Need Help Please- I'm at a total loss with MIL situation - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 22 Old 10-10-2008, 02:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello I’m new to posting but not new to MDC. I have been reading and learning here for around three years. Usually I have been able to find answers to my questions without posting. However, I am currently at a complete loss and I don’t know what to do about it. So if you can stick with me here goes.

A little back story: I have three beautiful DD’s ages 4, 2, and 4 months. We are working very hard to raise our girls gently and respectfully. I work full time and my DH is a SAHD. We are very lucky to have a very involved extended family. However, this is where my problem starts. I love my in-laws very much but my MIL is extremely needy. I have always been able to handle it, even if it does drive me a bit crazy, but I’m now realizing it is affecting my children. My husband is not good at communication and worse at confrontation; thereby he just avoids her issues. Also my IL’s come up once a week to spend time with the girls and give DH a break (they live just under 2 hours away from us).

The issue: I have been noticing for a while that MIL doesn’t treat DD1 and DD2 the same. While she is never neglectful, she just doesn’t have the same level of interaction with them. I have been thinking that it was just the fact that DD1 was her first grandchild and that eventually it would even out. This is not the case as was confirmed by her this week – it is actually worse, well at least to me it is. She told me this week that she has a special connection with DD1 (that in and of its self is not a big issue to me). Although, one of her reasons for this bond is that she was able to be at her birth (a semi-scheduled CS due to breach presentation, pre-e and way too high BP) and was one of the first to see her. She then went on to say that she doesn’t really have a great bond with DD2 because she wasn’t allowed to be involved in her birth and was called once she was born (DD2 was a spontaneous VBAC and we didn’t realize once real labor started it would go so fast and be so intense). We called immediately after DD2 was born and they got to see her the day after. I asked if she felt the same about DD3 (also a spontaneous VBAC) because they didn’t see her until the day after she was born as well. She said no because she was allowed to be involved in the birth because they knew I was in labor and had to help watch the older girls.

I am crushed! I feel like she can be mad at me until the day one of us passes on but how dare she take that out on my completely incent baby. I have been thinking about this for a while and I feel that she is quite possible the most emotionally manipulative person I know. She is so needy that she is not creating a bond with DD2 because she wasn’t allowed to know I was in labor. DD2 birth wasn’t about her – it was about me and my desire to have a natural unmedicated birth. I was never able to tell her that I felt her presence around me would have been detrimental to my success (as I tend to feel nervous and anxious around her). There is so much more to this story but I’m just going to leave it at this main point.

So my problem is what should I do now? I am at a complete loss on how to appropriately handle this situation. It is highly important to me that my children have loving grandparents in their lives. My IL’s love my DD's dearly, but how do I protect them from the emotional manipulation that is occurring around them? How do I even begin to salvage a relationship with my MIL that I feel is irreparably damaged? Is it even possible to really discuss this with MIL? I’m sure she has no idea the weight of what she has said to me. She tends to have this problem – she does not have a good filter and since almost everything is based on her need (even though she adamantly denies that) she says hurtful things often. Now MIL is not an evil lady is she is vey loving, compassionate, and willing to help it is just that her incredible neediness is almost too much to take at times.

If you made it this far thank you. I am trying to reach out in many different directions for some help with this situation. I am truly heart broken for my DD’s. I am open to all suggestions.
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#2 of 22 Old 10-10-2008, 02:52 PM
 
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She could not come to my house until she could treat all the children the same. Sorry. I believe in playing hardball on the extended family issues.
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#3 of 22 Old 10-10-2008, 03:12 PM
 
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My mum has what sound like similar issues. We don't have your exact situation but here is what I've found – you have to engage the same neediness in order to get results. I mean I wish I could just say "cut it out" but it doesn't work.

So I think I'd try something like… "MIL, after we talked the other day I was feeling so sad about your feeling around the bond. I was thinking, though, that DD2 is really like you in XYZ, and it would be a shame if she missed out on that. So maybe we need to plan some time for you two to do ABC together. Because it would REALLY upset me if the girls were treated differently."

And then your DH needs to chime in, maybe another time, about the same thing – it would REALLY upset him if the girls were treated differently.

Hope that helps!

ETA: P.S. I agree it can't continue indefinitely.

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#4 of 22 Old 10-10-2008, 03:17 PM
 
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So I think I'd try something like… "MIL, after we talked the other day I was feeling so sad about your feeling around the bond. I was thinking, though, that DD2 is really like you in XYZ, and it would be a shame if she missed out on that. So maybe we need to plan some time for you two to do ABC together. Because it would REALLY upset me if the girls were treated differently."

