Author Topic: Family=/= Carte Blanche to be rude  (Read 9430 times)

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GreenEyedHawk

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Family=/= Carte Blanche to be rude
« on: December 26, 2012, 01:12:38 PM »
I have an aunt by marriage who is, IMO, a rude, nasty jerk, and I seem to be her favourite target.  She LOVES to make nasty comments about my weight; a topic about which I'm very sensitive.  I'm about 5 feet tall and just under 200lbs.  I used to be 110lbs soaking wet but when I hit my mid-20s, my metabolism came to a screeching halt, I put on a bunch of weight and have been fighting a terrible uphill battle to lose it all ever since.  I'm extremely self-conscious about my weight and how I look, moreso because my sister and cousin, who were hit with the same issue, could both afford expensive gyms and trainers and exercise equipment at home to lose it all.  I have neither the space nor the money, and so have had to try to lose it on my own, with little success.  Aunt Bitterhag (a very small woman, always has been, but it's because she is a chain-smoking alcoholic) LOVES to target me.  It happens every time we are at the same family functions.

Last night I actually thought I was going to get away from the dinner table and Aunt Bitterhag without having to be hit with yet another comment.  As I was walking from the dining room to the kitchen at Aunt Awesome's house, Aunt Bitterhag squawked, "Diane, if I didn't know better I'd say you were pregnant!"  Bam.  Good time done.  It took everything I had not to start crying right there and I HATE crying in front of other people.  Rather coldly, I said, "It's nice to see you, too." and started to walk away.  Aunt Bitterhag replied with, "Well you're NOT pregnant, are you?  Just fat?"  I turned around (she was baiting me, and I took it.  Rrrrgh!) and said, "You know, just once it'd be nice to come to a family dinner and NOT hear about how much weight I've gained.  I HAVE noticed, you know, I don't need you to tell me."  As I walked away, she started screeching, "I didn't say that!  I didn't say that!"

At Thanksgiving, her comment was, "I can't believe I used to give you my hand-me-downs, they'd never fit you now!"
At the Grey Cup party (like Canadian Superbowl) her comment was, "Oh my GOD, look at your A**!  How much weight have you GAINED??"
At Easter, it was, straight up, "You're getting really fat!"

Various other family members have witnessed this and brushed it off, saying things like, "Well, you know she drinks a lot," or "Well, yes that is rude but she's family." (Not to me, she isn't.  Family don't treat each other that way.)

Last night, I just walked away, but there were a thousand things I desperately wanted to say.  I didn't because I didn't want to make a scene and ruin what otherwise was a wonderful dinner/party for everyone else.  She's always invited, out of respect for my mom's eldest brother, to whom Aunt Bitterhag was married and who passed away about 20 years ago.  Our family is made up of kind, decent people who think that a nasty old stick like Aunt Bitterhag shouldn't be left alone at Christmas/Easter/Thanksgiving/whatever, even though when she is there, it's a nonstop stream of complaints and nasty comments as she gets drunker and drunker.  Unfortunately, it's getting to the point where I'm thinking of politely declining any invitations to future events where she may be there, which I feel is unfair.  I shouldn't have to miss out on the family events just because I'm Aunt Bitterhag's favourite target to bully.  I love our family events and they are very important to me.  I don't WANT to not go.

What do I do? 



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Shoo

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Re: Family=/= Carte Blanche to be rude
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2012, 01:16:43 PM »
If you were to stand up for yourself and the family get-together was ruined, it would be because SHE ruined it, not you.

You care too much about keeping the peace.  I say let her have it next time she opens her mouth.  Practice what you're going to say, stay deathly calm, and say it through gritted teeth loudly enough for the whole family to hear.  Tell her you will not let her speak to you or about you that way and if she does, you are leaving.  And then DO it.  Your family doesn't have your back on this.  Why would you care if their party is spoiled by your aunt?

bonyk

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Re: Family=/= Carte Blanche to be rude
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2012, 01:21:42 PM »
Kick up a fuss.  Your family is so nice that they prefer to let Aunt Bitterhag have a happy holiday while making you feel like crap.  No.  Refuse to spend another merry minute with Bitterhag every again.  Do you really enjoy these holidays where you're treated like this?  I would prefer to be alone.

Salvage3

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Re: Family=/= Carte Blanche to be rude
« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2012, 01:33:52 PM »
Your aunt's actions and words have been tolerated for so long that people probably don't stop and think of just how hurtful they can be to you or to others. 

I think you have to lay it all out for everyone --either Aunt will be told to stop (and that be enforced) when she starts any of her hurtful statements or actions, or you will not be attending any events or will be leaving immediately upon any unacceptable attention to you.

If you choose to attend and she starts in, with no interference on the part of others, I truly think you have no choice but to not attend any future functions.  It might be that it will take that happening for others to realize that this is just not a quirk or..............

Sending you hugs.  It sound like to you have a loving family in general, and I'm sure it's even more difficult to feel like you have to avoid them to protect yourself. 

