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The games people play .....

Old 03-06-2014, 01:59 PM
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The games people play .....

Hi all

It's been a while since I last posted, but SD is okay, kind of. In my last post I outlined the problem we'd had with my mother in law and her involvement with my husband's ex, SD's alcoholic mum, and SD having a real issue with her nan being involved with the woman who effectively ruined her life. My MIL promised SD, and my husband that she would have no further involvement with SD's mum, and all was okay, for a bit. I also outlined that SD hadn't heard from her mum on her actual birthday, which was 6 weeks ago now, but did receive a card 3 days later. She was completely and utterly unimpressed with the late card and ripped it up and threw it away. She heard nothing at all from her mum until last week. Her mum text her and said "I'm meeting nan and grandad this week (my MIL and FIL) and I'll pass your birthday present to them as I don't want it getting lost in the post". Now, bear in mind that MIL promised she wouldn't have anything to do with her. Also bear in mind that SD's mum knows that SD doesn't want her nan having anything to do with her, and SD's mum also knows that SD's nan promised her she wouldn't have anything to do with her. Therefore, why on earth would SD's mum WANT to text her daughter telling her she's doing something she knows SD doesn't want to happen??? To rub her nose in it I guess, because I can't think of any other reason. It's like she's saying "to hell with you telling your nan she can't see me". In case it's confusing, which I appreciate it can be, 'nan' is my husband's mother, nothing whatsoever to do with SD's mum blood wise.

So, SD text her mum and told her she's clueless, and that if she and her nan are going to completely disregard her feelings and wishes then they should at least keep it quiet!! She's not received a reply from her mum, and she forwarded the text her mum sent her to her nan and hasn't heard from her either. My husband is fuming because his mum has broken her promise to her granddaughter (we knew she would, but it's still hurtful), and me, well I'm at a stage where I'm just going to wash my hands of my mother in law, again. This woman has maintained an unhealthy relationship with SD's mum ever since my husband left her 12 years ago. She's watched SD suffer at the hands of her mother but would always refuse to help us get her out of there, despite us warning her that her granddaughter's mental wellbeing would be jeopardised if she stayed with her mum. She always sided with SD's mum over SD and my husband. I don't understand it, and never will, and because she's unlikely to change, ever, I really don't want any more to do with her. But, it's harder for my husband because he's an only child, and it's hard for SD because she truly believes her nan should be loyal to her, and NOT her alcoholic mother! As a result of this she's been self harming this week. Nice.

I don't know why I've posted really, because my mind is made up. I guess I'm just at a loss as to why a recently discharged from rehab alcoholic would prove they don't care about their own flesh and blood by rubbing their nose in it. Why would she do that? Surely recovery is all about building bridges? As it is, SD hasn't seen her mum for nearly a year, and she's in no hurry to speak to her or see her, even less so now
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Old 03-06-2014, 02:06 PM
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Ow! I'm sorry. Praying for all of you.
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Old 03-06-2014, 02:12 PM
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I am so sorry your SD has so much drama in her life, and so grateful that she has you and your husband to trust and look up to.

Trying to reason why anyone else does anything, particular those who engage in addictive behavior, will set you spinning in circles. We cannot control other people, we can only tell them how we feel, and then we can choose whether or not to take their behavior personally. We can only create healthy boundary for ourselves and act upon them when they are trodden upon.

What your SD is enduring is not fair, certainly. All you can do is provide stability she can count on and help her move forward, away from the toxic behavior of others.
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Old 03-06-2014, 02:53 PM
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You can pick your friends but you cant pick your relatives ...and you cant control any of them! Does SD go to al ateen?
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Old 03-06-2014, 03:19 PM
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Thanks guys. Poor kid feels so let down by her nan. She's used to her mother letting her down, but she's the only grandchild for goodness sake. She made her wishes clear after her nan went to visit her mum in rehab - boy she was angry about that - and my MIL called up & as i was the only one home I had to speakto her. She told me she didn't like being told what to do & that she didnt have a choice, because if she carried on seeing SDs mum she would lose her son & granddaughter. She said she felt like she was being treated like a child & that SD had no right to forbid her from seeing her mother. I explained that SD felt she was betraying her & that she should be loyal to her, & that she did have a choice, just as SD had the choice of accepting her disloyalty or not. She hung up on me, but text SD later promising her she wouldn't have anything to do with SDs mum again. My husband text SDs mum & told her what his mother had promised and why, so for her to completely disregard her daughter's feelings is & gloat is, I think, cruel. I know we have no control over their actions, and we are contemplating blocking their numbers from our phones & just let them get on with it. It sucks though, big time.

