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I don't know how to deal with this...

 
 
Reply Sun 25 Apr, 2004 05:24 pm
Here's the scoop... My family has a habit of telling me things, that I can't do anything about, just to bother me.

My sister tells me that her husband, who I don't like... and he doesn't like me, saw my graduation announcement and thought it was rediculous that I wasn't going to the ceremony. He thinks that I worked hard for that and I should walk the walk. She said, "Its just his opinion." I'm not sure why she felt a need to tell me that. Its not exactly positive, so why bring it up. She knows there's already tension between us.

My mom told me about my childhood cat, that she still has at her home, which is very old and sick... and is suffering greatly, and needs to be put to sleep. When I tell her that I'll come and take care of the problem, she tells me to stay out of it... that my dad would be upset. So what's the purpose in telling me something horrible, that will obviously upset me, and then tell me I can't do anything? To finish this story... I went over and took care of the problem... it was hard, but I don't care how my dad feels about it, the cat was suffering and needed to be put out of its misery. So was she trying to depress me or manipulate me?

These are just 2 examples, I know, but I don't want to ramble on. My question is how in the world can I deal with this? I can't help but be incredibly annoyed... I've tried to ignore, and let it go, but it comes back to mind and just pisses me off that much more.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Thank you Smile
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Type: Discussion • Score: 0 • Views: 1,733 • Replies: 24
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msolga
 
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Reply Sun 25 Apr, 2004 06:08 pm
Re the cat: As it was your childhood cat, maybe your mother was simply letting you know what was happening? She might have assumed that you would want to know. Sounds fair enough to me.
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bromeliad
 
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Reply Sun 25 Apr, 2004 08:22 pm
My family is the same way.

Can't offer any advice; I haven't yet figured out how to deal with it.
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Individual
 
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Reply Sun 25 Apr, 2004 08:30 pm
It's not just your family. In fact, everyone I know does that. The best I can tell you is to give them an extremely evil look and leave it at that. unless they're amazingly dense they will get the point.
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suzy
 
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Reply Sun 25 Apr, 2004 08:47 pm
Families can be a pain in the neck about stuff like that, huh? Sad
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Individual
 
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Reply Sun 25 Apr, 2004 09:10 pm
Did you guys ever have that problem when you were younger where you take your girlfriend over for dinner to meet your parents and all they seem to be able to talk about are the most embarrassing times in your life? That one is the worst!
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suzy
 
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Reply Sun 25 Apr, 2004 10:06 pm
Oh I do that to my kids! Smile
One of the perks! Wink
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Piffka
 
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Reply Sun 25 Apr, 2004 10:24 pm
Heehee... when my kids used to bring friends over I'd always offer beforehand to teach them how to dance the way I did as a kid... the twist or the pony or the swim or the stroll. That was guaranteed to make them run screaming to the far end of the house and keep their friends as far from me as possible. Very Happy

L.R.R.Hood -- I'm totally with you on the graduation ceremony. I hate those things! As to why your sister said that... next time, remember to ask her, it'll likely stun her into telling the truth.

About the cat, I dunno... it was your cat originally? I had a cat who died a horrible death at the vet's... some weirdness with her veins because she was dehydrated. I'm not so willing to go for the not always totally painless euthanasia anymore. When cats die, their systems shut down and frequently they aren't in pain. You can tell, and you can also offer them meds for any pain. Yes, it is a convenience to end it quickly... but you aren't always doing the animal a favor, I've found. But anyway, you did what you thought right.

It is odd that you say all this though. Most women, when they talk about problems, are more interestd in having them be validated and derive comfort from that. They aren't talking about their problems so that they'll get solved. That's a male attitude, so it surprised me a little.
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eoe
 
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Reply Sun 25 Apr, 2004 10:34 pm
Sounds like childish whining to me. Grow up. This is what family/friends/people in your life DO. And you probably do the same thing to them. Without realizing it.
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suzy
 
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Reply Sun 25 Apr, 2004 10:46 pm
"Most women, when they talk about problems, are more interestd in having them be validated and derive comfort from that. They aren't talking about their problems so that they'll get solved. That's a male attitude, so it surprised me a little."

truer words were never spoken!

"As to why your sister said that... next time, remember to ask her, it'll likely stun her into telling the truth."

I have a sister who says everything in a roundabout way, hoping to stir up trouble, I think.
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Phoenix32890
 
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Reply Mon 26 Apr, 2004 04:57 am
Quote:
Here's the scoop... My family has a habit of telling me things, that I can't do anything about, just to bother me.


L.R.R.Hood- Your family cannot "bother you" unless you let them. My mother had a sister, with whom she had similar problems. Every time I spoke to mom, she would rattle off how Edie "upset her".

One day, I said to her, "You can't turn an elephant into a kangaroo". I explained to her that Edie was what she was, and the only way to deal with her is to change the way that she reacted to her.

Many families play out dysfunctional scenarios over and over again. Remember, YOU are part of that scenario. The only way to extricate yourself from it, is by not going along with it.
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L R R Hood
 
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Reply Mon 26 Apr, 2004 05:28 am
Piffka wrote:
It is odd that you say all this though. Most women, when they talk about problems, are more interestd in having them be validated and derive comfort from that. They aren't talking about their problems so that they'll get solved. That's a male attitude, so it surprised me a little.


I'm going to take that as a compliment. Smile I've had extensive discussions with my husband about such matters, and I do my best to be reasonable. I've found that unless you want someone's advice, don't tell them anything, because that validation women desire is a very rare response.

Phoenix... That's exactly true! But what I'm struggling with is what in the world can I do to let it go? I do my best not to let it get to me, but its like a smoldering fire. I think part of the problem is the fact that we all live in the same town... some families need distance.