MorgnsGrl

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Re: Family=/= Carte Blanche to be rude
« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2012, 01:36:05 PM »
Could you talk in advance to the hostess of the family gathering? "I know you're probably aware that Aunt B targets me, taunts me about my weight, and makes these family holidays really miserable for me. Do you have any advice? How would you feel if I said X and Y to her when she starts in on me?" I would hope that your other family members would have your back in this situation if you made it clear to them in advance what you planned to do. They shouldn't let this continue; it sounds like until now they've been making excuses and trying to pretend it's not happening.

Midnight Kitty

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Re: Family=/= Carte Blanche to be rude
« Reply #5 on: December 26, 2012, 01:37:54 PM »
I think I would start asking the family members who host these events why they continue inviting someone who is no longer connected to your family when that person abuses a family member so cruelly.  I would listen to their reasons, then let them know I am through being Aunt Bitterhag's whipping girl.  I would strongly suggest (in advance) hosts not invite both of us because I won't hold my tongue when Aunt Bitterhag attacks me again and I expect my family to back me up.  If my family won't support me when Bitterhag attacks ... well, that says something very unpleasant about them. :P

Yeah, I'm not known for my subtle approach.  I telegraph my intentions.
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mrkitty

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Re: Family=/= Carte Blanche to be rude
« Reply #6 on: December 26, 2012, 01:46:03 PM »
This makes me so steaming mad.  >:(

After I read your story, OP, I had to step away before I wrote down what I really think of your "aunt," because it would definitely NOT make it through the filter.

It just kills me to know that bullies and abusive people like her are allowed to insult and berate others, especially kind and gentle people like yourself, with absolutely no consequence whatsoever. Well, maybe I take that back, to an extent. Perhaps there is one - she's obviously not welcome anywhere else, except your family, who take pity on her.

Still, I believe that allowing behavior like that is the same as enabling it, even though I'm sure no one consciously is aware of it. Who is hosting the family events? Is it possible to appeal to their better nature and not invite her to events in the future? I hate to suggest an ultimatum, because I generally dislike them, but in this case, I make an exception. Do you think it would help? Do you think your family would be receptive if you explained how you feel when aunt wire hanger butt unleashes her vitriol on you?

Does she single you out, or does she abuse others for their individual "shortcomings?"

My guess is that she is jealous of you, because you are probably more beautiful, gorgeous and sexy in your little finger than she has ever been her entire miserable life. If all else fails and your family insists on including this damaged piece of goods in the future, despite your desire NOT to bear the brunt of her abuse, you're welcome to come and stay with us. Obnoxious people have officially been barred from the mrkitty residence for ever and all time.

Man, oh man, that is rude. I wish I had better advice for you, OP. But really, all I can offer is my heartfelt empathy and compassion to you. If you ever need to vent, I'm available with a PM.

I hope your family stops including this woman in your events. She should be in a home or something. Or by herself in her own home. Or at a police station. But not with your family. And definitely not during the holidays. Good grief.  >:(
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TurtleDove

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Re: Family=/= Carte Blanche to be rude
« Reply #7 on: December 26, 2012, 01:53:23 PM »
Last night, I just walked away, but there were a thousand things I desperately wanted to say. 

I like the suggestions of talking to the hosts about not inviting her, but I think before I do that I would simply say what you desperately want to say.  You know your personality and that of Aunt Bitterhag, so decide whether humor is best ("My goodness, Captain Obvious, thanks for the news flash!), or letting her know she is rude directly ("What a horrible thing to say - I am shocked you actually thought that let alone said it out loud, in front of people.  Hey all you relatives, can you believe Aunt Bitterhag just said _____ to me? I can't believe she was so rude!"), or stating the obvious back to her ("Yeah, I know it upsets you that I am fat.  I guess I'm more surprised no one is calling you out about your drinking - either being drunk is making you mean or you are just mean by nature, but either way it's not a good look.")

MrTango

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Re: Family=/= Carte Blanche to be rude
« Reply #8 on: December 26, 2012, 01:56:25 PM »
If I were in your situation, I'd bring this up with whichever parent is Bitterhag's husband's sibling.  Let them know that their SIL's comments are hurtful and you will not tolerate further rudeness from her.  Being drunk or faaamily is no excuse for such rude, hurtful behavior.

Another option is the next time Bitterhag makes a comment about your weight, ask her why she thinks it necessary to continuously and publicly bring it up.  Don't let her (or anyone else) change the subject.  The more uncomfortable you make her, the better.

For example:
BH: "You are so fat..."
You: "Bitterhag, why do you insist on mentioning my weight every time you see me?"
BH (or anyone else): *beandip*
You: No, we're not going to change the subject until I get an answer. "Why do you insist on mentioning my weight every time you see me?"

JenJay

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Re: Family=/= Carte Blanche to be rude
« Reply #9 on: December 26, 2012, 02:03:01 PM »
Oh she's nasty! You are a kind and generous person and you do NOT deserve that!!

