A No Win Situation
Anne and Sue once were extremely friendly towards one another when Anne had two children and Sue had one child. Sue would routinely bring her child over to Anne's house so that all the children could play together.
Anne routinely did acts of kindness for Sue and was a paradigm of thoughtfulness. Relations between the two, however, began to become strained when Anne had another child and Sue only had one.
While Sue's tendency for overparenting remained somewhat latent when Anne had two children, it became fully manifest when Anne had her third child. It became evident that Sue viewed Anne's second child with a bit of contempt and made sure to always wash her child's hands with Purell lotion after her child had contact with Anne's child.
Picking up on this negative vibe, Anne's child grew to dislike Sue and the occasions when Sue would bring her child by since she was the quintessential "helicopter mommy". Anne's child would sometimes act out towards Sue's child since Anne's child could not yet verbalize displeasure with the hovering. Interestingly though, Sue's husband (Steve) did not hover and Anne's child would not act out towards the the child during the occasions when the child was being watched by Steve.
The negative vibe was not a figment of Anne's imagination. It was palpable even to Anne's husband and other neighbors who could feel it in the air during the occasions Sue brought her child by.
Sue became pregnant with he second child and a deep freeze ensued in her relationship with Anne. If they were together in a group of people, Sue would speak to everyone with the exception of Anne. If Anne walked into a room, Sue would walk out.
Despite all of this, Anne still attempted to restore the relationship and brought the issue up directly with Sue face to face. Sue did not even acknowledge the problem and suggested that it was Anne's issue.
Months passed by and Sue had her baby. Wheeling her stroller over in front of Anne's house with her two children, Anne's child once again immediately sensed the negative vibe and acted out towards Sue's older child.
Anne now feels at a loss since there is a no win situation. What does she do?
1. Go inside every time Sue brings her children by? [downside: this makes her a prisoner in her own neighborhood].
2. Let her child continually go after Sue's child so Sue will not desire to come by anymore [downside: this allows a child to misbehave, the opposite of what Anne is trying to instill in the child]
3. Tell Sue directly not to come by if she is going to be hovering. [downside: direct confrontation is unpleasant]
4. Force herself to act friendly to Sue. [downside: Anne feels she is being fake by doing so]