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Maybe this time it's me? **EXTRA LONG POST**

Melanie_Mel's picture

Hi everyone,

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 ...

Melanie_Mel's picture

Thanks for reading and responding Annie. I agree that if DH had said no, SD would have taken it a bit better, but still would have had a sulk and refused to stay over.

CANYOUHELP's picture

Oh, I have that tone too, I was told. So, I find it easier to no longer speak to her-can't mess up the tone that way, ya know.

notasm3's picture

Why do you even care if she gets all upset and cries?

I would have no problem just telling her no - period. I don't need my DH to be the enforcer. I have zero problems being the "bad guy".

Your DH didn't want to tell her no. So what. You could just say no. And in whatever tone you want to use.

You do not need to coddle asses.

Melanie_Mel's picture

You have made me think sueu2, well I could tell her no, but I guess I'm more worried about how DH will go on afterwards because of a reaction from SD.
I've been in similar situations before and I know how it would all go down.
Sometimes it feels as if it's easier to upset me because I'll always be there and I move on and react less than SD would.
It's the whole "I never get to see her" and "don't want to look like the bad guy" thing.
At one point he was telling me to just let the dog stay in the laundry, but I did put my foot down to that and said I'm not changing the conditions just because she's cracking it.

But yes I agree, I have to think about how I feel and just say it to her, but had I have said a straight no in the first place, SD still wouldn't be staying over "to teach us a lesson".

Melanie_Mel's picture

Thank-you to everyone, it has made me do some more thinking.
Next time I will say how I feel about a situation and not feel bad about it, because what I want matters too.

CANYOUHELP's picture

I agree with most of Sue's response, you should have NEVER involved yourself in this conversation at all, but it was not entirely your fault, I blame your idiot husband and pathetic father to this child primarily; he weaseled his way out of this and made you the fall guy, regardless of what you said to her.

I do understand the doormat husband thing and clearly yours is willing to throw you under the bus to make himself look like a sweetie dadeeee to this child. You were set up to be wrong and look badly by your husband-so he wouldn't; but because you are trying to half way please everybody and he is jello, something had to shape up decision wise and he made YOU do what he would not resulting in you being the mean guy....Sometimes we learn the hard way, never let him do this to you again.

Regardless of what you said to her, how you said it, etc. etc., it would have been the wrong tone, the wrong words, the wrong everything because it is YOU speaking to her. You are not worthy of an opinion to her. Dadeee bows down to her, and so should you, she feels.

You are not alone, it is easy to get caught up in this mess trying to please everybody somewhat when that is impossible to do, even if you are the one not pleased and apologizing without cause. Just tell husband to tell precious no dog and HE will tell her next time and deal with her everytime thereafter; I would minimize any conversation with her. I doubt you can talk with her without being criticized and her blowing up his phone for support he MUST give her regarding her complaints of you. Otherwise, why would she call him immediately???? Poor me, wicked SM does not bow to me mean her voice.

Ughh...Like Sue stated, he can be afraid of precious, but you will not and he can tell her the RULES of the house next time!

SD can play by your rules too and daddy needs to be the one to set the stage for that to happen, not you. If she gets mad, she stays away and he visits her elsewhere. At least there are no dead birds and feces in and around your home.

Sue is right, never be scared of her. If she is talking to you (and I would minimize all conversation, honestly), you use the tone you wish in response to how she speaks to you. That was just one more excuse to criticize you and make you look badly by her...ughh..

notsobad's picture

"IF I asked to take my dog somewhere w/me he would sleep in the room I am in a kennel."

I love animals too but I wouldn't ask to bring my dog to a place where I knew she/he wasn't welcome.

My exH and I had a dobbie puppy. My Dad and stepmom lived about an hour away in the mountains. We took the kids and the dog and headed to the mountains for the day. I called my Dad and he invited us to stay the night. I said we'd have the dog and he said no problem.
No he didn't talk to my stepmom first. Growing up we'd always had dogs, SM had never even had a hamster.

Needless to say, she found the dog to be disruptive and spent the whole visit on the edge of her seat because the dog might pee on the floor or knock something over. Even out in the yard the dogs nails scratched the fence and she kept barking at the squirrels. We had a crate but it was only for car rides and sleeping, I wouldn't put her in it just to keep her out of the way.
We stayed for dinner and then said we'd better not spend the night because the dog was just too disruptive for my stepmom.

