Seeking MAJOR advice on my dd and mil.....MAJOR UPDATE..MORE ADVICE PLEASE - Mothering Forums
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Parenting > Seeking MAJOR advice on my dd and mil.....MAJOR UPDATE..MORE ADVICE PLEASE
mykdsmomy's Avatar mykdsmomy 01:27 AM 08-30-2006
UPDATE*****


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......

phathui5's Avatar phathui5 02:19 AM 08-30-2006
This particular line is a real problem for me:

Quote:
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!"
Joannarachel's Avatar Joannarachel 03:05 AM 08-30-2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by phathui5
This particular line is a real problem for me:



It just screams "Toxic! Bad!"
:
TinkerBelle's Avatar TinkerBelle 07:49 AM 08-30-2006
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.
taz925's Avatar taz925 08:04 AM 08-30-2006
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.
limabean's Avatar limabean 12:23 PM 08-30-2006
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.
Sarahbunny's Avatar Sarahbunny 12:35 PM 08-30-2006
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?
stellimamo's Avatar stellimamo 12:50 PM 08-30-2006
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!
mykdsmomy's Avatar mykdsmomy 02:56 PM 08-30-2006
Quote:
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.)
Cheshire's Avatar Cheshire 03:21 PM 08-30-2006
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!
pageta's Avatar pageta 03:24 PM 08-30-2006
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!
khaoskat's Avatar khaoskat 01:41 AM 08-31-2006
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.
boobear's Avatar boobear 02:46 PM 08-31-2006
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.
Mama Poot's Avatar Mama Poot 03:09 PM 08-31-2006
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.
mykdsmomy's Avatar mykdsmomy 03:18 PM 08-31-2006
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
mykdsmomy's Avatar mykdsmomy 12:43 AM 09-03-2006
bumping for vent and help
stellimamo's Avatar stellimamo 12:54 AM 09-03-2006
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...
A&A's Avatar A&A 01:01 AM 09-03-2006
Quote:
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.
Getz's Avatar Getz 01:14 AM 09-03-2006
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.
MyLittleWonders's Avatar MyLittleWonders 01:55 AM 09-03-2006
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.
Jennifer3141's Avatar Jennifer3141 02:02 AM 09-03-2006
Since you asked, in my honest opinion - your DD not eating is a SCREAM for attnention and incredibly harmful to her health. If this isn't stopped, she may die from this. Due to the seriousness, I don't think this is something that you and your DH can solve unless you have been trained in psychololgy quite a bit and even then you probably shouldn't be treating your own child. You have no choice but to seek out a qualified professional counselor to help your DD recover from this. Your problems with MIL are almost secondary. Your DD is ill. You need to get her to the kind of people who can help her.

Definately interview counselors and definately mention your parenting style but the most important thing here is to get your child help with her eating disorder. Your MIL can bite your fanny until your DD is better.
shanagirl's Avatar shanagirl 04:10 AM 09-03-2006
I'm also going to give feedback you may not want. I knew two girls who were severely anorexic in their teens. In both those situations they were struggling to come out from under hyper-controlling parents (that was the diagnosis of their therapists, not mine). When I read your post about your MIL, what was poignant for me is that whatever problems your daughter is having, she appears to be very comfortable with your MIL, and that is something you need to think about objectively, because that is something positive in her life.

I would be careful being overly harsh with the one person your daughter seems comfortable being with and try to let them have a relationship with minimal interference from you. And try to understand (objectively, not judgmentally) why your dd likes being with MIL so much. I just sense huge power issues between your MIL and you and your dd is in the middle.
bri276's Avatar bri276 04:22 AM 09-03-2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by boobear
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.
: to everything. as someone who is much, much closer to my grandmother than my mother- please, don't let go. meet whatever needs MIL is filling so that the trust can switch to you as the mother. and adoption shoud not even be in the realm of possibility until the whole family is on board with it. especially until the eating disorder is resolved for a substantial time period- EDs can be life threatening, they need to be taken seriously and dealt with through professionals and with compassion. I'm not trying to lecture you, obviously you are a loving mama otherwise you wouldn't have even bothered posting this. I hope this difficult time passes quickly and that everything works out
BellinghamCrunchie's Avatar BellinghamCrunchie 12:27 PM 09-03-2006
I strongly agree with a PP who stated that your DD needs qualified outside assistance. You can't treat this by yourselves. Once she is set up with a qualified professional, I think you should follow that professional's recommendation regarding her grandmother. It is my understanding that eating disorders often develop in families where the parents are overcontrolling. Not allowing her to see grandmother, when that relationship is a positive in her life, may be just one more controlling action that that might dig her in deeper to an eating disorder, not help her get out of it.
MelMel's Avatar MelMel 01:04 PM 09-03-2006
nak
i agree with the last few posters....

i also have a somewhat toxic, undermining, emotionally needy MIL/gramma of my kids...my dd is her first grandchild and she and her have a nausiating (sp) relationship....she is spoiled and she allows things i would never, things i consider very harmful to girls (pink princess and commercial stuff, bad foods/cows milk, etc) it is extremely frustrating. i read your post and was worried, since our situation could be headed that way...my dd isnt yet 4.

