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Seeking MAJOR advice on my dd and mil.....MAJOR UPDATE..MORE ADVICE PLEASE

post #1 of 58
Thread Starter 

OH MAMAS....I AM SHAKING!!!!!! I just got home from attempting to pick dd up from mil's. We had an agreement (before I even posted my original thread) that dd11 would go over there yesterday evening and stay til 6pm tonight. We went over this several times with dd and dh told mil too.

Ok, so I get there tonight (with other dc in the car) and dd11 asks if she can stay til Mon because she doesnt want to go to Dland with us on Mon. I said no, we told you you have to come home tonight and we're not even going to dland til tues. Mil then asks if dd can come back next weekend for a birthday party for her great aunt (mind you, dh, me and our other dc are not invited), I said no, and mil goes nuts...conversation is as follows

dd11 I dont want to go home
mil : why? what's wrong at home?
dd11, I dont want to go
me: dd, get in the car, please, papa's waiting at home and we already discussed this
mil: I dont know what's going on, dgd but you better listen to mom, i guess
me to mil: dd needs to come home and spend some family time..
mil to me: well i'm family
me: she just needs to be home more
mil: well she's homeschooling, why does she have to be home so much
(mind you, this is all in front of dd)
I at this point send dd into the house for a kleenix and I LAYED INTO MY MIL
me: dd is having some problems at home right now and she needs to be more with dh and me so we can work them out
mil: what's going on? You dont tell me what's going on....
me: dd is having some depression and problems with eating..
mil: well she's not depressed when she's here and now i'm just supposed to send her home all upset?
me: yes, she's my daughter....and you undermined me and started a scene in front of dd. you need to respect that I am the parent....dh told you she could come over every other weekend and you still tried to ask for next weekend in front of dd.
mil: what about me? so I dont get to spend time with her because you want her at home?
me: this is not about you...this is about dd.
mil: (now in front of dd), well I dont know if it's that they dont want you around me or what but you better go....

DD refused to get in the car.....I called dh and wound up leaving because I didnt want my other dc to witness any more and told dd papa was on his way to get her....

MAMAS...HELP.....now I dont want her near my mil ever again....mil doesnt respect us at all....she is undermining us and poisoning my dd's mind

I dont even know where to start.....
I'll "try" to keep it short and simple.....

DD11 (our oldest of four) has always had a very special relationship with my mil. She was her first granchild. My mil is basically mentally/emotionally unstable but in a functioning sort of way. She is a teacher's aide at a local public school....she has pretty intense health problems right now due to cancer she had several years ago. She spoils the crud out of my dd11 (doesnt have the same connection with our other three and it shows )
We made the mistake of letting our dd11 spend a lot of time with her. She has spent many weekends over there. HUGE MISTAKE.
My mil has pretty much always undermined our authority. I suspect (with good reason) that she talks crap about me and dh behind our back because dd has let a few things slip here and there.

Ok, fast forward to a couple weeks ago. We told dd11 that we were going to pursue another adoption and she freaked out. She said she didnt want to do any more foster care....she constantly tells us we dont care what she wants but please understand no matter what we do for her or what we give her, it's never enough because my mil has basically given her anything she wanted.

Well last week, our dd passed out due to not eating She has the beginning of an eating disorder.
It is clear to us that she is feeling out of control in many areas of her life.
My mil found out that she passed out and had noticed that she was not eating and told me that she told dd that if she didnt eat, she (mil) would force feed her : (this is NOT going to help matters).
Anyway....right now, we are feeling like we need to keep her close to home and just really focus on her and her needs. We dont feel like she should be spending (any) much time with my mil BUT....my mil called and asked her to come over and of course dd wants to go but we had to tell mil and dd that she can only go once every other weekend for one night and now mil is really ticked off and wont accept the fact that dd needs to be at home with her "PARENTS". mil has always fought me emotionally for the "mother" role.....it has dh and me in utter frustration. We feel like we screwed up from the get go for letting her have so much involvement in dd's life but now if we were to cut it out completly then dd is going to suffer another loss and she's so fragile right now BUT if we let her keep going to mil's house, then mil will fill her head with crap about me and dh......talk some sense into me, mamas!!!!!! I dont know what to do!!!!!

Example of stupid things mil would do when dd was little. Dh and I were VERY poor when dd was little and mil knew that......well mil would buy dd a bazillion xmas presents but would only let her take a few things home and kept all the cool stuff at mil's house......same with clothes.....
she'll tell dd stuff like "dont tell your mom and dad this or that or they wont let you come over" just lame stuff like that.....

