Author Topic: Helping a young couple draw boundaries  (Read 6448 times)

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camlan

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Re: Helping a young couple draw boundaries
« Reply #15 on: February 27, 2013, 08:30:59 AM »
Instead of providing the assistance and advice herself, could Lena point Anna to some resources? If Anna is asking her for help, it seems that she realizes that she needs to learn how to deal with her parents, but doesn't have many people she can turn to for advice.

I'm not really sure what sort of help is out there. But maybe Lena could recommend a therapist, or a few good books Anna could read. Maybe someone here has some better suggestions. But that way, Lena can step back from the struggle between Anna and her parents, while still being a friend to Anna (which it seems that Anna needs right now).
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


Cami

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Re: Helping a young couple draw boundaries
« Reply #16 on: February 27, 2013, 09:45:28 AM »
Is this couple able -- individually or as a unit -- to set boundaries with others? I wonder, since being unable to make a simple and logical statement on that New Year's Eve situation of, "Hey, great to see you, but we're on our way out. Sorry. See you later!" seems somewhat indicative of an issue that goes beyond a pushy mother.

I agree with others that Lina needs to get out of the business of interfering and giving proscriptive advice here. She's breaking boundaries herself by telling Anna what to do with her mother (who's also her employee.  Yikes!). Dollars to donuts, this advice is going to backfire sooner or later.

I'd recommend the book Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend. It's inexpensive to buy and available from most libraries.

Kaypeep

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Re: Helping a young couple draw boundaries
« Reply #17 on: February 27, 2013, 10:26:21 AM »
Lina should give her son and future DIL books on boundaries, as suggested.

At work, Lina should tell Sylvia that she doesn't want to talk about the wedding on company time. (And she should not talk about the wedding with any other co-workers either, so that they don't get dragged into this either.)

Anytime Anna asks for advice, Lina's response should be "What do YOU want to happen?" and based on her answer, help her find a solution to make what SHE wants happen.  I can understand how the long term relationship they have makes her to the go-to person for Anna to seek advice.  I have a similar relationship with my mom's BFF's and have often consulted them or vented to them because they understand her like I do. But I never asked them advice and they never offered it.  We did more commisserating than exchanging.  I think that's what Lina should do.  Be a sounding board, but don't try to fix this.  Only Anna can fix this.

The NYE story angers me, but we've seen many posts on Ehell about uninvited guests showing up and posters needing help polishing their spine to turn people like this away. I don't think this is immaturity, it's just lack of knowledge and spine on how to handle situations like this.  I'd help them polish their spine with tips like "You don't HAVE to answer the phone every time it rings.  No is a complete sentence.  It's okay to say no, this doesn't work for me.  And teach them how to suggest alternatives or figure out a compromises.   If the parents drive 5 hours for a surprise visit, compromise and say "Gee, you should have called. We're on our way out to a party.  You can stay here and watch TV until we come back, or rest before heading back if you can't wait for our return." Better yet, Anna should call her mom now and say " You know that surprise visit on NYE?  I didn't know how to handle the surprise then, but now that things have settled I have to tell you that we missed a party because of that because we didn't know how to tell you we needed to leave and we stayed to visit with you instead.  It upset our friends, who expected us, and it upset us.  I should have said something then, but I didn't know what to do.  I've thought about it so I'm calling you now to say, Please, in the future, do not do that again. If you are going to visit, please arrange it beforehand.  If you are in the neighborhood and decide to pop in, call and check beforehand to see if I'm free.  I will not be rude and end as a no-show for something I committed to simply because you made a surprise visit."

Piratelvr1121

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Re: Helping a young couple draw boundaries
« Reply #18 on: February 27, 2013, 11:13:50 AM »

Immature...well maybe in some way through no fault of their own.  Maturity comes with age and experience.  I feel badly for the young lady since it will be really hard for her to establish boundaries if she has never known anything but control all her life.  It always kills me to see some parents who want their kids to be mature but have controlled them their entire lives - you have to let go in order to let them grow up.  Doesn't sound like that has happened here.

Yeah, you can't have both. Either a mature adult or a grown child to control.   

