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Hanging by a Thread

(68 Posts)
Braego18 Wed 11-Oct-23 19:07:53

I am hoping to get some direction/advice. My daughter and son in law (we all get along very well) built an in-law quarter for me to live in due to an ongoing chronic illness I have and limited income. The problem is when they purchased this rather larger home, he decided he wanted to invite his sister and her child to also move in and "help". No one in our family understood this and she has proven to be a very difficult person. My profession as a former counselor, told me early on that she was manipulative and had a personality disorder that would in the end seek to divide the family. She has done this through various behaviors. I tried to reach out to her the first year and a half to no avail. At one point she and her son were ill and I cooked them a pot of chicken soup from scratch and she unkindly refused it, never saying thank you. I have bought them gifts and invited the child to spend time visiting with me to reach out. I've invited her to coffee and she has ignored those invitations. She told my daughter and son in law that she "that isn't her love lanquage" (gifts and gestures) whatever that means. Because my apartment is in the front of the house and because of my illness, she was told her son could have free reign playing in the yard, but not the front of the house due to my need to have windows open and have some semblance of quiet. Over stimulation causes my symptoms and overall inflammation to flare as well as I suffer panic attacks. To note I have had a therapist for years and been able to learn to manage my life and this illness and create boundaries. Recently this woman complained to our neighbors about me creating a rucus and terrible stress for me and us all. She is clearly in my mind at least, trying to gain control by any means. She has recently persuaded my daughter (who is empathetic to a fault) with tears that her son should be able to play outside in front where I live (mostly trying to manage my illness on a daily basis, which I realize has gotting worse since she moved in). My daughter explained her complaints to me and wanted to let me know we would ALL have a meeting about her concerns. We have never done that since the beginning, when it would have made sense. I feel this woman is manipulating my daughter and my daughter feels obliged for the sake of the child to ask me to consider compromising. I am sure a compromise would open the floodgates of disruption for me with outside noise, as I don't trust this mom to respect boundaries. What can I say to my daughter and not upset her (she is easily upset, no wonder with the pressure of her sister in law and trying to keep her husband happy). I have been enduring a panic attack since even thinking about attending a meeting, that I will not only feel very uncomfortable at, after all the water under the bridge - but also because I don't feel this woman and her child deserve any more of their or my sympathies. Thanks in advance for your thoughts and wisdom.

VioletSky Wed 11-Oct-23 19:23:23

I am sorry you are struggling

This is a shared space that you all live in. I think it is unreasonable to say a child that lives there cannot play and make noise as long as this is at a reasonable time

I would suggest closing the windows while the child is outside, they will not be outside playing 24/7

You can also purchase noise cancelling headphones to watch TV or listen to music and perhaps some ear buds

Lots of people live next door to young families and have to make allowances for children exploring and growing nearby

Ilovecheese Wed 11-Oct-23 19:35:24

Is there a space at the back for the child to play out?

Braego18 Wed 11-Oct-23 19:49:09

Ilovecheese Yes there is a yard.

lemsip Wed 11-Oct-23 19:53:57

you were very fortunate that your son in law built an 'inlaw' quarter for you. It was a very generous gesture of him. He then gave his sister and her child the same generous gesture.

Namsnanny Wed 11-Oct-23 19:55:16

What is wrong with the yard that was the agreed play space for the child? Too small ect.?

What is attractive about the front garden near your appt? Open to sun, Mum can see son playing etc.?

If there is no logical reason for the change, I would stick to the original agreement if I could.

Braego18 Wed 11-Oct-23 19:55:46

VioletSky There is a large yard to play. I raised 3 children and understand their need to play and grow, but I also taught them to respect the neighbors and other tenants. This child is taught no boundaries and screams extremely loudly as a habit. They end up right in front of my windows which radiates the sound with or without headphones. That is my issue and the mother's lack of teaching her child any boundaries.

Braego18 Wed 11-Oct-23 20:00:55

lemsip Yes, that thought is what has motivated me to be kind and reach out to her. However, that is not the whole picture.

eazybee Wed 11-Oct-23 20:02:54

My sympathies are entirely with the daughter and son -in-law.

Braego18 Wed 11-Oct-23 20:10:24

Namsnanny There is nothing especially attractive about the front yard. For 3 years the child has had kids over and played in the back yard which is a great play area. A large problem for me has been the mom going to the neighbors who have kids who play in the yard as well, and telling them and the kids, critical and untrue things about me. Now she has told my daughter the kids are scared of me (because of what she has said). I am very soft spoken, quiet and mind my own business. I feel she is trying to manipulate others to get her own way. She has done this since the beginning in various ways. She was upset when she moved in about the boundaries my daughter and son in law asked her to respect overall in the house. This is just one example. I would not have written about this here if it were not more serious than just being thankful I have a place to live. It is much more than that as I wrote about. Sorry, I've had a few responses that seem to overlook the whole picture. I appreciate you listening!!

Hithere Wed 11-Oct-23 20:12:15

I agree with VS

Clearly this living arrangement is not working out, too many cooks in the kitchen.

Theexwife Wed 11-Oct-23 20:15:55

Could you close the windows when the child is playing outside, surely a child cannot make that much noise.

