SD wants to be little mommy

thurmanJuly 28, 2011

Wow, it's been so long since I had any problems to write about. But just when I thought I was safe, my SD inserts herself into a situation in which she does not belong. Today I learned that my SD who is 30 wants to meet us at our son's college to help him move and see the campus. I really love this time with my wife...,I feel like we are co-parents and it is also an emotional time saying goodbye.

I do NOT want her there and am thinking of writing her to say so. Of course, that could cause WWII! It feels like a parental thing...she's not a little sister who has to come. Can't she butt the heck out? Go up another time to see the campus.

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Hi Thurman-- i'd have to research your older posts to know more of your background. Just curious, is your SD half sister to your son?
I could see how she would want to be a part of helping him move to a new college and celebrate a fantastic journey. Of course, I do not know what the background is but I'm just curious, why is it a problem? Is she close to your son? Obviously you are not close to her.

I have a daughter from my 1st marriage and my Dh and I have a son. They are almost 7 years a part. I bet she is going to be part of his excitements at that age as well. So that's why I am curious and would like to know more.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2011 at 11:39PM
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oh lord thurman... he is her little brother. I would be there for my siblings excited and more than likely bringing gifts. It is really not that big of a deal and you really need to let this thing with sd go... And I happen to know my siblings would LOVE their older sibling that has been there done that to be there as well.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 12:17AM
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Myfam, do a search on Thurman :)

Thurman, find another thing to do with your wife. This is a family bonding experience. Let her be a part of her little brother's life.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 1:09AM
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--"I do NOT want her there and am thinking of writing her to say so"--

Yeah, you go right ahead and try that one Thurman. Then next vacation, next holiday and next summer instead of wanting his family (you, mom and big sister)it could very well be you that gets told to butt out of son's life.

He's not a little boy anymore and he just may decide coming home just is not worth all the headaches and hassles.

Do you seriously think it will be benefit your 'co-parenting' and future with your son (and your wife) to write that letter? It's like one weekend Thurman, put on your big boy panties. You'd be just as upset if you thought SD were visiting on a different weekend and you'd not be there to try and control that'd be sitting at home obsessing about what they were doing and if son were enjoying his time with his sister without you.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 6:38AM
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Hi Thurman, how's the counseling going? Last time you posted I believe you were just getting ready to start going to see someone, so it should've been several months by now, I think. Do you feel like it's helping?

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 7:39AM
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I agree with everyone else, suck it up. My ds16 is 7 years older then ds8.... he'll be 9 in November, ds16 just turned. I'm sure he'll be there to help celebrate milestones of his little brother.. and they're only half brothers as well. It's not fair of you to not allow her to be part of the whole family..... And you know, my ds16 thinks of my ss as his real brother as well. He'll probably be there for everything with him too. Maybe you need to rethink your feelings about this.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 7:40AM
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I could maybe see your point if SD was not your son's sister (like if he was only your son for example). But she is his sister right?

my DD is adult as well and has 3 much younger siblings, she often is a part of whatever event takes place in their lives (as much as her grown up life allows her). It is encouraged, not frown up. I understand maybe feeling annoyed but certainly you should not be calling SD and telling her not to come, it is unkind. You can feel annoyed but keep it to yourself.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 7:58AM
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College move ins can be exhausting. An extra mover may be welcome. I would ask DW ahead of time, please tell SD that I do want some time alone with DS to say goodby to him. If SD wants to see the campus, maybe she could take a walk for part of the day.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 10:09AM
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Thurman, From your past history, it probably will tick SD off if you say anything (maybe your wife too)...I think its pretty common for just mom and dad to take kids to college alone...Most of my friends made the trip alone without brothers and sisters tagging along, but with steps the topic is going to be particularly sensitive I d guess...I totally understand wanting that "private moment". When my ex and I were picking up our son (adopted) up at the hospital to see him for the first time, my MIL and SIL BIL were there BEFORE we were Surprise!!!!..I loved the family, but I wanted to be alone in the moment....I dont think you re selfish, wanting that time for you and your wife is human, but I dont have a clue how to not hurt SD s feelings if you exclude her...

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 10:13AM
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--"College move ins can be exhausting. An extra mover may be welcome. I would ask DW ahead of time, please tell SD that I do want some time alone with DS to say goodby to him. If SD wants to see the campus, maybe she could take a walk for part of the day."--

Sounds like a good compromise that should work for all. If you're making a weekend of it, maybe you could go a day or two early and just spend time with son and wife sight seeing a bit. I doubt SD really wants to stand til the very end and watch all the 'goodbyes' anyway. She's just as excited and concerned about her brother as you are...including her does not have to mean she is in your face the entire trip. KKNY gave you a good solution, nothing wrong in discussing with wife to speak to her daughter about a bit of boundary.

