Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Family and Children => Topic started by: HenrysMom on November 23, 2012, 11:57:21 PM

Title: Stop putting me in the middle!
Post by: HenrysMom on November 23, 2012, 11:57:21 PM
Question first, background below.  How do I convince my sister to take me out of the middle of her relationship with her son and his wife?

Years ago, my sister and her DH left my then 17 year-old nephew behind in NE large city to make his own way in the world.  10 years and a few hard times later, he now has a decent job, a wife, and a home.  As his closest (distance and blood) relative, I more or less assumed the in loco parentis role.  As a result, I have a good relationship with nephew and wife.

With their history, my nephew bears some resentment towards his parents.  He also dislikes only hearing from my sister when she wants something, mostly computer advice and fixes.  As a result, he will often not return her call bombardment if he is at work or if it is inconvenient for him.

My sister has taken to repeatedly calling me when she is unable to reach nephew, in order for me to pass along messages or for me to badger him into calling her.  I feel this is putting me in the middle of their relationship and I don't like it.  I have bean-dipped and outright refused, but sister isn't getting the message.

As an example, yesterday she called me to ask me to tell nephew to give her a call to advise on which brand of TV to purchase.  I gave her my opinion and told her nephew would say the same.  In spite of that, she bombarded him and me throughout the day until he returned her call and told her the exact same thing I had told her earlier.  He then passed the phone to me.  Sister said, "Ask Nephew why he won't talk to me."  I replied, "No, it's none of my business, how was your bean dip?"  She didn't like it, but responded to the redirection and ended the call quickly.
Title: Re: Stop putting me in the middle!
Post by: Ginderette on November 24, 2012, 12:21:29 AM
Evil Ginderette suggests there's a fee involved every time she wants you to be a messenger for her. Make sure to make the price right for you to discourage bombarding you with those annoying errands. After all, couriers get paid to relay messages and the like!  >:D

Another thing is - granted a bit snarky - is to ask, "Do I look like Nephew/conjoined twins with him? Quit asking me, ask him."

From a polite point-of-view, you're doing good. The only thing left is to point blank tell her only to call you when she wants to talk to you, not Nephew.
Title: Re: Stop putting me in the middle!
Post by: cicero on November 24, 2012, 02:56:18 AM
stop *being* in the middle.

Tell your sister ONCE - "sis, you are putting me in a bad place and I am not going to play any more. if your calls or messages have anything to do with nephew, i will hang up or not reply". and then follow through. next time your sister calls and says "tell my son to call me" say "I told you i won't. did you want anything else". the next time just hang up.

it works - you see for yourself that it worked when you redirected. you (and nephew) will have to continue doing this.

hugs to you and nephew - this is a sad situation but I am glad that nephew had/has you in his life when he needed you.
Title: Re: Stop putting me in the middle!
Post by: Danika on November 24, 2012, 03:34:49 AM
stop *being* in the middle.

Tell your sister ONCE - "sis, you are putting me in a bad place and I am not going to play any more. if your calls or messages have anything to do with nephew, i will hang up or not reply". and then follow through. next time your sister calls and says "tell my son to call me" say "I told you i won't. did you want anything else". the next time just hang up.

it works - you see for yourself that it worked when you redirected. you (and nephew) will have to continue doing this.

hugs to you and nephew - this is a sad situation but I am glad that nephew had/has you in his life when he needed you.

POD

And give your nephew a heads up that you're doing this, just so that he knows not to believe his parents if they're the types to exaggerate and say "BarensMom will call you to verify..." or "BarensMom said she would..."
Title: Re: Stop putting me in the middle!
Post by: Luci on November 24, 2012, 08:38:42 AM
I see a lot of positives in this current situation, actually.

After the tragedy that the parents commited on a 17 year old, you were there when he needed you and helped the young man grow into a strong member of society. I didn't see any mention of drugs or other underworld activities the kid could have turned to. Kudos for his strength and you.