I don't know what's good etiquette advice, but I was thinking about what I'd do. As soon as she walked in the door I'd say "Hello, Aunt Nasty. I'm still fat. Now that that's out of the way I'll thank you not to bring it up again and we'll all have a nice evening." If she said anything I'd say "I asked you not to badger me about my weight. I'm leaving the room now, to get away from you." If she did it yet again I'd just get up and leave the room without a word. If it gets to the point that you might as well seclude yourself I'd say to the host "I'm afraid I need to go. I've repeatedly asked Aunt Nasty to be pleasant and she refuses. My night is ruined and I'm going to head out before I say something that will ruin it for the rest of you." I'm sure they'll protest and beg you to stay. Make it clear that you'd love to stay but as long as she's there and being nasty it isn't possible.

yokozbornak

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Re: Family=/= Carte Blanche to be rude
« Reply #10 on: December 26, 2012, 02:03:54 PM »
I think I would start asking the family members who host these events why they continue inviting someone who is no longer connected to your family when that person abuses a family member so cruelly.  I would listen to their reasons, then let them know I am through being Aunt Bitterhag's whipping girl. I would strongly suggest (in advance) hosts not invite both of us because I won't hold my tongue when Aunt Bitterhag attacks me again and I expect my family to back me up.  If my family won't support me when Bitterhag attacks ... well, that says something very unpleasant about them. :P

Yeah, I'm not known for my subtle approach.  I telegraph my intentions.

I am with Midnight Kitty on this one.  The best way to handle a bully is to stand up to them and let them know you aren't going to take it anymore.  I suggest that you look Bitterhag in the eye and tell her without flinching and in the most menacing voice possible, "Don't you ever insult me again. I have had enough of your comments."

If she makes another comment, tell her that unless she wants to hear comments about her drinking or chainsmoking, she needs to keep her thoughts to herself.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2012, 02:05:25 PM by yokozbornak »

doodlemor

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Re: Family=/= Carte Blanche to be rude
« Reply #11 on: December 26, 2012, 02:04:52 PM »
Last night, I just walked away, but there were a thousand things I desperately wanted to say. 

I like the suggestions of talking to the hosts about not inviting her, but I think before I do that I would simply say what you desperately want to say.  You know your personality and that of Aunt Bitterhag, so decide whether humor is best ("My goodness, Captain Obvious, thanks for the news flash!), or letting her know she is rude directly ("What a horrible thing to say - I am shocked you actually thought that let alone said it out loud, in front of people.  Hey all you relatives, can you believe Aunt Bitterhag just said _____ to me? I can't believe she was so rude!"), or stating the obvious back to her ("Yeah, I know it upsets you that I am fat.  I guess I'm more surprised no one is calling you out about your drinking - either being drunk is making you mean or you are just mean by nature, but either way it's not a good look.")

I POD everyone, but especially this.  It's time to call out the old consort of a dog.

I truly think that my blood pressure rose as I read your post, OP.  What a dreadful person.  My thoughts wouldn't pass the filter, either.

Mikayla

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Re: Family=/= Carte Blanche to be rude
« Reply #12 on: December 26, 2012, 02:22:04 PM »
(snip)

For example:
BH: "You are so fat..."
You: "Bitterhag, why do you insist on mentioning my weight every time you see me?"
BH (or anyone else): *beandip*
You: No, we're not going to change the subject until I get an answer. "Why do you insist on mentioning my weight every time you see me?"

I go with this.  I love answer-as-question because it can be quietly repeated ad nauseum.  A simplified version of it is "why did you just say that"?

It puts snarkclowns like Bitterhag on the spot, because the last thing they expect is to be questioned like this.  And I would keep asking to the nth until you get something resembling an answer.


Amara

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Re: Family=/= Carte Blanche to be rude
« Reply #13 on: December 26, 2012, 02:26:55 PM »
I think you need to put your foot down so firmly the ground shakes. First, I would let your family know that you will NOT be coming to any more events if she is there. You can add an explanation if you want, but they know why so I wouldn't bother except to maybe say, "When did vicious cruelty become acceptable to everyone?" If they didn't feel they could not invite her I would make the choice not to come. Missing events where I was sure to be stomped on emotionally would be the only acceptable choice I would make for my own health.

If by some oddity she was at an event and I would look her in the eyes and said, "Yes, weight can be gained. What a shame for you the same thing cannot be said about class." Then without another word or a backward glance, I'd walk out.  >:(

Honeypickle

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Re: Family=/= Carte Blanche to be rude
« Reply #14 on: December 26, 2012, 02:29:31 PM »
Honestly? I think you are entitled to say "Oh *ff off" when she says these horrible hateful things to you. She says things over and over to you on numerous occasions - give her a short sharp shock by replying "rudely" for once. If she dares to say "how dare you talk to me like that" you can say that you've had enough with comments EVERY time you see her, using the examples you have quoyed above.
Seriously, enough already. This woman is being a complete cow to the OP and it should stop.