And then your DH needs to chime in, maybe another time, about the same thing – it would REALLY upset him if the girls were treated differently.

I agree with the PPer. I was just about to suggest being honest (albeit a little too emotional, but you have to do that with someone like her) and suggesting they spend some more special time together.

Sorry she is so crazy!

Sarah*

Sarah, Mom to Theo (8/06), Penny (1/08) and Felix 10/30) #4 due 07/11
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#5 of 22 Old 10-10-2008, 04:17 PM
 
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You know...I think you are being almost as sensitive, and I think it's a mistake to treat this as a permanent problem. I understand why you're upset , but I think it was brave of her and a step in the right direction to spell out the origins of her feelings (rather than assuming you ought to know, like so many relatives would!), and if you feel "crushed" and "emotionally manipulated" and "irreparably damaged", that says a lot about how you see her and what you expect from her which really has very little to do with her relationship with your daughter.

Yes, DD2's birth wasn't about her; it was about you, DD2, and your husband. The current state of MIL's relationship with DD2 is not about you; it's about MIL and DD2. The birth is over; the relationship is now and in the future.

I think the best thing for you to do is to focus on the situation now, guide MIL to direct her focus there too, and see what you can do to help: "I've been thinking about what you said about feeling a weaker bond with DD2. We can't change the past, so let's think about what would bring you closer to DD2 now. What do you think would help?" Kind of like what GuildJenn said, but don't suggest whatever ideas you have until you've heard her ideas, and don't nag about needing all your daughters to be treated exactly the same. People are different. Sometimes we feel closer to one person than another, and that doesn't make us defective horrible people. The important thing is that DD2 and her grandma have the best relationship the two of them can have--not that they have a relationship exactly like DD1's.

If MIL keeps bringing up the birth, I think your best move is to apologize. Don't apologize for the way it went (which was partly your perfectly reasonable feelings and partly circumstances out of your control); express your regret and sympathy for HER FEELINGS that have been bothering her for two years. "I'm so sorry you feel that way. We didn't mean to hurt you."

I hope this doesn't seem like I'm on her side and not yours. What I'm hoping to offer is a way to work out the feelings she has shown you. Remember, both of you want the same thing: a good relationship between her and her granddaughter.

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#6 of 22 Old 10-10-2008, 05:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks so much for your responses. Before she made this new statement I actually was talking to her about the difference in treatment and that maybe she just needed to spend some one-on-one time with DD2. That is when this when this bomb shell was delivered. You see even if she really feels this way, why did she actually tell me. She could have just acknowledged the difference and we could have just started discussing setting up special time for her and DD2. Right now I just feel like I need to keep DD2 safe from her, meaning away from her, but I'm sure that is me being over emotional/sensitive (which I can tend to be).

EnvioBecca – I believe you are correct that I am being over emotional. That is why I always have to take so much time to think through these situations and make sure I am responding appropriately. I also agree that the birth was in the past. MIL has been bringing it up ever since DD2 was about 2 weeks old. I have explained the circumstances to her and also apologized to her. So the fact that this is the reason she feels she has been unable to bond with DD2 was a complete shock to me. It has been 2 years! Why can’t she just love DD2 for the amazing little girl that she is.

I think there is personality difference between DD1 and DD2 that has help in perpetuating this perceived bonding issue. That is that while both DD’s are highly spirited, DD1 has always been one of those kids that is over the top emotional. Starting around 5 – 6 months old she would cry terribly when I would leave. She is still that way today – if you don’t say good bye in the proper way she has a complete melt down. She often begs for me to stay. Well because she loves MIL so much she does the same to her. DD1 always asks MIL when she is coming, is she staying, can she stay with her and if DD1 doesn’t get the answer she wants hysterics generally begin. So DD1’s personality plays into MIL’s love for everyone to like her (ie – neediness). Now DD2, while she is just as spirited, it has never really bothered her when we say good bye. She’ll just happily wave good bye and blow kisses (she hasn’t really been a big kisser). So MIL hasn’t been getting that validation from DD2 like she does from DD1.

I guess that’s why I’m so conflicted on what to do. While I’m really upset about what she said that’s not the only issue, during our conversation her statements (not just this one) validated a lot of the feelings I’ve been having over the whole summer. I have been watching and just hoping that it was just me, now I know that it is not just me. So that brings me here. I need help getting perspective on what to do. What parts of this issue must I handle head on and really confront her with directly? Or are there some ways I can just work on structuring the relationship to keep my girls emotionally healthy while continuing to have a great relationship with their Grandma.

