PD or just a dance mum??

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mayaberry

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PD or just a dance mum??
« on: February 13, 2018, 11:29:02 AM »
So, I don't know if I've just been triggered by all of this due to dealing with PD in-laws but I'm really struggling with a couple of parents at my daughters dance school but one in particular. I've always found them difficult but after recent events I'm now beginning to suspect PD and I'd love to know your thoughts. I'm not sure that it isn't just me being triggered by similar behaviours.
So our dd is the youngest in her competition class by six months. We'd never planned for her to do competitions but she adores dancing and when she realised one of her friends was in the team she wanted to join. She's 5.
So this one mum in particular we have known from dance classes since the kids were two. Her daughter is six months older. She has always been extremely pushy in regards to her child and she was very quickly pushed in to the comp team and various other classes, often against her daughters will. It's not uncommon for this child to be crying in the corridor while her mum forces her in to a class. So when they moved up to comp team, she lost interest in our daughter and us. Didn't really bother me and I didn't think too much of it at the time, we just went to different classes.
Then our dd joined the comp team..and things got a bit mad. It transpires that this woman and a friend of hers have become the Queen bees of the team - there's only four of them in it at the moment in their age group. Almost immediately they began pushing and pushing for us to enter our dd in loads of competitions and we had to keep explaining that we weren't rushing this. We wanted to do small comps where she could get used to it because we wanted to build her confidence not tear her down. They didn't like this, particularly this one woman.
Things continued like this and then it came to a competition they had on this weekend. For the past few months they have been unbearable. They are really pushy with their children and as soon as we said we weren't entering her in everything, it became clear that they saw our dd as a second class citizen. They began monopolising the class teacher at every opportunity and taking charge of everything - our dd's ended up with a group routine together and they totally controlled what dance they were doing and what they were wearing etc, all based on their desire to score big and win medals. They also began deliberately excluding me from conversations, to the point where I would sit in the waiting room feeling like I was at school it was so childish! You know, invites to places for everyone else but not me. Praise for everyone else's child but deliberately ignoring our dd. It started really getting me down and made me dread the nights dd was there.
So then we got to the competition. One of the girls is in a higher category and the woman I have a particular issue with really wants her dd to score big and move up. On the first day, the girls all did their group routine. The first thing I noticed was that despite numerous messages etc on the lead up to this under the guise of support and friendship, it was actually just to make sure we complied with their demands for the group routine. On the day, you wouldn't have known we knew each other. I lost count of the number of times they walked past me and blanked me and them and their husbands sat at the opposite side of the theatre from myself and the other parent who's girl was in the group. I began to feel it was because they were concerned our daughters were going to bring the groups score down because they're not seen as being as good. All of the kids mixed together backstage and had a great time but this mum made sure that my daughter was never included in pics with the kids - which they then posted all over social media. She made sure it was only her daughter and the other high scorer. The group did actually come first but it seemed that as far as they were concerned they came first in spite of our dd, not because of her.
So then we reached day two. The solos. Again we arrived and were blanked by these women. They did sit near us but didn't speak to us and it was only because other people from the dance school were beside us. I had to listen to their sniping commentary all the way through everyone's routines. They cheered and whooped for this woman's dd, and another older girl who is really good and who they aspire to be like and so suck up to. Our dd came on and it was a far more subdued reaction. She danced beautifully, although she managed to curtsey facing the wall! But it was her second comp and we were so proud she had even made it on stage. It was such an achievement and the rest of her dance was great. It was met with silence from them. I actually got the impression they were a bit annoyed she had done so well, I think they were expecting the disaster of the first comp where she totally froze. Then the last girl of the group came on for her solo and they were all over it, really supportive.
Backstage, this woman made a point of taking her dd away from my dd and having her mingle with the older kids she wants her to be friends with. She even gave them all sweets for doing so well and deliberately excluded my dd. Her little face nearly broke my heart. She knew she was being excluded - especially as I saw afterwards that there were moments I hadn't seen backstage where my dd appears to have been deliberately removed from photos (as in, all of the girls she was with at that time are in these photos but she strangely isn't, apart from her foot in one where she has clearly been asked to step aside). There was a lot of this stuff.
Anyway then we got to the awards section where this mum declared loudly that this was the most important part anyway! As in, if you don't place you are nothing. Of course her daughter placed in everything and she was whooping and shouting all over the place. She was the only one. People were staring. Our dd didn't place but we didn't expect her to but I was just so angry with this woman's attitude. She kept going on about it and how you're nothing if you don't place and how she was sure the other girl would place etc..all the while ignoring our dd and clearly implying she wasn't good enough to be part of their crew. Then she made a very patronising comment towards our dd, where I really had to control my temper. This was after I had been really supportive of her dd. I needed to get away from them all so I went outside, saying bye to them on the way. But then my H appeared and said it looked like I had stormed out because our dd had lost as they had expected us to stay and chat to them about their wins. I just couldn't do it! I have no issue with their kids winning stuff and I am supportive of that but what I cannot stand and witness is my daughter being treated like a second class citizen because they have deemed she is not good enough. Do you see what I mean?
My H doesn't get this at all. He didn't see any of the stuff backstage and he just keeps saying that our dd will never be included if we don't ingratiate ourselves more with them etc. But I just have a feeling nothing we do will ever be enough for this woman and why should I be trying to suck up to a woman who treats my child like that?? Am I missing something here?
Now I have serious doubts about whether I want my dd to continue in that environment. But she loves it. But she also felt left out so how long before that really hurts her and she realises they don't rate her as important enough? Also I don't really want to see any of them anyway because H has made me self conscious about my reaction and made me feel like it looks like I was annoyed our dd didn't win. I wasn't. I was angry at their treatment of my dd (and other kids in the comp to be honest). But I don't want them to think it was because our dd didn't win. I just don't know what to do. Am I over reacting to all this? H and I have argued about it since and he's determined we need to continue to encourage a relationship with this woman so that our dd will be more included, but I don't know if I can do that or even if I want to.
Have I just been triggered by inlaws and am seeing patterns in people that aren't there? Or does this woman display some characteristic traits of PD like I think she does? I think it triggered me too because H always reacts like that with his family too. It's always make more effort and their behaviour will change..no, it never does. And this, for me, just echoed all of that nightmare.

