Etiquette School is in session! > "I'm afraid that won't be possible."

"I am not discussing this."

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NyaChan:
I gained a little weight this semester, by little I mean 5-6 lbs.  I am very aware that those pounds weigh heavily on me :P and make me look worse than those extra pounds would have at another starting weight as it went to all the wrong places.  I did have to supplement my formal wardrobe to accommodate the change while I was at school and unable to do much to reverse the weight gain.  I had already started working on getting rid of it once I came home for winter break when I went to visit my uncle.  My grandma lives with my Uncle and is to him and his family Toxic.  In my opinion, she is close to Toxic to my family as well, but less so than she is to my Uncle.  I have not spent as much time with Uncle and his family as the Toxic grandma caused a serious rift between my mom and her brother which has only recently started to mend.  Spending time with them now means I have to deal with grandma as well.

My cousin is very into working out and going to the gym.  My other cousin who is a girl and my age has recently started getting into working out as her awesome metabolism has started slowing down, causing weight gain.  My grandma was making PA comments to me while everyone was talking and I tried my best to ignore them or beandip them even though my mom has instructed her very clearly that she is not to speak to me or my sister about our weight.  "Aren't there any gyms like cousin's near where you go to school?"  "Doesn't your school have a gym?  Don't you have access to the gym?"  While I was serving myself dinner she'd make comments like, "Take more chicken and less bread" or "This dish only has a little oil in it."  I was standing talking to my uncle and cousin at the kitchen counter later on and she came over with flyers and put them down.  After a random question to cousin to justify her being there with the flyers - "Is this flyer for a grocery store?"  ::)  She then starts tapping on a flyer for a gym while looking at me significantly.  I ignored her again.  She left with the flyers - all except the one for the gym.  I ignored her because if I took issue to her comments or showed that she was upsetting me, it would likely cause more trouble between her and my Uncle - who later sat me down to discuss my weight gain on his own anyways  :-[ , a whole 'nother story - as he would see it as more proof of her toxicity if I got upset.  I was also trying to be on my best behavior because I've never really lived down my bad personality from when I was younger, though I feel personally that I have changed and improved a lot.     

I guess my silence or apparent dumbness to the point she was trying to get across emboldened her, because the minute she found me sitting alone without anyone else around, she plopped right down to chat about it.  After a few of her patented lead-in innocent questions, she started in on lecturing me about my cousins going to the gym and I should go to the gym and so on and so forth- as soon as I was sure that she was talking about my weight, I cut her off saying "I am not discussing this."  She keeps going.  "I am not discussing this."  She keeps going.  Louder this time, "I am not discussing this." This happened at least two more times, and then I picked up my things and left the room.  Problem solved.  After my Uncle's intervention, I was feeling really low and texted my friend, who I had been turning to for support during the weekend and supporting her through her family get together as well.  I was feeling like a walking elephant or something and excusing their words thinking that maybe I looked significantly bad such that a comment may have been from a place of concern for my health, but she put me straight saying that she saw me before I left for home, yes I had gained weight, but nothing anywhere near the level that might prompt such a reaction from these relatives.  I think that is the only thing that got me through the rest of the visit.   

I don't think I would have had the courage or the know-how to firmly but (I hope) politely stand up for myself and enforce my boundaries with my grandmother, but for the time I've spent here on ehell.  I hope I did ok, and would appreciate critique on how I might have done better, but even if I messed up, I still feel better for having done something for myself after years of being put down this way from all the relatives on my dad's side and even some on my mom's.     

Venus193:
I would have left the even from the dinner table.  You are an adult and have the right to not put up with any of this.

As for your "bad personality" from your younger years, if that was because you objected to this kind of treatment, I wouldn't worry about it.  Your grandmother is toxic and you have the right to either defend yourself or walk away from an escalating bully attack from her.

mrkitty:
I don't know, but my first reaction would probably be to ask Grandma if she was offering to pay for the gym membership as a gift? And if she said no and continued on, I'd probably then say "have a good evening" and move along.

If that still didn't work, I'd think about going to my parents and asking them to keep grandma away from me. And I'd reconsider going to visit with grandma there.

I'll have to think about it some more, but on first blush, this would be my immediate reaction. I'm so sorry you are dealing with this.

How long have you been in college? Because it's typical for freshmen to gain at least 15 pounds that first year. It's called the Freshman 15.

Go to school long enough, you'll burn it off. Trust me. Stress and starvation have that effect on people. Ok, not everyone. It happened to me. And then I gained it all back and then some because that isn't healthy. Now I have a really hard time losing any weight.

Also, it's crazy that your grandma is on you about your weight. Not that I don't believe it, but most grandmothers (that I've known) always complain their grandchildren don't eat enough - of their delicious cooking.

I don't think you deserve this treatment. I would stay away from grandma at all costs. And if there's a scene to be made, it's her doing, not yours. I think it sounds like the rest of your family's got her number.

Amava:

--- Quote from: mrkitty on December 27, 2012, 05:34:11 PM ---I don't know, but my first reaction would probably be to ask Grandma if she was offering to pay for the gym membership as a gift? And if she said no and continued on, I'd probably then say "have a good evening" and move along.

--- End quote ---

What if she said yes, though?

mrkitty:

--- Quote from: Amava on December 27, 2012, 05:48:37 PM ---
--- Quote from: mrkitty on December 27, 2012, 05:34:11 PM ---I don't know, but my first reaction would probably be to ask Grandma if she was offering to pay for the gym membership as a gift? And if she said no and continued on, I'd probably then say "have a good evening" and move along.

--- End quote ---

What if she said yes, though?

--- End quote ---


I was really hoping nobody would ask that because I don't have a good answer.  ;)

I suppose OP could take her up on it, but I don't recommend that; that would open a whole new can of worms - and give grandma a whole new reason to be a controlling toxic mess.

I was sort of hoping that by calling her bluff, it would make grandma shut up, but then again I have never seen that work in real life. She might well offer to pay for it and then where would the OP be? So, bad idea.

I guess the best answer, NyaChan, would be to discuss this with your parents and make sure they know how difficult this situation is for you and the harm it is doing to your self-esteem. Would they be in a position to help you? From how you describe the family dynamic, it sounds like the culture in your family is such that younger people defer to more senior ones - on everything - and that even if an older relative is harassing a younger one, the parents of the victim really have nothing to say about it - is that true?

If that's the case, then probably the best response is just to be consistent about saying "this is not up for discussion" and then get up and leave the room - every.single.time. And if anyone tries to call you out for "being difficult" then you can have a discussion with THEM about enabling the abuse your grandma is subjecting you to.

From what you say about your family in your original post, it sounds to me like everyone is aware how toxic grandma is. Maybe they would be open to helping you deal with the situation? Maybe just having and honest heart-to-heart talk with your family might help them understand the difficulty here, and help intervene?

I hope things get better for you, NyaChan. It sounds really hard, and I can relate because my family was seriously dysfunctional - I have a lot of compassion for your situation. I wish I could give you some advice that would make all this better immediately, but I never got the memo on that. If I ever do, I'll forward you a copy.  ;D

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