Author Topic: Giving PA people what they "want" (Stories!) UPDATE P27  (Read 120103 times)

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weeblewobble

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Giving PA people what they "want" (Stories!) UPDATE P27
« on: November 24, 2012, 11:11:23 AM »
So I've come to the conclusion that the only way to respond to PA comments is to give that person what they "want."  When someone makes a PA all-encompassing statement, like, "You won't let me stay at your house for the entire month of June?  Fine, I just won't come to visit you ever again!"  They're expecting you to scramble back to a position where they're not mad at you any more, i.e., "Oh, no, it's not that big of a deal. Please just move into the master bedroom right now."  They get what they want by making you feel guilty and threatening the security of your relationship.

But when you say, "OK, then" and agree to their statement, it takes away all of their power.  Recent real-life examples:

- My relative, Susan, has struggled with her mom's PA behavior for years.  Susan's father recently lost his job due to hostile behavior in the office.  A few years ago, when Susan and her husband, George, were going through typical "early married" financial problems, her mother told Susan that asking family members for loans JUST WASN'T DONE in their family.  Susan was hurt that her mother would say something like that before Susan even asked for help and the tone was "We don't want to help you, so don't ask."  Father has been out of work for two weeks. Now, Mother is sending Susan texts like, "We'd usually go out for dinner on Friday nights, now we're having cold sandwiches.  Sure would be nice if someone sent us a restaurant gift card!"  or "I'm not even bothering with Black Friday this year.  Sure would be nice if Santa sent us Christmas money!" Susan responded with, "That would be nice." to both. (Please note that these people aren't hungry or suffering.  Susan's parents live a very "brand conscious" lifestyle and there are plenty of things they can do to scale back.  Not to mention items they can sell for extra cash.)

At Thanksgiving, which Susan hosted, Mother informed Susan, "It would be nice if you gave us some spending cash.  Otherwise, we're not going to be able to afford Christmas gifts this year.  And if that happens, I don't think we'll even bother coming over for Christmas."  Susan said, "Well, we would miss you."  Mother sulked and said maybe they would come over after all.

- (I mentioned this story in another thread.)  My mom told me a story yesterday.  Mom's friend, Linda's, has a MIL that hates her.  MIL routinely tells Linda and Don, the wrong time for holiday meals, telling the rest of the family another time.  So when Linda and Don arrive (15-20 minutes before the time MIL told them) they find that the whole family has already eaten.  MIL says, "Oh, the food was ready a little early, so we decided to eat without you." It's clear that the food is cold and has been sitting out for a while. Linda and Don are expected to piece together a plate from the leftovers.  This has happened at almost every holiday since they got engaged four years ago.

So this year, Don asked his mom what time Thanksgiving will be held.  He says, "Mom, please don't serve dinner early, before the time you've given me and Linda.  It's upsetting for us to get there and find that you've already eaten." Mom huffed, "Well, if it's so upsetting, you shouldn't come at all." expecting Don to backpedal.  Instead, he said, "OK, then." and hung up.

Cue dozens of (ignored) calls to Don's cell from MIL.  And more calls from family members telling Don how much he had upset MIL by hanging up on her and telling her he wouldn't come to Thanksgiving.  Don has been telling them, "Mom told me not to come.  So I'm not coming."

Does this work for anyone else?  Any stories that further support my theory?
« Last Edit: February 18, 2013, 11:43:14 PM by weeblewobble »

girlysprite

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Re: Giving PA people what they "want" (Stories!)
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2012, 11:35:31 AM »
I don't have big war stories like you do, but I do agree with the basic idea. Sometimes i have had people huff at me with a line like 'well I won't ever (insert thing here) again!'. My response is usually along e lines of 'is that a promise?'. This usually makes them quite the conversation, walk out of the room, or something else like that, and i'm totally fine with that. And if it's really needed, I will remind them of what they said at a later time, though I usually don't.

GratefulMaria

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Re: Giving PA people what they "want" (Stories!)
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2012, 12:29:02 PM »
My mother and I talk every day by phone; I place the calls, and she screens them.  She used to use the "Goodbye Cruel Daughter" approach a few years ago.  When I raised something she didn't feel she could handle, she'd say "Well, I guess we're better off never talking to each other again."  It threw me the first time or so she said it, then I came up with "Whatever you need."  So I'd just call the next day as though it were business as usual -- no "please forgive me" or "please answer the phone" -- and leave it up to her whether to pick up or not.  She always did.  Business as usual.