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Obliviot

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Re: PD or just a dance mum??
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2018, 02:41:09 PM »
Behavior like this will happen with any competitive thing for kids, I find it very triggering and disturbing so you have my sympathy.

So many things in your post I'd like to address, starting with you are the adult in this situation, possibly the only adult based on your description.  That means you are completely within reason to remove yourself and your family from anything that makes you uncomfortable.

That said, you have some options.  Can you make dance something that is Daddy daughter time so you don't have to see how this is playing out, and then check in with your daughter to see how she feels after these events?

If you do have to attend, you can use it as teachable moments for your daughter.  And opportunities to practice your neutral face with just a slight gloss of happy expression if that makes sense.

It may feel a little early to have to teach your daughter that not everyone believes in inclusiveness, but that's the real world she will need to know how to navigate in the workplace and beyond.

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mayaberry

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Re: PD or just a dance mum??
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2018, 04:08:47 PM »
Thanks! I'm glad you see where I'm coming from, because I was beginning to think it was just me.
I suggested to H that if he is more comfortable dealing with them then he should take her to dancing/comp but he felt that that would make things worse and she would still be excluded because they would see me as not making an effort. Yeah, we argued about that for a good hour. Then of course there is the fact that I would still have to go to comps as he isn't allowed to take our daughter backstage or get her changed, it's mums only which I sort of understand but it's frustrating. So we are at a bit of a stalemate there. He has agreed that he will take over the lions share of being at dance classes though and I will just turn up at collection time if/when I have to.
You're right in that I do have to keep working on a neutral face. I think I'll be better prepared next time. This was the first time we had spent such a long time with them at a comp and been exposed to their behaviour for that long and I guess I just cracked! I suppose next time I'll be prepared and expecting it so that might help.
You're right that our dd needs to learn about this stuff. We wanted her to learn lots of things from dancing/comps and she really has and it's been great to see her blossom and conquer fears and believe in herself...I guess we just didn't factor in all the other nasty lessons she's going to have to learn. You're right about being the only adult too. The funny thing is that our dd doesn't dance to win. She really doesn't care about the medals etc, she just wants to dance on the stage. It's just horrible that it's the parents who have the concern about winning medals that are excluding our dd. It's just crazy.
Thanks though, you've given me some good tips!

