General Etiquette > Family and Children

Stop putting me in the middle!

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BarensMom:
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.

Ginderette:
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.

cicero:
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.

Danika:

--- Quote from: cicero on November 24, 2012, 03:56:18 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.

--- End quote ---

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..."

Luci:
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.

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