Deetee

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Re: Giving PA people what they "want" (Stories!)
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2012, 01:52:21 PM »
No awesome stories here, but every time I read about PA people I always think of my daughter stalking away and yelling "I'm not going to talk to you ever again!" . She is almost 4, so I figure that is the emotional age of people with those threats.

My (now deceased) grandma had one that I never learned to respond to. I would tell her about things and if I told her about something extra good (graduation, new job, new apartment), she would nod and then say "Now is the time for me to die". Bit of a conversation killer that one.

I remember calling my mom after one of these visits quite upset and worried. I was 20 at the time and living in the same city as my grandma so was visiting on my own for the first time. My mom laughed and told me "That's what she said when you were born. She still seems to be here"

gramma dishes

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Re: Giving PA people what they "want" (Stories!)
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2012, 02:01:22 PM »

...   My (now deceased) grandma had one that I never learned to respond to. I would tell her about things and if I told her about something extra good (graduation, new job, new apartment), she would nod and then say "Now is the time for me to die". Bit of a conversation killer that one.

I remember calling my mom after one of these visits quite upset and worried. I was 20 at the time and living in the same city as my grandma so was visiting on my own for the first time. My mom laughed and told me "That's what she said when you were born. She still seems to be here"

Is it at all possible that maybe what your Grandmother may have meant was that since everything was so WONDERFUL, she could die right then and die happy knowing all was right in the her world?

gramma dishes

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Re: Giving PA people what they "want" (Stories!)
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2012, 02:04:53 PM »
Re:  The Susan story

Apparently what the mother meant when she said 'asking family for loans just wasn't done in their family' was that their family doesn't give loans, but outright gifts of money are not only happily accepted but absolutely expected!!  Well, if they're the recipients, of course.

Deetee

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Re: Giving PA people what they "want" (Stories!)
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2012, 02:07:26 PM »

...   My (now deceased) grandma had one that I never learned to respond to. I would tell her about things and if I told her about something extra good (graduation, new job, new apartment), she would nod and then say "Now is the time for me to die". Bit of a conversation killer that one.

I remember calling my mom after one of these visits quite upset and worried. I was 20 at the time and living in the same city as my grandma so was visiting on my own for the first time. My mom laughed and told me "That's what she said when you were born. She still seems to be here"

Is it at all possible that maybe what your Grandmother may have meant was that since everything was so WONDERFUL, she could die right then and die happy knowing all was right in the her world?

With another person, the words could totally mean that, but the tone was not one of warm contentment, more resigned misery. (I think the undercurrent was-no one needs me, I have done my part, I might as well be dead). She was a very unhappy and difficult woman who really had little to talk about or think about except her own unhappiness. I left every visit cranky, wrung out and promising myself that I would not spent my retirement confined to my apartment and wrapped in my own miserable thoughts.

gramma dishes

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Re: Giving PA people what they "want" (Stories!)
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2012, 02:30:56 PM »
^^^  Ah!  Well, in that case weren't you ever tempted (as a child of course, before Ehell affiliation) to respond to her like this?

Grandma:  *sigh*  "Now is the time for me to die."
You:  "Okay."

 >:D

Adelaide

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Re: Giving PA people what they "want" (Stories!)
« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2012, 02:32:18 PM »
My father's mother is very PA, but she won't ask for things outright. I had a week "off" (not really, it was mostly studying) for Thanksgiving and I had coffee/dessert with her and some other relatives planned for Thanksgiving. Before coming in I told her that was the only day I could see her and that I would be very busy. I landed at 10 p.m. and the next day around 6 p.m. she called and started saying how glad she was that I was home but "I would have thought I'd have seen you by now!" I just replied "I know, right? I'm just so busy with school work. I would have thought I'd get a real break too, but I don't."

My father is relatively PA now that I'm an adult. He's always been self-centered and gets his feelings hurt very easily, but always frames it in some moral lecture about he was teaching us a lesson/wanted us to think about what Deity would do/was just bringing it up to illustrate how we shouldn't treat people in our lives a certain way. Now, however, he won't outright say that he's offended. Once he got angry at something I said. (To this day I don't think I was in the wrong, but it's a long story.) He started giving me the "You won't have any friends if you treat people like this" lecture and then asked if I had anything I wanted to say to him. I said no. Really? No. Nothing I wanted to apologize for? No. Anything else? No. He hasn't brought it up again.

Deetee

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Re: Giving PA people what they "want" (Stories!)
« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2012, 02:39:23 PM »
^^^  Ah!  Well, in that case weren't you ever tempted (as a child of course, before Ehell affiliation) to respond to her like this?

Grandma:  *sigh*  "Now is the time for me to die."
You:  "Okay."