Eoe, you could be right.
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bromeliad
 
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Reply Mon 26 Apr, 2004 08:56 am
I don't think eoe is right. You don't have these problems with your friends, do you? Your spouse? I don't. And I don't have these problems with my in-laws, who are great people; my husband doesn't have problems with his family, so it isn't just a family issue for everyone on the planet.

After a bad phone call this weekend, I think I'm just going to give up on talking to my mom. That means though, that I won't be able to call and talk to my dad, with whom I usually get along. My sister (the one I'm still talking to) I wil l just have to cut back on. I have another sister whom I don't talk to because she tried to sell me to a pimp for drug money when I was 15. Am I glad we all live thousands of miles apart? Hell ya!

Sorry you don't have that luxury, LRRHood.
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Piffka
 
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Reply Mon 26 Apr, 2004 09:03 am
L.R.R.Hood wrote:
I'm going to take that as a compliment. Smile I've had extensive discussions with my husband about such matters, and I do my best to be reasonable. I've found that unless you want someone's advice, don't tell them anything, because that validation women desire is a very rare response.

Phoenix... That's exactly true! But what I'm struggling with is what in the world can I do to let it go?


Oh, I hope you didn't take it as an insult, L.R.R.Hood! I meant that you've obviously had some male indoctrination. I find that most women like to talk out their problems, not necessarily wanting a solution (which usually they can do themselves) but wanting someone to commiserate with them, developing a common oral history as they compare their notes on life. I think somebody famous said that.

Like you, I have had extensive discussions with my husband about this, too. Sometimes, I just want to bitch about something which has already passed. Of course, with him being a man, he doesn't want to hear that. (I swear to God, they ARE wired differently.) He may (this is when we get into a disagreement) attempt to fix something which isn't fixable, or already in the past, or hassle the kids about something they did when I've already determined that next time I'll deal with it in a different way. The end result is that I don't tell him as much since he's so likely to "goober" it up in his perfectly natural response to "fix" the problem. All I want is somebody to say... "Dang, that would make me crazy, too."


As to letting it go... you could 1 - Laugh it off.
2- You could remember that "it will all be one in a hundred years" and realize that very little is truly earth-shaking.
3- You could appreciate that you even have a mum to complain about -- mine died early and I haven't had anybody to give a Mother's Day present to for 21 years. Even my sweet MiL died 15 years ago. Both died relatively young at 57 and 69.
4- You could try to "hear" their words next time and realize that they don't want a solution, they are trying to work through their own difficulties.
5- You could, as I said, stun your sister into realizing she's being an ass when she repeats negative things her husband says.
6-You could write it down in long and heartfelt letters that are never mailed. You'd be surprised how getting all your anger down in one place will make you feel better and defuse it.
7- Use negative and positive reinforcement. This is most effective if they don't recognize you're doing it, so be subtle. Not coming over as often or for as long, changing the subject, excusing yourself, leaving the room, looking away, coughing, attending to a child or small animal or anything but them, can be negative. Smiling, looking directly into someone's eyes, patting them on the hand or arm, hugging, etc. are positive (duh). Always be sure to give more positives, but only when the family is doing what you want them to do.
8. Just blow up once. Then apologize. Ahhhhhh, that feels good.

There are probably other ways to help. I've used all of these to good effect. Having family problems eat at you doesn't do your health any good. It's stress-producing and life is too short for the hassles.
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suzy
 
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Reply Mon 26 Apr, 2004 09:04 am
Whoa, Bromeliad!
Will you ever forgive her? She's probably changed.
Not that I think you have to... entirely up to you.

Despite what anyone says, we don't always get decent people for family.
(meaning that just because one is related doesn't mean we must love them and constantly forgive them).
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eoe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Apr, 2004 09:06 am
Part of my extended tribe, at one time, about 50 to 70 members, maybe more, all live in one smallish southern city. There's always messiness going on, either between the sisters, their children, their children's children, whoever. We (my family and one other aunt and children) lived way up north and heard the news from afar.
I've always felt that somebody down there needed to move. There were just too many of them in one place.
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Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Apr, 2004 09:11 am
Yikes. OK. There are some folks whom you definitely want to avoid like the plague. You should be able to immediately recognize them.

I wonder if Bromeliad is mad at her mom because the mom is trying to get her to forgive her sister without knowing the whole truth or not believing it? (It does sound pretty unbelievable.... your sister tried to sell you???? I don't want to pry but you're totally within your rights to never forgive her and "spit on the ground everytime her name gets mentioned.")
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eoe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Apr, 2004 09:19 am
suzy wrote:
Despite what anyone says, we don't always get decent people for family. (meaning that just because one is related doesn't mean we must love them and constantly forgive them).


AMEN TO THAT.
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L R R Hood
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Apr, 2004 09:41 am
Bromelaid... no I don't have these problems with other people, that's a good point.

Piffka... Great advice there. I've tried a few of those methods, but the family dynamics always force things back to the way they've always been. I didn't take that statement as an insult at all, I guess I was thinking about all the women I know who would have resented the statement.

I'm actually planning to move across the country... for family reasons, and allergy reasons Smile
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BoGoWo
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Apr, 2004 09:44 am
the 'problem' is most likely that you care more about your family than you care to admit, recognize, or wish to incorporate into your personality.
Take the time to sit down quietly, alone, and consider your feelings for your parents, and siblings, and have a compassionate look at how they would feel about these topics.
Even if you disagree with their approach to many subjects, giving their feelings a place in your understanding will probably help you to defuse your reactions to what may very well be patently unreasonable behaviour.
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