I’m not sure that actually talking to her will work because I don’t think she will really hear me. She tends to get very defensive and emotional if she believes you are saying she did something wrong. Then I will feel the need to not only continue to get my point across but to also console her. I had actually typed a 3 page letter to her to address some of my feelings, which I didn’t send, the day we had this conversation. When I saw the call was her I hesitated for a second, thinking should I just let it go to voicemail and send the letter, but I answered and now I wish I’d have just sent my original letter. I am willing to move past my hurt for the wellbeing of my girls. I just need a little time – I won’t forget what she has said but I certainly am willing to forgive.
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#7 of 22 Old 10-10-2008, 09:09 PM
 
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I give you so much credit for taking this situation seriously!

I was the one my grandmother didn't prefer....and my parents never said a word to her or to me. I talked with my dad about it as an adult and he said they thought I didn't realize it. Please.

He just wasn't strong enough to stand up to his mother. And my mother wasn't strong enough to stand up to my day or my mil.

I would limit the time she spends with the girls. It's unlikely she's going to change, and it's not fair to either child for this to continue. They will notice and they will talk about it, even if it's not in front of you and your husband.

I would try to limit the time she's around the girls to when you can be there too, even if that means they don't come nearly as often.

I know you want strong family bonds, but dysfunctional bonds aren't what you want.

I am probably so adamant because of my own situation, I'm reading this with my own baggage. But grandparents can do tons of damage if the parents don't intervene.

Good for you for being on top of this!
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#8 of 22 Old 10-10-2008, 09:41 PM
 
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this is a textbook case of an issue that should be handled by your husband. all touchy in law issues should be handled by him, all issues with your family should be handled by you.
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#9 of 22 Old 10-10-2008, 10:02 PM
 
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Since the communication has already been started, i'd think it's OK for you to keep it going with MIL, or for yo and DH to say something.

My answer that day probably would have been "She's 2, it's about time you got over it!" but I'm not exactly known for my tact.
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#10 of 22 Old 10-10-2008, 11:24 PM
 
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I think you hit the nail on the head when you mentioned that your DD1 has personality traits that match well with your MIL. She has noticed that she doesn't feel as drawn to your DD2, and she's trying to justify her feelings by blaming you (for having a vaginal birth? huh?).

The fact is that as people, sometimes we just hit it off better with certain types of personalities. She may have an easy bond with your DD1. She needs to find a way to relate to DD2-- maybe she needs you to point out how your DD2 shows her affection. Maybe she needs to be reminded that 2 yos are not as socially mature as 4 yos, period.

I guess I don't have any specific advice; I just want to offer support. I think the childbirth thing was just a red herring to push the blame off onto you (she probably knows it's an emotionally loaded issue for you anyway.)

Dawn - Mom to : Jack 11/04 and David 5/08
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#11 of 22 Old 10-11-2008, 01:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Karemore – thank you for your perspective. It helps me to know that I’m not totally off base will being so concerned. I tend to think your right about limiting the amount of time spent with my DD's.

I think I feel so strongly about it for a few reasons;

1) I am a very sensitive person, so are my DD’s, and I know from personal experience how small things most other people think are benign can be so impactful when you are young. It can take almost a lifetime to get over something someone said or a way someone made you feel. This is a major reason I spend so much time reading on MDC and particularly this board – I want to try to do my best to teach my girls how to appropriately handle their very strong emotions. I also want them to be able to stand up for themselves when necessary. So how do I teach them this if I don’t intervene someway in the current situation of being treated so unequally.

2) I believe that my MIL has a favorite between her two sons. She has told me before that she had special bond with my DH, that they were just more similar in personality. DH’s brother is very independent. Neither son has what I would call a strong, close relationship with her. They both tend to avoid situations in which they feel she is going to be over emotional. So the situation gets more complicated for me because I now believe it is a pattern for her.

3) Add in that she had a very strong relationship with her grandmother and has told me that she was partially raised by her. Her relationship with her own mother is strange – I don’t really understand it.

I’m also concerned that this special bond with DD1 could be just as detrimental to her as the lack of a bond could be to DD2. I worry about this because of DD1’s personality … the way MIL interacts with her increases the drama in DD1 and I feel she tends to like it as it usually manifest in a way that validates MIL’s neediness.