 >:D

Terribly, terribly tempted. I used to say it in my head. It made me feel much better. It never did pass my lips.

gramma dishes

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Re: Giving PA people what they "want" (Stories!)
« Reply #10 on: November 24, 2012, 02:48:02 PM »
^^^  Ah!  Well, in that case weren't you ever tempted (as a child of course, before Ehell affiliation) to respond to her like this?

Grandma:  *sigh*  "Now is the time for me to die."
You:  "Okay."

 >:D

Terribly, terribly tempted. I used to say it in my head. It made me feel much better. It never did pass my lips.

Actually as I child, I probably would have said it.  Only I wouldn't have stopped there. 

Being the ever helpful little girl that I was, or at least tried to be, I'd have probably followed it up with "Can I help you?"   ;D

Jones

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Re: Giving PA people what they "want" (Stories!)
« Reply #11 on: November 24, 2012, 03:06:00 PM »
^^^  Ah!  Well, in that case weren't you ever tempted (as a child of course, before Ehell affiliation) to respond to her like this?

Grandma:  *sigh*  "Now is the time for me to die."
You:  "Okay."

 >:D

Terribly, terribly tempted. I used to say it in my head. It made me feel much better. It never did pass my lips.

Actually as I child, I probably would have said it.  Only I wouldn't have stopped there. 

Being the ever helpful little girl that I was, or at least tried to be, I'd have probably followed it up with "Can I help you?"   ;D

I didn't do this, but during one of my own Gramma's talks about being ready for death my sister asked Gramma if she could have Gramma's giant stuffed toy giraffe when she died.

lkdrymom

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Re: Giving PA people what they "want" (Stories!)
« Reply #12 on: November 24, 2012, 04:12:57 PM »
My granmothers' famous line was "This is my last Christmas".  After a few of those I finally said "You've been promising that for 15 years".  The first time she ever said that my uncle ran out and bought her a very expensive gift...so she figured this was a way to get alot of loot from the relatives.

Iris

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Re: Giving PA people what they "want" (Stories!)
« Reply #13 on: November 24, 2012, 04:44:09 PM »
We've used this technique on MIL the last few years, although she's not as extreme as your examples (thank Goodness). A few examples;

My MIL used to sigh and say how she couldn't do such-and-such because she's 'old' (Note: she was in her early 50s at the time). She stopped straight away when DH turned around one day and said "Yes, that's true, you are".

She tried to guilt us into driving to THEIR house Christmas day because they just didn't feel able to drive because "the roads are so dangerous on Christmas day". "You're right!" we said. "We'd all better stay home and not risk it then". The next Christmas she decided that the roads aren't that dangerous after all...

She used to get her own way by saying "I thought we'd do [not what suited us at all] because I was thinking about you and thought it would be better for you, since [insert mad logic here]". We used to feel too guilty to correct her because she was thinking of us, right? We didn't want to let her down when she'd been *so thoughtful*. Took us a few years to cotton onto that little trick, and then we started saying "Oh, you're so sweet to think of us. What we really need is ...". She doesn't use that trick anymore...
"Can't do anything with children, can you?" the woman said.

Poirot thought you could, but forebore to say so.

weeblewobble

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Re: Giving PA people what they "want" (Stories!)
« Reply #14 on: November 24, 2012, 05:06:21 PM »
We've used this technique on MIL the last few years, although she's not as extreme as your examples (thank Goodness). A few examples;

My MIL used to sigh and say how she couldn't do such-and-such because she's 'old' (Note: she was in her early 50s at the time). She stopped straight away when DH turned around one day and said "Yes, that's true, you are".

She tried to guilt us into driving to THEIR house Christmas day because they just didn't feel able to drive because "the roads are so dangerous on Christmas day". "You're right!" we said. "We'd all better stay home and not risk it then". The next Christmas she decided that the roads aren't that dangerous after all...

She used to get her own way by saying "I thought we'd do [not what suited us at all] because I was thinking about you and thought it would be better for you, since [insert mad logic here]". We used to feel too guilty to correct her because she was thinking of us, right? We didn't want to let her down when she'd been *so thoughtful*. Took us a few years to cotton onto that little trick, and then we started saying "Oh, you're so sweet to think of us. What we really need is ...". She doesn't use that trick anymore...

Ack!  For years, my mom's relatives told her that it was "too far" to drive to her home and visit her, insisting that she should come visit them instead.  (you know, because the roads to drive to their houses were much shorter.) Mom did it for a really long time, until she finally said, 'You're right, it is too far to drive for me as well. That's too bad.  Some other time."

It didn't make those relatives want to visit her more, but it kept mom from making all of those long trips to see people who didn't care enough to travel to her.