Author Topic: Vegetarians, Thanksgiving, and Control (long) RESOLUTION #27  (Read 6540 times)

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Mental Magpie

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Vegetarians, Thanksgiving, and Control (long) RESOLUTION #27
« on: November 14, 2011, 01:54:08 AM »
BG: Dark Dad died 2008, his birthday was Nov 26th; Dark Mom's birthday is Nov 16th.  Frankly, I doubt the month of November is a very happy month for Dark Mom.  I have a feeling that all may be driving part of this; the other part is driven because Dark Mom needs to be in control.  Furthermore, Dark Sister takes after Dark Mom.  They are both extremely stubborn, need to be in control type of people.  Dark Sister, however, is a lot more rational than Dark Mom and can relinquish control if need be.  Dark Sister has also been trying to get out from Dark Mom's thumb because, frankly, Dark Mom can be rather manipulative (as you will soon see); if she doesn't get what she wants, she sometimes acts like an insolent child.*

*Please do not take any of this to mean that Dark Mom does this all of the time.  This is a lifetime of instances that have taught Dark Sister and me just how our mom is.  She is also a wonderful, loving mother; she does THAT a lot of the time.

MORE BG: Dark Sister (26) has been on and off vegetarian.  It was off for medical reasons.  Recently, she has become vegetarian again; her boyfriend has, too.  She is a vegetarian for environmental reasons, not because she believes it is cruel to animals (this is important).

END BG.

Dark Mom is hosting Thanksgiving for Dark Sister and her boyfriend.  However, Dark Mom just told Dark Sister that unless they (DS and BF) eat the turkey, they are not welcome.  DM argued that there were some traditions you just don't break and that she wasn't going to cook a turkey for just one person.  DS argued that she was not going to change her beliefs for even one occasion, that unless DM found a free range, organic, and local (within 100 miles) turkey, DS and BF would not be eating the turkey.  More recently, DM told DS that only DS has to eat the turkey because DS is DM's kid, that DM can't make BF do it because he isn't her kid.

DS is freaking out because she doesn't know what to do.  On one hand, she wants to stand up for what she believes is right and does not want to be manipulated by DM...if she doesn't stop it now, when will it ever stop?  On the other hand, DS and DM have recently begun to reconcile their differences.  They love each other, but because they are the exact same people, they have trouble getting along for extended periods when in proximity.  DS believes, and I mostly agree with her, that if she refuses to eat the turkey, DM will hold this over her head for years.  The next time DS does something that upsets DM, it will be, "You ruined my Thanksgiving because you wouldn't come eat my turkey!  You're selfish!"  Well, DM, actually, you're being selfish...

That's just it with DM: she is never wrong.  It doesn't matter if it is a difference of opinions, she is right and you are wrong.  Example: DS was driving, dogs were getting in the way, she told the dogs to stop console surfing and to stay in the back.  DM said they were fine.  DS said, no, I can't see, they need to get in the back now!  When DS tried to tell DM later that it was not okay, that when the driver says the dogs are not fine it means the dogs are not fine, DM just said, No, they were fine. 

Where I have a way of talking to DM and have a really laid back personality, DS does not.  This is part of the reason DS has no idea what to do about Thanksgiving.  Frankly, I would be arguing with DM that she is being ridiculous, but that's because I can do it in a detached, logical way.  I would probably also just not go if DM continued to insist that I do something I do not want to do.  DS, however, does not want to strain a mending relationship by not going; she also does not want to eat turkey.

So, E-Hell, any suggestions?  I know a lot of people sarcastically say, "But they're faaaaaaaaamily!", and while I usually agree, sometimes family really does trump everything else in my world.  This is our mother, the woman that sacrificed so much for us and gave us everything we could have ever wanted.  She just has some control issues, whether they stem from a difficult month making her feel like she's losing control so she overcompensates or whether they just stem from an inherent personality trait.

Is there anything I can do to reconcile this argument?  What should DS do?  (She actually requested I post this "on that etiquette site hell thingy".)
« Last Edit: November 14, 2011, 10:46:53 PM by Dark Magdalena »
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EduardosGirl

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Re: Vegetarians, Thanksgiving, and Control (long)
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2011, 02:33:47 AM »
What if your sister sourced the organic, etc, turkey herself, rather than putting that on your mother? That way, she can say, "I know how important thanksgiving is to you and want us to celebrate together in a way we'll both enjoy. Have a turkey."

Or similar. I'm not good with turkey gifting speak.

Would your sister do that?

cicero

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Re: Vegetarians, Thanksgiving, and Control (long)
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2011, 02:41:24 AM »
this is above and beyond the turkey. your mom thinks believes that she can force feed her 26 YO daughter, and if said daughter doesnt' agree then mom will sulk and throw a hissy fit?

and your DS wants to know what to do?

