General Etiquette > Family and Children

Stop putting me in the middle!

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girlysprite:

--- 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 ---

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.

TootsNYC:
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.

Zilla:
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. 

yokozbornak:

--- 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 ---

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.

SPuck:

--- Quote from: TootsNYC on November 24, 2012, 10:17:03 AM ---Sorry, I don't carry messages. I'm hanging up now--goodbye!"

--- End quote ---


--- 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.

--- End quote ---

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."

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