeness is mostly sarcasm and a condescending tone (he makes fun of me being a typical lazy teacher, things he's picked up on from his dad. Since I asked dh to stop undermining me like this, it's like his son has taken over, wtf?). Kids sense underlying emotional currents, right? Or is it already ingrained behaviour?
Dsd is open in her rejection of me ( not ow!!!), and her dad for having divorced her obviously and totally narc mother (Used to feel sorry for dh). Her standard of (privileged) living was not affected by breakup, if anything the ante of spoiling from both parents skyrocketed (has eased on dh side).
Dh caused me a lot of upset which lead to eventual counseling with his obsessive Disney dad parenting and mini wife syndrome with dsd.
Dsd, now turned 16, will be back from a term abroad soon, and I am dreading already her presence in the house. She's been brought up to be extremely demanding, entitled, and frankly she's a bully (ds, 15, and his friends are scared of her but as boys will never admit it, but she has always dominated shared time in the house, small things like hogging couch and TV all day, even dh asks her permission to join her!!). At the risk of sounding like a jealous cow, dsd is very pretty and uses her feminine charms ( big boobs on permanent display) to rule the roost.

Sorry for rant, but here's my actual question. I'd like to prepare a calm state of mind so I can deal effectively with her spoiled behaviour and keep dh on the path of return so to speak. How do I do this? How can I raise this at counseling with tact?

Kaluki Fri 10-May-13 11:32:12

It all sounds like hard work tbh!!!
Does your DH tell DSS off when he is rude to you? If not, then he should be.
As for your DSD - unless your DH is prepared to change his behaviour regarding her (which sounds unlikely tbh) then I can't see what can be done.
All you can do is detach as much as you can I think sad

Celticcat Fri 10-May-13 13:26:54

Thanx for reply,
Yes I do detach, but after rereading post I see I really need to build up self confidence to react appropriately when stuff happens, I.e. not freaking out inside and saying nothing, but actually remaining calm and responding with dignity and self assurance. God, I'd need to be perfect.

brdgrl Fri 10-May-13 13:59:18

Oh, celticcat. I empathize.
My DSS is disrespectful of both me and his dad - actually, even more so towards his dad than me. DH tries to call him up on openly rude behaviour towards me, but lets it pass when it is directed at himself, which I think doesn't work because it is inconsistent, and somehow seems to send the message that it is me who has the problem (^brdgrl doesn't like to be spoken to like that, isn't she sensitive and prickly^ - rather than you are well out of line to speak to adults like that and I don't want to hear it again, full stop^). If your DH is now pulling him up on things right on the spot, that is very, very need to emphasize the importance of consistency and stopping things in their tracks ^every time - also with his sister coming back, he will be looking to see what she gets away with. My DH needed to have it pointed out to him that it was important not to let DSD (older sister) get away with things, because DSS is always watching and looking for precedent.

My own DSD is a bully, and I have SO been in your shoes. Finding the confidence to stand up to bullying - from a child, in your home, and when it comes cloaked in passive-aggression, sulking, and manipulation - is so, so hard. I have found that I actually need to role-play scenes and practice key phrases, practicing what I can say in situations to stand up for myself while remaining calm! Like actually standing in front of a mirror saying things aloud like "DSD, can you please give us a bit of privacy?" or "Sorry, DSD, but we are watching something else right now. I'll let you know when it's over, but right now we're trying to hear the show" or "Can you take that up to your room now please?"

It feels ridiculous to me to have to rehearse basic interactions, but it does help me to avoid that 'on the spot' feeling when I'm fuming inside and scared to express it.

Celticcat Fri 10-May-13 15:28:50

Brdgrl, I wasn't sure if I should laugh or cry at your response, so I did both, at the same time!
That is exactly what I meant. OH MY GOD, I already do some of these things in my head.
Too true about consistency, dh doesn't usually bat an eye when dss is cheeky to him, but has now said to dss his tone is often rude and to watch what he says and how he says it. Fair enough.
But with dsis coming back soon he will still see the inconsistency in parenting skills. Dh insists dsd is too old and mature to be parented like bro (eye rolling is obviously a sign of maturity I missed). But she is a cheeky madam and although the term she spent abroad was at her gps
(Dh side of family) it did nothing to improve her temperament. Mil and fil are not coming over this summer, or only if kids are def at mother's! Kinda says it all....
Thanks again for not letting me feel alone and a total loon, xx

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