When is the last time wife saw her daughter? Son saw his sister? It's not like she lives with you and just demands she be allowed to drive along too...she does not live anywhere near you and she has her own life... does not get to see any of you very often. Perhaps she is not trying to push herself in where she does not 'belong' as much as she is just seeing a chance to actually see you all and spend a bit of time.

You always suspect the worst everytime the lady wants to see her brother/mother. She knows she's not the guy's mom, she's not trying to steal him away. Thurman, if you're honest here, you'd admit you never want her to be a part of her brother's prefer to view son as a private possession. It was not long ago you were upset and displeased SD had gotten her brother thoughtful gifts as part of his HS graduation.

Actually Thurman I thik part of your problem with the relationship between your son and his sister is because you never had a sibling to realize the siblings care for each's nothing personal as to your ability to be a good father or provide for your son or even an attempt to push you out of your rightful place as the guy's father/mother roles, but you are intent on viewing it as such. When son left for school last fall did she demand to escort him and attend the 'moving in' then (I don't remember hearing about son actually leaving for college last fall, just the graduation from high school)?

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 10:52AM
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Dotz, when I took my DD to college, there were all types of families there. Some had even extended family there. Its whatever works for you.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 11:35AM
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There have been times when I wanted to be the only one at whatever event, and somebody always dragged alone. I realize now that i was irrational and my possessiveness was unreasonable. You can visit your son alone on different occasion, you can even go without your wife.

I see the point dotz is making. Sometimes I think it is OK to ask people not be there. I think this occasion is not the one though.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 11:37AM
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Hi KKNY, The extended families must have been in towners or independantly wealthy..With a mini van packed to the gills with gear and 2 parents, not much room to take the sibs along, and with this economy plane fare to say good bye in another state would be pricey to take them along..I ll let them say their good byes on the front porch...I m just saying, I get the guy wanting a "moment" with his only child and wife. He doesnt consider SD family, even tho she is....Heck, I didnt even want my mom and dad at the hospital let alone the in laws....

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 4:35PM
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I guess this is a cost-benefit ratio...

I don't want SM at much of anything. Yet it's easier to have her there than not. I get along great with in-laws (both times :) so I always felt good about them being anywhere we had a family event. So much so that my family went to the funeral of my ex-inlaw. Not just my parents, but my extended family...

Thurman, decide if the blow-out is worth it.... then make your choice.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 4:44PM
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Thurman is going to be bent out of shape no matter what this "little mommy" (a 30-year-old woman??? & isn't she a doctor by now?) does or doesn't do.

He's going to seeth with jealousy & resentment & possessiveness & rage & blame, & he'll protest that she's the only fly in the ointment of his otherwise perfect marriage & his otherwise perfect relationship with his son.

Everything is the fault of Thurman's wife's daughter & if she weren't in the picture everybody's life would revolve around Thurman.

Does this sound like an abusive/narcissistic personality to anybody else?

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 5:58PM
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Silver, Its not a question of not getting along, maybe just wanting privacy, a little piece of his life to himself...Sibs arent mandatory at first day of school..I felt great about the fact the whole family was over to my house hours after baby came home, I just wanted a little window for myself and Ex and baby, just us...Maybe thats what Thurman wants.. I guess I may be an abuser too, shoving mom, dad, and the inlaws out of the picture to just have an emotional moment to myself....

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 7:20PM
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I will agree with dotz that it was intrusive and rude to appear at hospital. Yeah I get they were excited and trying to be supportive, but a new baby is something they should have been invited to...not assume they could just show up for. Especially pre dotz.

But what happened to dotz is not the same as what goes on with Thurman. He does not just want a bit of privacy or a quiet space surrounding his kids first day at college...Thurman wants nothing less than for SD to poof completely . Not to have any time with her mother/brother, not the first day of college, not holidays, not a week vacation back home, nothing.

Totally different package going on. If SD lived in same town, saw them often and could say 'goodbye' and wave them off as they drove off for son's adventure of school, I'd agree SD could be thought perhaps intruding and could visit campus at another time. But not the case here. As I said above, if Thurman actually got wind of SD coming the following weekend to campus after Thurman was long gone, Thurman would be just as upset, think it was just as inappropirate ect. And if he heard she bought brother a dorn room warming gift, we'd hear all about how that was bad bad wrong wrong too.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 7:45PM
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Actually, Dotz, I think the kids with extended families were kids who were not wealthy. They were the kids who were the first in their family who were going to college, and the families were just so proud you wanted to cry. One group actually camped out so they wouldnt have to stay in a hotel.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 7:57PM
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Please dont take this the wrong way KK, But now I m picturing hoardes descending on Harvard in mobile homes and campers....I dunno, seems like a pretty unlikely scenario, the family doesnt have to show up on the first day of school en masse to prove how proud they are of the first generation :) DS parent orientation DH didnt even go with me..Move in day, DS did it alone....Just as well with me, I would have been a mess....Thats the way he wanted it...