It seems there me a crack in the door with his parents at least trying some communication by reach out for advice from him. Maybe, just maybe, in the long run there will be a true reunion (that's not quite the word I'm looking for) and by your being the go-between for the time being, it may help. (I personally am not that forgiving, but I've seen it happen with better people than I am.)

The bombardment of messages is ridiculous. Do your devices chirp everytime you get a message. Ugh! I can scroll through messages, but the notifications would drive me nuts. I know you are tired of this and don't know how long it's been going on, but the comments above about how to talk to sis and nephew sound good. Others are wiser than I am.

The message of this post is just a reminder of how well you have done, sympathy, and offering a little hope for the future.

Title: Re: Stop putting me in the middle!
Post by: girlysprite on November 24, 2012, 09:06:27 AM
stop *being* in the middle.

Tell your sister ONCE - "sis, you are putting me in a bad place and I am not going to play any more. if your calls or messages have anything to do with nephew, i will hang up or not reply". and then follow through. next time your sister calls and says "tell my son to call me" say "I told you i won't. did you want anything else". the next time just hang up.

it works - you see for yourself that it worked when you redirected. you (and nephew) will have to continue doing this.

hugs to you and nephew - this is a sad situation but I am glad that nephew had/has you in his life when he needed you.

This, pretty much. I have been in such a situation too, where I tried to resolve conflicts by acting as a sort of mediator, and the two other people kind of grew to expect this. The problem is that the emotions also got redirected towards me, and they would start to argue with me instead of each other. So in the end I just refused to fill that role anymore.

There are many valid reasons you could give for why you don't want to be in the middle. It is not very respectful towards nephew for example; he created a clear boundary, and you are being used to cross that boundary. But the question is; will giving all those reasons help? Likely not. Create a stock response (age old E-hell technique!) like 'I won't forward questions or issues, and I will not answer questions about nephew as it isn't my business; this is just between the two of you'. This should cover everything.
Title: Re: Stop putting me in the middle!
Post by: TootsNYC on November 24, 2012, 09:17:03 AM
You'll have to be tough--if she mentions nephew, say, "Sorry, I don't carry messages. I'm hanging up now--goodbye!" Don't even ask if she wants anything else.

And never, ever say anything to nephew that is from your sister.

It'll take a while. And maybe it'll never change anything. But it'll stop spending your minutes *in* the middle.
Title: Re: Stop putting me in the middle!
Post by: Zilla on November 24, 2012, 09:59:01 AM
Speaking for him doesn't help either. (ie Saying that is what nephew would tell her regarding the TV brands)
 
Simply say, "I don't know sis and I will not get involved.  He is your son and please leave me out of it completely."  And if she persists, say, "I have to go now.  Good bye" and hang up each and every time she tries to bring it back up if your one time bean dip doesn't work.  Don't explain again and don't justify.  She will get the message.  Plus you will be supporting your nephew in this as well by taking this tack. 
Title: Re: Stop putting me in the middle!
Post by: yokozbornak on November 24, 2012, 10:07:30 AM
stop *being* in the middle.

Tell your sister ONCE - "sis, you are putting me in a bad place and I am not going to play any more. if your calls or messages have anything to do with nephew, i will hang up or not reply". and then follow through. next time your sister calls and says "tell my son to call me" say "I told you i won't. did you want anything else". the next time just hang up.

it works - you see for yourself that it worked when you redirected. you (and nephew) will have to continue doing this.

hugs to you and nephew - this is a sad situation but I am glad that nephew had/has you in his life when he needed you.

This is wise advice.  I have been in this role, and it's no fun.  I finally learned you can't be in the middle if you refuse to be put there.  My heart really goes out to your nephew.  I would remind your sister that nephew has a wonderful life in spite of her, not because of her and he truly owes her nothing at this point.  She needs to beg his forgiveness and then try to rebuild a relationship.  Playing mind games is only going to drive him further away.
Title: Re: Stop putting me in the middle!
Post by: SPuck on November 24, 2012, 10:14:03 AM
Sorry, I don't carry messages. I'm hanging up now--goodbye!"

stop *being* in the middle.

