Caught in the middle

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by In the middle, Jan 1, 2017.

  1. In the middle

    In the middle New Member

    My oldest daughter (early 30s) is angry with me. She believes her recently engaged sister (late 20s) is in an abusive relationship and wants me to condemn the engagement. I have spent more time with my younger daughter and her fiancé than my older daughter has. I don't see any abuse. My younger daughter says she is in a healthy relationship and is very happy. She denies any abuse. I have to trust that I raised my daughters to reach out to me, or others, if they need help or support in getting out of a bad relationship. I don't think isolating my younger daughter by "condemning" her relationship would be helpful to her. I also don't think it is healthy for my older daughter to continue to voice unsubstantiated claims of abuse and at the same time offer her sister no emotional support, only condemnation.

    My older daughter is now voicing her opinion, via social media, to others in the family. This is very hurtful for my younger daughter and is causing a serious strain on my relationship with my older daughter.

    I cannot stand by one daughter without hurting the other one. What can I do to make this situation better?
     
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    You can't. You have no control over either daughter. So you do the best you can. You can't make your oldest act in a decent, supportive way. Maybe she is jealous. Who knows? She has no right to tell you what to do or say. Trashing her sister on social media is trashy and immature.

    If this were me, I think best action is to firmly tell oldest that this is her problem, and that you won't listen to her talking about it anymore nor will you tell youngest anything she demands. The marriage is not her business and it is insane of her to expect you to condemn anything. Something is very off about oldest. Has she always been dufficult?

    We all like family harmony but since we can not control those in our families sometimes we have to make same decisions that tick off another member. It happens a lot. So since you can't control the situation then just do what you know is right. You may have to limit contact with oldest and stop reading her social media. Yes, your relationship will suffer if she expects you to jump when she says so and gets huffy if you dont listen to her. But thats a fault of personality.

    Good luck. You know what is right and wrong here and oldest is forcing you to make a choice. I'd ignore her tantrum and enjoy the wedding.
     
  3. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    I have worked in the area of domestic violence. I would suggest to your older daughter that if she is really concerned about abuse they call a domestic violence agency for ideas on how to support her sister. They will probably tell her that her approach is not correct... that your younger daughter needs support and love and to know her family is there for her. I know this may feel counter intuitive since your younger daughter is not in an abusive relationship but it will take the pressure off you and hopefully get your older daughter to approach this differently.
     
  4. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I believe as I you imply, that it is your older daughter who is acting abusively. I believe it is your responsibility to protect your younger daughter and yourself. How, I am not sure.
    This is out of line.

    First, does the younger sister know? She should, I think. Right away. She should not be gossiped about without her knowledge especially regarding such a public thing as a wedding.

    Is the older sister jealous? Has there been tension or disagreement, overtly, in their relationship? Is the older sister married, or not?

    If there is a history of tension between them or you fear their may be jealousy or retaliation involved in what she is doing, I think you need to tell your older daughter. Regardless of their history, older daughter needs to be told to stop. Whether she does or does not, she needs to be told. That is my sense.

    If she is unwilling to stop, I do not know what to say, except that your younger daughter needs to be involved and there needs to be a united front. If you go on social media and refute anything, your older daughter may escalate, and the result will be a public feud. Your older daughter will obtain what she may have wanted all along: to wreck the happiness and wedding of her sister.
    This is ridiculous, that you are not given the dignity and respect to make your own assessment, and take action based upon it. How can she tell you what to condemn or support? Where does she get this power?

    Where is their father in all of this? Is he involved? Does he know?

    I agree with what TL says, that if she fears her sister is abused, and has concern...she needs to contact a domestic violence agency and deal with her own concerns that way....not by damaging her sister, and undermining her. Not by accusing her own mother of indifference, and ordering you around.

    That is abusive.

    If anybody needs to be stopped, it is older daughter. And contained. The only thing I would fear is escalating this to be an even greater problem. I fear older daughter will not stop. For some reason, she is out of control. This reminds me of a witch hunt, which historically would arise because of sexual jealousy. I am sorry this is happening.
     
  5. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Have you asked your oldest daughter what evidence she can produce that there is abuse going on? Has she seen bruises or cuts? If she is only suspecting it rather than having anything to back it up, I question what her true motive is.
    Could it be possible that she is jealous of her younger sister?
    I'm sorry your daughter is causing a conflict.
    ((HUGS)) to you.......................
     
  6. In the middle

    In the middle New Member

    Thank you for the comments. They are very helpful. Their father and I are still very happily married. He feels the same way I do and is baffled by her behavior. My oldest daughter is married and has small children. She has a nice life so I don't understand why she would be jealous of anyone else.

    Again, I appreciate the suggestions.
     
  7. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    Is your older daughter friends with someone who used to be involved with her sisters boyfriend? Is it possible she may have heard something about him from a third party?

    That is about the only scenario that I can think of for her to act the way she is... KSM.
     
  8. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I hope you stay with us and let us know how this transpires, what you decide.

    I think ksm has a good point. Maybe she has heard something via another person and she feels nobody is listening to her. If this could be the case, is it possible to speak to her and ask her specifically what might be the information that you need to know?

    She is obligated to tell you, rather than gossip, hurting everybody in the process. Could this be, that she has tried to tell you something or told you, and she does not feel heard?

    Take care. Let us know how this works out, if you would.

    Please.
     
  9. In the middle

    In the middle New Member

    It is very unlikely that she knows anyone from her sister's fiancé past as they live in different states. I realize that Domestic abuse can happen to anyone so I think my best option is to have a loving relationship with my children so they know they can count on my support no matter what life throws at them (good or bad).
     
  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Does your oldest tend to like drama ad do things like this? Is this a first? If she is that worried about her sister, she is not acting it out in a compassionate way. Even though oldest is married, could she maybe not want the same for her sister? Is she jealous of the attention sis is getting for the wedding?
     
  11. Ironbutterfly

    Ironbutterfly If focused on a single leaf you won't see the tree

    I would get both daughters and you and your husband in same room for a family meeting. Older daughter needs to disclose how she knows her sister is being abused either via word of mouth from a mutual friend or other ways. Going on social media is not the way to handle or try to expose any problems older daughter feels is there with her sister. It needs to be a face to face meeting to deal with this head on. It's a dislose what you know, put up or shut up issue with older daughter.