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My son will be 16 in a couple months. He's bipolar and even though he's on meds, he still lies and manipulates and gets angry. My sister whom I'm very close to hates him and always says negative things about him. It hurts me and makes me angry because even though I may vent about him at times, of course I love him and don't want to have to defend him to her all the time. Advice?
by on May. 13, 2013 at 10:52 PM
Replies (21-29):
ConcernedCousin
by Member on May. 14, 2013 at 8:12 PM

tell your sister to shut her trap. that's your SON and you shouldn't HAVE to defend him to her. just because he's bipolar doesn't give her the right to bad mouth him, especially to you

Uniquecoolio
by Bronze Member on May. 14, 2013 at 8:16 PM
Thank you for your vehement response! I would like to be your cousin. And you are SO right! :)


Quoting ConcernedCousin:

tell your sister to shut her trap. that's your SON and you shouldn't HAVE to defend him to her. just because he's bipolar doesn't give her the right to bad mouth him, especially to you


goldilocksbecky
by on May. 14, 2013 at 8:48 PM

I'm sorry that your sister says unkind things about your son.  That has to be really hard.

That said, I'm going to try to offer you a different point of view.  I'm afraid you've fallen into a trap that a lot of women fall into with regards to their Mothers in reference to their husbands. 

If you constantly vent to your sister, then the majority of what she is hearing is the negative.  She hears when he's done something wrong.  She hears when he's being difficult.  She hears when he's been unkind or unfair to you.  She hears that he's caused you to feel stressed and tired and hurt.  What she doesn't get to hear or experience or know about is the hug he gave you last night out of the blue.  Or the tender moment you shared in the car.  Or the kind thing he did for the neighbor kid.  Or how cute he looks when he falls asleep in the recliner.  Or all the other wonderful, likable, special things you love about him.  She's getting an unbalanced, unfair picture of him.  You're painting him primarily in the negative to her and then you're shocked that she sees him negatively.  And I'm sure as a big sister, she's somewhat like a Mother in feeling protective of you.  She hates to see you hurt and stressed and she sees him as the cause of that stress. 

Also, when you are venting to someone and saying negative things, it's a pretty natural response for the listener to "agree" with the venter as a way to sympothize or indicate that they understand.  So, if it's OK for her to "agree" with your negative comments when she's sympothizing with you, it probably doesn't really seem like that big of a deal for her to make those same statements herself later on in a different setting.  It's not a far stretch.  In her mind she;s just saying the same thing on Thursday that you said, and she agreed with, on Tuesday. 

My advice to you is to stop using your sister as your venting board and work to find opportunities for her to see and hear good things about your son.  When she says negative things, either change the subject and move on or, if you think your relationship is such that you can, let her know that it hurts you when she says those things (while acknowledging that, yes, they are the same kind of things that YOU say).  Try not to be angry or defensive about it.  She probably doesn't even realizes that she's hurting you.  She probably feels like she's "on your side" or "agreeing with you".

Like I said, this is a pattern that I see a lot of women (especially new brides) fall into with their Mothers.  They are constantly calling their Mom to complain about every little thing their husbands do (or don't do).  All the Mom ever hears is the negative.  And then they wonder why Mom hates the husband.

Good luck! :)

 

ConcernedCousin
by Member on May. 14, 2013 at 9:24 PM

LOL you're welcome?!


Quoting Uniquecoolio:

Thank you for your vehement response! I would like to be your cousin. And you are SO right! :)


Quoting ConcernedCousin:

tell your sister to shut her trap. that's your SON and you shouldn't HAVE to defend him to her. just because he's bipolar doesn't give her the right to bad mouth him, especially to you




Elle.tea.22
by Bronze Member on May. 14, 2013 at 9:38 PM
Quit telling her about him.
Uniquecoolio
by Bronze Member on May. 14, 2013 at 9:55 PM
You hit many nails on the head there. Are you a therapist too? If not you might consider it. My sis HAS said she hates to see me taken advantage of, manipulated, etc. I figure a lot of that just comes with parenting in general. That's why I vent and then it's over. But now I see that has tainted our relationship and especially hers with my son. So thanks for putting it so clearly. Very good advice. Thx!


Quoting goldilocksbecky:

I'm sorry that your sister says unkind things about your son.  That has to be really hard.


That said, I'm going to try to offer you a different point of view.  I'm afraid you've fallen into a trap that a lot of women fall into with regards to their Mothers in reference to their husbands. 


If you constantly vent to your sister, then the majority of what she is hearing is the negative.  She hears when he's done something wrong.  She hears when he's being difficult.  She hears when he's been unkind or unfair to you.  She hears that he's caused you to feel stressed and tired and hurt.  What she doesn't get to hear or experience or know about is the hug he gave you last night out of the blue.  Or the tender moment you shared in the car.  Or the kind thing he did for the neighbor kid.  Or how cute he looks when he falls asleep in the recliner.  Or all the other wonderful, likable, special things you love about him.  She's getting an unbalanced, unfair picture of him.  You're painting him primarily in the negative to her and then you're shocked that she sees him negatively.  And I'm sure as a big sister, she's somewhat like a Mother in feeling protective of you.  She hates to see you hurt and stressed and she sees him as the cause of that stress. 


Also, when you are venting to someone and saying negative things, it's a pretty natural response for the listener to "agree" with the venter as a way to sympothize or indicate that they understand.  So, if it's OK for her to "agree" with your negative comments when she's sympothizing with you, it probably doesn't really seem like that big of a deal for her to make those same statements herself later on in a different setting.  It's not a far stretch.  In her mind she;s just saying the same thing on Thursday that you said, and she agreed with, on Tuesday. 