Tell your sister ONCE - "sis, you are putting me in a bad place and I am not going to play any more. if your calls or messages have anything to do with nephew, i will hang up or not reply". and then follow through. next time your sister calls and says "tell my son to call me" say "I told you i won't. did you want anything else". the next time just hang up.

I would go for what Toots said if that is what your comfortable with followed Cicero's response. All the gentle nudges and bean dips in the world are not going to work with someone who doesn't get the hint or does not understand boundaries. When she comes after you with her incessant calling you need to respond with an impenetrable shield of "not my problem."
Title: Re: Stop putting me in the middle!
Post by: littlebird on November 24, 2012, 10:36:11 AM
Speaking for him doesn't help either. (ie Saying that is what nephew would tell her regarding the TV brands)
 
Simply say, "I don't know sis and I will not get involved.  He is your son and please leave me out of it completely."  And if she persists, say, "I have to go now.  Good bye" and hang up each and every time she tries to bring it back up if your one time bean dip doesn't work.  Don't explain again and don't justify.  She will get the message.  Plus you will be supporting your nephew in this as well by taking this tack.

POD.

I was in the middle of my sister and my mom for years, and I finally told both of them I was tired of it and didn't want to hear them complain about each other any more. I still get some complaints (inevitable) but I no longer feel stuck in the middle. I think part of why I don't feel like that anymore is that, once I told them, I stopped feeling obligated to try and help mediate their disputes. If one complains about the other, I make mmm noises (or, if it's bad, I say "Don't put me in the middle"), but I've stopped feeling in any way responsible for their relationship. I have no idea if you feel somehow responsible, but that can help.

Good luck.
Title: Re: Stop putting me in the middle!
Post by: MrTango on November 24, 2012, 12:19:36 PM
"I don't know what he'd say. Maybe you should check with him directly."

Be a broken record.
Title: Re: Stop putting me in the middle!
Post by: Deetee on November 24, 2012, 01:02:30 PM
Question first, background below.  How do I convince my sister to take me out of the middle of her relationship with her son and his wife?


You don't convince her of anything. You simply never pass on any messages and never speak for him and take yourself out of the middle.

As an aside, I assume that there is a back story or more to it, but I don't see letting a 17 year fend for themselves as something dreadful to be shunned. 17 or 18 about the age most of my friends moved out on their own. I wasn't "supported" after I was 18, though I was always welcome home for holidays or whenever I wanted to visit.
Title: Re: Stop putting me in the middle!
Post by: yokozbornak on November 24, 2012, 01:09:46 PM
Question first, background below.  How do I convince my sister to take me out of the middle of her relationship with her son and his wife?


You don't convince her of anything. You simply never pass on any messages and never speak for him and take yourself out of the middle.

As an aside, I assume that there is a back story or more to it, but I don't see letting a 17 year fend for themselves as something dreadful to be shunned. 17 or 18 about the age most of my friends moved out on their own. I wasn't "supported" after I was 18, though I was always welcome home for holidays or whenever I wanted to visit.

I am probably reading my own background into this, but it sounds to me like the nephew was left to his own devices without any parental support.  My parents pretty much did the same thing for me (but supported my sister on and off until she was 40), and I still hurt over it. 
Title: Re: Stop putting me in the middle!
Post by: gramma dishes on November 24, 2012, 01:26:54 PM

...    'I won't forward questions or issues, and I will not answer questions about nephew as it isn't my business; this is just between the two of you'. ...

Girlysprite has provided the perfect wording, I think.  It covers whatever the current situation might be as well as any other situations that are bound to come up in the future.

Title: Re: Stop putting me in the middle!
Post by: miranova on November 24, 2012, 01:28:50 PM
For some odd reason, my family played this game for awhile, except it was my mom sending messages to me through other people instead of just telling/asking me herself.  I invited her for Thanksgiving months ago and never received a response.  The day before Thanksgiving my sister called and told me that she (mom) would be coming for Thanksgiving.   Um, ok....can't she tell me herself?  And just as I was thinking that, my sister said "she also asked me if she could stay at your house for the night but I told her that she would have to ask you herself this time".  To which I said THANK YOU, because I do not understand this game.  I'm so glad my sister finally decided to stop playing messenger for my mom because it really is irritating and makes no sense to me.  By the way, my mother never did call and ask to stay at my house for the night, so she left after dessert.    Um, ok then.

