"Perspective Needed: A Dilemma" Wed Jan-25-17 02:37 PM by Damali
My sister in law and her 17 year old daughter have been staying with me since Saturday because the daughter has auditions at a couple NYC colleges
From pretty much the first day, i'm witness to a highly disturbing and painful dynamic between the two of them: She is controlling, critical, mean and downright verbally and emotionally abusive to her daughter. She criticizes her constantly, discounts any opinion she has, calls her disrespectful, yells at her for the smallest infraction...absolutely nothing the daughter does is right and she openly complains about and criticizes the daughter to other people, in front of the daughter, which i'm sure is humiliating.
this girl is a superstar..damn near a straight A student, music prodigy, operatic soprano, well liked, humble, funny, beautiful, bubbly, kind, compassionate...but around her mother, she literally shrinks...you can see her trying to be as small and invisible as possible to not incur her mother's verbal wrath...she never speaks at all unless her mom asks her something...then her voice is small and quiet, which she then gets screamed at for not speaking up.
it's heartbreaking to watch and live around (especially since her brother, my ex husband, treated me the same way...)...i feel like I'M on eggshells cuz i keep trying to find clever ways to deflect and be a buffer...when we took the daughter out to the theater, i sat between them so she could enjoy the show...when she left her purse in the back of the Uber, i grabbed it and quickly handed it her while her mom was on the phone, whispering that she'd left it behind, knowing she'd be berated loudly if her mom knew she'd done that.
it's only Wednesday and i'm exhausted..they are with me until Sunday and I really want to find some way to talk to her mom about this...when i joked around once and mentioned it to her, she says its for the daughter's own good...that the world out there is harsh and she's just helping prepare her for that.."people aren't going to be nice" etc etc
that's an excuse. she doesn't realize the damage she is doing. I really want to find some way of talking with her about it but i'm worried that that will be the end of our still kinda new friendship...but at the same time, i'm 100% positive that no one else in her life would bring it to her attention...
I did have a brief convo with the daughter when her mom went to the store..i told her that i see and hear what's going on and that it must be hard for her...she immediately began to cry and nod..i talked with her a little about not internalizing the things her mom says..to avoid negative self talk and to be kind to herself..that her mom thinks she is helping her and making her stronger...i hugged her and told her I'm here for her and that I'd try to talk to her mom about it, if i can...
i mean there's a non-confrontational way to say anything, right? *nervous laughter*