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Topic : Competitive Family Relationships

Number of Replies: 395
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Created on : Thursday, July 07, 2005, 09:13:13 am
Author : dataimport
Does someone in your family always have to one-up you? Or are you tired of watching your family members try to outdo one another?

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July 22, 2007, 1:56 am CDT

Difficult situation

Quote From: sadinphilly

Please help, I need some reassurance that I'm not crazy and not alone. How old is "too old" for a child to be having parent visitation weekends? My step-son is 18 - just graduated high school - and I have a feeling that our lives will have to revolve around the "every other weekend event" for the rest of my life.

 

I also have a step-daughter that is almost 17, and I have a feeling that her father has given her the guilt trip about coming over - I know that he has made remarks about her cancelling weekends before, and that she shouldn't be making plans with her friends on "his weekends" - honestly, I disagree... he needs to let go of the apron strings and make other plans with her.  

 

When I got married, I was under the assumption that one day the kids would grow up. I wouldn't mind an occasional weekend - even though I find it to be a little ridiculous for an 18yr old - considering the kids live not even 5 miles away.

 

Am I wrong for thinking that at this age visitation should be limited to hanging out for a day here, a day there, going to dinner, movies, and things like that? My husband keeps saying that I knew he had kids when we got married... and for the past 10yrs they have been here faithfully every other weekend and then some. However, I also got married under the assumption that one day his children would grow up.

 

I feel like I'm being mean, and I'm going to be slammed with all kinds of posts telling me not to rush them to grow up, but I took my vows with my husband, and from what I remember, it did not involve playing mommy to grown children and having to arrange our plans around visitation weekend schedules for all eternity.

 

To make matters worse, I am told to "mind my business" when I mention anything about getting his son help to help him evolve into manhood. He needs to be taught to cook for himself, clean up after himself, tend to his personal hygiene without being reminded, and finally to get on his feet and at least apply himself to doing something other than playing video games and watching television. But yet... this is the person that I'm expected to take care of every other weekend.

 

Since summer is here, my step-son has been here for almost 2 weeks now, and I'm at my wits end. My husband keeps arranging these "extended" visits without even consulting me, but then gets angry when I mention something about giving me a little break with having another child to tend to (I have 3 children full time).

 You seem to be between a rock and a hard place. You can just accept that your husband is going to continue with the parental visitation weekends indefinetly and endure the stress and extra work that causes OR you can have your week-ends and other free time back but have an unhappy husband and step children who will view you as the classic evil stepmother, thereby ruining the free time you have had restored.
Just a suggestion, would it work if you took yourself and your kids away on the week-ends that his 'children' came round and left your husband to cook and deal with the domestics himself? If you come home after his kids have gone and the house is in a mess then get some cleaners in to tidy up. If your husband doesn't like the extra expense then suggest he cleans up or gets his kids to do it, explain it is hardly fair that you should have to clean up someone else's mess. Don't do extra food shopping before, let him arrange all that, you will be away. Be pleasant about it, you are being quite reasonable. Alternatively he could take the kids away one week-end and then you go away another week-end  and then all of you go way for a week-end. Just try and break the cycle, and whatever you do make sure your needs are catered for. What are you a doormat? Of course not so the family have to realise this. But try to be calm at all times, deep breathing helps.
 
July 22, 2007, 8:02 am CDT

thank you

Quote From: tammy_anne

No, you are not wrong for feeling angrey, hurt, bewildered, confused,and any thing else you might be feeling.

Eventhoug it is your mother, this person is toxic to you, and untill such a time that she can get help to begin respecting and treating you with the dignity  you deserve, I would limit the time I spent with this person.

She is angry at your Dad, who is not available or unwilling to allow her to abuse him, therefore she is using you as a surragate whiping girl. Nasty, just dang nasty! The behaviors she is acting out on are abusive, and as such you should distance yourself from her.

Not, sure what the relationship is like with your younger sisters, but it sounds like you mom did her very best to ensure that the relationship with your middle sister would not be on good terms at the very least. I suppose she thought that if it was your younger sister doing the beating it would save her from any crinimal charges that may have been brought against her, if she was the one to beat you. So wrong on so many levels.

You have a family, your son and your hubby, focus on nurturing them and do not allow this woman to abuse you no more.