You are doing the right thing by refusing to pass messages along.  First of all, it's not your job.  Secondly, if nephew is ignoring her in order to get some work done, he has every right to that and his mother should be patient and wait for a call back instead of trying to get other people to harass him on her behalf.  Just stop doing it, you don't have to be her go-between.
Title: Re: Stop putting me in the middle!
Post by: Deetee on November 24, 2012, 01:36:53 PM
Question first, background below.  How do I convince my sister to take me out of the middle of her relationship with her son and his wife?


You don't convince her of anything. You simply never pass on any messages and never speak for him and take yourself out of the middle.

As an aside, I assume that there is a back story or more to it, but I don't see letting a 17 year fend for themselves as something dreadful to be shunned. 17 or 18 about the age most of my friends moved out on their own. I wasn't "supported" after I was 18, though I was always welcome home for holidays or whenever I wanted to visit.

I am probably reading my own background into this, but it sounds to me like the nephew was left to his own devices without any parental support.  My parents pretty much did the same thing for me (but supported my sister on and off until she was 40), and I still hurt over it.

I assume there is more (as the sister sounds pretty self absorbed). I was just responding that the fact of the "abandonment" was anything that would raise my eyebrows.

(My story: My parents were and are brutally fair with all three kids, even though some of are half sisters, so there may be some reason to be less even and even though us older "kids" have expressed comfort with our younger sister being helped out a little more.  )
Title: Re: Stop putting me in the middle!
Post by: JenJay on November 24, 2012, 01:45:09 PM
The best advice I've seen, regarding people who call and call repeatedly, is to tell them "Call me once and leave a message. I will call you back when I can. If you call me repeatedly I will not call you back." Then do that.

If that seems too harsh you could level with her and explain that it probably annoys DN to have her call multiple times and then ask you to call. Point out she's treating him like a child and she'll probably get a much better response if she calls once and waits for him to get back to her. As for you, tell her "I'm not going to be the go-between for you and DN anymore." Next time she starts interrupt her and say "I told you I'm not doing this."
Title: Re: Stop putting me in the middle!
Post by: Zilla on November 24, 2012, 01:55:06 PM
The best advice I've seen, regarding people who call and call repeatedly, is to tell them "Call me once and leave a message. I will call you back when I can. If you call me repeatedly I will not call you back." Then do that.

If that seems too harsh you could level with her and explain that it probably annoys DN to have her call multiple times and then ask you to call. Point out she's treating him like a child and she'll probably get a much better response if she calls once and waits for him to get back to her. As for you, tell her "I'm not going to be the go-between for you and DN anymore." Next time she starts interrupt her and say "I told you I'm not doing this."

If she says the bolded, then she is putting herself squarely in the middle yet again.  She needs to be clear and speak for herself only by saying the italics.
Title: Re: Stop putting me in the middle!
Post by: HenrysMom on November 24, 2012, 06:19:57 PM
Question first, background below.  How do I convince my sister to take me out of the middle of her relationship with her son and his wife?


You don't convince her of anything. You simply never pass on any messages and never speak for him and take yourself out of the middle.

As an aside, I assume that there is a back story or more to it, but I don't see letting a 17 year fend for themselves as something dreadful to be shunned. 17 or 18 about the age most of my friends moved out on their own. I wasn't "supported" after I was 18, though I was always welcome home for holidays or whenever I wanted to visit.

I am probably reading my own background into this, but it sounds to me like the nephew was left to his own devices without any parental support.  My parents pretty much did the same thing for me (but supported my sister on and off until she was 40), and I still hurt over it.

I assume there is more (as the sister sounds pretty self absorbed). I was just responding that the fact of the "abandonment" was anything that would raise my eyebrows.

