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

"I am not discussing this."

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--- Quote from: mrkitty on December 27, 2012, 05:34:42 PM ---...I can relate because my family was seriously dysfunctional - I have a lot of compassion for your situation...

--- End quote ---


NyaChan, you are right. Your grandmother is toxic. And those in the family who allow her to treat you and others that way are enablers. Kudos to you for seeing this at a college-age. I was several years out of college before I learned that this was not normal behavior and I didn't have to put up with it and "respect my elders" by being treated like a doormat.

You behaved impeccably. You were very patient and classy. The only advice I could add is to avoid toxic grandma like the plague in the future.

First of all, 5-6lbs is nothing. I hoped not to gain the freshman 15 my first semester of college. But my mother is very very much like your grandmother. I starved myself in high school and with my lousy metabolism, I was still only in just a healthy weight range, not thin. Without my  mother around to badger me in college, I gained 30 lbs the first semester.

Second, personally, I was in college to get an education. Sure, it would have been nice to have been healthy too. But I was there for a degree, as I assume you are too. No one can be perfect in all areas of life. To me, spending time with my books was more important than spending time at the gym.

But regardless of the topic, your grandmother is rude, mean, condescending and toxic. And if you had lost 5lbs, you would have been mocked for being too thin. Or grandmother would have mocked your hairstyle, haircolor, clothing, height of your forehead, how far your ears stick out, how much or how little you talk... you get the point.

Hindsight is 20/20. I was in your shoes at your age with a similar family. Now that I'm in my mid-30s, I have given the cut direct to most of my family members because many of them are like your grandmother. Most of the rest are doormats and enablers who just want to keep the other doormats in line so they're not the only ones being targeted for abuse.

I say you should refuse to go to any gatherings that toxic grandmother is at in the future. The only way I'd go at all would be if your parents are paying for your schooling and threaten to kick you out or not pay tuition. And in those cases, I'd drive separately, and I'd leave the event altogether the instant toxic grandmother started being passive-aggressive. Or if you have to drive together, bring a good book and return to the car and sit there until the others are ready to leave.

And because I've heard from the other enablers and know what they'll say, I'll tell you in advance, you refusing to put up with grandmother's abuse - and that's what it is: abuse - is not "too sensitive" or an "overreaction."

I dunno if this is appropriate?

Uncle or Gramma: Blah blah fat blah blah work out.
NyaChan: I'm not discussing this.
Badgering continues
NyaChan: Oh dear, is your hearing failing you that badly? You need to get that checked. I distinctly said I wasn't discussing this.

Just Lori:
Do you have a way to get home if you get up and leave?

I'm seething for everyone on this board who has to deal with "well-intentioned" relatives who are "concerned" about their weight (quotation marks are intentional sarcasm.)  Nobody has to put up with this abuse.  I don't care if you had a "bad personality" when you were younger.  Even Nellie Oleson grew up and was deserving of love and acceptance (and Percival.)

I say you have a good friend ready to pick you up (or cab fare in your pocket) and you just get up and leave.  You are an adult, and you have every right to demand to be retreated with respect.  Respectful adults don't lecture each other about weight issues unless advice has been solicited.  Period. 

My husband's family believes a person's worth is inversely proportional to what they weigh.  The less you weigh, the more you're worth.  And they wonder why we don't want them to join us at the beach.  ::)

You did a great job! Congratulations! It gets easier the more you do it.

Actually mrkitty, I graduated from undergrad about 2+ years ago, & am now finishing up law school.  So freshman 15 is a thing of the past for me thankfully.  This gain was a result of an unexpected change in my workload at the end of the semester which cut out all my meal planning time for shopping & cooking.  Eating out, eating quick, and oftentimes, eating very late = increase in poundage for me. 

As for playing the , "oh are you going to pay for it?" card, it wouldn't really apply here as my grandma knows very well that I do have access to a gym at school and access to 2 gyms at home.  When she asks if I have access to a gym, she is PA-ly saying, "You need to go to the gym" and "You need to lose weight." 

I think posters are right in saying that I should enforce my boundaries consistently and not just when we are alone.  There are some limits to how I can do that simply because of the cultural complications and also the fact that my grandma has a large number of people convinced that she is the victim of cruel and unfeeling children who treat her shamefully & I refuse to let her make us look even worse in public.  That said, I'm not going to hold back when we are amongst family members - as was pointed out, they do know what she is like already.

I actually spoke with my mom recently about the trip.  I had stayed behind for a few days while my parents went home from Uncle's early so she hadn't been present for most of these incidents.  I had hinted through text that grandma was bothering me about my weight though.  When we spoke she was actually supportive of me telling grandma no & leaving.  When I was trying to give grandma the benefit of the doubt by theorizing that maybe in my grandma's mind she really thinks this topic is somehow her business, my mom surprisingly said that I was giving her too much credit and admitted that grandma does say things at times simply to be malicious (big step!).  Mom also disclosed that she called grandma to tell her off on the last night I was at Uncle's which explains why I didn't get any backlash from grandma the next day.  Usually I would get a tearful, almost hysterical lecture about respecting one's elders and how she is going to die soon and reminding me of all she's ever done for me.  Guess grandma's burned her bridges because even my dad (who doesn't know about the digs she was making) was expressing upset today over the way she has been treating him. My dad usually never says a word about her in front of us kids out of respect for her age, but mostly to protect my mom's feelings. 

I don't believe that she will ever change, all I can really do is figure out what I can handle.  Cutting her off is not an option - if she were a more distant relative, maybe I could get away with it.  Since she is my grandma and lives with relatives I do need to have a relationship with, I will have to make do with ignoring her phone calls and just keeping her at arms length when I am in the same place as her.  I've made numerous requests of my mom to not tell her details about my life - something my Uncle's daughter had warned mom about as well when grandma used private information to trash her reputation in public - but my mom hasn't really seemed to get how strictly I mean it or the harm it can cause.  I plan to be more clear with her about that in as soon as possible.  Mom talks to her every other day in the hopes that she can avert a blow up or two at Uncle's or get grandma out of the house to give them a break when she senses things are getting too tense, but I don't think it is fair that she uses information about me as a means of filling the time in her chatting.         



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