Be hopeless no more, let your mom that you are finished allowing her to abuse you because of her anger towards something that had absolutly nothing to do with you.

continue being the great mom that you are to your son, and know that this woman does not have a liscense to abuse you because she thinks she can because she is your mother, she is very very mistaken, and untill such a time she can get her beliefs in line with reality, I would put distance between her and you.

You mentioned that she has breast cancer, that is very sad, however, it is still not a justification to make someones life hellish, in fact a serious illness should galvanize her to make amends and corrrect her behaviors.

Let me know how you are doing, this is a very sad situation.

HUGS

Tammy

 

Thank You Tammy, I am less angry today. I am trying to keep my distance from her. My dad said he went over her house and she is going to the doctors because she is bleeding from her incision. I feel guilty for being mad at her, but i will not call her. My oldest sister is the one she calls to take to the doctor. I am focusing my energy on my husband and son. I know it is abusive behavior and she is toxic to me, but i keep hoping that she will change and respect me. I know it will never happen.  Thanks again.
 
July 22, 2007, 1:57 pm CDT

CT

Quote From: ctmom1

Thank You Tammy, I am less angry today. I am trying to keep my distance from her. My dad said he went over her house and she is going to the doctors because she is bleeding from her incision. I feel guilty for being mad at her, but i will not call her. My oldest sister is the one she calls to take to the doctor. I am focusing my energy on my husband and son. I know it is abusive behavior and she is toxic to me, but i keep hoping that she will change and respect me. I know it will never happen.  Thanks again.

Dearest CT, this situation is so very hard, understandably so, not only is she your mother, but she is ill too. Makes things really hard on a spirit, totally understandable, feel really bad that you even have to go through this pain. Hope is a good thing Hun, Hope makes the heart willing and the spirit forgiving. however, one can not forgive if the abuse is still continuing, we can only make a plan that is the most healthy, compassionate, and realistic for ourselves and the ones we hold dear.

Anger is oddly enough controversial! LOL. some say we should not get angry, and some says we should not try to shut of a normal human emotion.

I'm guessing your teachers were of the mind set that we should never get angry. I had teachers like that to, but i learned the hard way that anger turned inwards leads can lead to crippling depression!

I think we just need to redefine what what we mean when we say "I am angry at her".

What you are really saying is I am angry that this abuse is causing me so much unnecessary pain.

I am angry that these abusive behaviors are causing me to make choices that I really didn't want to be in a position to make.

I am angry that sometimes I feel that maybe i am worth less.

I am angry that my feeling are not acknowledged in a way that promotes a healthy relationship with my mother.

I am really sure that once you sit down and really think about the anger, you will find that most of it is about you and the abuse that is perpetrated on you, and has very little to do with your mother as a person and very much to do with how her behavior makes you feel.

Anger, is like a fire alarm, it is a warning that we are being abused or misused in some way and we dam well better do something about it =).

No need to feel guilty about that Hun, although i can understand why, when we have been conditioned to not be angry, ever, that you would feel guilt.

Just letting you know that it is not necessary =).

Hope things are going well and look forward to hearing from you again.

HUGS

Tammy

 

 

 
July 28, 2007, 12:05 am CDT

Competitive Family Relationships

Quote From: ctmom1

Hi. I went out with my mom who has breast cancer today and she is having surgery. We went out after my son left for camp. She always says the good things my sisters do, and puts me down. Today, she called me hopeless and told me she thought i was not a good mom. I felt like dirt and came home and cried. She also called me mean and vindictive when i asked her why she treats me different then my sisters and she called me hopeless. I am the only one in the family who watches my uncle who lives with her. She also says how i should let my son go to Boston with his college aged cousin(who never spends time with my son at all). I said no and she called me crazy and told me he will end up like my husband who had a nervous breakdown two years ago. I have not had it easy either with my help. I keep my son happy and tell him that i love him everyday(not like what my mom did to me). I brought it up to her and she screamed at me"how many thousands of dollars do i spend on you? answer me!!! answer me!!!! I just ignored her, but i felt like crying, but i was not going to give her the satisfaction.  She says i am like my dad(who has a bad temper and she divorced him when i was nine).  I am a good mom to my son, but she makes me question myself and i hate that. I always try to do anything so she will tell me she appreciates me, but it never happens. She just tells me how great my sisters are and then tells me that she does not like to be around me. I am hurting so bad.  She always was like that, she would let my middle sister beat me up when we were kids and tell me that i deserved it. Am i wrong for being angry and wanting answers from her? (which i know will never come. ) I would appreciate any advice.  Thank You.  

