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Dr. Keane
Dr. Keane, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1767
Experience:  PHD LPC
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Dear Dr. Keane, Thank you for your feedback regarding my

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Dear Dr. Keane,

Thank you for your feedback regarding my sister-in-law's behavior. I did tell her that I was upset with the way she was usurping my holiday time with my daughter without consulting me, and that I thought it only fair to both of us if our visits were shorter, more structured and based on terms that were fair to both of us.

Unfortunately, the result was disastrous. She viewed my request as a vicious assault on her daughter. She then called my sisters with her rendition of our conversation, in spite of her assurances that anything said between us would remain confidential.

My sisters now refuse to talk to me and told me that I'm not allowed to come back and visit, which is simply not their place. I know I have to stand up to them, as they are a strong influence on my daughter, who takes their side. They even had the audacity to telephone her without even acknowledging me.

I have to stand up for myself and would appreciate any constructive advice.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Dr. Keane replied 7 years ago.

Sounds like they are ganging up on you. Her reaction to you was meant to make you feel badly. It sounds like a situation that is going to spiral out of control if someone doesn't call a truce. First thing you need to do is allow your daughter to accept the phone calls. Let her know that although you are having issues with them you will not place her in the middle. Then I would suggest (if you can manage it) to call your sisters and ask to meet with them. I do not know why they are all so angry with you so I can only suggest you try and do damage control. You live in the UK, you don't have to see them very often. Tell them that you are doing your best and want your daughter and yourself to have a relationship with them but you feel bullied and that your wishes are ignored. Come to a middle ground and ask them to work with you, not against in in resolving whatever it is that has them so angry with you. Don't sit back and ignore them or feel like you can't do anything about it. You daughter is being used at this point, she has to hear from you that you are trying to repair the problems so that her relationship with her cousins can remain as good as they are right now.
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Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Dear Dr. Keane,

I think that my sisters are unaware of how little time I get to spend with my daughter, and they think that they are doing me a favor when they whisk her off. They also don't realize that I can only afford one holiday in the year, whereas they have several.

Do you think I should plan structured holiday activities in advance that allow my daughter to spend a reasonable amount of time with them, whilst providing me with some one-to-one time with her as well? I know my sisters won't like it, but it's the best I can do without fully compromising myself.

Funnily enough, I have another sister-in-law who's a very good planner, and they call her Hitler! She can be disarmingly direct at times, but I can understand her behavior. I shared one brief holiday with her and her kids and really enjoyed myself. There was a distinct beginning, middle and end to our trip, and we split the bill down the middle. If our children were the same age, I would try to spend more time with her.

Expert:  Dr. Keane replied 7 years ago.
Hi, communication with your sisters is key to understanding each other. Everyone perceives things differently. I think that you have the right as her mom to plan time for you and your daughter alone and time with her cousins and aunts. It seems that you and your other sister in law who is the planner have a good flow between you and even if your children aren't the same age you should spend more time with her. I think your plan is good and if your sister do not agree then that is problem and then you should make plans that suit you. Maybe you need to explain to your sisters what you said here, make them aware of how little time you get with your daughter and that you appreciate their wanting to take her you need to be included with them or you have to okay any trips, excursions, sleep overs beforehand without the children there. That totally underminds you when you get "attacked" and your daughter is there, makes you look like the bad guy.
So...yes, plan in advance and be open with them in explaining your feelings about you need time with her too.
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