I never again asked to bring the dog. We did many trips, with the dog, to visit but we'd go for walks and stop for coffee. We didn't bring the dog to their house. It was just too uncomfortable for my SM. I also didn't hold it against her. She wasn't a pet person and that was okay.

sandye21's picture

"So SD said 'no, I’m not going to bring her and I won’t be staying the night anymore'." Did did you say,'Thank you'? She is really playing the drama queen. Take the wind out of her sails. Your DH was a coward for throwing you under the bus like that. So when he starts whining because she is threatening to not stay at your house, just reply, "If that's what she wants, maybe it's for the best." Then let him deal with her whenever she calls or visits.

JustAgirl42's picture

Sorry if you already explained this, but what is the reason the birds cannot be put in another room with the door closed so you don't have to cover the cage?

I'm not saying this is what you should have to do, I'm just curious.

I hate when people think they should be able to take their dogs to other people's homes and then get mad if they're told no.

Melanie_Mel's picture

That's okay, the reason I can't really move the birds is because they are in an aviary bolted to the ground and 2 of them are raising chicks and I can't relocate them as that may cause them to abandon the chicks.
And even if they could fit into a cage small enough to fit inside, DH doesn't like the birds in the house because they are too messy with seed and feathers etc.

The chickens are also in a aviary style pen which is also bolted down, so I can't bring them inside and we wouldn't want the smell of them inside the house either.

JustAgirl42's picture

Oh, I see...certainly makes sense!

As others have said, yeah, you both should have just said no. Your SD seems a bit immature.

Melanie_Mel's picture

monkeyseemonkeydo, I also have dogs and love them to bits. They sleep inside our house in their bed, but in our house animals can only go on the tiled areas.
As the bedrooms are carpeted, we would not allow the dog to sleep there. It is not crate trained, but I believe it is house trained, however SD told us that recently it has been vomiting every now and then, to the point of them having to rip carpet up at her Mum's place because it was so badly stained and they couldn't get the smell out.

I can't really move the birds as they are in an aviary bolted to the ground and 2 of them are raising chicks and I can't relocate them as that may cause them to abandon the chicks.
The chickens are also in a aviary style pen which is also bolted down, so I can't bring them inside and we wouldn't want the smell of them inside either.

Nobody knows what breed the dog is and you're probably right in saying that it's instinct and I agree you cannot train over instinct, but either way, the dog wanted the birds and for me that made me worry about their safety.

I also agree that it probably would have been better if he called her back after discussion options.

notsobad's picture

"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.”

At that point I would have said, then No please don't bring the dog.

If DH was upset by SD not being able to bring the dog, I would have reminded him that "Mel has all the rules" and guess what? This is one of the rules.

furkidsforme's picture

Wait... so now her dog can't be inside because your birds are in an aviary outside?

I still don't understand why the dogs could not simply be kept out of the area the birds are in (if they are even inside your home- the last part made it sound like the birds are all outside) with baby gates, and the dog sleeps in her room at night.

Offering to have her chain her dog outside is more rude than simply saying "please don't bring your dog, you failed to control it to my expectations around the birds last visit".

And I own 3 dogs and one bird that flies free in my house.

Melanie_Mel's picture

The birds are all outside. The problem with the dog being inside is, as I said to monkeyseemonkeydo, SD told us that recently it had been vomiting every now and then, to the point of them having to rip carpet up at her Mum's place because it was so badly stained and they couldn't get the smell out, also what if it needs to go to the toilet and can't hang on? Where will it go if it can't get to the grass?
Also, both DH and I don't let animals on carpeted areas, and the bedrooms are carpeted.

I don't agree with you when you say that offering SD to tie the dog up for just one night is rude. In doing this, it still gives SD the opportunity to bring the dog along.
Also, I said that 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, only 1-2 metres away max.

As I also said, I own 2 dogs and bring some of the birds in for a bit and have never had an issue with them.
I'm not saying all dogs would do this. But if SD were bringing her other dog, I would not suggest tying it up because it's not interested in creatures like birds, but this particular dog is.

twoviewpoints's picture

If you have acreage and chickens I'm going to assume you're in, at the least, a semi-rural setting. even with a veranda to scoot under, I wouldn't be comfortable with a dog staked out overnight in this setting.

With that said, I also would not want a dog prone to recently vomiting around my present housemates (your own dogs). Nor a dog who special privileges than my own dogs do while being in my home. SD's dog needs to stay home where she lives . We're talking an overnight visit to Dad's, not a week's trip afar. Any 21yr old young lady is surely old enough to understand this without melting down over rules and 'tones', she is quite the theatrical little snowflake.