 I am in the same boat you are.  My Dad and I were SUPER close.  He died when I turned 15 and I knew that I would pretty much be screwed over for the rest of my life.  I have one younger brother who is tight with my mom.  In my opinion he manpulates her and uses her to his advantage.  And she goes along with it because In her eyes i am not what she expects from her only daughter.  When my husband and I got married the way we felt was right, she went to all lengths to stop us.  But while my brother had his girlfriend over for nights and nights at a time for almost two and a half years, it was no surprise that she got pregnant.  Now he is a dad paying child support because she didn't want to be with him.  She didn't do more than tell him to "be careful.  Whats wrong with this picture.  I have been the odd man out for almost my whole life.  My mom and I have never seen eye to eye and probably never will. If I make a suggestion she takes it like I trying to control her or boss her around.  I've known from a young age that she would cause a lot of problems and it is true.  These are things that got me through.  Maybe they'll help you out.  My husband has always been there for me.  THROUGH IT ALL!! 110% without him I would not be the person  I am today.  We have always communicatd almost everything good or bad.  make him your best friend.  That is one of the reasons that you got married.  He is my strength.  When I was younger, oh about 12 or so, I made decisions in my life in a way preparing for the "what ifs"  that would come up later in my life with her.  Like getiing married, Having kids, Religion etc. . .  I knew that she wouldn't be ther for my wedding day, and she wasn't.  I knew that she would never be happy when I gave birth to both of my daughters, an she wasn't, And with the little boy on the way in november, I am ecstatic, but all she said was . . . " oh Thats nice".  I like to see what she has done in the past and kindof playoff it, notice patterns of where she will be a pain in the rear, so that way when those moments come, It won't be as traumatic.  I also can relate to the health issues with your mom.  I am the only one that takes her to dr. Appts when she she needs a ride, or takes the rest of the day off tafter getting a call to pick her up from the radiology deprtment of our local Hospital because she is in sooo much pain from her RA, and Osteo, or the one who is there with her in th E.R on a whims notice with my girls with no one to watch them.  And I get lucky if I get a thanks or let me make it up to you.  (yeah right).  My advice is this.  DISTANCE YOURSELF!  The more you try, the more YOU will get affected.  Not her.  She will always see you as what she sees you as.  Don't let it skew your own self image.  You are probably a hardworking, life loving person who has a lot on her own plate to get ruined by an unappreciative mother.  And yes we are taught to honor our parents, but sometimes the best way to do that is to keep enough space between them and us for love to be there, rather then hatred, or pride.  Bottomline is that you also need to take care of yourself.  and enjoy life with out her telling you how Horrible you are as a person.  You can probably do that on your own. (ha ha).   Celebrate the things that you have overcome, and just look back and see if you have grown into a better person because she is always putting you down. I know that I can say that she has made a little more thicker skinned if you want to say. Its not easy, but it is possible.  Your not the only one. 

Let me know what you think.