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NoVoice357

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Re: PD or just a dance mum??
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2018, 04:13:19 PM »
Hi mayaberry,

You are not overreacting at all.  :sadno: What this PD woman is doing to you and to your daughter is emotional abuse.
People with a Cluster B disorder are everywhere. I am so sorry that you and especially your daughter are going through this. Female PDs are controlling and domineering. They are manipulative and take revenge if you do not comply with their wishes.

This PD woman wants her own daughter to win but I think that in this case her abusive behaviour towards your little daughter has more to do with you than with your daughter's good performance. I believe the PD woman is punishing you for not doing what she wants. Besides, she is excluding you from the group (relational aggression or female bullying) which means that she realized that you are starting to see through her.  She is taking it out on your little girl. This is outrageous but it is not surprising if she has a Cluster B PD. I sincerely feel for you and for your daughter.

I am sorry your DH cannot understand what is happening and does not seem to care about the damage this vicious PD woman is doing to his own daughter. She is undermining your daughter’s confidence and abusing you and her emotionally. I would not use the words second-class citizen when talking to people who do not understand about personality disorders. Instead, you can speak about the PD’s behaviour, just like you did it in your post.

-Praise for everyone else's child but deliberately ignoring our dd.
-taking her dd away from my dd
-she gave them all sweets for doing so well and deliberately excluded dd.
-dd have been deliberately removed from photos


PDs will not change. If you go along with everything the PD wants, she will not stop abusing your daughter and treating you disrespectfully.

Your daughter is only 5 and she feels that she is not treated like the others. I would not let her be hurt and abused by a disordered woman.  Is there any other kids dance group where you live?  I mean, just for fun, not necessarily competition.

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Obliviot

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Re: PD or just a dance mum??
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2018, 05:11:57 PM »
If you ever feel triggered by her shenanigans just visualize me or another fogger standing silently beside you, acknowledging she is awful, and giving you a thumbs up for maintaining neutral face.

I have to wear neutral face all day at work and it takes such effort even after years of practice that the insides of my cheeks are permanently scarred from literally biting back emotions. 

You sound like you're poised to help your daughter and maximize what she takes from the experience, as long as you keep your focus there you'll always be able to handle yourself with integrity.

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Liftedfog

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Re: PD or just a dance mum??
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2018, 10:55:17 AM »
Can you move her to another dance studio?  I don't believe that all comp dance is like that. There are places where the teachers are in charge and set firm boundaries for parents.  There are lots of other sports groups that do this.   This group is toxic.  Moving your daughter to another studio has nothing to do with coping out or letting bullies win, its about protecting your daughter.    It will only get worse. You can't change these disordered parents.   I'm sure your daughter will adjust very well in a new place because she just loves to dance.    Also the dance studio is a business. Don't give them your hard earned money. I had to move my child from a toxic martial arts environment.     The place he goes to know is amazing.  Move her to a healthier environment. She is only 5.   She can't fix this mess herself.

