Maybe this time it's me? **EXTRA LONG POST**
I don't know what to do. Is it me?
So it's almost Christmas and it's SD21's turn to be with us this year.
About a month ago she said she would stay overnight on Christmas Eve and about a week ago we got a phone call from her.
She wanted to know if she could bring her dog with her to stay the night.
A bit of background on the dog, it’s medium sized and very strong and has been to our place once before as we have only just moved to acreage.
We have pet birds and the dog showed a lot of attention to them and judging by it’s facial expression and jumping towards the cage, it seemed aggressive towards them.
We also have two dogs of our own, but they don’t bother the birds at all.
The most annoying thing that happened was when the dog had seen our birds and we were all standing nearby. The dog jumping and even the dog walking around them was scaring the birds and they were flying all over the cage, their eyes were big and their bodies were skinny and were panting, but SD and her boyfriend didn’t do anything.
I then stepped in trying to pull the dog away before the birds hurt themselves but it was so strong that I was struggling, but still they were just watching!! Like, hello! Control your animal! Don’t just stand and watch. Seriously! I should have said something, but this is the position she has us in, afraid to upset her.
Eventually her boyfriend called the dog, but as if the dog was going to listen. It was fixated on the birds. Then SD finally steps in and helps get the dog under control.
So after the dog was dragged away, of course it came back and found them again and the only thing I could think of to protect the birds was to a) put the dog on a lead or b) wrap the whole bird cage up in a sheet so the dog couldn’t see them anymore.
Can you guess the reaction/tension in the air if I said you have to put the dog on a lead for the rest of the day?
So of course I went with option b) and wrapped them up. So the birds had nothing to look at and hardly any airflow all day. Luckily it wasn’t a hot day; otherwise I would have gone with option a) and what a happy day it would have been … not.
Anyway, so when she asked the question, DH was too scared to say no because he doesn’t want to look like the bad guy, even though he wasn’t keen on the idea.
Also, because she only visits when something is on, such as it’s someone’s birthday or Easter etc. I think he didn’t want to say no because he knew it would upset her and she would then change her mind about staying over, which means seeing her even less.
I say this because in the 8 years of knowing and living with her, if it’s not her way, she cracks it and then does something, which to me is like she’s trying to punish us. Such as won’t come over, won’t ring, won’t stay over, talks sharp and snappy or won’t talk at all, or goes off by herself to sulk.
So as soon as she asked the question DH said “Hang on, I’ll put you onto Mel as she has all the rules” and he handed me the phone.
But just before taking the phone I said “oh yeah, because it’s just me with all the rules”.
His comment just made me so mad because he has immediately put me in a position for looking like the “bad guy” and cleared his name, even though he totally agrees with me!
So I took the call and she asked if the dog could come over and I said ‘well the last time she was over, she was aggressive towards the birds and I’m not comfortable with her around them’. Then she said ‘oh but she doesn’t chase my boyfriends parents ducks anymore’ and right here I knew she was going to push.
To me, ducks are different, they don’t move like the birds because our birds are much smaller, which is what I thought caught the dogs attention in the first place, the fast movement.
But anyway, at this point I knew she was going to bring it with her otherwise if she didn’t, she would crack it like she has done with anything else that she wanted her way but didn’t get.
So I agreed on the dog coming by saying “well, if it comes over it will have to be tied up on the grass at night”.
Then she said “the dog can sleep in the laundry at night” and I said “how will it go to the toilet if it’s locked in the laundry?”
As soon as I said that SD said “don’t worry, I won’t bring her. I have to go now, bye”.
Now according to DH and SD, I used the wrong tone. SD said I sounded upset with the question.
I specifically remember saying to myself to remain calm about the situation and I didn’t yell and I kept a soft voice, but the tone was then wrong.
However, I wasn't impressed with the question because I then had to choose between SD reaction if I say no or stressing my pets if I say yes.
So she hung up and about 10 minutes later the phone rings again and DH answers. SD is crying and upset about how I spoke to her and what I said to her.
I was then enraged and I was yelling in the background saying “what is the problem now?” and “let me talk to her because the issue is obviously with me”.
Then I was on the phone to her and she said “it was just a question, you didn’t need to say it like that. You sounded upset about the question and I would have rather you just said no don’t bring the dog over because you feel uncomfortable with it around the birds, rather than say to tie her up. It’s cruel!”
And I said (not calmly), I think you’ve taken me the wrong way and I wanted to give you an option to still be able to bring the dog along, so no I won’t just say don’t bring the dog, because I still wanted you to have the option to be able to.
And she repeated the above about 5 times and I repeated my answer every time.
Then she started crying even more and said that she was sorry and she had taken it the wrong way.
Now, SD saying sorry is something she does to play the victim (which she plays often), so it meant nothing to me.
So she hung up and I thought about everything the next day and I decided to call her that night to apologise even though I didn’t believe I had used the wrong tone, but considering two people said I did, I believed it.
So I phoned and apologised for my tone in the first conversation and for the yelling in the second conversation.
She then started talking about me sounding upset again and that it was just a question and that she would rather have me say no, instead of giving her the option of chaining her up all the time.
That comment got on my nerves because she is also a liar and story teller and right there she has twisted my words and that is what she would have told everyone is what I had said.
But I remained calm and was very careful with what tone I had this time and said “I didn’t say chain her up all the time, I said tied up on the grass at night. I want the dog to be able to access grass during the night in case it needs to go to the toilet”.
And I know, chained / tied pretty much mean the same thing in this situation, but chained sounds so much harsher and just makes it feel worse than it is.
I then told her we found a spot undercover on the verandah where the dog could sleep which was also right in front of a screen door which opens straight into where SD would have been staying the night, so she would have been able to easily check on her during the night and I said we could tie the dog to the top stair (about 5 stairs high) so it can access the grass.
Now I’m not keen on tying animals up, but it was the only solution to allow the dog to come along and still let it get to grass.
I should probably explain, I wanted the dog tied up because we still have the birds and we also have chickens now. I don’t trust the dog to have free range at night because there would be nobody to watch it as we would all be asleep and the dog is strong enough to break through the wire if it wanted to and I DO NOT want to wake up on Christmas Day to dead or injured pets.
So SD said “no, I’m not going to bring her and I won’t be staying the night anymore”.
There was a bit more to the conversation, and then we were off the phone.
About 10 minutes later, she rings back and DH answers and she’s going off again like the night before crying and saying how upset she is about my tone and the tie up option in our first conversation.
I was then left thinking, what else does she want me to do? Apologise a second time and say yes you can leave the dog locked in the laundry to stink the house out from pooping and peeing in there and having a cleanup session first thing Christmas morning !! Also, it’s summer here, so it’s not cold outside either.
So I thought about it some more and wondered, well why can’t I show how I feel in my voice? I didn't abuse her for asking the question.
And the tone in my voice, did it really need to be reacted to in the way she has gone off?
I know I didn’t do everything right, but this is the first time in 8 years I’ve gone off like this. I’ve had enough.
Sorry for the long post ...