(My story: My parents were and are brutally fair with all three kids, even though some of are half sisters, so there may be some reason to be less even and even though us older "kids" have expressed comfort with our younger sister being helped out a little more.  )

The background is that, after sister received an inheritance from our mother, they sold their house and business, kicked my nephew out of the house, and took off for a desert locale.  My nephew found himself homeless with only a few days' notice.  He moved in with a friend and found a part-time job.  He worked his way up and is now supervisor of an IT department.  He married a lovely girl and now own a small home near his workplace.

Sister now thinks that nephew is rolling in cash and has been hinting for a handout, in addition to free computer advice and fixes.  Due to the above story and some borderline abuse by his father, he feels he doesn't owe his parents a thing.
Title: Re: Stop putting me in the middle!
Post by: gramma dishes on November 24, 2012, 06:25:45 PM
...   Due to the above story and some borderline abuse by his father, he feels he doesn't owe his parents a thing.

I'm inclined to agree with him.
Title: Re: Stop putting me in the middle!
Post by: JenJay on November 24, 2012, 06:32:28 PM
...   Due to the above story and some borderline abuse by his father, he feels he doesn't owe his parents a thing.

I'm inclined to agree with him.

Me, too!

Zilla, you are absolutely right! I amend my advice to "Tell her you're not getting involved, period, and stick to it."  :)
Title: Re: Stop putting me in the middle!
Post by: yokozbornak on November 24, 2012, 06:55:19 PM
Question first, background below.  How do I convince my sister to take me out of the middle of her relationship with her son and his wife?


You don't convince her of anything. You simply never pass on any messages and never speak for him and take yourself out of the middle.

As an aside, I assume that there is a back story or more to it, but I don't see letting a 17 year fend for themselves as something dreadful to be shunned. 17 or 18 about the age most of my friends moved out on their own. I wasn't "supported" after I was 18, though I was always welcome home for holidays or whenever I wanted to visit.

I am probably reading my own background into this, but it sounds to me like the nephew was left to his own devices without any parental support.  My parents pretty much did the same thing for me (but supported my sister on and off until she was 40), and I still hurt over it.

I assume there is more (as the sister sounds pretty self absorbed). I was just responding that the fact of the "abandonment" was anything that would raise my eyebrows.

(My story: My parents were and are brutally fair with all three kids, even though some of are half sisters, so there may be some reason to be less even and even though us older "kids" have expressed comfort with our younger sister being helped out a little more.  )

The background is that, after sister received an inheritance from our mother, they sold their house and business, kicked my nephew out of the house, and took off for a desert locale.  My nephew found himself homeless with only a few days' notice.  He moved in with a friend and found a part-time job.  He worked his way up and is now supervisor of an IT department.  He married a lovely girl and now own a small home near his workplace.

Sister now thinks that nephew is rolling in cash and has been hinting for a handout, in addition to free computer advice and fixes.  Due to the above story and some borderline abuse by his father, he feels he doesn't owe his parents a thing.

That's so sad.  She's lucky he answer her calls at all.  In his place, I doubt if I would.
Title: Re: Stop putting me in the middle!
Post by: cicero on November 25, 2012, 01:38:29 AM
...   Due to the above story and some borderline abuse by his father, he feels he doesn't owe his parents a thing.

I'm inclined to agree with him.

Me, too!

Zilla, you are absolutely right! I amend my advice to "Tell her you're not getting involved, period, and stick to it."  :)

me three.

in general i always feel that we don't *owe* our parents anything. it's nice when we *want to* help out our parents or we *want to* spend time with them. Our parents have a responsibility to raise us and send us on our merry ways. (I know that there are cultural differences in this aspect, i know that in some cultures the parents come to live with the children and it is considered an honor).
Title: Re: Stop putting me in the middle!
Post by: LEMon on November 25, 2012, 09:29:39 PM
Another thought that may help your spine: the more you retrain your sister that you will not be her middle man, and that multiple calls do not work, the more the training DN is trying to do may have an impact.  Sounds like he is trying to teach her that he will call on his terms.  If you do the same, then she may get the message.