I wouldn’t really have a problem with this situation if I just felt that my MIL loved both my daughters similarly and just had a special bond with DD1. I can understand and appreciate that sometimes we can just connect with some people better than others. My problem is that at first I didn’t think she really knew she was doing it and that I hadn’t seen her even try to correct it. I was just going to blandly address it – and now here I am with a much worse situation, in my opinion, to figure out.

I would love for my DH to handle this situation. Unfortunately, he is has an incredibly difficult time confronting her. He has yet to really deal with his own issues with her. As I said before he is not a great communicator and therefore almost never talks about she makes him feel. He is not happy with the current situation but would prefer me to handle it. I told him we need to talk about it and come up with a plan. He is willing to do that – but I will have to lead him through that process. So again that brings be here to continue to get great suggestions and ideas.

Betsy – I wish I would have thought to say that.

Thanks for all the feed back so far – please keep it coming.
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#12 of 22 Old 10-11-2008, 02:34 AM
 
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That is a really tough situation. On one hand, you don't want your girls to have a grandma who has an obvious favorite. OTOH you can't force your MIL to change or develop a more meaningful relationship with your other 2 DDs.

I agree that your DH needs to step up and say something. I think your DH may have a hard time understanding this particular situation because he was the favorite. Does he have the kind of relationship with his brother where they can talk about what it meant to the non-favorite? To give him a better understanding of how hurtful this can be to his two youngest daughters?
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#13 of 22 Old 10-11-2008, 12:57 PM
 
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I could be wrong, obviously, but it sounds like your MIL dumped a big bucket of guilt on you and that would upset me too. I don't believe for a second that a grandparent has to be present at the birth of the child in order to have a strong bond with them. There are probably other reasons the bond is stronger with DD1, but if she is emotionally manipulative it sounds to me like she threw a zinger at you for not including her in the birth.

You have gotten some great advice here. I would follow up gently asking how to strengthen the bond. Given her level of involvement with your family, it can't be ignored.

It is also time for your dh to step up and get involved in the discussion.

Good luck!
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#14 of 22 Old 10-12-2008, 01:41 PM
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You need boundaries with this woman.

I have the same sort of dynamic with other relatives in my family. It is detrimental to relationships. Period.

I feel so sorry for your husband's brother. Because he is independent, he deserves less of an emotional bond with his mother? Please. This woman is codependant and unhealthy. She will ruin the dynamic between your girls. She is manipulating children. She started off by manipulating your husband when he was a child. I bet he had problems developing healthy friendships as a child/young adult.

Nip it in the bud. Google codependency and see what comes up.

And the other posters are right - your husband needs to put the boundaries in place.

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#15 of 22 Old 10-13-2008, 03:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks again for all the input so far. I will look up more information on codependency. I also am beginning to look into talking to a counselor because I agree that we need to create boundaries, but I am still at a lost on where to start, how to communicate them, and how to enforce them. I haven’t really talked DH about counseling yet, but he needs help to stand up to MIL for the good of our girls. He is the one who is home when IL’s visit during the week.

This weekend MIL asked DH if she was in the dog house. I truly believe she doesn’t understand the weight of what she has said. Also it is not just this statement but the accumulation of her actions and statements over time that has led me to this point. Oh and MIL also told DH that they weren’t going to stay for dinner anymore so that they aren’t in the way, which means two things 1) they will come and go while I’m at work and 2) she really has little time to spend with DD2.

I must protect my children; I know that for sure, the rest of it I’m still struggling with. I am just really beginning to realize that I don’t want to be her emotional cheerleader anymore. I don’t have the energy for it – with three babies, a husband, and a full time job. I work really hard trying to find the right tools to parent my girls in a positive, gentle, and nurturing way – I just don’t want to feel that I’m parenting her as well. I also don’t want the emotional baggage anymore.
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#16 of 22 Old 10-13-2008, 04:11 PM
 
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I've been thinking about your post since you posted it.

I've come to see relationships with other people as life's Obstacle Course. You can't rearrange it the way you want, you just have to navigate through it. And really, the living is in the navigating; that's the way it's supposed to be. Several pieces of literature have made the point to me in different ways: if you could become Life's Stage Manager and script for everyone how they should interact with you, would you really want to? That's a lot of onus to take on.

So in relation to your first post, I completely understand when you say "It is highly important to me that my children have loving grandparents in their lives", but it's not for you to put them there, you couldn't if you wanted to.

It's been very hard for me to watch my daughter have to deal with less-than-ideal relationships. And then I really made a shift in perspective to seeing it as my job to walk those paths with her and help her understand and navigate them, rather than orchestrate or change them. It really helped me.