I'm so angry right now that I know i'm not being very articulate but it's just raw emotion and pure exhaustion and frustration coming out.....please throw your opinions/advice at me......
post #2 of 58
This particular line is a real problem for me:

she'll tell dd stuff like "dont tell your mom and dad this or that or they wont let you come over" just lame stuff like that.....
It just screams "Toxic! Bad!"
post #3 of 58
Originally Posted by phathui5
This particular line is a real problem for me:

It just screams "Toxic! Bad!"
post #4 of 58
Keep her visits with MIL limited. It is way obvious that MIL is not good for the child. Before anyone jumps on me, I don't mean "cut her off" totally. But, your DD is having some problems and MIL is not going to help. She is telling your child trash talk behind your back. That is a valid reason to cut out unsupervised visits anyway.
post #5 of 58
No unsupervised visits period. The past is the past. Your DD needs you to stand up to your MIL and just stop her cold. She is wrong to talk about you at all behind your back and that has to stop.
post #6 of 58
Can you visit along with her? That way she'll still see her grandma but there (hopefully) won't be any bad-mouthing of you and DH.

Are you still planning to pursue the adoption? It sounds like your DD could use some stability/constancy in her life right now.
post #7 of 58
Hmmm. What a hard situation. I agree no unsupervised visits for now though - especially if your dd is showing signs of a eating disorder and mil is a fan of trying to force feed her in that situation. That would just push dd farther into it, imo.

Trash talking you is just awful! What does your dh think? It's his mom, right?
post #8 of 58
Your poor dd1, it must be so hard for her having people that she loves pulling at her. How confusing at her age. That being said MIL sounds like she is only compounding the problems and possibly fueling them (how does mil feel about the forstering/adpotion issue?)

I would let dd1 see mil because totally cutting her off could shake her up even more and make you look like the bad guys, but I too would keep the visits supervised. I would also try to making them outings and family time so it doesn't seem like you are trying to supervise them. Maybe you could plan sleepovers at your place as an excuse for dd1 not going to grandmas house on the weekend. I would try to keep her away from mil as much as possible but I would try to do it in a more covert way. If dd1 thinks "you're out to get grandma" it might make you the bad guy in her eyes.

Best of luck!
post #9 of 58
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by limabean
Can you visit along with her?
Well I have a feeling that if we offered visits like that, neither dd or mil would go for it. They enjoy going shopping and dd likes spending the night....

Thanks for all the advice, mamas.......this is such a difficult situation. DH talked to mil but she doesnt listen....We've put ourselves in such a tough spot and mil wont sit down and listen to us and try to "help" us.....she has her own ideas on how we should raise our dd. (she also gets upset with us because we dont "discipline" our younger kids.)
post #10 of 58
This is a turning point for your dd. If you can, find a counselor immediately, send your dd by herself and also go as a family (without mil).

Let the counselor guide you through dealing with your mil. This is a sticky situation and it sounds like you need an objective, trained individual to help you through it.

Quit blaming yourself. By taking control now and getting dd the help that she needs she will be relieved by the loving boundaries being set around her. Your mil has no boundaries with dd and has put dd in a grown up position she shouldn't be in. As you well know she should never be exposed to mil's rants about you and your dh, your other kids, the way you treat her (mil), etc.

DD needs help to see mil's instability. I guarantee you she feels it, she feels protective of mil and feels that she is the only one who "gets" her and can defend her. It's time for you and dh to let dd know that you are taking back the role of being her parents through the actions that you take.

If it has gone so far as to involving an eating disorder(I don't believe in the "beginnings of" an eating disorder, she has one right now, plain and simple) she needs more help than you can give her.

I know it is tough right now but it really is the golden opportunity to help your daughter find her way through her teen years and into adulthood. Take advantage of the opportunity and best wishes!
post #11 of 58
I think in the short term, dd may be very upset by not seeing mil as much. But in the long run, mil does not sound like someone dd benefits from being around. It sounds like mil has let her have everything she wants - it will only get harder to overcome the negative affect that has on your dd. Right now she may not be eating, but later on, the "issue" may become even more serious. It's only going to get harder, and your dd will thank you in the long run (which may run for ten or more years so hang tight!).

That said, I understand how you feel with the guilt of not letting her go do something she loves. My MIL is pretty good to ds and ds loves to go over there. But the more she sees him, the more opinions she has about our parenting. She doesn't like how I cloth diaper, accuses us of starving him (he's 80th percentile on the charts for weight and 20th for height so no, I don't think so), she lectures us on all sorts of issues as though she is the mother and it is her responsibility to take care of these things. She lectures us to our faces and then complains to all the relatives behind our backs. And most of the time, she has 10% of the information but considers herself to be the all-knowing expert. Her behavior just angers both me and dh. Every child is different - just because she raised her own two boys (who were very different from each other...one very laid back and compliant and the other very hyperactive)...does not make her an expert with ds.

If anyone else watches ds, we have to pay them. MIL watches him for free. But her behavior has become so awful that we haven't gone on dates, we haven't gone to events we wanted to (without ds), and we haven't seen a movie in ages. It's cramped our lifestyle, and I feel bad not letting ds go over there, but at the same time, neither dh or I have any patience for her behavior. At times I feel guilty for denying ds the opportunity to spend time with his grandma, but then I think about the consequences for dh and myself...

It's really hard - I understand how you feel. But from everything you've said, I really think you will be better off in the long run if you establish some clear boundaries now. Hugs!
post #12 of 58
My first and foremost recommendation would be to get your daughter into some sort of Counseling and/or Therapy...mostly right now to address her eating issue and eventually to deal with issues brought up/about by MIL.