Your DS needs to be a grown up. if mom wants to manipulate - let her try. you can't manipulate someone who won't let themselves be manipulated. this week it's turkey, next week will be something else. DS should say "mom, i'm not eating turkey. I will be happy to come over on t-giving but if the turkey issue is going to be a problem, then I and BF will be [elsewhere]." and if they go and the turkey issue comes up - then they leave.

*you* need to stay far far away from this.

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missmolly

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Re: Vegetarians, Thanksgiving, and Control (long)
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2011, 02:52:13 AM »
Surely your mother could find just turkey breasts or other portions if she's so hell-bent on it.
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hannahmollysmom

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Re: Vegetarians, Thanksgiving, and Control (long)
« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2011, 03:11:07 AM »
Mom wants turkey. DS told her if she gets a certain type of turkey, then she will eat it as a compromise. If DS has limitations about the turkey, then she should purchase it.  JMO

apple

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Re: Vegetarians, Thanksgiving, and Control (long)
« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2011, 03:23:00 AM »
Mom wants turkey. DS told her if she gets a certain type of turkey, then she will eat it as a compromise. If DS has limitations about the turkey, then she should purchase it.  JMO

DS isn't a strict vegetarian if she is willing to eat free range/organic/local turkey.

If she wants that type of turkey, it's going to cost more and be inconvenient to find. She should buy it and/or have it delivered to Mom IMO. Or, cook Thanksgiving dinner herself (with an approved turkey) and invite Mom over.

I can think of a lot of compromises that would work, with reasonable people. But if both Mom and DS want to be stubborn and inflexible, then maybe they shouldn't have Thanksgiving dinner together.
 
« Last Edit: November 14, 2011, 03:40:58 AM by apple »

Iris

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Re: Vegetarians, Thanksgiving, and Control (long)
« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2011, 03:57:12 AM »
Is DS actually happy to eat a free range, organic, local bird or was that some kind of misguided attempt at compromise? I say misguided because life has taught me to never ever compromise with a controlling person - it just gives them more ammunition.

If she is actually content to eat the special bird I would say that she should source it and possibly even offer to cook it. That would be a reasonable compromise.

If she really doesn't want to eat turkey at all then she shouldn't. She should stand up for herself. If your mother is not prepared to cook a vegetarian option and just have turkey breast for herself then she doesn't have to host them. It's up to her really. DS needs to say "I'm sorry mom, I thought I could eat a special turkey just to make you happy, but on reflection I really don't feel comfortable with the idea. I'll understand if you don't want me over." And she needs to say it soon. She needs to say it calmly and she needs to reiterate *often* how much she'd love to come over, it's such a shame mom can't compromise on the food...

Ultimately, DM is trading on DS's insecurities - if DM is not as worried about wrecking their newfound peace as DS is then they haven't really achieved peace at all and still have work to do.
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Aeris

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Re: Vegetarians, Thanksgiving, and Control (long)
« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2011, 04:15:52 AM »
Mom wants turkey. DS told her if she gets a certain type of turkey, then she will eat it as a compromise. If DS has limitations about the turkey, then she should purchase it.  JMO

DS isn't a strict vegetarian if she is willing to eat free range/organic/local turkey.

If she wants that type of turkey, it's going to cost more and be inconvenient to find. She should buy it and/or have it delivered to Mom IMO. Or, cook Thanksgiving dinner herself (with an approved turkey) and invite Mom over.

I can think of a lot of compromises that would work, with reasonable people. But if both Mom and DS want to be stubborn and inflexible, then maybe they shouldn't have Thanksgiving dinner together.

I would agree with both of you IF Dark Sister actually wanted (or was insisting on) the turkey. But she isn't - she doesn't even want the dang thing at all.

If it were Dark Sister saying "I want turkey AND I have these requirements" then absolutely, the onus would be on her to do the legwork, financial outlay, etc. But Dark Sister is doing the equivalent of something completely acceptable - she's saying, essentially "look, the only way I could participate in this is if the turkey was X, Y, and Z; since that's a lot of requirements, I certainly don't expect you to provide that, and I am 100% comfortable not eating turkey."

It's Dark *Mother* insisting that turkey be eaten. It is completely unfair to characterize this as Dark Sister being 'stubborn and inflexible'. I expect people to be 'stubborn and inflexible' about their own dietary restrictions that they believe in strongly. They have every right to be stubborn and inflexible about things like that (just like religious choices, family planning, and various sundry other things that we are not obligated to compromise on).

However, being 'stubborn and inflexible' about what *someone else* eats is beyond the pale.