In your shoes (and I am in our family's own way) I'd step way back from it and keep your focus on yourself. How much time do you want to spend wishing MIL didn't do what she does? I have wasted so much time and energy wishing someone else hadn't done what they did, it's such a waste. I literally repeat to myself as a little mantra, "this is me, that's her; that's what she did, I didn't do it." Really, I do as stupid as that sounds, because it's so easy to get sucked across the boundary into trying to rearrange her.

And I so want to teach my daughter to have healthy boundaries, and not get sucked in emotionally to other people's crap. It's honestly my #1 priority; I believe it's how I can protect and "MIL-proof" her, if you will. If you can stay on your side of the boundary and hold on to your own emotions and sense of self, others can't damage you significantly.

In practice, I'd let your daughters hold the reins on their relationships with MIL as much as possible given their ages, and only help as a guide as long as you feel they are too small. How they feel about MIL is theirs to feel, as is how much time they want to spend with her and how they view the relationship.

My guess is that as soon as they are old enough, they'll team up and address the inequity themselves by ganging up on her. Good luck with a difficult situation.
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#17 of 22 Old 10-13-2008, 04:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Hedwig_Fly View Post
Thanks again for all the input so far. I will look up more information on codependency. I also am beginning to look into talking to a counselor because I agree that we need to create boundaries, but I am still at a lost on where to start, how to communicate them, and how to enforce them. I haven’t really talked DH about counseling yet, but he needs help to stand up to MIL for the good of our girls. He is the one who is home when IL’s visit during the week.

This weekend MIL asked DH if she was in the dog house. I truly believe she doesn’t understand the weight of what she has said. Also it is not just this statement but the accumulation of her actions and statements over time that has led me to this point. Oh and MIL also told DH that they weren’t going to stay for dinner anymore so that they aren’t in the way, which means two things 1) they will come and go while I’m at work and 2) she really has little time to spend with DD2.

I must protect my children; I know that for sure, the rest of it I’m still struggling with. I am just really beginning to realize that I don’t want to be her emotional cheerleader anymore. I don’t have the energy for it – with three babies, a husband, and a full time job. I work really hard trying to find the right tools to parent my girls in a positive, gentle, and nurturing way – I just don’t want to feel that I’m parenting her as well. I also don’t want the emotional baggage anymore.

WOW! I am just amazed at your clarity. That probably sounded rude. Sorry.

I mean that you sound so determined to do the right thing after just this little bit of time. Honestly - your first post sounded confused and a little humble. And now you sound so............ Mama Bear. And the cool thing is that you are right.



I can give advice about boundaries. Listen to your gut. It seems simple but it really is the only way. Listen to your gut and do what feels right at that time.

Let's say that MIL calls and wants to take dd1 to the mall on a Saturday. Your gut tells you no. It's nap time for baby. You are finally getting things organized around the house. You don't need the disruption of a visitor. DD1 is playing really well with dd2. A 'chill out' sounds really nice. For everyone.

BUT you know how much dd1 would love to get ice cream with MIL. You hate to rock the boat and 'make an issue'. And you think to yourself that it would just be easier to let it slide this time and let her go.

This is the perfect time to exercise your boundary. Be honest with yourself and think it through and ask whether this works for you. And then you have to just be plain honest with MIL. Tell her straight up that everyone is having a relaxing day and it just doesn't work. MIL needs to understand that her emotional needs cannot be met by a child any longer. And honestly - the fact that she is now cutting you out of the equation by avoiding you.......... Scary. She knows that you are on to her. I'm sure I sound strange making her out to be so bad when she is probably a very sweet, wonderful lady. I"m sure all of her friends and acquaintances think the world of her. It's probably all true. She just has this one little hang up. If you fix it now - you will be able to enjoy this wonderful grandmother.......


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#18 of 22 Old 10-13-2008, 04:37 PM
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In practice, I'd let your daughters hold the reins on their relationships with MIL as much as possible given their ages, and only help as a guide as long as you feel they are too small. How they feel about MIL is theirs to feel, as is how much time they want to spend with her and how they view the relationship.

My guess is that as soon as they are old enough, they'll team up and address the inequity themselves by ganging up on her. Good luck with a difficult situation.
This is a nice viewpoint. And I think it really does have a space in your situation. It is good for kids to develop tools and ways to handle conflict.

But having been in the situation - what if the girls don't gang up on her. What if dd2 rebels because of it. Who is dealing with the rebellion? What if dd1 begins to seek out other relationships like this one because she enjoyed the attention?