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 9:03PM
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Thanks folks for your responses. SD is living quite a distance away; about 9 hours from our house by car. Last time we saw her was Christmas, although my wife traveled down there by herself to see her.

To be honest, there's been some really nice developments. Believe it or not, my SD now sends me a gift card for my birthday and for Father's Day. I almost fell over the first time she did this. There's been some other positives, too. So it is not all negative.

I think the general advice not to write to her is good. There's no way that will result in anything other than my wife being upset...and given that we are celebrating my wife's birthday soon...she sees my disappointment in these events as a personal slight. And it's not like I can really stop my is a free country and she's been invited by my wife. how do you undo that?

That's a great idea to split the days up (we are only there overnight: unload one day, say good bye the next). But the wife would never go for any division that would force SD to leave early or something. To her, this is a dream to have SD there and she also sees it as an opportunity to spend these days with her daughter.

When it comes to my son, I don't know why, but I really hate my SD being involved. When my wife goes down to see the SD, it bothers me a little, but I don't really dislike her going down there all that much. But when it comes to my son, it really bothers me, to the point where this is all I will think about until it is over at the end of the month.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 9:42PM
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Hordes no. Most kids did have two parents, but many also had a sibling. But there were families with more. And yes there was at least one kid alone.

Not Harvard, but a highly regarded liberal arts college in a college town.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 9:42PM
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HI Thurman,

Try to think of things SD can do to help that involve her running errands.

Has DS pre-ordered books? Someone has to go pick them up at the bookstore?

If you forget something (most people do), ask her to run to drugstore for it.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 11:51PM
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--"To be honest, there's been some really nice developments. Believe it or not, my SD now sends me a gift card for my birthday and for Father's Day. I almost fell over the first time she did this. There's been some other positives, too. So it is not all negative."--

That's good to hear, Thurman. Obviously there has been a bit of progress in the relationship...and as hard as it is for you, there are some bright spots peaking in.

It's two days, and yeah, the days will be a bit stressful for you, but your wife did invite her. SD did not just insert herself based on some selfish reason to try to purposely ruin your goodbyes with your son.

KKNY has given you several good ideas. Maybe you can find a few ways to be just you and your son too. Let the females fuss a bit over his dorm room and unpack and you and son can walk around campus and to run a few errands together. I'm sure your son would appreciate a few minutes alone with you. Your son's whole world as he's known it is beginning to change...he's growing into an adult and beginning life on his own as an adult preparing for his future. It's gotta be a bit exciting, fun and maybe alittle scary for him too.

I hope your son has a great year at school and that you all have a safe trip. It'll be okay, Thurman. While it's not the goodbye you yourself desire and hoped for, you will get through this and your family will appreciate your effort. Turn the event into one more positive thing one hour at a time.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2011 at 7:02AM
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Hi Dotz... my SM was IN THE BIRTHING ROOM with me. So I understand.

If you get along with people it's a lot easier to say "sure, come along, more the merrier". If you don't, it's a production.

There are private family moments that people want and should be able to have. The question is, where do you draw the line of who is family and who is not 'family enough'.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2011 at 10:58AM
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My comment isn't necessarily addressing the move-in date for your DS. I'm thinking many years down the road when you and the Mrs. are pushing daisies. Your son will still have somebody from his family of origin with whom he can reminisce. It may not seem like a big deal to you, but let me assure you that it is kind of a big deal. My parents are both gone and my only sibling predeceased them by more than ten years. Even though I am married (i have no kids) and have SK's, I am on the periphery of their family, and am sometimes an afterthought or not thought of at all. I understand the reasons why it is this way, but when it's the holidays or a birthday, and I see the togetherness of my DH and his kids, it is a big reminder to me that my family are gone. It's tough and you wouldn't want it for your DS.

Try to embrace the fact that his sister cares so much for him. She will be there long after you're gone to celebrate birthdays, holidays and what not. You should really help him cultivate this relationship rather than despise it and taint it.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2011 at 5:05PM
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I think it is OK to feel the way turman does, I don't think it is OK to act on those feelings. We all ahve irrational feelings steaming from past resentments or our own issues. I think I'd rather he vents here than actually says something to SD

    Bookmark   July 31, 2011 at 9:43AM
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Hi folks

Thanks again for your comments. This is a great place to vent. It's hard to put away those old demons. The news that my SD was coming just brought home for me all those years of competition, jealousy, passive-aggressive behavior, division in the home and with my wife, disrespect, etc.

We've had such a fantastic summer with our son; he's grown so much. it will be hard to see this young man leave. it will be an emotional and draining time, especially for me. Having my SD there heightens my fear that something will happen. A snotty remark, some type of disrespect, her acting like little Mommy and correcting my son, etc. will bring it out. And my wife will always without fail rush to her defense.