There is no alateen in our area, but she has weekly counselling.
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Old 03-06-2014, 03:27 PM
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I mean this gently, but I think it would be helpful to explain to SD that she cannot control her grandmother or who she sees or what she does. Ditto for her mother. I think this idea of loyalty will make her feel like her grandmother doesn't love her because she's doing X or that her mother doesn't love her because she's an alcoholic when in fact both of those are untrue. Her grandmother and mother are individuals and they make millions of decisions without thinking if your SD would approve. That's life. This loyalty business is dysfunctional when you throw alcoholism in the mix.

I think your SD is very lucky to have loving parents in you and your husband. I would try to focus on things you guys can control, your wonderful little family and doing fun activities together, rather than things that you cannot control: your MIL and your DH's XAW.
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Old 03-07-2014, 02:17 AM
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Thank you. We do understand that we cannot change their behaviour - the Serenity Prayer, along with the 3 C's, are prevalent in our household. My SD has understood for a long time that her mother's behaviour is not controllable, but she does feel hurt and betrayed by her grandmother, which is understandable. Sadly her grandmother is easily manipulated by my husband's ex (she wasn't his wife by the way, and they were only together for 3 years), which has it's disadvantages where we're concerned because, for example, my MIL will call up and insist that SD's mother is dry (when she isn't, but my MIL believes every word that comes out of her mouth) and will nag SD to see her mother and will tell her stuff like it's her 'duty' to see her mother etc. My husband will tell his mother not to interfere, and not to even mention SD's mum, but she never listens and will talk about her incessantly to SD anyway. This then results in SD being very angry, with her grandmother and her mother. It is toxic, I see that, so does SD and my husband does too to a certain extent. However, SD has said she doesn't want to see her grandmother now she's betrayed her and broken a promise, and my husband is fully supporting her in that.

You just expect your family, who aren't alcoholics, to support you don't you!!
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Old 03-07-2014, 03:30 AM
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Hi NixNox, I do agree with Stung that the relationship between your MIL and SD's mother is their business, and if it's possible for SD to see it as separate from her, rather than a betrayal, she may be a lot healthier. You could (correctly) portray it as an unhealthy relationship between 2 people with problems. Putting the emphasis away from your SD and back on their inappropriate behaviour, which is not aimed at SD personally. It may be helpful to portray them both as a a little crazy and to be pitied.
The actions of your MIL in poking her nose into SD and her mother's relationship are completely over the line. I'm really surprised that your MIL has ignored your husband's request that she not interfere. It must be doubly traumatic for your SD to have to listen to her nonsense, and she shouldn't have to.
Would it be possible for you to take SD through some scripts when your MIL interferes, so that your SD can cut off the conversation immediately by assertively saying 'I'm not going to discuss this' or similar. This might give her a feeling of control.
My lovely DIL has had the same problem with her mother interfering between DIL's daughter's relationship with her father's (not my son) family. She had to be very firm with her mother and make it clear she had crossed a boundary and it had better not happen again. So far, so good.
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Old 03-07-2014, 04:00 AM
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I think she does pity them to a certain extent, and does have the opinion, outwardly, that if they are going to see each other then there's nothing she can do.about that. But, she doesnt want them rubbing her nose in it. Sadly, my MIL never listens & completely disregards anyone elses wishes. She always has done. Just after she promised not to have anything more to do with SDs mum, she 'accidentally' called SDs phone and said "hello x (SDs mums name)". SD said "this isn't x" & hung up, and was fuming. My husband rang his mother & told her she had upset SD, and she got really angry &.said she was thinking of dropping SD in favour of her mother!! I kid you not! Needless to say their relationship has been strained since, but when SD went to visit my MIL with my husband a couple of weeks ago, MIL got out a load of photos of x to.show SD!!! It's all very strange ....
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Old 03-07-2014, 07:19 AM
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Ok - I'm sorry to sound cold but I would be enforcing NC with MIL at least short-term since she obviously shows no care OR respect for the boundaries you are trying to put into place for SD's lifelong emotional health. The child's welfare HAS to come first here. What extenuatiing circumstances have held you back from doing this?

That is how I would, beyond a shadow of a doubt, handle this situation. Not saying you should, but I know I would go this route at this point especially with so many failed attempts to ask her to honor your/SD's boundaries. BTDT. Someone said it so well in another post this week - if a stranger treated your SD this way would you continually allow her to be exposed to that person/abusive treatment?