I think it would be more helpful for Lina to give Anna advice and support in standing up to her mother.  A friend of mine did that for me, more or less teaching me to be able to tell when I was being manipulated and controlled and empowering me to stand up for myself rather than fight my battles for me.  You know, the ol' teach a man to fish metaphor. 
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata

TootsNYC

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Re: Helping a young couple draw boundaries
« Reply #19 on: February 27, 2013, 11:25:31 AM »
The couple is young, yes, but have given their decision a great deal of thought.
Their relationship has survived time, distance, and medical crises.
I realize it doesn't seem like it, but they are quite mature for their years.
I suspect many would have trouble learning to overcome a lifetime of control and browbeating.

Anna confides in Lina and has asked her advice on dealing with her mother.
Lina has been a surrogate aunt for several years, so it's hard for her to back away completely.

I think Lina can give advice when it's requested.

But she needs to *not* deal with Anna's mom on this issue. She doesn't "fix" anything.

She simply "coaches Anna"--and not from the sidelines, either. From the locker room.

Eden

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Re: Helping a young couple draw boundaries
« Reply #20 on: February 27, 2013, 11:40:13 AM »
I'm surprised Lina and Sylvia's workplace allows the supervisory relationship given their personal connection. Not trying to head down a legal road but in general I'd say that's a major minefield. I think Lina even saying, "That's up to Anna and Connor" is taking up too much of a position (at least at work but possibly personally too). "I prefer not to get involved" or "I prefer not to discuss this" seem like safer responses.

GratefulMaria

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Re: Helping a young couple draw boundaries
« Reply #21 on: February 27, 2013, 12:04:39 PM »
I was in my 30s and 40s when I started to realize I'd been living my life with an eye towards gaining my parents' approval -- and that, as well-intentioned as they may have thought they were -- they believed that was the correct thing for me to do.

That either / or in a couple of earlier posts?  About having a child to control instead of a mature adult?  That really resonated with me.  There has been nothing more terrifying and saddening to my parents than not calling the shots, though they won't even admit that to themselves.

http://www.powells.com/biblio/?isbn=9780307575326&utm_source=RandomHouseWebsite&utm_campaign=randomhouse&utm_content=Toxic+Parents-RandomHouse-9780307575326


PastryGoddess

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Re: Helping a young couple draw boundaries
« Reply #22 on: February 27, 2013, 12:17:37 PM »
I'm surprised Lina and Sylvia's workplace allows the supervisory relationship given their personal connection. Not trying to head down a legal road but in general I'd say that's a major minefield. I think Lina even saying, "That's up to Anna and Connor" is taking up too much of a position (at least at work but possibly personally too). "I prefer not to get involved" or "I prefer not to discuss this" seem like safer responses.

Why?  Lina and Sylvia aren't related or married to one another.  Their kids are dating.  That might be a social minefield, but not a business minefield

gramma dishes

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Re: Helping a young couple draw boundaries
« Reply #23 on: February 27, 2013, 12:29:40 PM »

Why?  Lina and Sylvia aren't related or married to one another.  Their kids are dating.  That might be a social minefield, but not a business minefield

Because sometimes personal minefields carry over into business relationships, especially when one is "workplace superior" over the other. 

wolfie

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Re: Helping a young couple draw boundaries
« Reply #24 on: February 27, 2013, 12:37:34 PM »

Why?  Lina and Sylvia aren't related or married to one another.  Their kids are dating.  That might be a social minefield, but not a business minefield

Because sometimes personal minefields carry over into business relationships, especially when one is "workplace superior" over the other.

I don't think businesses would have a leg to stand on if they refuse to promote someone because their kid is dating a co-workers kid. I think the personal relationships have to exist between the coworkers themselves before a business should think about stepping in.

heartmug

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Re: Helping a young couple draw boundaries
« Reply #25 on: February 27, 2013, 01:05:46 PM »

I'd recommend the book Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend. It's inexpensive to buy and available from most libraries.

I was going to recommend that book.  Children, even adults, have trouble setting boundaries because it is their parents.  And they think they have to listen, and DO, what they say all the time.
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gramma dishes

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Re: Helping a young couple draw boundaries
« Reply #26 on: February 27, 2013, 01:31:40 PM »

Why?  Lina and Sylvia aren't related or married to one another.  Their kids are dating.  That might be a social minefield, but not a business minefield

Because sometimes personal minefields carry over into business relationships, especially when one is "workplace superior" over the other.