I feel like you have an obligation to protect your daughters from unhealthy relationships until they have the skills to navigate them. Perhaps you could use both suggestions.

In my experience - we teach people how to treat us. If you allow MIL to treat you and your daughters in this way - then your daughters get the idea that it is okay.

Just my .02

Trying to do the right thing with three kids and a hubby. 
ds20, dd18, ds16

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#19 of 22 Old 10-13-2008, 04:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you.

Since I know I tend to be very emotional - I always have to give myself time and space to work through my emotions and get to the real issue. This situation was hard for me because I thought I was at a place were I was ready to start setting the boundaries. It really just hit me hard - I just wasn't prepared. I wasn't sure how to take it - I'm still not entirely.

However, I believe the PP to be correct and I know that I cannot be incontrol of her behavior. I can just do my best for my girls and my husband (who needs help with dealing with her too). Therefore, I really think working with a counselor might help me sort through my feelings a bit more and help DH and I work on boundries we can actually enforce in a possitive way.

I also agree that going with my gut is the best. I try really hard to do that - it sometimes gets cloudy when MIL starts the emotional drama. I feel like maybe I'm not being reasonable - I don't want the girls to miss out, ect. I don't want to interfer too much in her relationship with DD's but I just can't let it be so unhealthy either. Ug - finding the balance - can't someone just wave a magic wand - where is my fairy godmother anyway? Ha!
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#20 of 22 Old 10-13-2008, 05:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Lab this part of what you said really stikes home with me:

"I feel like you have an obligation to protect your daughters from unhealthy relationships until they have the skills to navigate them. Perhaps you could use both suggestions.

In my experience - we teach people how to treat us. If you allow MIL to treat you and your daughters in this way - then your daughters get the idea that it is okay."

I totally agree. I want to help my girls learn how to have healthy relationships. I am also taking my girls personalities into consideration as part of my problem.

As an example - DD1 as of now at 4 has started saying things like "who's going to like me" when she feels she's not getting all the attention. I know this behavior is developmentally appropriate but what happens if her statements are taken to seriously? We respond with compasionate statements about how we always like/love her but sometimes she has to be patient and wait until we are done with her sisters. Just because we don't drop everything the minute she requests something does not mean we love her any less - it just means you live in a family. MIL will tend to get over emotional at these types of statements and make too big of a deal about it. Ok so there is a boundary issue - don't make such a big deal. It sounds easy enough. Trying to explain it to MIL not so easy.
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#21 of 22 Old 10-20-2008, 05:03 AM
 
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I'm so sorry you are going through this. Children need equal love and attention from grandparents.

I believe your MIL is highly manipulative and has been doing this for a life time, so it won't suddenly disappear no matter what you may say to her. In fact, I believe your DH's behavior suggests he was thoroughly manipulated as a child by her in many ways and now can't even deal with it. (As someone else may have suggested.) Also, you were under no obligation to have her at the birth, so I suppose I disagree with the idea that you need to apologize to her about anything concerning that issue. This would only enable her. Not to mention there are plenty of parents and grandparents out there that have strong bonds with their children and grand children who weren't at the birth. For instance, talk to some adoptive parents or even other grandparents who were living too far to even be around the birth. So this really is an excuse on her part as to why she gets to treat DD2 differently. Also, no matter what type of bond she has decided to have with your oldest she doesn't have the right to anything that is destructive and unhealthy to your family. You need to limit your contact with this person and make sure she is not alone with the children ever.

Unfortunately, the cold reality is that you have to take steps to protect your family immediately, because reasoning is not enough with this person.

As someone mentioned, codependency, but even perhaps something like Narcissistic Personality Disorder, etc... Your husband may need some help dealing with this too.

However you choose to deal with this I truly feel for your difficult situation.
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#22 of 22 Old 10-24-2008, 12:26 AM
 
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Everybody had good advice, and I really sympathize, too. I just wanted to add that I don't think it will be a big deal to your kids. Of course if a parent plays favorites, it can ruin the sibling relationship for life. But I know now as an adult of all sorts of favoritism and bickering and serious issues in my extended family from when I was a kid, and I have NO memory of anything but things that happened directly to me (like toys being taken away, being teased, that sort of thing.) I think my mom did a lot of insulating me from the drama.

Also, I like what Scott Noelle says about how to deal with other grownups around your kids. A "that's just how gramma is," kind of attitude, with acceptance and love (this may be hard), but helping your child to see that it's not all about her just about gramma's ways.

Jen
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