 
July 29, 2007, 6:19 am CDT

Competitive Family Relationships

Quote From: alj183

 I am in the same boat you are.  My Dad and I were SUPER close.  He died when I turned 15 and I knew that I would pretty much be screwed over for the rest of my life.  I have one younger brother who is tight with my mom.  In my opinion he manpulates her and uses her to his advantage.  And she goes along with it because In her eyes i am not what she expects from her only daughter.  When my husband and I got married the way we felt was right, she went to all lengths to stop us.  But while my brother had his girlfriend over for nights and nights at a time for almost two and a half years, it was no surprise that she got pregnant.  Now he is a dad paying child support because she didn't want to be with him.  She didn't do more than tell him to "be careful.  Whats wrong with this picture.  I have been the odd man out for almost my whole life.  My mom and I have never seen eye to eye and probably never will. If I make a suggestion she takes it like I trying to control her or boss her around.  I've known from a young age that she would cause a lot of problems and it is true.  These are things that got me through.  Maybe they'll help you out.  My husband has always been there for me.  THROUGH IT ALL!! 110% without him I would not be the person  I am today.  We have always communicatd almost everything good or bad.  make him your best friend.  That is one of the reasons that you got married.  He is my strength.  When I was younger, oh about 12 or so, I made decisions in my life in a way preparing for the "what ifs"  that would come up later in my life with her.  Like getiing married, Having kids, Religion etc. . .  I knew that she wouldn't be ther for my wedding day, and she wasn't.  I knew that she would never be happy when I gave birth to both of my daughters, an she wasn't, And with the little boy on the way in november, I am ecstatic, but all she said was . . . " oh Thats nice".  I like to see what she has done in the past and kindof playoff it, notice patterns of where she will be a pain in the rear, so that way when those moments come, It won't be as traumatic.  I also can relate to the health issues with your mom.  I am the only one that takes her to dr. Appts when she she needs a ride, or takes the rest of the day off tafter getting a call to pick her up from the radiology deprtment of our local Hospital because she is in sooo much pain from her RA, and Osteo, or the one who is there with her in th E.R on a whims notice with my girls with no one to watch them.  And I get lucky if I get a thanks or let me make it up to you.  (yeah right).  My advice is this.  DISTANCE YOURSELF!  The more you try, the more YOU will get affected.  Not her.  She will always see you as what she sees you as.  Don't let it skew your own self image.  You are probably a hardworking, life loving person who has a lot on her own plate to get ruined by an unappreciative mother.  And yes we are taught to honor our parents, but sometimes the best way to do that is to keep enough space between them and us for love to be there, rather then hatred, or pride.  Bottomline is that you also need to take care of yourself.  and enjoy life with out her telling you how Horrible you are as a person.  You can probably do that on your own. (ha ha).   Celebrate the things that you have overcome, and just look back and see if you have grown into a better person because she is always putting you down. I know that I can say that she has made a little more thicker skinned if you want to say. Its not easy, but it is possible.  Your not the only one. 

Let me know what you think.

Hi. Thank You. I am glad that there are people out there in  the same boat. I have been trying to distance myself. Congradulations on the baby on the way, and it must be wonderful to have two other girls. I have an only son Michael and i had three miscarriages 6 weeks,6 weeks and 8 weeks. My mom is having her breast cancer surgery next week and my oldest sister is driving her. I am a stay-at-home mom.  I think you are totally right with your advice. I am feeling a little better. I spent the whole day yesterday with my son and husband and celebrated my birthday.(turned 40!). Have a nice day and thank you.   
 
August 8, 2007, 12:04 pm CDT

How to cope?

   I met a man 2 years ago and I moved in with him for 4 mths. and then moved out for 8 mths. mainly because his children, who are 13 and 15, did not want to share him with me. He says that he had to be sure I was the right woman for him, but he also told me that his 13 year old daughter told him to ask me to leave. My problem dealing with my situation is exactly that - - - his children TELL him what to do. I would gladly listen to any advice anyone has to give me on accepting and adjusting to his children,  whom are extrememly spoiled and run his life.  They control everything on what we eat to what we do and when and how we do it..  When they are around, I feel that I am just a bystander or something and my opinion on anything doesn't count. I do live with him now and we are actually engaged to be married.  His children know that I am not leaving this time.  I am worried though because right now his kids are only there part of the time, but his son wants to move in with us permanantely and it is not going to be easy for me to deal with,  when that time comes.  I have tried to talk to my fiance and try to get him to see that they are controlling him too much, but I don't want to cause problems between him and I because I love this man more than I have ever loved anything in my life and he treats me very well.   Maybe "I"  need some counseling or something so I don't get so upset everytime they come to our house and cause me to get stressed out about the things that take place. I really don't want the son to live with us, mainly because of the way things happen when he is around and I realize it is not good for me to think that way or say that,  because I know my fiance wants his son to be there, if that's what his son wants and I want them both to be happy.  I also know it is not up to me and I cannot interfere with my fiance and his children or things will just get worse in our relationship, but maybe if the kids weren''t babied so much and put before me all the time, I would not feel this way.
 
