Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by greenrene, Dec 10, 2012.

  1. greenrene

    greenrene Member

    Yet another sister in law vent. I finally had to draw a line in the sand during last night's text convo. Every time we talk about difficult child, I end up feeling worse. I'm quite certain that difficult child has been feeding her BS (difficult child spent the night there over the weekend), and sister in law fails to remember how difficult child manipulates and outright LIES to make her seem like the victim. sister in law says that my relationship with difficult child is really unhealthy (duh!) and that I can't see "how badly I treat" difficult child... um, WHAT?

    She then asked me if I thought I was a "loving and fair" stepmom to difficult child, and I let her have it. I feel like I'm MORE than accomodating to difficult child, to the point that I have no expectations from her anymore other than expecting disrespect and attitude - I don't even really make her do chores anymore because I don't feel like dealing with the rudeness. And it's pretty hard to feel LOVING toward someone that you have to protect yourself and your children from, someone who tries to find ways to subtly (and not-so-subtly) hurt you, someone who treats your other children like dirt and who is mouthy, disrespectful, and thinks household rules are for "losers."

    I'm SO TIRED of being told that I treat difficult child badly. I know I'm not perfect and have my own issues, but I'm not a monster! I'm a DAMN good mom, but I'm also aware that difficult child doesn't respond to conventional parenting, and I act accordingly, at this point doing what I need to do to protect myself and my other children. I don't put up with disrespectful, rude, mean BS. This is seen as treating her badly. Then sister in law says that I don't get what she's really saying, that she's on my side and wants to help, blah blah blah...

    So we both agreed that we shouldn't discuss the topic anymore. And now I'm beyond sad, drifting into depression because this is now a huge rift in what had been a very close, wonderful relationship. In all other areas and in all other topics, she has been wonderful, friendship-wise. But I'm afraid this is something that is going to stand in the way.
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    It will only stand in the way to the extent that you both allow it to do so.
  3. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    The only solution is to let difficult child spend some extended time at sister in law's house. One night here and there? difficult child can put on a show: Oh poor me! But over the course of two weeks or so? Your sister in law will see the "real" difficult child...

    Until then, sister in law has no idea what you are up against.

  4. greenrene

    greenrene Member

    Well, over Christmas break we're all (all 13 of us - my family, my inlaws, and sister in law's family) going to be vacationing in a house together for almost 2 weeks. difficult child's behavior always ramps up in situations like that. Fun times!

    I know she means well and is just concerned. Definitely going to draw some boundaries though, as she really just doesn't get it, and she is hurting the situation more than helping.
  5. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    I don't get it.
    You know going in that difficult child can't handle two weeks at that intensity... so, why do you do it?
  6. buddy

    buddy New Member

    I'm sorry. I imagine sister in law never will understand because most people don't. They think if a kid can hold it together for them it must be the parents. She does need to be told that she doesn't have to understand or agree but if she wants to continue a relationship with difficult child she cannot allow difficult child to triangulate the adults. It is not giving her someone to confide in as she may think but is allowing difficult child way too much power to manipulate adults. Kids can only feel secure if adults are in synch and sister in law needs to absolutely refer all issues back to you and husband. No matter what she thinks.

    I'd reconsider the trip but understand you may be stuck if husband and the other kids would miss out. Finding somewhere else for difficult child to go would be viewed as mean too. Not that you should care about others. Hopefully you can establish some ground rules and rewards for better behaviors just to get through.
  7. greenrene

    greenrene Member

    The trip is set in stone, non-negotiable... basically an all-expenses paid ski vacation. It's at my inlaws' new vacation home out west, we always spend Christmas with them, and having the whole family go out there for Christmas is something that my mother in law has really been looking forward to. Fortunately, since we're all so enmeshed in each others' lives, everyone knows what to expect from difficult child, but it's still difficult.

    Good point about the triangulation prevention, buddy. When she moved here, part of what she really wanted was to be able to help with difficult child, to be there for her, etc. All fine and good unless, as you said, difficult child uses it for triangulation. I don't know if sister in law will understand that, though.
  8. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I do think maybe you should put sister in law in charge of difficult child on this vacation. Tell her since she seems to have such a good rapport with her then maybe it would be best if she could help you out in this. It sounds benign enough but will give her a good taste of what goes on daily. Your difficult child will act up at one point or other because that is just what she does. Only this time it will be for sister in law and not you because you arent in charge of you. If she comes to you, just refer her back to sister in law. Do make sure sister in law knows what you allow as far as non-negotiable's like safety and medications.
  9. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Hmmm, that's not a bad idea, putting sister in law in charge of difficult child. Would everyone else understand? You'd had to tell them all upfront, so that when the %**## hits the fan, you don't get the blame.
  10. greenrene

    greenrene Member

    We hashed it out, and I do believe we have come to an understanding. That's why I love my relationship with her - we can be honest with each other about even hurtful stuff, talk about it, get past it, and move on.

    I'm still going to minimize the difficult child talking though. I think she understands more than most, but even so, she still isn't living it.

    The support here means SO much - thank you guys!
  11. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Afterall, it takes a village......sister in law can certainly step up and help out....just gotta watch the lies from a difficult child.
  12. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    I'm another one who thinks that putting your sister in law in charge of difficult child while your family is all together on vacation is a great idea! After all, if she really wants to help, then she can step in and really get an idea of what it's like to have to parent under difficult child conditions.

    I'm glad that you were able to hash it out with her. I would limit what you tell her about difficult child, though. Just because you feel the need to limit your information flow does not mean that she will feel the need to limit her flow of "helpful" comments.

    Good luck!
  13. HopeRemains

    HopeRemains New Member

    I am really sorry that you are having to "defend" yourself. As a SM to difficult child, I also feel that I need to defend myself more often than I should. People just assume the worst, sometimes. My mother in law has insinuated to us that we are bad parents and constantly babies difficult child and favors him. Although, lived with him for a year and she knows how he acts. This is the woman who, when I first came to be here, drug difficult child (3) through the parking lot of a mall, me in tow, and just let his hand go and kind of dropped him in the middle of the parking lot! Then she swung him up by his arm into the car and spanked him. So... yeah, as much as she would like to portray that she knows how to handle difficult child and she knows best, I've seen her in action over the years when that fake face breaks into a million pieces. Yet, still, she can bad mouth us to any and all and I still have to just smile and take it. It makes a difficult situation harder when even family doesn't *get it* or doesn't want to get it. I'm glad that your sister in law at least will listen if you guys discuss it!