SD confused about Mother's Day

justnotmarthaMay 5, 2010

My poor SD, who was 'dogged' by her mom last week on mom's birthday and hasn't been asked to come over for weeks is now being texted by her mom to come over this weekend. When SD did not respond to the text last night (because she really didn't know how she felt about the situation and didn't want to react in anger) it apparently ticked BM off because she texted today with "Fine. I just won't see you on Mother's Day."

SD is really torn and looking to me for advice. . . and I have none to give. She's hurt and not wanting to see her mom, but at the same time realizes it's Mother's Day and she's expected to. I don't know what to tell her. I know that mom likes the attention on going out with her girls on Mother's Day and being fawned over, so she will push for this day when she hasn't pushed to see SD in at least a month. SD gets that too and doesn't want to 'give in' for that very reason.

Thoughts? I'm at a loss.

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"Fine. I just won't see you on Mother's Day."

Thoughts? Well that is manipulation, pure and simple. I think SD needs to figure out sooner rather than later to give herself permission to detach and make her own decisions without guilt. It won't be just Mother's Day, it will go on with all sorts of stuff and if she doesn't stand firm, Mom will know she can continue using this tactic.

My advice is to ignore. When SD talks to you, reaffirm to her the right to make your own decisions. Try to find analogies that don't necessarily show how bad Mom is, but that do reinforce the necessity of choosing healthy behavior over guilt drive behavior. SD is at an age now where some of this stuff will make sense and she'll be able to use it in college, work etc. It sucks having a Mom like that but it could also be a tool.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 11:28PM
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What nivea said.
All you can do is have a talk with SD, listen to her and give her the message that she shouldn't be guilted into making decisions by BM. It's good that SD can talk to you, all you need to do is be there for her. Whether she decides to go or not go, she knows what is going on and that is what matters :-)

    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 11:50PM
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very sad. Whatever is going on between mother and daughter needs fixing, of course not for you to fix..Mom's job. Too bad.

My father does strange things some times, kind of "OK you did not call me back right away, then i won't see you or won't call you". It used to upset me and my brother but then we learned to say "OK". And he actually stopped doing it seeing that we don't fuss over it, it's been years since he tried this trick. And we are talking about intact family here.

I think SD should not succumb to manipulation and just ignore it. On the other hand I don't suggest she becomes rude and disrespectful to her mother or plays silly games...Tough one...

    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 6:34AM
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JNM - What about asking SD if she would like to spend Saturday doing something special with you. Call it StepMother's Day or OtherMother's Day. Then let her go to BioMom's for the 'nominal' holiday, knowing she's already honored her 'real' Mom.

This would not be because BM has earned it -- but just to spare SD the mental anguish of so publically 'dissing' her mother and enduring the fallout that's sure to come as a result. To SD, it would be just another example of your grace under pressure and sacrificing for her good. For BM -- Let her think she's 'won' a point. You'all will know better.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 9:21AM
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I dont necessarily think that she needs to go over there on Mother's Day... especially with the situation at hand. It is entirely possible for her to be respectful to the "expected to" and still not give in to the silly games that her mother is playing. She can still get her mother a card or small gift and easily go there Satureday (in and out) or even just make a phone call and say happy mothers love ya miss ya... see ya. I don't think she really needs to give in to the manipulation or play moms games at all. There is an inbetween of saying okay its mothers day and I will acknoledge you because I do respect that you are my mother and love you...but I respect myself and wont allowed myself to continue to be played

    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 3:33PM
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I think it's good to let SD know that it is OK to not respond to manipulative statements/texts/phonecalls like this from anyone. Sometimes no response is the best response.


    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 4:38PM
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"She's hurt and not wanting to see her mom, but at the same time realizes it's Mother's Day and she's expected to."

I'm not sure why the "expectation" is there.

DH hasn't seen SD for Father's Day since 2007, even though HE expected her to come (at least the first year). There's no expectation with SD; only with DH.

The only reason there is any kind of expectation is because SD is a good person. Maybe she needs to change what the expectation is.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 5:21PM
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Sorry all - it's been a crazy week with little time for me! Thank you all for your responses; I think you all hit the nail on the head with regard to the manipulation, and SD saw that. She was not impressed. I think part of her wanted to spend the day with "the person who is more her mom than her mom will ever be" (her words) but even more I really think she wanted to send a message that BM doesn't get to be busy or have other plans that don't include SD every weekend, but then expect SD to come running on Mother's Day.

So, when Sunday rolled around she texted her mom to say Happy Mother's Day and ask why BM wasn't going to see HER mom. BM replied with "why aren't you coming to see yours?" and thus the war began. She and SD went back and forth with SD telling her she was hurt that she was not asked to be a part of the 4 day long birthday celebration BM had (little sis was) BM responded that SD makes her feel bad so she didn't want her around to ruin her special time. That set SD off, and she said "Yep - because I'm the only one who calls you out on your selfish behavior, all your friends just accept it." This resulted in a bunch of "you're selfish, no YOU'RE selfish" comments that were really quite funny. BM just can't see her own irony in saying "You make feel feel bad and you give me a hard time and you make me questions myself - YOU are so selfish, SD" is BM being selfish herself. . . because it's all about HER!! Every statement is about how SHE feels!

They ended the conversation with SD saying she would likely be busy all day and hanging up. BM texted later to say she could come get SD, but she declined. I feel badly for BM in my heart of hearts, but pretty much I am proud of SD. I know a point was not made and BM only sees that we "raised a horribly selfish, spoiled child" not the true reasons why she didn't see her daughter, but it was a big step for SD.

I'm just afraid of the fall out. . . .

    Bookmark   May 12, 2010 at 10:05AM
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