August 8, 2007, 4:48 pm CDT

Something spoke to me...

Quote From: ittakestime

   I met a man 2 years ago and I moved in with him for 4 mths. and then moved out for 8 mths. mainly because his children, who are 13 and 15, did not want to share him with me. He says that he had to be sure I was the right woman for him, but he also told me that his 13 year old daughter told him to ask me to leave. My problem dealing with my situation is exactly that - - - his children TELL him what to do. I would gladly listen to any advice anyone has to give me on accepting and adjusting to his children,  whom are extrememly spoiled and run his life.  They control everything on what we eat to what we do and when and how we do it..  When they are around, I feel that I am just a bystander or something and my opinion on anything doesn't count. I do live with him now and we are actually engaged to be married.  His children know that I am not leaving this time.  I am worried though because right now his kids are only there part of the time, but his son wants to move in with us permanantely and it is not going to be easy for me to deal with,  when that time comes.  I have tried to talk to my fiance and try to get him to see that they are controlling him too much, but I don't want to cause problems between him and I because I love this man more than I have ever loved anything in my life and he treats me very well.   Maybe "I"  need some counseling or something so I don't get so upset everytime they come to our house and cause me to get stressed out about the things that take place. I really don't want the son to live with us, mainly because of the way things happen when he is around and I realize it is not good for me to think that way or say that,  because I know my fiance wants his son to be there, if that's what his son wants and I want them both to be happy.  I also know it is not up to me and I cannot interfere with my fiance and his children or things will just get worse in our relationship, but maybe if the kids weren''t babied so much and put before me all the time, I would not feel this way.

From your post, I am assuming you do not have children.  I am a mother.  I have never been a step-mother, so I don't think I can give you much advice about how to be a good stepmom.  But reading your post, I wanted to respond just as a parent.  I can only imagine the deep heartbreak that must occur in a divorce when the couple have children.  It must be absolutely gut-wretching to literally tear your family apart -- even if both partners/parents believe getting a divorce is overall the best option for them or the family.  I guess my point is, I can only imagine the guilt and other complex emotions that divorced parents must struggle with.  I agree your fiance shouldn't let his children tell him what to do; that's just too much power for a kid and not good for their development, I don't think.  But when you're talking about bringing a new partner into this family (although it's restructured, they are still a family - parents & kids), that's got to be a heavy decision.  That's a REALLY huge deal. 

Anyways, after reading your post something spoke to me to respond.  Honestly, my initial gut reaction after reading your post was "does this woman have children?  How old is she (is there an age gap between you & fiance)?  Does she really want to be with a man w/ kids?"    I guess my advice is to really look inside yourself and ask if you are ready to be  step-mother to this man's children.  Because you cannot remove them from the equation.  But there's got to be a way to support him as he guides his children through the adjustment. 

Hopefully you'll get some responses from people who are step-parents.  I bet it's common for kids to interfere w/ parent's new partners  (I can only imagine their confusion - " who is this new woman? - Will Dad still love us? - Why can Dad want to be married to her but not Mom" ?)  Hopefully you can get some first-hand advice.  Best of luck.

 
August 8, 2007, 6:53 pm CDT

Competitive Family Relationships

Quote From: fourlilmonkeys

From your post, I am assuming you do not have children.  I am a mother.  I have never been a step-mother, so I don't think I can give you much advice about how to be a good stepmom.  But reading your post, I wanted to respond just as a parent.  I can only imagine the deep heartbreak that must occur in a divorce when the couple have children.  It must be absolutely gut-wretching to literally tear your family apart -- even if both partners/parents believe getting a divorce is overall the best option for them or the family.  I guess my point is, I can only imagine the guilt and other complex emotions that divorced parents must struggle with.  I agree your fiance shouldn't let his children tell him what to do; that's just too much power for a kid and not good for their development, I don't think.  But when you're talking about bringing a new partner into this family (although it's restructured, they are still a family - parents & kids), that's got to be a heavy decision.  That's a REALLY huge deal. 

Anyways, after reading your post something spoke to me to respond.  Honestly, my initial gut reaction after reading your post was "does this woman have children?  How old is she (is there an age gap between you & fiance)?  Does she really want to be with a man w/ kids?"    I guess my advice is to really look inside yourself and ask if you are ready to be  step-mother to this man's children.  Because you cannot remove them from the equation.  But there's got to be a way to support him as he guides his children through the adjustment. 

