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Feeling negative around SD for a different reason

Jcksjj's picture

So DH has gotten a lot better with not showing favoritism or special treatment to SD. With a few slip ups here and there. So that has made my relationship with him better and as a whole improved the situation. SD still tries to be sneaky mean/bratty often, but that has also declined from the extreme it was at. Shes not any nicer of a kid at heart, but she cant get away with it as well so its put a damper on it.

However, now theres a new issue for me. Which is that when SD is not essentially being made the center of the universe, she gets very mopey. Theres not really a happy medium for very long- either shes getting kicks from being mean or getting attention over others or shes pouting and acting depressed. Seriously, if you can be addicted to attention, she is. It's like a drug to her - she can never get enough and when shes not getting any it's like her life force is gone. And as far as getting enjoyment but tricking or hurting others, I dont even know what that is but I think its separate from the attention thing.

So heres the issue - even if I'm disengaged shes still in close proximity to me for half her life. And when shes acting mopey and depressed it's hard for me to not feel badly. Because even if I intellectually don't think I should feel sorry for her, because shes not being mistreated, just treated as an equal instead of the princess she wants to be, she looks sad and that makes me feel bad. So now even when things are technically better it's hard to really enjoy it because I feel like a POS for feeling better at the expense of an 8 year old feeling worse. Plus just the negative energy being put out is still there like it was before. Its lose - lose.


JBDmom's picture

I completely understand the feeling. When SD isn’t getting all the attention she starts moping around and even when her dad walk out for a few minutes she just stares after him and pines for him. I found that making her do something such as playing or putting on a movie to distract her really helps with it.

tog redux's picture

Looking sad is a great way to manipulate people who don't like to hurt others.  Ignore that and give her attention when it's warranted and she seeks it appropriately. 

My dogs use this trick very well. 

Jcksjj's picture

True. She used to be so bad with the fake crying and looking sad and actually told me she practices looking sad in the mirror and can fake cry. I never felt bad about it when she was obviously faking it though, just annoyed. Now i cant tell if it's just being put on because I think she is actually upset and doesnt know what to do when shes not the center of attention. I guess that's the problem with someone lying all the time is you end up never knowing if you should believe them. I dont think the pouting is warranted, but I still have the emotional reaction to it and it make the room just kind of feel negative, I dont know how else to describe it.

tog redux's picture

Yep. I know just how you feel. One of the ways my SS always tried to manipulate me was to look sad when DH would discipline him. It works very well for BM, and even though I felt bad for him, I'd have to look away and go about my business and not reward him in the way he was hoping and the way he was always rewarded with BM. 

Just think of it as a sign that you are an empathetic person, and don't let it get to you. 

Jcksjj's picture

I'm kind of  curious if it works for her with BM. BM is the exact same way so shes got to know shes likely faking it, but I'm not sure how she would react to it. Omg DH used to eat it up though. He always looked like he was about to cry if she did, it was ridiculous.


Chmmy's picture

It's manipulative. She doesn't see herself as an equal. She feels she's extra so now that she is not getting the extra she feels she is so entitled to she's going to show DH how mopey & sad she is. 

As far as the addicted to attention,  my YSS11 was so bad and constantly had to be the center of attention. When i forced DH to put him in his place, he is one of four children and DH has a life too, yss improved significantly.  Not overnight but he improved. Rather than tell YSS he had to wait for dadddeeesss attention DH (before we were married)  would say if I do this with other child than you will get extra special something later. How bout NO. Im busy. You'll have to wait. Works better

Jcksjj's picture

Oh you're 100% right she thinks shes more deserving than others. It's probably the thing that gets under my skin the most.

Lol, that sounds like something my DH would have tried at first. "Let me look good to SM now, and then be the good guy for you later"

Left out mama's picture

My sd who is 8 does the same thing... if you tell her the world does not revolve around her she has a look of shock and bewilderment. It's drives me friggen insane! I just want to scream! 
I think part of it is age, children are selfish by nature. They understand the concept of caring about others and can act on it sometimes but it's not fully developed. It gets better with age... my sd was a lot more selfish a year ago... still hav to call her out now and again but it's less frequent. 
Whenever my sd starts doing the "pay attention I'm sad" act... I ask her if she's acting like this because she's tired.. she usually says yes cause she knows the "nobody pays attention to me" crap won't work. I then suggest having and earlier bed time because being so tired all the time is not good and means she needs more sleep. Usually within 15 min of me saying that the pity party ends 

Simpleton21's picture

Ha, I wish it were an age thing.  I think for some kids it might be.  My SD has been doing crap like this since I met her and she is now 12.  It isn't age related for my SD.  It is spoiled rotten brat syndrome for mine.  

Jcksjj's picture

Yeah, it's normal to an extent, but way beyond the normal amount and ways for that age.

Ispofacto's picture

When my kids were that age, I told them to "Go play" a lot.  If they didn't get out of my sight, I'd find them a chore to do.

I agree with others that she is being manipulative.  Killjoy was exactly like her and she never outgrew it.  Maybe because of genetics or because DH didn't correct it.  Toward the end of our relationship, I literally kept telling her, "STOP SULKING", but by then it was too late, I already hated her.  And she had sulked so much for so long her face was stuck in permasulk position. 

Don't wait until it is too late.  Call it out by name.  Tell her to stop sulking and stop being manipulative.  Tell her to go play, or give her a chore to do.