Here's the deal - Yes, she may know what her therapy tells her & Yes, she may be able to recite the serenity prayer backward. At the end of the day, she's a young girl at a particularly sensitive developmental point in her life & she is VERY clear about what upsets her. It is up to the adults to listen & help her enforce. She still obviously has expectations that she can't stop herself from forming - that MIL will suddenly change her behavior, yet she has shown you time & time again that she refuses to. In this case, MIL is showing you exactly who she is by her actions.

I'm sorry, I'm not trying to come off harsh. My heart is breaking for your SD - it is so unfair to be consistently disrespected like this after everything else she has already endured. Good luck no matter how you decide to handle it.
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Old 03-07-2014, 09:57 AM
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Firesprite, you're not being harsh, and I'm totally with you! I can't stand the woman in all honesty. She's always sided with SD's mum, even when SD was living with her. We put it down to her trying to protect SD, but it was more sinister, sadly. She would in fact protect SD's mum, but would call us up and tell us of all the awful things that were going on - how cruel SD's mum was to her, how much she was drinking, how she was failing to get SD to school, how she was leaving SD alone at home to care for her baby brother. We tried our best, from 20 miles away (SD's mum and MIL live in the same town) to involve Social Services and the school, but they would always suggest that MIL contact them seeing as she was an eye witness to these wrong doings, and she would always flatly refuse, saying she couldn't go against SD's mum. I pointed out to her on more than one occasion that I couldn't for the life of me understand why she was happy to leave her granddaughter in that environment, knowing full well that she would be so much better off with us, but she would just say "that child loves her mother". Even pointing out that she loved her father too (MIL's own son!!!) wouldn't shift her to helping us get SD out of there. I asked her once if she realised that leaving SD there would, not could, would cause her difficulties in her teenage/adult years, and she said that she still wanted SD to stay with her mum. I have, since SD came to live with us (of her own accord), said "I told you so" to MIL (not those exact words, but I have asked her why she allowed it to happen), and she chooses not to respond. Does she know I'm right? I'm not sure, but even if she did she would never admit she's in the wrong. Her relationship with SD's mum caused my husband to have a mental breakdown a few years back, and put me in Counselling, but still she carried on. He would plead with her to NOT mention SD's mum when she called up or visited, but within a few seconds of arriving at our home she would start speaking about her and telling us all sorts of horrors. So, she never respected our boundaries, ever, and even cutting her out of our lives for 2 years didn't make a difference, so she's never going to respect her granddaughter's boundaries.

As it is, when she sees SD all she does is nag her about her clothes, her hair, her make up. SD is quite alternative, which we think is fine, and we allowed her to have ear stretchers (only to 10mm) because we figured allowing some body modification might help to reduce her self harm (which it did), and MIL went crazy at her, and us. She wants her granddaughter to be a 'girly' girl, and hates it that she isn't. She is always comparing her to other girls, and SD hates that. We have both asked her to lay off the nagging, but she doesn't listen.

I've actually just had a chat to my husband, and we've both agreed that we will not allow contact for a while. This woman is never going to change, we accept that, and she is never going to respect her granddaughter's wishes or her son's for that matter, so the best thing is to just stay away. Yes, that will annoy her and our names will be mud, but we HAVE to do what's best for SD, end of, and that is keeping her away from idiotic people who have no thought or care for her wellbeing.

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Old 03-07-2014, 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by NikNox View Post
I've actually just had a chat to my husband, and we've both agreed that we will not allow contact for a while. This woman is never going to change, we accept that, and she is never going to respect her granddaughter's wishes or her son's for that matter, so the best thing is to just stay away. Yes, that will annoy her and our names will be mud, but we HAVE to do what's best for SD, end of, and that is keeping her away from idiotic people who have no thought or care for her wellbeing.
After reading your most recent posts, it sounds to me like the MIL is deliberately sabotaging your efforts. You've really got to wonder what's going on there. I think NC or minimal contact would give you all a break. Prepare for some crazy when she realises she doesn't have her audience.
I think you're doing a great job in the face of difficulties and sabotage and I'm sure your SD will appreciate it as she gets older.
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Old 03-08-2014, 02:17 AM
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It does sound like she is, and she certainly doesn't show any care, compassion or even tact! She's loud, obnoxious, commands a room & always thinks she knows best. SD takes part in local amateur dramatics & has just been performing in Sleeping Beauty at our local theatre. The show was performed over 5 days, and MIL went to see it on a different day to us. After the show she saw SD and told her the show was "amateur" and the costumes "rubbish". WTF? We saw it the next night & thought it was brilliant, but even if we hadn't we wouldn't have said so! SD was proud of it, and if a child has pride in something then you bolster that pride don't you!

She's not a very nice woman.
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