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mayaberry

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Re: PD or just a dance mum??
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2018, 04:57:57 AM »
Update: We are getting very close to removing our DD from competitions. We've signed up for one more and DD is going to consider whether she wants to carry on after that or just go to the dance classes (there are loads of other kids in the normal classes and she has no issues there, it's just the comp class). Since my last post, I was lulled in to a false sense of security for a while. Things seemed to settle down. In reality it turns out it was just because there were no comps for a while. The last few weeks have been horrendous and this weekend has been awful. I am now convinced this woman is pd and as a poster said, punishing me through our DD.
First off, as I said before the four girls in their comp class all had a group routine. Suddenly, this woman decided that the others were going to form a trio for future comps. My DD was heartbroken. It blatantly says she's not good enough to dance with her friends. The dance teacher looked a bit shocked when this woman asked for it, but she has let it go ahead anyway which im disappointed with. So now in comp class our DD practices her routines on her own while her three friends practice their group routine. It's hard for her. She insisted she wanted to continue though and in fact it gave her a determination to dance well and prove them wrong.
Anyway I was getting on with it and accepting our DD was OK with things until this weekend. One poster mentioned relational bullying and I think it perfectly describes what happened.
So it was the birthday party of this woman's daughter. It took place at the dance school. A few days prior to this, this woman had sent a message to the mums of the comp class girls saying that in addition to the party, two days after (yesterday) it would be her daughters actual birthday and they had planned a whole day's worth of activities and would like the girls to join them..the message includes links to the various places to purchase tickets. I wasn't keen. First off it's eating in to our leave from work and secondly it was expecting us to spend out a lot of money to join in and essentially give this girl a second party at our expense. H was determined we should go to improve friendships etc. So I replied but kept the response open ended.
So the day of the first birthday party arrives and our DD goes in all excited. The first odd thing was another mum, a dancing mum, asked where they were meeting for pizza. This woman didn't bat an eyelid in front of us and told her where to meet. We assumed this was a separate arrangement as they are friends and thought no more of it...until the end of the party.
The kids from school all left but the kids from dancing were all hanging round and being herded back in to the party room for some reason, apart from our DD who was ushered out. The woman didn't even thank us for going or for the gift. DD came out a bit subdued and when we asked she said she had been left out and they had all gone in to one group and deliberately not picked her.
Afterwards one of the other mums, this womans friend, posted a pic of all of the girls from dancing heading out to eat pizza after the party. The only girl not invited was our DD. The photo was full of hash tags about dancing friends, making memories, friends for life etc. That really upset me. Why deliberately exclude her?
So I told H there was no way we were spending out and meeting up for this second day of activities when they had deigned to invite her. H was unhappy and said it would look bad if we didn't go. We argued a lot. We didn't go. We had a great day out as a family instead and I just informed this woman that we were sorry we couldn't make it. There was a silence from the other mums in the group and eventually the woman responded to let me know that her daughter had had a great day anyway.. So at that point she then posted all the pics she had taken over the weekend and it just got worse.
Our DD barely appeared in the party photos. No surprise there. Then it appears that before the pizza all of her dancing friends got dressed up and maybe had a photo shoot or something and then they all went for pizza.... With the dance teachers son also!
On the second day of activities her friends were all there and yet again the dance teacher and her son were there. There's lots of pics of him I think just to make a point.
I'm frustrated and disappointed that this teacher will never see any issues. These are clearly her friends. Interestingly the night of the party she had posted in the competition group about quashing rumours that she had favourites who were given more private lessons....cant help but feel these rumours probably came from this woman considering she had been with her all day. I feel like she has been manipulated by her and should have more boundaries. If we ever did try to raise this, it probably wouldn't be listened to.
I'm just really sad and frustrated coz my DD loves that school and this woman is ruining it for her and encouraging her daughter to do the same.

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NoVoice357

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Re: PD or just a dance mum??
« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2018, 09:30:08 AM »
Thank you for your update, mayaberry. I hope you remove your daughter from that group ASAP and that you find a healthy group free of bullies for her.

She insisted she wanted to continue though and in fact it gave her a determination to dance well and prove them wrong.
No matter how perfect your daughter becomes, she will never ever be able to prove them wrong since this has absolutely nothing to do with your daughter and her performance.

I really feel for your daughter. It is a parent's job to protect a child from abuse. If you do not do it, you are teaching her that she is not good enough and that she has to put up with abuse to please others. How long will you and your husband let this evil, disordered woman abuse your daughter?

H was unhappy and said it would look bad if we didn't go.
Your H seems to be more concerned with other people's opinion of him than with what they are doing to his own daughter. I understand he does not know that he is dealing with a disordered person but there is a lot of information about NPD on the internet. Your daughter is learning to be defined by PDs. Your H's behaviour is not showing her he is on her side.

You are a secondary source of narcissistic supply (NS) to this NPD woman and you are in the 'devaluation' period. She is devaluing you through your kid and getting NS. This NPD woman will never stop abusing your daughter as long as you let your child near her.

You cannot change her personality disorder or her behaviour, no matter what you say or do.  You cannot control her but you can control yourself and protect your daughter.  Other people in the group want to fit in and let the NPD take advantage of them (e.g."… expecting us to spend out a lot of money to join in and essentially give this girl a second party at our expense…").

H was determined we should go to improve friendships etc.
You cannot improve friendships because there is a NPD bully in the group. Other people have been brainwashed by the NPD. Please read about smear campaigns and character assassination, triangulation. People in the group will ghost you or keep their distance. They may not be PDs themselves but they have been manipulated into thinking you are the bad one in the group. Children birthday parties and other social gatherings are excellent opportunities for female NPDs to show their perceived enemy who is in control and to get NS.
If somebody in the group keeps her distance and then she is nice to you, it is highly likely she is a flying monkey gathering information to pass onto the PD and to be used against you.