Only one person you can control in all this: you.  So make a plan and stick to it.  Tough love and steel spine.  Good luck.
Title: Re: Stop putting me in the middle!
Post by: PeterM on November 26, 2012, 01:33:52 PM
The background is that, after sister received an inheritance from our mother, they sold their house and business, kicked my nephew out of the house, and took off for a desert locale.  My nephew found himself homeless with only a few days' notice.  He moved in with a friend and found a part-time job.  He worked his way up and is now supervisor of an IT department.  He married a lovely girl and now own a small home near his workplace.

Sister now thinks that nephew is rolling in cash and has been hinting for a handout, in addition to free computer advice and fixes.  Due to the above story and some borderline abuse by his father, he feels he doesn't owe his parents a thing.

Is there a reason either of you want to talk to this woman? I assume there is, and that's your choice, but if you follow the good advice here and just refuse to be the mediator/messenger between your sister and nephew, she might well start down the "Well, why won't he return my calls?" road when talking to you. I think you'd do well to just lay it all out for her and tell her she's lucky her kid is willing to acknowledge her existence at all. I doubt very much it'll help, but it might annoy her enough to stop calling you for a time.
Title: Re: Stop putting me in the middle!
Post by: Mikayla on November 26, 2012, 01:52:03 PM
<<tree trim>>

Sister now thinks that nephew is rolling in cash and has been hinting for a handout, in addition to free computer advice and fixes.  Due to the above story and some borderline abuse by his father, he feels he doesn't owe his parents a thing.

I totally agree with cicero et al that you need to make one firm statement and then let her learn on her own.  But with this update, I can see where you may have been subconsciously tempted to stay in the middle just to make sure he doesn't change his mind or get taken advantage of.

If so, you're between a rock and a hard place, because if you truly want to get out of that middle position, this also includes resisting the temptation to comment to nephew about his parents.  It's a really tough situation.
Title: Re: Stop putting me in the middle!
Post by: BeagleMommy on November 26, 2012, 01:54:53 PM
OP, you've gotten some good advice here and I POD most of it.  Sister is doing what she's doing because it has worked in the past.  If she says "Tell Nephew to call" you can respond with a simple "No".  Don't JADE.  If she persists tell her "If you want to talk to Nephew you need to call him.  I will not pass along any messages".  If she keeps it up:  Lather, Rinse, Repeat.
Title: Re: Stop putting me in the middle!
Post by: LEMon on November 26, 2012, 05:39:57 PM
Time to be a duck and a repeater: emotions flow off of you and have no impact, and all comments get the repeat the same phrase over and over treatment.
Title: Re: Stop putting me in the middle!
Post by: Winterlight on November 27, 2012, 10:22:19 AM
...   Due to the above story and some borderline abuse by his father, he feels he doesn't owe his parents a thing.

I'm inclined to agree with him.

Thirded. Poor kid. I'm very impressed with him- despite everything he's made a success of his life.

Definitely time to tell her once that you won't carry messages and then hang up. Keep hanging up every time she tries this. It may take a while.
Title: Re: Stop putting me in the middle!
Post by: Cutenoob on November 27, 2012, 06:00:49 PM
...   Due to the above story and some borderline abuse by his father, he feels he doesn't owe his parents a thing.

I'm inclined to agree with him.

Thirded. Poor kid. I'm very impressed with him- despite everything he's made a success of his life.

Definitely time to tell her once that you won't carry messages and then hang up. Keep hanging up every time she tries this. It may take a while.
My dad was doing this to me about my mother and my sister (I've cut them off). Dad kept haraunging me about calling/they want to talk to you. I used the broken record technique "I'll contact them when I'm ready. No, it's between them and I. Sorry, that subject is closed."
Something like this "Sis, you really need to speak to him personally. Don't call me to call him, I am not a relay machine. I know you care, but that's between you two."
Let DN know, "Hey. She's been calling me, and I told her to call /contact you directly. Just a heads up. If you DO need to talk to her, use email or such" (aka hint don't use me)
That would be my wording for it.
Title: Re: Stop putting me in the middle!
Post by: TootsNYC on November 29, 2012, 03:42:31 PM
...   Due to the above story and some borderline abuse by his father, he feels he doesn't owe his parents a thing.