but i also grew up with a controlling mother, and had nobody else in my life i could trust...i felt wronged and stifled, and like my mother hated me. she put me in counciling (even though i felt i wasnt the problem, she was....i didnt know then that there didnt have to be anything wrong with you to go to counceling) it was very discouraging, and i did consider suicide at a few points...i didnt feel i had a future because i couldnt see a way out of the present. i was stuck at home and being there was so tense...i felt unloved and unwanted.

anyway, despite the issues MIL has, your dd may be blind to her faults, and seems to be filling a role right now. your dd needs someone and i would rather MY dd turn to a family member than a friend who could possibly get her in trouble....or get her involved in more deadly 'escape' techniques than spoiling and mom bashing

anyway, as the mom in this, i would allow unlimited contact...give dd some control over her schedule (and her life), but do it LOVINGLY (not begrudgingly) and i would start a journal, writing down all my thoughts and my feelings, and pass it back and forth between me and my dd. no pressure, no control. she could just read and pass it back, or she could write and i would respond, etc.

there are a few things i wish my mom would've told me at the time, she has since mentioned...like how rough it was to be a mom in her teens, and have 2 kids so close in age...problems with my dad who wasnt always around and cared more about partying than being a parent. it wouldnt of changed how i felt about her indifference to me, just that i wouldvt understood it wasnt me, but other factors in her life that were pissing her off.

good luck, it must feel terrible to worry about your precious dd slipping away.
Lisa Lubner's Avatar Lisa Lubner 01:24 PM 09-03-2006
I wouldn't cut contact off either, especially if your daughter wants to spend so much time with her.

BUT... that undermining your parenting should NOT fly. If your daughter is going to have frequent visits with MIL, then it NEEDS to be with the understanding that MIL will respect your parenting choices. If she simply can't do that, then it will not be your fault that your daughter wont be seeing her anymore.
mykdsmomy's Avatar mykdsmomy 03:38 PM 09-03-2006
To the last few posters, I sincerely appreciate your posts.....but let me add a few things, first, I had an eating disorder when I was dd's age as well as an adult and mine was probably mostly due to my OVER controlling mother....I could write a novel....

My mil has spoiled the crud out of my dd. I give my dd TONS of freedom (maybe too much), We recently redid her room, we've given her her own room despite then having to put our other dc into one room. I probably spend (and always have) more time with dd11 then the other dc because dd has always had my mil as a comparison. Mil actually told dh and me last night (in front of dd), "Well what about me? Why are you punishing me?". My mil is very selfish....she's nearly imoblie right now because of her health and depends in a sick way on my dd for help going places and for company. DD now feels obligated to help her and give her company. We've let this go on long enough. I take full blame for that....but I feel like we need to step in now before we lose dd forever.
We will get her counseling (although mil says she will just force feed her if dd wont eat).....see, it's just more complicated then letting them have that relationship....it's seriously toxic....
runes's Avatar runes 04:12 PM 09-03-2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by mykdsmomy
To the last few posters, I sincerely appreciate your posts.....but let me add a few things, first, I had an eating disorder when I was dd's age as well as an adult and mine was probably mostly due to my OVER controlling mother....I could write a novel....

My mil has spoiled the crud out of my dd. I give my dd TONS of freedom (maybe too much), We recently redid her room, we've given her her own room despite then having to put our other dc into one room. I probably spend (and always have) more time with dd11 then the other dc because dd has always had my mil as a comparison. Mil actually told dh and me last night (in front of dd), "Well what about me? Why are you punishing me?". My mil is very selfish....she's nearly imoblie right now because of her health and depends in a sick way on my dd for help going places and for company. DD now feels obligated to help her and give her company. We've let this go on long enough. I take full blame for that....but I feel like we need to step in now before we lose dd forever.
We will get her counseling (although mil says she will just force feed her if dd wont eat).....see, it's just more complicated then letting them have that relationship....it's seriously toxic....

if mil has stated that she will force feed your daughter to make her eat, then she imho she should not be a part of your family's life right now. she did not ask you how she can help. she said she would do probably the most horrible thing she could do to your daughter. this is not acceptable.

as pp's have stated eating disorder are an illness, and the entire family needs to be on the same page and on board for helping. if your mil has already stated that she would do such a harmful act such as forcing your dd to eat, then she must not be allowed access to your child. period.

if in some way she is able to get past her selfish needs and get with the program on how to help dd, then there is a chance that she could still be involved with your family at this point. but if she is going to undermine you and your family's commitment to helping your dd, then no way no how.

sorry, mama. this is a very serious situation and some definite boundaries need to be set. i had read your original post and had been wondering how things have been unfolding, and i'm so sorry to hear that the situation has gotten worse.

as for counseling, you had mentioned that you want to find someone that has a certain set of criteria, which is good but please don't delay in finding someone as soon as possible.
shanagirl's Avatar shanagirl 04:45 PM 09-03-2006
mykidsmomy-nice to see your reply. I was afraid after I posted, well, what the heck do I know about her family? But I did want to give some objective feedback to your post.

