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, 09:29:02 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, 12:41:09 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, 02:08:47 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, 02:13:19 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, 03:11:57 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: Today at 08:55:17 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.