At any rate, what I will agree with is that for sheer practicality's sake, and as a kindness, it may be a good idea for Dark Sister to offer to source the turkey so that it meets her requirements. (Though I do find it galling that she'll have to fund a turkey she doesn't even want.) But there has to be a contingency plan in place for the possibility that no such locally farmed turkey is actually available, or perhaps simply too expensive for Dark Sister's budget. Then we are back at square one.

apple

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Re: Vegetarians, Thanksgiving, and Control (long)
« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2011, 04:40:52 AM »
Mom shouldn't insist that DS eat turkey, or any other food. You shouldn't force feed guests. That's rude and controlling behavior.

On the other hand, OP said that DS only objected to turkey on "environmental" grounds. She'll be happy to eat turkey if it's free range/organic/local. While I make an effort to buy organic and local when I can, I would never insist that someone who invited me to dinner go to the added expense and inconvenience of sourcing that type of food to serve me.

If we took turkey off the table (so to speak) would DS be fine with eating vegetarian dishes that were not made with organic/local ingredients?


« Last Edit: November 14, 2011, 05:20:17 AM by apple »

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Re: Vegetarians, Thanksgiving, and Control (long)
« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2011, 04:49:49 AM »
The idea that anyone gets to tell another adult what to eat is anathema to me. Eat this or eat nothing is one thing but to remove the choice from an adult? Not acceptable. Not even normal.

Spoder

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Re: Vegetarians, Thanksgiving, and Control (long)
« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2011, 05:21:24 AM »
Generally, I absolutely agree that you can't *tell* another adult to eat anything. I think the waters are muddied here because:

a) It's family (without getting into the whole 'it's faaaaamily' thing, which I have to admit bugs me a bit on this forum), so the dynamic is different: both parties are being more demanding/stubborn/candid than they would be with their friends.

b) DS is not a vegetarian, because she is willing to eat meat that is free-range, organic and locally-sourced; and

c) it's not about the turkey, for your mom, it's clearly about the tradition: she wants turkey, and she wants a whole one roasted, and she wants everyone to be eating it together. It's unreasonable, but *she* doesn't see that. And in her mind, your sister is not a vegetarian anyway, just picky about where her food is sourced from, so why can't DS just let it go for once?

If I were your sister, I'd be thinking like this: 'It's not as if meat makes me gag. It's one meal. Mom's had a rough year. She wants the festive thing of us all eating together. I'll try and get a free-range etc. turkey. If I can't, I'll just eat whatever darn turkey she gets. But I'll make it clear that it won't be happening again'.

Not saying she *has* to think that way. As per etiquette, I think she is in the clear to tell your mom she will not be eating the turkey and if your mom rescinds the invitation, so be it. That's just not what I'd choose to do.


Aeris

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Re: Vegetarians, Thanksgiving, and Control (long)
« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2011, 05:33:04 AM »
Well, Mom shouldn't insist that DS eat turkey, or any other food. You shouldn't force feed guests. That's rude and controlling behavior.

On the other hand, OP said that DS only objected to turkey on "environmental" grounds. She'll be happy to eat turkey if it's free range/organic/local. While I make an effort to buy organic and local when I can, I would never insist that someone who invited me to dinner go to the added expense and inconvenience of sourcing that type of food to serve me. 

How far does DS intend to go with this philosophy? Do the vegetables, fruit for salad, flour/eggs/milk used to make dessert also have to be organic and local? If so, I don't think she'll be getting many dinner invitations.

This kind of reaction is why so many people with heavy source restrictions on a flexitarian diet find it simpler to just say "I'm a vegetarian", even if it isn't 100% accurate.

Dark Sister is NOT 'insist[ing] that someone who has invited [her] to dinner go to the added expense and inconvenience of sourcing that type of food to serve her". She just isn't. At all. In any way. She is perfectly happy and comfortable doing without turkey altogether. She would even prefer to go without turkey.

It is 100%, entirely, her *mother* who is insisting she eat turkey.

Honestly, I find your tone in the last paragraph quite mocking of the philosophy of Dark Sister, which I think is entirely uncalled for.

People are allowed, within etiquette, to have all manner of self imposed dietary restrictions. They are not obligated to compromise those beliefs for anyone, for any reason. You appear to have a philosophy of 'buy organic when possible, eat it anyway if not possible'. There is nothing wrong with this philosophy (and it is one that I personally share on vegetarian items). But there's also *nothing* wrong with the philosophy of 'buy organic when possible, do without when not possible." Which is where Dark Sister is on meat products.

I could, as an example, have the philosophy that I'd eat foie gras, only if it comes from one of the few 'humane and free range' sources. In 99% of cases, I would simply decline all foie gras (not being sure of where it came from and not wanting to make an issue of it). But if I had a friend, who for some reason became obsessed with me trying a recipe of hers with foie gras, I might share with this friend, as an attempt to explain my position, why I am opposed to foie gras, and admit that there is a small corner of the market that would be unobjectionable. My friend is under absolutely no obligation to obtain this particular type of foie gras and feed it to me. But if she wants to accomplish her goal of having me eat her recipe, that's the only way it's going to happen. That would be her problem, not mine, because she would be the one wanting me to eat it in the first place.