I don't think businesses would have a leg to stand on if they refuse to promote someone because their kid is dating a co-workers kid. I think the personal relationships have to exist between the coworkers themselves before a business should think about stepping in.

I don't think anyone would disagree about that.  I also don't think anyone suggested that the business should get involved in this in any way. 

I think what we're trying to say is that if there are personal issues between two employees, their animosity toward each other can possibly spill over into the business climate and perhaps make both of them as well as other employees very uncomfortable and also possibly interfere with both employees' effectiveness on the job.  When two employees are bickering, the atmosphere can become incredibly tense and may very well have a negative effect on productivity.

Piratelvr1121

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Re: Helping a young couple draw boundaries
« Reply #27 on: February 27, 2013, 01:50:20 PM »
I was in my 30s and 40s when I started to realize I'd been living my life with an eye towards gaining my parents' approval -- and that, as well-intentioned as they may have thought they were -- they believed that was the correct thing for me to do.

That either / or in a couple of earlier posts?  About having a child to control instead of a mature adult?  That really resonated with me.  There has been nothing more terrifying and saddening to my parents than not calling the shots, though they won't even admit that to themselves.

http://www.powells.com/biblio/?isbn=9780307575326&utm_source=RandomHouseWebsite&utm_campaign=randomhouse&utm_content=Toxic+Parents-RandomHouse-9780307575326

I read that book a few years ago.  Quite the eye-opener. Not knowing Anna's mother I don't know if I'd feel comfortable labeling her as toxic, but I will say that of the people I've known who still have good relationships with their parents, it's because the parents knew when to go from being a parent to being more of a mentor/friend.   MIL was like that and I know someone who's adult daughter is my age and lives with her mom willingly in a friend/roommate sort of situation because they get along so well.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata

Hmmmmm

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Re: Helping a young couple draw boundaries
« Reply #28 on: February 27, 2013, 01:50:46 PM »
I agree with the other PP's that Lina try to stay out of the middle of the mother/daughter relationship. However she is free to give any advice she'd like to her own son if he asks.

If I were Lina, the first advice I'd give my son is for he and Anna to attend some pre-marital counseling and tell the counselor they specifically need help on setting boundaries with their parents. 

She can also help teach Connor some easy responses.

"Mr & Mrs Sylvia, I appreciate your input but that will be a decision that Anna and I make together."
"Mr & Mrs Sylvia, I'm not comfortable discussing this with you. I'm sure you understand why this is a discussion that should occur between Anna and me."
"Ms. Sylvia, I believe Anna wanted X at the wedding and I will support her decision."
"Mr. Sylvia, I'm sorry that won't be possible. We have plans that evening."
"Ms Sylvia, thanks for stopping by but we were on our way out. We'll call you tomorrow."

Minmom3

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Re: Helping a young couple draw boundaries
« Reply #29 on: February 27, 2013, 02:04:01 PM »
I'm surprised Lina and Sylvia's workplace allows the supervisory relationship given their personal connection. Not trying to head down a legal road but in general I'd say that's a major minefield. I think Lina even saying, "That's up to Anna and Connor" is taking up too much of a position (at least at work but possibly personally too). "I prefer not to get involved" or "I prefer not to discuss this" seem like safer responses.

Why?  Lina and Sylvia aren't related or married to one another.  Their kids are dating.  That might be a social minefield, but not a business minefield

I STRONGLY disagree.  What happens if Sylvia takes offense at something innocuous Lina said?  Their children live together, romantically, and are getting married fairly soon.  Sylvia is extremely controlling.  Lina has a different parenting style.  All these things are tailor made to cause work place dissension and conflict.  If I were Lina, I'd be giving serious thought to going to the higher ups and requesting that they be separated somehow, it's too close to familial ties that many workplaces forbid to be in direct lines of supervision, for excellent reasons.  It is all too easy for the family and parenting style disagreements to spill over into the workplace, ESPECIALLY because Sylvia appears to have control and boundary issues.

IMO, YMMV! 
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