My advice to you is to stop using your sister as your venting board and work to find opportunities for her to see and hear good things about your son.  When she says negative things, either change the subject and move on or, if you think your relationship is such that you can, let her know that it hurts you when she says those things (while acknowledging that, yes, they are the same kind of things that YOU say).  Try not to be angry or defensive about it.  She probably doesn't even realizes that she's hurting you.  She probably feels like she's "on your side" or "agreeing with you".


Like I said, this is a pattern that I see a lot of women (especially new brides) fall into with their Mothers.  They are constantly calling their Mom to complain about every little thing their husbands do (or don't do).  All the Mom ever hears is the negative.  And then they wonder why Mom hates the husband.


Good luck! :)


 


Uniquecoolio
by Bronze Member on May. 14, 2013 at 10:32 PM
Good advice and I will take it. Thx.


Quoting Elle.tea.22:

Quit telling her about him.

kansasmom1978
by Katie on May. 14, 2013 at 11:46 PM

Very frustrating. Especially when you find out he's been lying about homework, is failing 3 classes and probbly wont graduate next year. He has been taking his ADHD meds and flushing them. Pisses me off. His shrink said he needs a full psych eval. I had to ask if he was being admitted. Because sadly the break from him would be welcome.


Quoting Uniquecoolio:

Singing to the choir here! It is frustrating behavior for certain!


Quoting kansasmom1978:

My ss is 17 and lies constantly. He is dx with a mood disorder. I can't stand him. Lying is my biggest pet peeve and everytime this kid opens his mouth he's lying. UGH




goldilocksbecky
by on May. 15, 2013 at 4:33 PM

 If you think this may be at least part of the problem, then you might be able to broach the conversation by apologizing to her . . . not because you've really done anything all that horrible, but because it is a good way to open up a conversation about something difficult without putting the other person on the defensive.  If they aren't feeling defensive or like they are being blamed, then they are way more apt to actually hear what you are saying and understand your point.

Say something like, "I've come to realize that I've put you in an unfair position" or "I've hindered your opportunity to form a close, loving bond/relationship with your nephew" and "I am so sorry".  Acknowledge that you've weighed her with the negative.  Then move on to how much it hurts you that they don't have a better relationship and that she says negative things about him.  Tell her that you need for her to stop saying negative things about your son and that you hope that they can focus on building a more positive (or at least balanced) relationship.  And that, to that end, you will stop venting to her about him.  Remind her that he will need a strong support system as he enters adulthood and you hope that she can be a part of that.

Again, I don't think you've done anything horribly wrong here.  But if you open the conversation by owning your part in the problem, you will make her less defensive and more receptive to actually hearning what you have to say. 

Good luck! :)

 

 

Quoting Uniquecoolio:

You hit many nails on the head there. Are you a therapist too? If not you might consider it. My sis HAS said she hates to see me taken advantage of, manipulated, etc. I figure a lot of that just comes with parenting in general. That's why I vent and then it's over. But now I see that has tainted our relationship and especially hers with my son. So thanks for putting it so clearly. Very good advice. Thx!


Quoting goldilocksbecky:

I'm sorry that your sister says unkind things about your son.  That has to be really hard.


That said, I'm going to try to offer you a different point of view.  I'm afraid you've fallen into a trap that a lot of women fall into with regards to their Mothers in reference to their husbands. 


If you constantly vent to your sister, then the majority of what she is hearing is the negative.  She hears when he's done something wrong.  She hears when he's being difficult.  She hears when he's been unkind or unfair to you.  She hears that he's caused you to feel stressed and tired and hurt.  What she doesn't get to hear or experience or know about is the hug he gave you last night out of the blue.  Or the tender moment you shared in the car.  Or the kind thing he did for the neighbor kid.  Or how cute he looks when he falls asleep in the recliner.  Or all the other wonderful, likable, special things you love about him.  She's getting an unbalanced, unfair picture of him.  You're painting him primarily in the negative to her and then you're shocked that she sees him negatively.  And I'm sure as a big sister, she's somewhat like a Mother in feeling protective of you.  She hates to see you hurt and stressed and she sees him as the cause of that stress. 


Also, when you are venting to someone and saying negative things, it's a pretty natural response for the listener to "agree" with the venter as a way to sympothize or indicate that they understand.  So, if it's OK for her to "agree" with your negative comments when she's sympothizing with you, it probably doesn't really seem like that big of a deal for her to make those same statements herself later on in a different setting.  It's not a far stretch.  In her mind she;s just saying the same thing on Thursday that you said, and she agreed with, on Tuesday. 


My advice to you is to stop using your sister as your venting board and work to find opportunities for her to see and hear good things about your son.  When she says negative things, either change the subject and move on or, if you think your relationship is such that you can, let her know that it hurts you when she says those things (while acknowledging that, yes, they are the same kind of things that YOU say).  Try not to be angry or defensive about it.  She probably doesn't even realizes that she's hurting you.  She probably feels like she's "on your side" or "agreeing with you".


Like I said, this is a pattern that I see a lot of women (especially new brides) fall into with their Mothers.  They are constantly calling their Mom to complain about every little thing their husbands do (or don't do).  All the Mom ever hears is the negative.  And then they wonder why Mom hates the husband.


Good luck! :)


 


 

 

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