If it is no longer working for you maybe it is time to look at other living arrangements for yourself.

Braego18 Wed 11-Oct-23 20:18:29

eazybee Yes. I should clarify, my daughter, son in law and I already lived together for a few years with no problems before this. I also as thanks give them housekeeping help and help with their baby. We have spoken about the difficulty they are having with her in other areas, as well, many times. I am just worn as her demands and manipulative behaviors have been constant toward them and me since she moved here. They are in agreement, just afraid to do anything about it but appease her. Which brought me to write here for advice as I am completely spent mentally and physically.

Callistemon21 Wed 11-Oct-23 20:21:18

I think yard may be the American term for garden? So not a small backyard as we may think of here.

The child? I take it you don't like the child much?
Screaming is annoying though. There's a school near us and at playtime some of them scream - why?

Braego18 Wed 11-Oct-23 20:22:10

Hithere I cannot afford to leave due to my disability and fixed income. All I can do is find a way to look at this with some wisdom that doesn't seem to be coming to me, at the present. :-/ I have thought of it many times, but physically and financially cannot.

Callistemon21 Wed 11-Oct-23 20:23:08

. A large problem for me has been the mom going to the neighbors who have kids who play in the yard as well, and telling them and the kids, critical and untrue things about me.

How do you know this?

This is all rather odd 🤔

Braego18 Wed 11-Oct-23 20:26:12

Theexwife This child screams at the top of his lungs and very disturbing. They would be directly in front of my windows. It happened once or twice in the beginning. The mother feels her child should be able to scream wherever he wants to. The yard is a good size in the back which was the original agreement.

Braego18 Wed 11-Oct-23 20:28:25

Callistemon21 I know this because one of them was concerned for me and let me know this was happening. I then went and spoke another of the neighbors who I've known on a friendly basis, who confirmed it.

CanadianGran Wed 11-Oct-23 20:55:31

I think if he has a designated play area that is a good size, then this should be enough. Hopefully you can maintain your quiet space at the front of the house.

If you are going to have a meeting, then try to keep your emotions at bay, reiterate that having a quiet front garden is working well for you. Your daughter can be caught in the middle trying to please everyone.

Braego18 Wed 11-Oct-23 20:56:13

Callistemon21 I use the term 'the child' as I do not want to use his name on a public site. It has nothing to do with me liking him. I had him for visits with my cats and to learn to read often the first year, until his mothers indifference and rejection of my gestures toward them to try to be kind.

Braego18 Wed 11-Oct-23 21:03:45

CanadianGran Thank you. Your response is very kind and thoughtful in light of the entire story and I appreciate it. I will take your suggestion to heart. Yes, my daughter has a very big heart, but also very conscious to feel she needs to please her husband, which I understand. She definitely does not need these worries either. Again, thank you :-)

Fleur20 Wed 11-Oct-23 21:11:31

I am sorry, you seem to have had some rather harsh replies on this thread.

I understand your upset if the original arrangements for the child to play only in the back yard have not been honoured. This was obviously done in consideration of your peace, quiet and privacy. This is a point you can raise at the 'meeting'.

I suggest you actually push for this meeting to happen so you can address the issues with all the adults involved. In order to do this, please take some control. I appreciate you feel intimidated by the thought of this, but if you write down all the points you want to make, and practice your presentation and reasons this will help you to articulate clearly and calmly what you want to say.
Try to put this woman to the back of your mind, she seems to have lots of issues, but you should address your words to your daughter and son in law. If you can explain quietly and firmly the problems they will hear you.
Do not make it about her, just detail the difficulties you are having and suggest ways to alleviate them, making clear that they do not actually have to impact anyone else to their detriment.
Good Luck.

nadateturbe Wed 11-Oct-23 21:30:25

I agree with Fleur20. I'm sorry you're having these difficulties now. Wish you well.

Braego18 Wed 11-Oct-23 21:32:14

Fleur20 Thank you SO much for not only your sound advise but trying to help me not feel defeated by some of the comments. I really like the advice to address my daughter and son in law and keep that focus, rather than focusing on the sister in law of my daughter. Gosh hard to keep the people's descriptions all straight, lol. I will try and not be afraid of this meeting (I actually used to teach large groups, so it is crazy that I would be so afraid) and will work to be in control, address my own needs (which I am not sure they really understand) and try to present it in a way that does not need to impact anyone negatively. As I was reading your message, I realized that I may for my own nervousness sake, write down what I need to say prior and just read it. That is really all very wise what you suggested, as it in a way allows what is wrong to rise to the surface on its own. Thank you so much for your very helpful words and support! :-)

VioletSky Wed 11-Oct-23 22:15:29

The biggest problem you have is that as adults, it is our responsibility to heal ourselves. You may be able to have a meeting and solve this one issue of where a child plays but there will always be noises in life and things we cannot avoid.

You need to be able to fully engage with life and the outside world and whatever you are doing to heal that in yourself or whatever you can do towards that goal needs to be a priority.

As for people who are toxic, just keep yourself above that, be yourself and no mud will stick if you are good person and so is the person who hears rumours