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mayaberry

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Re: PD or just a dance mum??
« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2018, 02:18:11 PM »
Yes the flying monkey bit is ringing bells. There's another mum there, who joined the competition team after our DD, but who has known this other woman for a while. Initially we got on well and in fact at the last comp she sat with us (while we were being ignored by the other two) and afterwards she commented in front of another mother whose child is not on the team that she found those two very hard to deal with because they took it all so seriously and were always stressing etc. I think she expected me to agree (which I did silently) but I didn't want to be too vocal about it in front of this other mother who had nothing to do with any of it. It felt awkward and wouldn't have looked great either considering she barely knows me.
Anyway I'm so glad I didn't say anything and never have because the woman who was very vocal seems to have totally fallen in to the PD's trap. In a few weeks she went from complaining about how much time and money they invested in competitions to suddenly trying to keep up with them. I think it's because the PD shone her light on her by asking her daughter to join the trio so she felt special. Since then she can't get enough of them. She was there at the party, the pizza afterwards and of course the whole day of activities. You're right though, I think she could well be a flying monkey.
Youre also right that H seems more concerned with how he looks to them than what is happening with our DD. I think that's because of his PD mother and PD sister. He has been trained all his life to go along with their every whim and above everything else always to keep on their good side and make sure they can't complain about you. That's exactly what he's doing with this woman. Keep on her good side and somehow it will all be OK. It won't. Weve gone from arguing about his PD family to having the same argument about a PD dance mother. It's crazy.
DD has a competition coming up that we have already paid for and that she is rehearsing for and excited about so I have agreed that it's too late to pull her from that now. I'm not going to lie though I'm beginning to feel physical anxiety symptoms whenever I think about it - dreading being backstage with them, how will they treat our DD, will the other girls speak to our DD, will we have to listen to their patronising and nasty comments all the way through or will the ignore us etc. Its making me ill and we have a few weeks to go yet. I've tried to explain that to H but he doesn't get it. But then he doesn't have to go backstage. He sits down and watches a comp and is oblivious to most of what goes on. I'm the one backstage helping her change, doing her hair and putting up with their nonsense.
We have a bit of a break this week due to the holidays although they are all off to a big comp that we didn't enter our DD in. I think that's caused an issue as well. For some reason this woman demanded repeatedly that we enter this competiton and we kept saying it was big for our DD, she wasn't ready for that yet etc. I don't understand why it was such a big deal to her. But it was and ever since then we have pretty much been shunned.
I can't wait for these few weeks to be over and then talk to our DD again about coming out of comps.
Youre right in that our DD will never be able to prove them wrong and I don't want her to be hurt and bullied in that way. It's just sickening that this is being instigated by an adult.

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Obliviot

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Re: PD or just a dance mum??
« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2018, 03:45:58 PM »
Yes, totally sickening.  So sorry this is still ongoing.  For me what makes it unbearable is that this type of PD seems to get off on divisiveness and drama... every time you're feeling dread it can feel like they are feeling smugly satisfied with the situation.  It's kinda sad how this woman seems to have nothing going on in her life that she'd rather do than play mind games with a child, but more sad her daughter is growing up to think this is normal.

Silver lining, so many teachable moments for your own kid.

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NoVoice357

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Re: PD or just a dance mum??
« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2018, 04:25:24 PM »
they are all off to a big comp that we didn't enter our DD in. I think that's caused an issue as well. For some reason this woman demanded repeatedly that we enter this competiton … I don't understand why it was such a big deal to her.
This is about control. It is a big deal to her not being able to control you and this is why she is punishing you. The NPD woman has control over the whole group. Other parents did what she wanted and entered their daughters in but you didn't. This is perceived as criticism. Bullying your child is a cruel thing to do and she knows that this upsets you, which equals Narcissistic Supply for the PD - your emotional reaction to her nasty behaviour.
No matter how charming the flying monkey is to you (speaking to you with a smile on her face, complimenting you on something you have and so on), she will report all interactions to the NPD and your words will be twisted. Try to avoid her, whenever possible. Many flying monkeys are either PDs themselves or highly narcissistic people.
As for your H, I would not speak to him about the things these women are doing to you but rather about what they are doing to your daughter. His daughter is being abused by a disordered adult and he has to protect her.