Boundaries with neighbor and kids

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Destroytheweb

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Boundaries with neighbor and kids
« on: April 08, 2019, 05:44:18 PM »
I have four kids, ages 1-10 and moved into a house three years ago and met a neighbor who also has four kids around the same ages as mine. Naturally the kids gravitated to each other and enjoyed playing together. In my experience, (being raised by an Nmom and many other relationships with narcs) they are not straight forward people. (Making this post long because it takes forever to provide context). They will often ask a question, make a remark, do a behavior that usually serves an underlying purpose that can be difficult to decipher. I think of them as spiders always casting out a line of webbing in an attempt to ensnare. It may not be obvious at first what they want in any particular interaction, but you can be assured the end will not play out in your favor. So when my neighbor began to throw out lines of webbing, manipulative behavior mostly and constantly asking me to take care of things that are clearly her responsibility and not mine. I began to put distance between us and our kids. Mostly through excuses and keeping the kids occupied elsewhere so that we donít spend much time together. However, our daughters developed a friendship and they play at school. My daughter invited her daughter to her birthday party and her mom made a big deal about it for the couple weeks leading up to it about how excited they were to come and how much they were looking forward to it, blah, blah, blah. Narcs do this all the time because seeing their victimís face light up gives them great supply and they make sure they are never around to witness the disappointment. But the victims here is my 7 year old daughter whom I love deeply and am responsible for. The mom texted me right in the middle of my daughterís party to tell me they werenít going to make it because of blah, blah, blah excuses giving me the impression she was probably never intending to come anyway. My daughter was disappointed, naturally, and whatís sad is itís not her friendís fault. The poor girl Iím sure was just as crushed that she didnít get to go because my neighbor made sure her daughter was very excited about it. Anyway, the neighbor kept contacting me about how bad she felt (I donít care about her feelings, I care about my daughterís). I simply responded for her to feel better (being sick part of the excuses, even though she was fine when I saw her the night before) and I would see her around. I wasnít cold, but I wasnít warm either. Apparently that triggered something and so leads to why I am writing this post. She knows my daughter has been attending a class at the local center for a long time and she texted me to let me know that she signed her daughter up for the same class! I have to stay on the premises and so does my neighbor. This forces me and my daughter and my other kids to interact with them even though I have been trying to maintain distance. Also, (and I think part of her actual motivation), I think she is going to want to dump the responsibility of taking her daughter to class since I will be going there anyway (like she did with another neighbor). Knowing she often doesnít follow through, I took my daughter to class like normal, but the neighbor did show up and our daughters had a great time (which doesnít make me happy, but concerned because I donít want to see them hurt again) while I spent an uncomfortable hour with the neighbor and our other kids. Then she told me she had gone ahead and signed her daughter up for the next three months! I donít own this class, itís free to the public and her daughter has every right to be there. But I donít want to encourage the friendship between the girls because her motherís interference has deemed it to me to be an unsafe relationship. My daughter has been hurt by her enough times already (the birthday was not the first of its kind, but I wanted it to be the last.) Iím not sure exactly how to handle this situation concerning my daughter. What do I do and what do I tell her? My daughter has developed relationships with her teacher and other (healthier) friendships in this class and loves it. She loves her neighbor friend. My instincts tell me to pull her from class, but I resent it and Iím not sure how to go about it either. I feel like my daughter is going to get hurt either way and I want to minimize the damage as much as possible and keep her protected with healthy boundaries. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Thru the Rain

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Re: Boundaries with neighbor and kids
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2019, 07:18:20 PM »
How awful for both you and your daughter!

You may want to schedule a standing "thing" that always occurs after this class....so no you *just can't* take neighbor daughter to or from class. Ever.

Maybe also bring a book/magazine every single week. And wear headphones.

It can be really hard to avoid these sort of people, but just keep telling yourself, you don't owe this woman any of your attention or your time.

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HeadAboveWater

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Re: Boundaries with neighbor and kids
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2019, 12:53:45 AM »
Iím so glad that your daughter has a class she enjoys. But I can understand how the neighbor is a worry. I wouldnít worry about the children interacting. It sounds like there are lots of lovely kiddos there, and children do tend to be more resilient than we give them credit for being (though I donít doubt your daughter was disappointed about the party).

It does sound like youíll need some strategies for dealing with neighbor mom, though. Schedule a phone call with a long lost friend that you take in your car while the children are doing their class. You can have errands to run right after afterwards, or a relative with whom you have a standing commitment. If you were to agree to run the kids to class together once, you might couch it as, ďGreat, will you be able to do it next week when Iím busy?Ē That might keep neighbor mom from mooching too much. It will take some energy to stay busy, but neighbor mom will soon get the impression that you are not just waiting around to be her doormat.

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Destroytheweb

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Re: Boundaries with neighbor and kids
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2019, 02:09:55 AM »
Thank you so much for both of your supportive, validating helpful responses. Writing out my concerns helped me sort out my thoughts and my feelings giving me a better perspective. I appreciate the advice, because my first instinct was to panic and run, and now I can see other options. Setting boundaries between my neighbor has been ongoing and is not a problem for me. I donít have a problem saying no, but she has a problem hearing it, and a ploy she uses is to drag my 7 year old daughter into it. Like, saying, ďAndrea (not her real name) would LOVE to play with you, but I have to go run errands. If your mom doesnít mind, Andrea can go home with you and you two can keep having fun and playing together.Ē Whenever she has done this I always say no, but then my daughter is upset and angry with me, of course being to young to understand the context. She has a pattern of making rifts between my daughter and I. One of the many reasons for keeping distance.

Setting boundaries for and with my daughter is a greater concern because I know this neighbor has no qualms whatsoever manipulating her and her own daughter. After reading advice, I realized it would go a long way for me to give my daughter clear expectations. I let her know that she and her friend can enjoy each otherís company in this class and at school and that is all. Just because they are in a class together outside of school and she lives on our street doesnít mean they will be playing together outside of class and school. She asked why and I simply told her, ďItís just one of my rules and I think itís best, thatís all.Ē She didnít challenge me about it and is now looking forward to class with her friend (however long that lasts because the neighbor really is a flake) I prepped my daughter for that, too, so sheís not disappointed if the girl drops out.

I will keep myself busy away from the neighbor during class and not give her daughter rides. The advice also helped me realize that I and my daughter are likely not the target of this spider web cast, and so I feel less threatened than I did at first, and more confident with some good advice for keeping the boundaries solid and intact. Thank you.

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blueheart

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Re: Boundaries with neighbor and kids
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2019, 11:56:04 AM »
My sister is exactly like your neighbor!  She toyed with my two little kids and her two little kids a lot!  I had all the concerns that you have.  I just slowly pulled away and didn't react when she screwed the kids over on play dates and stuff (this of course caused her to up the game greatly but that's another post).  What I found out from my kids, they KNEW my sister was being a pill!  I had no idea they knew.  They gave examples one day of her behaviors that make them mad.  WOW di the kids see and feel things that we don't give them credit for!  WE do not have contact with my sister anymore (and of course she holds her children away from me and my kids.)  But, the thing is.  My kids are ok.  The are so much more resilient than we know!!!  Im my opinion, I think you can talk to your daughter when things like the party happen.  Let her know that you know that the mother isn't being very nice.  I don't see anything wrong with that.  Its not like you go all out on blasting the neighbor but you can provide some validation to the feelings that your daughter probably already feels.  That's just my opinion and what I ended up doing with my kids.  What a shock to hear what they already knew and felt!