Hopefully you'll get some responses from people who are step-parents.  I bet it's common for kids to interfere w/ parent's new partners  (I can only imagine their confusion - " who is this new woman? - Will Dad still love us? - Why can Dad want to be married to her but not Mom" ?)  Hopefully you can get some first-hand advice.  Best of luck.

Yes, I have 3 grown children that I love very much, but I guess I was never as close to them as he seems to be to his. He is 6 years older than me, but had these 2 children later in life.  Like I said, I think the whole problem is the way they control him,  because otherwise I would have no problem with them being around.   He has 4 other children, who don't associate with him at all and I think he has this terrible fear that he will somehow get the same treatment from these last 2 if he does not give them everything that they want. He is on his 3rd marriage now, but I want to stay with him more than anything because I have never felt so loved by anyone the way that he makes me feel. I would be more than willing to get counseling help for myself, if that is what it takes.....if it is just me not being able to accept them as they are.  Btw,  I feel they are old enough that they should realize what divorces are all about and know that they are not in any way to blame for their parents being apart and life will have to go on. I am not trying to be cold or anything, but he thinks that they are old enough to make their own decisions, so that is why I kind of feel the way I do.They should let him be happy too and not try to cause problems between us. I feel they are acting very selfishly at times by only wanting what is best for themselves and makes them happy.  It's not like they are 6 or 7 years old and need help understanding this. I hope I do get a few more responses, as it helps to talk to other people and thaanks for wishing me luck.  I will need it. LOL
 
August 9, 2007, 11:06 am CDT

Hmmm...

Quote From: ittakestime

Yes, I have 3 grown children that I love very much, but I guess I was never as close to them as he seems to be to his. He is 6 years older than me, but had these 2 children later in life.  Like I said, I think the whole problem is the way they control him,  because otherwise I would have no problem with them being around.   He has 4 other children, who don't associate with him at all and I think he has this terrible fear that he will somehow get the same treatment from these last 2 if he does not give them everything that they want. He is on his 3rd marriage now, but I want to stay with him more than anything because I have never felt so loved by anyone the way that he makes me feel. I would be more than willing to get counseling help for myself, if that is what it takes.....if it is just me not being able to accept them as they are.  Btw,  I feel they are old enough that they should realize what divorces are all about and know that they are not in any way to blame for their parents being apart and life will have to go on. I am not trying to be cold or anything, but he thinks that they are old enough to make their own decisions, so that is why I kind of feel the way I do.They should let him be happy too and not try to cause problems between us. I feel they are acting very selfishly at times by only wanting what is best for themselves and makes them happy.  It's not like they are 6 or 7 years old and need help understanding this. I hope I do get a few more responses, as it helps to talk to other people and thaanks for wishing me luck.  I will need it. LOL

If he had these children later in life, I think just as we age we tend to get  more lenient w/ kids; so maybe that's part of it??  Also, I bet you're right, if he feels he messed up in some way w/ his first 4 kids then maybe he wants to try to do better but maybe is now over-compensating & is being *too* accomodating.  What if you talked to him about it, and worded it like that?  You know he has his family's best interest at heart, but it actually isn't healthy for the kids to have that much power (I truly think it's actually scary & confusing for kids, deep down they know parents should be in charge and it's messed up if they aren't.)   Approaching it like "bringing me into the family; how can we work together to make it the smoothest transition for everyone?  The kids are acting out a little, how can I help you & them?"      Honestly, the kids may be acting out, but isn't it up to the father to set the standard (he's the one allowing them to be in charge)?  -- has he had a family meeting and sat them down and said "this is how it is"?

I am going to be honest here....in your original post, I sensed a lack of compassion for his children.  I think that's why I assumed you were not a parent.  I guess what I'm trying to get at is; if I sensed that from your wording, then maybe he (and the kids) sense that, too.???  You may just be frustrated & fed up; but maybe that's coming through to others.  

It's a complicated situation,  but it sounds like you are putting forth good & honest effort.

 

 

 
August 9, 2007, 12:47 pm CDT

my brothers wife is a mess

 
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