I would say tho that no family is perfect --there are lots of major flaws. I used to think people who gave dd girly presents (pink clothes, candy) were forcing stereotypes on her and then I wound up having to admit my daughter just loved girly stuff, with no influence from me, and I cringe when I think of the things I returned without her knowing it. We have to recognize what our children love and not criticize it.

I still think your MIL has a place in your family since she and your dd are so close. My grandmother, while a really destructive liar among the adults in our family, doted on me and my times wiht her are some of my best memories of my childhood. While my grandmother could wreak havoc with her lies, she was also the first adult I knew who initiated friendly conversations with minorities (on a bus or el train in Chicago in the late 60s) and openly questioned the church on many things. She was also the only adult who was completely unbothered when my brother came out in his teens. So while there were incredible negatives with her, there were also unique positives.

I would again, given that your MIL is ill, recommend that you try to see her objectively and recognize the good that is between her and your dd. It is actually touching to think that your daughter can help her in some way as long as she is not inflicting needs that your daughter can't handle.

As for the force feeding, honestly, with both my friends, I did see their parents in moments of frustration try to force food in their mouths. They weren't ogres, they were just having a primal reaction to the situation. Only when they went to counseling did they understand the problem was psychological and not a matter of overpowering an uncooperative child. So your MILs reaction is not that unique it is just unenlightened. It would probably help, once you get counseling for your dd, if your MIL could be present when the counselor talks to you so a professional can explain to your MIL what the issues are. I know with my BIL's alchoholism, my husband had to insist that his mother talk to his brother's counselor to understand that 'just drinking beer' can indeed cause alcoholism. She truly didn't think she needed to get it out of the house because it was 'just beer!"

Give your MIL a chance to learn before you quash the relationship. It is too deep. But she needs to be educated. You are just lucky to have some one who loves your dd that much. My dd's grandparents are all dead except for my MIL, who generally doesn't notice much about dd at all.
Storm Bride's Avatar Storm Bride 05:19 PM 09-03-2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by shanagirl
Give your MIL a chance to learn before you quash the relationship. It is too deep. But she needs to be educated. You are just lucky to have some one who loves your dd that much. My dd's grandparents are all dead except for my MIL, who generally doesn't notice much about dd at all.
Why do you assume that the OP's MIL loves the grandchild? The MIL in the OP sounds a lot like my grandmother. I also have an eating disorder (not diagnosed, and I'm not sure it's one that has an actual label - but I have a very unhealthy relationship with food). It was largely a gift from my grandmother...the one who wanted me and my sister over all the time, and undermined my parents authority, and tried to spoil us rotten, and said "don't tell your mom, because she won't let you come and visit me". I loved going to my grandma's house when I was young. (What kid wouldn't? Unlimited cookies, candy, ice cream bars, sodapop...Frankenberry with Pepsi for breakfast...Kraft mac'n'cheese with Minute Rice for supper. But, don't tell mom, because she won't let you come over.) My mom was the enemy in grandma's world, because my mom wouldn't let me eat candy all weekend - I remember practicing my counting by 10's...with my candy wrappers...at about age 5 or 6 - or drink three glasses of sodapop with my breakfast.

That evil woman screwed me up, screwed my sister up, screwed up my cousins, and my brother...all because she "loved" us. She didn't love us - didn't know what it meant. All she cared about was trying to make us love her more than we loved our mother. To this day, I have bizarre eating problems, and no real emotional concept of how much junk food is "normal". I'm obese, and addicted (not in the "ha ha" way so many women joke about, either) to chocolate and sugar. I have serious self-image problems, and sexual issues - all the result of emotional manipulation and junk food "buy offs" from my grandmother.

If I had a time machine, the only thing I'd change about my childhood would be that I'd completely absent myself from that woman's home. My mom's only real regret about her parenting is that she didn't see what was wrong earlier and that she allowed her mother to be a factor in our lives.

I haven't seen anything in the OP's posts that suggests that her dd's grandmother loves her dd. I've seen a lot that suggestst that she's using her dd to fulfill her own emotional needs, putting a huge emotional burden on the girl. I wouldn't be at all surprised if the eating disorder is a manifestation of the stresses being put on the OP's dd by her grandmother's total lack of boundaries and disrespect for the parental relationship.

OP: I understand your desire to find a compatible therapist. But, at this point, I think you need to forget about support for AP and your religion, and find someone who knows how to deal with eating disorders. I also agree that your MIL should be told that, right now, dealing with dd's eating disorder is priority one, and visits are curtailed while you find a therapist and establish a course of treatment. My guess is that her reaction to this will be complete outrage at the fact that you're "stealing" her grand-daughter...and not concern for her grand-daughter's psychological and physical well-being. Of course, I could be wrong. She may not be as twisted as my grandmother - but she sure sounds like it.
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