My mind builds up these scenarios to the point where I actually have trouble sleeping, and I do not enjoy the event at all. But I'm working on it...trying not to focus on the negatives.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2011 at 8:08PM
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But the problem is, Thurman, that you impute snottiness and disrespect to everything SD does, so in a way it's bound to happen (in your mind at least). If she said, "You're looking good," you would interpret that as "...usually you look like carp". If she says "Hello" first, she's barging in, if she waits for you to say it first, she's ignoring you. With you she's on a hiding to nothing and can do no right. So what if she corrects your son? No one but you has the right to point out his errors? Often family members correct each other, were you an only child? It's not being a "little Mommy", it's being a "30 year old with more experience passing it on to a younger family member".
Relax. You'll be a happier person if you don't go looking for insults at every turn.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2011 at 10:29PM
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I had the same feeling Colleen. Thurman, it's a good point. I have in the past really built my issues with my SM up before something actually happened. That basically ensures that when something did happen I'd be on hyper alert for it and whatever I imagined would happen then seemed 2x worse.

I think you're wise not to build up scenarios in your mind.It must be hard to deal with these issues, but you are a good father and things will get easier with time.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2011 at 11:29AM
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I appreciate that advice about not reading into too much and not playing out all of the negative scenarios in my mind. It's so hard given our history and how often it did repeat itself. This college thing is a very emotional time and I'll be especially raw having to drop off my son after a great summer. I can imagine my SD saying something or doing something abrasive and I could seem myself snapping. I wonder if a preemptive strike would help...get her at least thinking she better watch her step?

    Bookmark   August 9, 2011 at 9:34AM
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--" my SD saying something or doing something abrasive and I could seem myself snapping. I wonder if a preemptive strike would help...get her at least thinking she better watch her step? "--

How about going into it with a postive attitude instead. if she says/does something count to 10 (or 100) before you respond at all. Say something first to intimadate her? Uh, no. Instigating immediate trouble will backfire on you. Your wife will see it as an unjustified attack on the daughter and you being the one to deliberately trash the trip.

Stop plotting, Thurman. You're going in expecting the absolute worse. With that attitude you will find it in every little thing that is said and did. A simple 'good morning' said without a smile could be turned into "see, see, she only good hello to get her mother's approval but she really meant I'm going to ruin your good morning Thurman, you just watch me and mother will have heard my pleasant greeting and side with me".

If you don't stop fretting and plotting attack tactics you're going to be so stressed and full of anxiety that you won't be able to drive safe. You will be the one totally sabotaging the trip all on your own.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2011 at 10:25AM
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I've been thinking about these threads of yours and of how you get yourself worked up. Have you ever examined your beliefs to see if they fit the reality of the situation? There's an interesting technique called The Work by a woman named Byron Katie that might be something to try. It involves 4 questions that you pose to a thought that stresses you out. Pick any thought, it doesn't matter.

Here are the 4 questions:

1) Is it true?
2) Can you absolutely know that it's true?
3) How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
4) Who would you be without the thought?

And finally, turn around the belief you are questioning, and be sure to find at least three genuine, specific examples of each turnaround.

So to take an example, how about one from your original post:

my SD inserts herself into a situation in which she does not belong

1. Is it true that your SD inserts herself? Is it true that this is a situation in which she doesn't belong?

2. Can you know for certain that this is true? Is she really "inserting" herself, or is she simply showing herself to be a loving sister? Does she belong at your son's drop-off? Why wouldn't she belong? Is there anything about the drop-off that she would belong at? This is a milestone event, and family are often present at milestone events. Can you truly know what any other person is thinking, or what her intent really is? If you examine this carefully enough, you'll find that there's very little you can be absolutely certain of.

3. How would you feel if you didn't believe this thought? You say you can see yourself snapping. How would you feel if you lost that thought of snapping? Would you feel calmer, more relaxed, more loving towards your son who's going off to a new adventure? More loving towards your wife who may be feeling sad at the thought of an empty nest?

4. Who would you be without this thought? Would you be a happier person? More fun to be around? More centered? Less stressed?

After you have investigated your belief with the four questions, you're ready to turn around the concept you're questioning.

Each turnaround is an opportunity to experience the opposite of what you originally believed.


my SD inserts herself into a situation in which she belongs

my SD doesn't insert herself into a situation in which she does not belong.

I insert myself into a situation in which I do not belong

Think carefully about these turnarounds. What comes up when you try them out? Is there any truth in any of them? You may be surprised that what you think of as reality is in fact just a story you're telling to yourself, that your stress and tendency to snap is only in your head and has nothing to do with what's going on around you.

Hoping this is helpful to you.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Work

    Bookmark   August 10, 2011 at 1:43AM
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