I do believe that there are a few "inpatient" or extensive outpatient type programs that might be beneficial for her eating issue(s). But right now, that is what you need to be worried about.

I would explain to your MIL that right now, your child is not in a position to be going anywhere without parental supervision due to her current eating disorder(s)/issue(s). That once those issue(s) have been resolved you will again consider letting her visit. I would also explain that by forcing her to eat, all she will do is create further eating issue(s), by potentially making her turn into a purger (bulemia), to prevent MIL from forcing food down her...she will eat to "satisify" MIL, then go puke it up.
post #13 of 58
Tough situation but I think that if I were in your shoes (knowing I have limited info) I'd focus on dd and not another adoption right now. Her eating issues should be addressed by a professional, from what I know of eating issues they are deep and require someone trained in that area. Your dd seems to have a close bond to your mil (put your feelings about mil aside for now). I'd try and figure out how to grow the bond with my dd to be stronger than that of mil, through therapy and time together. One book that I found facinating is "Hold On to Your Kids" by Neufeld & Mate. There have been some wonderful and lengthy threads on this book here at MDC.

The book suggests that parents should court their kids in a way that one would court a mate or new friend (appropriately, of course), that if you wanted a relationship with another person you cultivate it or it doesn't happen. Parents should be doing the same with their kids, not pushing them towards indepence and other friends. Kids will develop a dependency/bond with someone they can trust. There's a lot I could bring up from the book (which I am currently re-reading) but I don't want to assume that I understand what you are going through right now.

I think at 11 years old you still have time to reach her but it will take a lot of work and support from your family. Whatever you do try and be persistent and patient, and (not to be preachy but,) think about what you want for your dd long term and not just for now (this helps me, personally, with my perspective when I've "had it" with my kids or dh). I hope none of this offended you, just some thoughts and suggestions.
post #14 of 58
The eating disorder issue made me think of this: People who have eating disorders are, in a way, sick. They need help, they need rest, they need genuine support from people who love them unconditionally. Would you send DD over to visit MIL if she were sick with say, the flu or measles? Heck no, you'd keep her at home in bed until she got better. I think the same approach needs to be taken here. Tell MIL that DD is sick and needs to get better before she can visit again. Or something to that effect.
post #15 of 58
Thread Starter 
Thanks again, mamas......everything you have all said has made complete sense and it just helps to hear it from outsiders....

Boobear~ we are taking a huge step back from foster/adoption right now. Up until a couple weeks ago, we were going full steam ahead but dd's problems have stopped us dead in our tracks. Right now the focus is on her and the rest of our dc.

Many of you have suggested therapy/counseling and while I agree (I benefited greatly from counseling as an adult), I'm nervous about finding the "right" counselor. I want to find someone who is pro-attatchment/natural family living/pro homeschooling and who supports our faith.....It seems like a tall order.....I dont know...anyone have positive counseling experiences with their children?

Again, thank you all so much.....I cant tell you how comforting it is to have a group of mamas that offer so much great advice and support
post #16 of 58
Thread Starter 
bumping for vent and help
post #17 of 58
After reading your update and hearing about your mil's behavior I would have to say that its time to cut mil out completely at least until you get the situation under control w/ your dd. Sounds like your mil is totally trying to play your dd against you and is using her against you. She seems to be more conserned about getting her "play dates" w/ dd than dd's mental health. (mil: what about me? so I dont get to spend time with her because you want her at home?)
Your mil is just stirring the pot and thats definitly not helping here at all. While it might be tramatic for dd to not see mil for awhile (3-4 months) it is certianly not healthy for her to be put between you and your mil, and we all know its not you thats putting her in that ackword possition. DD needs to get her issues sorted out w/o mil issues intertwined. Its obvious that your mil is pretty much beyond reasoning with at this point.

Hang in there... I wish the best of luck...
post #18 of 58
Originally Posted by limabean
Can you visit along with her? That way she'll still see her grandma but there (hopefully) won't be any bad-mouthing of you and DH.

Are you still planning to pursue the adoption? It sounds like your DD could use some stability/constancy in her life right now.


I was going to suggest supervised visits with MIL, as well.
post #19 of 58
Absolutely no more visits with MIL for several months and NO more unsupervised visits EVER. I wouldn't even allow phone calls for awhile and then on speaker phone. MIL is toxic, if she says that crap in front of you, just imagine what she is saying when you are not around.
post #20 of 58
Major Judy. I am so sorry it has escalated (though with what you've told me, I'm not surprised ). I definitely agree with cutting off any visits for now (would dh be in favor of no visits at all ... maybe until Christmas time when you all could go over for the holiday?). That's just not something dd needs to be dealing with at all. Do any of your sil's/bil's agree with the toxicity of mil? If so, do you think dd might listen to reason from them rather than from you or dh? And I know you're worried about finding someone good, but I definitely would pursue a therapist for dd (maybe even you, dh, and dd). What about posting in FYT to see if there's someone in this area that would be good. Ugh ... I so don't know otherwise other than to say I love you and give you more cyber 's ... at least until I see you next.
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