I'm inclined to agree with him.

Thirded. Poor kid. I'm very impressed with him- despite everything he's made a success of his life.

Definitely time to tell her once that you won't carry messages and then hang up. Keep hanging up every time she tries this. It may take a while.
My dad was doing this to me about my mother and my sister (I've cut them off). Dad kept haraunging me about calling/they want to talk to you. I used the broken record technique "I'll contact them when I'm ready. No, it's between them and I. Sorry, that subject is closed."
Something like this "Sis, you really need to speak to him personally. Don't call me to call him, I am not a relay machine. I know you care, but that's between you two."
Let DN know, "Hey. She's been calling me, and I told her to call /contact you directly. Just a heads up. If you DO need to talk to her, use email or such" (aka hint don't use me)
That would be my wording for it.

But that *is* carrying the message.

Title: Re: Stop putting me in the middle!
Post by: SPuck on November 29, 2012, 04:33:58 PM
I think telling the nephew would actually be a good idea because then he would have a better understanding of his mother's desperation/reach/crazy.
Title: Re: Stop putting me in the middle!
Post by: bah12 on November 29, 2012, 05:01:01 PM
You can't rely on someone else to take you out of the middle.  You have to remove yourself.   So, don't engage your sister when she wants to talk to you about her son.  Ever.  And it goes the other way too.  If your Nephew wants you to pass info back to his mother, don't do it.  Will your sis get mad?  Sure.  Will she throw a fit and accuse you of rotten things?  Maybe.  But the only way out of this is to not entertain it.  These people are adults and they are perfectly capable of talking to each other directly if they so choose.

So, tell her directly that you won't talk to her about Nephew and if she mentions him at all, you will hang up.  THen hang up on her and don't speak to her for a few more phone calls when she does it.  When she does it again, hang up without a word. Repeatedly hang up as long as necessary (or until you decide to stop taking her calls all together).
Title: Re: Stop putting me in the middle!
Post by: Cutenoob on November 29, 2012, 05:03:09 PM
...   Due to the above story and some borderline abuse by his father, he feels he doesn't owe his parents a thing.

I'm inclined to agree with him.

Thirded. Poor kid. I'm very impressed with him- despite everything he's made a success of his life.

Definitely time to tell her once that you won't carry messages and then hang up. Keep hanging up every time she tries this. It may take a while.
My dad was doing this to me about my mother and my sister (I've cut them off). Dad kept haraunging me about calling/they want to talk to you. I used the broken record technique "I'll contact them when I'm ready. No, it's between them and I. Sorry, that subject is closed."
Something like this "Sis, you really need to speak to him personally. Don't call me to call him, I am not a relay machine. I know you care, but that's between you two."
Let DN know, "Hey. She's been calling me, and I told her to call /contact you directly. Just a heads up. If you DO need to talk to her, use email or such" (aka hint don't use me)
That would be my wording for it.

But that *is* carrying the message.
Toots- good point; but it would be the one and only "incoming bombing from her, don't use me anymore"
Title: Re: Stop putting me in the middle!
Post by: bopper on November 30, 2012, 07:02:18 AM
"I really don't know why you are trying to pass messages through me.  Contact Nephew directly. If he won't take your calls, then, well, ask yourself why is that."
Title: Re: Stop putting me in the middle!
Post by: JoyinVirginia on November 30, 2012, 10:19:16 AM
After the backstory, I am wondering why you even want to have any communication with sis. I would recommend the ”I can't hear you” technique. I used to use this when my mother wanted to repeat old criticisms I had no intention of discussing, but she had lots of good points so I was ready to cut her off. When she got going on the phone, I would not say anything in response and just hold the phone away from me until there was silence. Then I would pick up the phone and talk brightly about something, anything else. ”I cooked the best chicken for dinner”, or ” The dog did the cutest thing today.”
You will not be able to convince your sister, do I recommend absolute silence any time she mentions soon, then change subject. Do not even act like you heard any direct questions. This technique really works.