Saturday, March 15, 2008


Anyone remember the issue we had with the aunt in law last summer and how hurt I was after the visit? I sent her an email several days ago and she still hasn't responded. I tried to be kind and extend a hand in friendship and she refuses to respond. I know she got it and forwarded it to her daughter and even talked about it to my MIL. I am having a hard time not responding about her rudeness and dismissal of my feelings. I don't want to cause a huge mess but I feel she is disrespecting me as a person and a mother. This is the same aunt that told my DH before we met the kids, "Don't bring them to my house!". Turning the other cheek or keeping the peace is not in my nature, I am blunt and have a history of being condescending when I am upset. My DH wants to get this out on the table before we go back out there, I personally do not want to go and it is all because of her. Every one else is nice and I enjoy them. I don't want to keep my DH from them but I don't think I can be nice to this woman. Maybe it would go more smoothly if she must be confronted that I have witnesses. There is no way to avoid it with her, she is one of those people that are very sweet to your face but you hear things she says about you. She will do as she pleases with my children and I will have to address it.

My MIL and her other sister say to let it go and everyone knows how she is, a gossip queen. It is different when it is about you, though. Since my kids are so great in public they do seem normal and my hovering seems a bit weird. You all understand that I have to be this way but others don't. Any thoughts? Should I address this again kindly or let it go until we get there?


Mongoose said...

I would not take it up with her in advance, just contain her when you're there. Here is the method I've developed in my professional life, where I deal with a lot of very rude condescending people.

The main idea is to be firm, without being unprofessional. You don't have to be nice, as long as you're not outright rude. So say they make a comment you don't like, just say calmly "I don't appreciate this comment." They're talking about things they don't understand, you can say matter-of-factly "you clearly have no understanding of the situation, so I'm going to disregard your opinion." And if they're doing something they shouldn't and you want them to stop, say so. "Please stop doing this." Don't explain why, just tell them to stop. And 1-2-3 Magic works on adults too. First time, "please stop doing this." Second time, "again, I'm gonna ask you to stop doing this." Third time, use your dog-training voice. I say "leave it!" just like I do to my dog when she's digging at something: louder than usual, and with a lower pitch and a bit of a growly sound, just like dogs talk to each other when they're mad. She understands it just fine, and so do truck drivers. I've yet to have somebody not respond to that command. And yet, it's not actually rude.

Of course none of this is being "nice", but that's ok. You don't have to be nice, just don't be outright rude.

Remember also, you can't change her, and you don't have the right to. All you can do is change the way YOU think and act. And I know you know better than to say "why should *I* change when *she* is wrong?" You should, because you can, and that's all you can change. So let her be who she is, and just put a firm stop to it whenever it crosses your boundaries.

And if you do get upset, remember, only YOU can change that, not her. To me, the easiest way to do that, which I learned last summer in CT and has really helped me, is to remember that whatever she's doing that you don't like, it's about her. It's in no way about you. Like when Dispatch would get mad at me at V-West, I just think "wow, dude, YOU have issues." I don't feel at all that this is a comment on me, as a person or as a professional.

So, in summary:

1. Don't take it up with her.
2. Address each behaviour firmly when it happens, as you would with a dog.
3. Don't take it personally.

I hope this helps!

Anonymous said...

I would take it up with her with others around if it rears its ugly head...if she is polite and respectful..there is no need to worry