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Drama & disease soup

Murkywaters's picture

New here, hello everyone.  I am dealing with an 37 year old SD who has the same genetic disease that her mother passed away from (Cowden's).  Anytime she gets a lump or bump, the panic sets in and she automatically thinks that it's cancer.  And then the doctors schedule her for surgery.  My heart goes out to her, but after 7 years of trying to reassure her and trying to calm her down, it's wearing me out. She gets angry that I don't feed in to her panic and enable her, like my DH does.  In fact, she recently complained to my DH how my texts were nasty and that I was mean to one of the gkids...a total fabrication.  She forwarded the texts to my DH, who verified that they weren't nasty at all. She really hit the roof because dear old dad was defending me, and not playing into her drama.  Needless to say, I have decided to limit my interactions with her.  She tends to stab everyone in the back, eventually.  Regardless, it hurt me how quickly I became the enemy.  

Harry's picture

Don’t talk to SD. Don’t call, text e mail ect.  We all are sorry about her condition. But she does not want your support.  There is nothing you can do

ESMOD's picture

It must be incredibly difficult to be affected by a disease that took the life of your mother.  It's like she has a window to her future.. and it scares her.  I'm sure she has also been coddled a bit as a result because those close to her are aware that she could die early because of this.. and that small things could become large things.. so everything is a "sign".

I think one thing you can do is stop being her "fixer".  You can't take her panic.. you can't talk her down off the ledge.  She most likely needs to get some counseling to help her deal with this.

I get it.. from your perspective.. it is tiresome to hear that the sky is always falling.  As true as it may be that most of what she is panicky about is likely not going to come true.. she may not recieve that message well.  To her, everything is the first step in ending up like her mother.  We can drive ourselves crazy if we ruminate over our own mortality, but unfortunately, she is forced to do just that.

I think instead of trying to make her feel better, I would probably move on to a different tactic with her.

Acknowledge her news and validate her feelings and show concern.

Oh no SD, I'm sorry to hear that you found a lump and need to go for more testing.  I understand you are scared.  Please let me know when you find out something and let us know if you need any help in the meantime.

Murkywaters's picture

EMSOD: Of course I have validated her concerns, but to no avail.  I'm a stepmother, not a steptherapist.

PS: My DH dated a therapist before me and even she had issues with her.  Said alot of it was attention-seeking behavior.

ESMOD's picture

That's why I recommended a therapist.. you can't be that for her... and shouldn't even have to try to be that for her. 

If she gets mad at your responses.. you truthfully can say.  "Honey, I just don't know what to say.. I don't know how to help you.. do you think talking to a counselor might help?"


Murkywaters's picture

DH already tried to get her into therapy but she refuses to go.  

Merry's picture

You might be the enemy today, but not tomorrow. That’s how my SD rolls and I finally got off the roller coaster. 

I slowly disengaged. Didn’t make a big announcement about it. Just stopped initiating communication with her, except for very rare circumstances. I’ll respond briefly and with politeness if she contacts me. Rarely happens, and that’s fine. She and DH have their own relationship and the only time I care is if something affects me. 

My life is more peaceful. 

Murkywaters's picture

Merry- that is exactly what I am doing, disengaging.  I even unfollowed her on Facebook. My DH can have her all to himself. If she contacts me, I will be courteous but not overly engaged. I need peace, even if she doesn't.

AlmostGone83's picture

“Oh my dear sweet SD, I simply cannot bear all these false alarms! Every single time you are rushed to the hospital and we are told you are dying, I have anxiety and panick attacks over the thought of losing you. I’m afraid my poor heart cannot take this anymore. Therefore I think for my own health, I need to limit our interactions until the day comes when you do in fact kick the bucket

Murkywaters's picture

AlmostGone83:  you are hilarious.  

Murkywaters's picture

Now that she senses that I've disengaged, she called DH today to complain about her in laws.  Everybody gets the knife in the back.

sandye21's picture

After 7 years, this must be getting a bit old.  Sorry to sound like I have not empathy for your SD - I really do.  It must be horrible for her to worry about this disfiguring and potentially fatal disease.  But you need a vacation from the drama.  You wrote that your DH enables her but supports you, so the next time she comes to you about her condition I would say,  "Your Dad is very concerned about you.  Maybe you need to talk to him about this", Then change the subject and let him handle it.

Also, you are very wise to limit your interactions with her.  That way you remove yourself from the 'victim/ perpetrator/ savior triangle.  It appears she is trying to make you look like a villain no matter what you do.  It doesn't get any better unless everyone - including your DH stops buying into it.  Good luck & (((HUGS)))

SayNoSkidsChitChat's picture


Murkywaters's picture

Congratulations.  You have shown yourself to be a true diplomat.  Oh, and your command of the english language is so masterful.  As for therapy, how's it going?  Only angry cowards hide on social media, which they use to bully others.  

SayNoSkidsChitChat's picture

was trying to help you with StepHell. Obviously, I was barking up the wrong tree. Goodbye.

Rags's picture

Her disease is no excuse for her being a lying asshole.  She needs to be called on her crap.

As a long time T-1 diabetic (nearly 39 years)  (I am not comparing my disease to hers) I have experienced massive mood swings due to huge blood glucose fluctuations when I was not controlling my disease effectively.  I was an extreme asshole to the people I love.  If I had allowed it to continue I would have destroyed my marriage, all of my friendships and in large part destroyed my life.  I figured it out and when I find myself getting highly irritated or furious over insignificant drivel I review my blood glucose records and correct what I am doing immediately.

I hope your SD can live a healthy life and treat her family well.  But her chosen toxic behaviors should not be ignored die to her disease.