The same is true here. Strictly speaking, this is entirely Dark Mother's problem. While it may be practical and expedient for Dark Sister to just handle the issue, she is under no obligation to from an etiquette perspective - ideally it would be entirely on Dark Mother, since it's her who wants this daughter-ingesting-turkey event to occur.

Aeris

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Re: Vegetarians, Thanksgiving, and Control (long)
« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2011, 05:36:46 AM »
Generally, I absolutely agree that you can't *tell* another adult to eat anything. I think the waters are muddied here because:

a) It's family (without getting into the whole 'it's faaaaamily' thing, which I have to admit bugs me a bit on this forum), so the dynamic is different: both parties are being more demanding/stubborn/candid than they would be with their friends.

b) DS is not a vegetarian, because she is willing to eat meat that is free-range, organic and locally-sourced; and

c) it's not about the turkey, for your mom, it's clearly about the tradition: she wants turkey, and she wants a whole one roasted, and she wants everyone to be eating it together. It's unreasonable, but *she* doesn't see that. And in her mind, your sister is not a vegetarian anyway, just picky about where her food is sourced from, so why can't DS just let it go for once?

If I were your sister, I'd be thinking like this: 'It's not as if meat makes me gag. It's one meal. Mom's had a rough year. She wants the festive thing of us all eating together. I'll try and get a free-range etc. turkey. If I can't, I'll just eat whatever darn turkey she gets. But I'll make it clear that it won't be happening again'.

Not saying she *has* to think that way. As per etiquette, I think she is in the clear to tell your mom she will not be eating the turkey and if your mom rescinds the invitation, so be it. That's just not what I'd choose to do.

My concern is the precedent that this sets. From the description given, I would find it entirely likely that Dark Mother, on the next occasion, will use this one 'lapse' as justification for ignoring Dark Sister's dietary restrictions, belittling them, insisting she eat the random hamburger because it's simpler that way, etc. "

apple

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Re: Vegetarians, Thanksgiving, and Control (long)
« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2011, 05:41:31 AM »
Honestly, I find your tone in the last paragraph quite mocking of the philosophy of Dark Sister, which I think is entirely uncalled for.

People are allowed, within etiquette, to have all manner of self imposed dietary restrictions. They are not obligated to compromise those beliefs for anyone, for any reason. You appear to have a philosophy of 'buy organic when possible, eat it anyway if not possible'. There is nothing wrong with this philosophy (and it is one that I personally share on vegetarian items). But there's also *nothing* wrong with the philosophy of 'buy organic when possible, do without when not possible." Which is where Dark Sister is on meat products.

I was not trying to mock anyone. I was trying to understand where DS is coming from.

And certainly, anyone can have any belief system regarding food that they wish.



« Last Edit: November 14, 2011, 05:46:21 AM by apple »

Spoder

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Re: Vegetarians, Thanksgiving, and Control (long)
« Reply #14 on: November 14, 2011, 05:53:21 AM »
Generally, I absolutely agree that you can't *tell* another adult to eat anything. I think the waters are muddied here because:

a) It's family (without getting into the whole 'it's faaaaamily' thing, which I have to admit bugs me a bit on this forum), so the dynamic is different: both parties are being more demanding/stubborn/candid than they would be with their friends.

b) DS is not a vegetarian, because she is willing to eat meat that is free-range, organic and locally-sourced; and

c) it's not about the turkey, for your mom, it's clearly about the tradition: she wants turkey, and she wants a whole one roasted, and she wants everyone to be eating it together. It's unreasonable, but *she* doesn't see that. And in her mind, your sister is not a vegetarian anyway, just picky about where her food is sourced from, so why can't DS just let it go for once?

If I were your sister, I'd be thinking like this: 'It's not as if meat makes me gag. It's one meal. Mom's had a rough year. She wants the festive thing of us all eating together. I'll try and get a free-range etc. turkey. If I can't, I'll just eat whatever darn turkey she gets. But I'll make it clear that it won't be happening again'.

Not saying she *has* to think that way. As per etiquette, I think she is in the clear to tell your mom she will not be eating the turkey and if your mom rescinds the invitation, so be it. That's just not what I'd choose to do.

My concern is the precedent that this sets. From the description given, I would find it entirely likely that Dark Mother, on the next occasion, will use this one 'lapse' as justification for ignoring Dark Sister's dietary restrictions, belittling them, insisting she eat the random hamburger because it's simpler that way, etc. "

Well, yeah. There is that.  :-\, and you're probably right. Without knowing more about the situation/relationship, that's a judgment call the sis will have to make.