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How to handle dh/ my criticism of dc/dsc?

(14 Posts)
Petal02 Sat 10-Aug-13 14:39:33

I'd never thought of it as a double life before. But you're right. When it's just the two of you're a pair of equal status adults having a normal adult relationship, but as soon as the access weekend starts, you lose your place/status in the household and are usurped by a child. Very unhealthy dynamics.

brdgrl Sat 10-Aug-13 12:40:39

That sounds very promising, anormalfamily. I think you've got a good attitude about it and I hope your DH steps up. smile

Anormalfamily Sat 10-Aug-13 12:21:30

Yes, middleast, I can't live like this either.
After dss had spent all,of last month with us I was ready to throw in the towel. After all, we had together succeeded in setting boundaries for dsd and she is a much happier relaxed girl for it. But when the same scenario was occurring with dss I thought that's it! Over!
Luckily we had a short holiday planned, just the two of us and I said I wasn't leading a double life anymore. We had time to reflect together what we wanted and apparently dh still wants me in his life and after the counseling session on top,of that I can see him taking sincere steps towards keeping me.
Having said that though, I classed dh behaviour as ea and read books on it and unless you are prepared to,leave the man, nothing will change. I was at the stage of calling it off and said so. I think without my own commitment to leading a healthy life, dh would not have bothered. And why would he? It was a great life for him and his dc, just them, no one else deserving consideration.
Dcs won't be staying with us for another few weeks, so we have time to come up with ideas for "letting dss down gently", setting boundaries and getting him accustomed to RL as opposed to fantasy land.
I'm not saying I've cracked it, there will always be issues to deal with, but Im an advocate of leveling the playing field so that fairness at least is possible, and i urge anybody with building resentment not to give up on themselves or their dc in making this happen (will now get off soap box...).

Petal02 Sat 10-Aug-13 11:27:53

Excellent post, Middle East.

middleeasternpromise Sat 10-Aug-13 10:58:27

Very tricky stuff - I have found that when the children dont live with the parent, their contact time becomes immortalised fantasy land. I can so relate to the 'team' behaviour and you have to double check the label to see if someone's switched your partner or not! Didnt work for me Im afraid, I couldnt live this weird double life were one minute Im in a mutually equal two adult relationship - the next Im being shoved in the cupboard and anything the child says, is taken over what I say.

brdgrl Sat 10-Aug-13 10:44:59

Will he?

Anormalfamily Fri 09-Aug-13 17:54:02

Ok, back again.
Once again the counselor told dh how important boundaries are, we are not our dc bffs and they need us to be reliable adults.
Some other issues were also addressed but it boils down to dh not valuing our relationship properly and getting into a snit when he's expected to make an effort. Dh was asked to reflect on his behaviour and to try and adjust his treatment of dss accordingly.
All good advice.

Petal02 Fri 09-Aug-13 14:03:34

DH and DSS don't have anything like the relationship I had with my parents - as a teenager I was always being yelled at (in a good natured way) for leaving my bag on the stairs, for leaving the TV on, for making a mess in the kitchen etc etc. But DH wouldn't dream of doing any of that with DSS, not in a million years.

Last week we had a situation where DSS18 left our house without locking the door - when I challenged DH, he just kept praising DSS for remembering to close the door (!!!!) and failed to see that leaving it unlocked was a problem.

brdgrl Fri 09-Aug-13 12:12:44

I can only ‘get away with’ comments about DSS if they’re glowing and praiseworthy, it is indeed an artificial situation.
oh god, yes! But DH is the same himself - the DSCs are given praise quite out of proportion with their achievements, and any failings or wrong-doing is glossed over. (For example, if one of them got a high mark on a test, but DH knew that they had done so unfairly, he'd praise them for the mark and ignore the method.) If they present things in a self-promoting manner, he doesn't call them on it, which I personally would - if it were a 'natural' environment. If DSD launches into one of her 'expert lectures' on a topic, and gets her facts wrong, she gets the equivalent of a pat on the head and a 'well done!', instead of being questioned or challenged on the actual facts. Which might be passably acceptable if she were 7. She's 18. I'm not allowed to correct her, though.

Petal02 Fri 09-Aug-13 11:32:20

I find it difficult to maintain an artificial environment where I’m only allowed to clap from the side-lines at dsc triumphs

I totally understand your frustration – I can only ‘get away with’ comments about DSS if they’re glowing and praiseworthy, it is indeed an artificial situation.

brdgrl Fri 09-Aug-13 11:08:27

Yep, classic situation, I think!
You're off to counseling - how is that going? Any help?
It was not a magic bullet for us, but I do think it helped DH turn a corner...once he heard how things sounded, when described to an outsider, he started slowly to see that there was a problem. Up to that point, it had been pretty clear that he didn't 'get it'.

Now, he does see it. He still struggles to deal with it, but I find that much easier to live with than the outright refusal to accept that there was any validity to my concerns!

professional input is thrown back in my face as unworthy and contemptible.
Do you mean that he just won't accept the professional advice of the counselor? If he is totally unwilling to be truthful or commit to making any changes, then he's wasting your time.

Anormalfamily Fri 09-Aug-13 09:59:09

Hi China,
Thanks for replying. I may have sounded a tad cross in my post because the last incident was still praying on my mind... But in RL I am actually the diplomat's idealised idea of diplomacy! That's why it grates so much when my, in this case and most others, professional input is thrown back in my face as unworthy and contemptible.
Dh is the somewhat clumsy one in expressing himself and I let it go because of that. Also I've learned to leave the parenting of dsc up to him, although he'd love me to play bad cop.
Unfortunately since posting this morning I've come to realize that just about all our more serious problems are connected with him wanting to be a team with his dc rather than with me sad
We're off to counseling again in a few hours, thanks for letting me blow off steam here and be more mature during our session!

ChinaCupsandSaucers Fri 09-Aug-13 09:28:43

Tricky one!

I try and avoid directly criticising the DSC; I highlight, and often sympathise about the natural behaviour that is a consequence of the inconsistent patenting they have received from both their parents wink

So, when DSS is caught snooping, I say to DP something like it must be so hard for DSS to decide where the boundaries are because he sees his mum/sister/gran get away with that behaviour, and he's not been pulled up on it here until now. What consequence do you have in mind?

Anormalfamily Fri 09-Aug-13 06:47:58

Classic situation, I suppose: I accept dh criticism of ds, said either directly to him or me, and although I grind my teeth I can see he'd be more objective on some things and can at times offer good advice.
However, if there is even an inkling of me being critical towards dsc, I'm immediately attacked. I don't mean physically with a shovel, but the damage dh does when openly pandering to his dc and putting me down simultaneously is equally difficult to take.
I could of course detach, but that means also ignoring all the good things too, because I'd find it difficult to maintain an artificial environment where I was only allowed to clap from the sidelines at dsc triumphs...

It's the imbalance that annoys me. Dh feels quite entitled to point out ds faults and failings but will also joke around with him and try to be supportive in a "us men" kind of way. Fine, but I'd like the same privilege.
Interestingly his dc are smart enough to realize his fake parenting and will occasionally, usually when dh isnt there, ask my take on personal issues (they see me actually parenting ds). That is reward enough I suppose but it still annoys me that dh still acts so precious about his dc after we've been together 4 years. i feel dh wants to signal to them that he and I are not actually a team, I think, and my input is invalid (ps: their mum doesn't parent either, and yes I've had my work cut out for me these past years).

Who here has a dh that acts half ways normal or acceptable in your eyes and what do you suggest?

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