Melanie_Mel's picture

I don't like tying up dogs either and I think that it is cruel if it had to spend everyday, every night or even tied up often.
But as a quick fix to restrain the dog, once off and at night only, I thought it would be okay as it would be asleep for most of it.
SD has not crate trained the dog though.

KatieM's picture

The way DH threw you under the bus is exactly what my DH has done to me in the past. Very, very frustrating and just makes everything so much worse for the SM. Finally, after years of this he realized he was being cowardly and was afraid his kids would not want to see him if he didn't let them have their way. We finally talked it over and decided if they didn't want to see him there was nothing he could do, but at least we are not being blackmailed every day. SS mostly ignores him now, and DH is getting used to it. We both hate feeling like we're walking on eggshells and being blackmailed by his adult(?) kids.

Your SD seems very immature and manipulative with the tears and tattle tale behavior. The first lesson your DH and you learned from this is - neither one should answer her right away. DH can tell her he needs to think about it, then you and DH can discuss it thoroughly, then DH can call her back with the decision and the rules. So much easier.

I just really hate when skids criticize SM's tone of voice. My SD used to get DH in another room and criticize my tone of voice, usually when I was cooking a big holiday dinner and I requested that he quickly get something out of the basement fridge. The next day he'd tell me what she said about my tone, and it just made me so angry and resentful that she thought it was ok to criticize me to DH and that he actually didn't tell her to stfu.

My SD did something similar with her dog one Christmas; we said she couldn't bring her dog to stay at our house, we had 3 small dogs at the time, so she took her dog to stay at SS's GF's house. SS gave her permission without talking to GF. WWIII ensued when GF would not allow SD's dog stay in a bedroom, but had to stay in the family room addition, which was not well-heated. GF had 2 cats, who were very upset about the dog. After 2 days of this, SD came to me for advice and I called the boarding kennel nearby and got her dog in. She did tell me she didn't realize it would be such a problem, and I agreed it is better to make arrangements for boarding than to have a dog where it isn't entirely welcome, and everyone is upset with each other because of it.

twoviewpoints's picture

"Your response to the question of the dog coming over should have been, SD it is incredibly rude to ask to bring animals to other peoples houses, has your BM not taught you this?? "

The line I don't agree with. I never understand this type of response , especially when this father is shoving the phone at SM like the chicken sh*t he is. Teaching and parenting is both parents 'job' aka responsibility. There's is no need to bring in BM as a retort to the SD. Obviously the guy hiding behind his wife's skirt, peeking out to let SM do the 'bad guy' routine to his daughter, hasn't taught SD anything about not being "incredibly rude" .

KatieM's picture

DanielleR, I used to try to do that, and my idiot DH would say out loud, without covering the phone, so SD could hear, "what's wrong? Why'd you hit me? Why are you upset? Don't you want to talk to her?" SD loved it. }:) I literally wanted to strangle him for making things worse. Of all the STUPID DH's, he took the cake! I blame him for the terribly strained relationships we all have to this day.

Luckyone's picture

My daughter is allergic to dogs. My SD once brought her small dog to our house knowing this. I just let my other kids chase, play, throw the dog toys, while screaming in delight, until it was exhausted and trying to hide. All this in the middle of a family gathering. If she wants to expose my daughter to her dog I will expose her dog to my house of young kids. She left early with the tired, shaking dog and hasn't brought it back.

robin333's picture

It was rude for her to ask. I love my fur babies but I don't ask to bring them when I stay elsewhere. Your DH needs to teach SD some manners.

Melanie_Mel's picture

Well, I have learnt from this. I won't take the phone in a situation like this and I will say what I really want and discuss it with DH first instead of giving an answer on the spot.
DH can then call back and deal with whatever happens from there.

This is what I should have done and now I know.

still learning's picture

"Let me get back to you on that." Is a great way to buy time and let DH think about how to deal with HIS situation.

still learning's picture

Indeed Blum 3 Even disengaging has levels of engagement and boundaries that have to be constantly managed to retain sanity in stepworld.

Twinkletoes's picture

Your dh took the cowards way out and left you to deal with it as he doesn't want to be the bad guy. Mine used to do the same. I no longer fall for it. I am completely disengaged from skids but when he tries to do this in other situations I say no I cant talk right now. I then walk away. let him man up and handle it.