Author Topic: Dealing with a Bossy Pants (UPDATE #50 and 64)  (Read 17127 times)

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TootsNYC

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Re: Dealing with a Bossy Pants
« Reply #15 on: June 13, 2013, 11:21:36 AM »
We have a relative who is like this. She's really, really annoying. By now most people don't pay any attention to her, but my MIL flat-out attacks her when she does this. Calls her on it, and says, "You don't come into someone's house and criticize their curtains. This is my house; I am extending my hospitality to you, you don't criticize me." or "Why do you think you have to know everything more than anybody else?"

My MIL is normally nice, but after decades (since childhood), she's just had it. The woman just sort of argues back a bit, and everybody else ignores the whole thing. I think it makes my MIL feel better.

And I will say that this woman is a LITTLE less likely to do it to MIL. (but only a little less--frankly, after observing this woman for all of the years I've been connected to my ILs' family, nothing is going to change her.)

Slartibartfast

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Re: Dealing with a Bossy Pants
« Reply #16 on: June 13, 2013, 11:24:31 AM »
First step is definitely to talk to your husband.  You're holding back for his sake, but he doesn't even know how much stress this is causing you.  "DH, I'm really glad you've got this great friendship going with Friend, but Alice is driving me bonkers.  She can't stop criticizing our house, our parenting, and our child, and she does it all in this condescending holier-than-thou tone which I have a hard time not calling her on.  I haven't said anything back yet because I don't want to mess up your relationship with Friend, but I'm sick of holding back.  I would rather not socialize with her at all, but since that would cause some awkward dynamics, I intend to be a bit more blunt in telling her how rude she's being and hopefully that will cow her into shutting up about how horrible she thinks we are at parenting.  I'm not asking you to fix this, but I did want you to know because it's stressing me out and I didn't want you to be blindsided by it via Friend telling Alice's side of the story.  What do you think?"

And then I would be a lot more curt with Alice in the future:

Alice: ". . . and I've been a parent longer than you have!"
You: "And yet I got a perfect kid on the first try!  Funny how that turns out!"

Alice: "You obviously don't keep a clean enough house, or you'd know to never use furniture polish!  You need to keep a trained dusting chinchilla on hand like I do!  I'm better at cleaning than you are!"
You: ". . . Gold star for you!"

Alice: "Oh, I *never* let my daughter play with blocks!  Kids might trip and hurt themselves!"
You: "That's not been a problem for us.  Bean dip?"

I suspect she's only been this outrageous because she thinks you are actually taking her seriously and listening to her advice.  If you start being curt (not necessarily flat-out rude, but definitely blunt with a change of subject following) she will get immediate negative feedback each time she tries to sermonize.  Eventually she'll learn to stop doing that, just like a puppy will learn not to chew shoes.

BeagleMommy

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Re: Dealing with a Bossy Pants
« Reply #17 on: June 13, 2013, 11:44:39 AM »
Talk to your DH first.  Make sure he knows that you don't expect him to fix the situation, but that Alice is insulting you, your home and your parenting.  Tell him that the next time Alice makes a remark that you will not ignore it and you WILL call her out on her rudeness.

I wish I had done this when DS was a baby and I had to deal with my own Bossy Pants.  When I reached my breaking point I yelled "If I want s***t from you I'll squeeze your head!".  Not my proudest moment.

LeeLee88

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Re: Dealing with a Bossy Pants
« Reply #18 on: June 13, 2013, 11:53:28 AM »
Wow, you guys are good, and fast!  Since I wrote the OP, I've already decided against going to Alice and her husband's place for the next gathering.  If she doesn't like it, tough noogies.  I did tell my husband I needed a break from her for a while, but I don't think he understands the level of annoyance I have with this woman because all I said to him was, "Frankly, she's a right b****", and I didn't get much of a chance to explain because the baby needed attention, it was late, blah blah blah.  I will sit down with him to let him know why I won't be going to the next gathering, and why I don't want her in my house anymore, but I'll wait until the subject of the next gathering actually comes up so it doesn't seem as though I'm attacking him or his friends. 

There are other women in the group, and they have observed this behavior, but it hasn't been directed at them because they aren't mothers.  There is one other woman who will be having a baby in the Fall, and she's already gotten the same lectures I got during my pregnancy, so we'll wait and see how it goes for her after her baby's born.  The other women haven't said much at all primarily because it obviously makes them uncomfortable, judging from the way they immediately look at the floor and stop talking. 

I have entertained the idea of just having a couple of the other women over when the dudes go out without having Alice, and that's also because Alice insists on bringing her daughter with her wherever they go, and her daughter cannot settle down in my house.  She chases my cats, yells at them when they try to play with their toys, and runs and jumps off of everything.  She behaves when I tell her to knock it off, but Alice has made it known that she doesn't like it.  Say, that's a thought: maybe I should tell Alice that if her daughter's in my house, she has to follow my rules, and if Alice doesn't like it, she doesn't need to worry about coming over?  I think I might have something there, what do you guys think?  That might be a little cowardly though, because that's a small problem totally separate from the root of the matter, which is that Alice is a Bitter Bossy Pants (tm).
« Last Edit: June 13, 2013, 12:29:43 PM by LeeLee88 »

LeeLee88

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Re: Dealing with a Bossy Pants
« Reply #19 on: June 13, 2013, 11:54:17 AM »
Talk to your DH first.  Make sure he knows that you don't expect him to fix the situation, but that Alice is insulting you, your home and your parenting.  Tell him that the next time Alice makes a remark that you will not ignore it and you WILL call her out on her rudeness.

I wish I had done this when DS was a baby and I had to deal with my own Bossy Pants.  When I reached my breaking point I yelled "If I want s***t from you I'll squeeze your head!".  Not my proudest moment.

And yet it's both creative and hilarious.

LeveeWoman

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Re: Dealing with a Bossy Pants
« Reply #20 on: June 13, 2013, 11:57:34 AM »
Wow, you guys are good, and fast!  Since I wrote the OP, I've already decided against going to Alice and her husband's place for the next gathering.  If she doesn't like it, tough noogies.  I did tell my husband I needed a break from her for a while, but I don't think he understands the level of annoyance I have with this woman because all I said to him was, "Frankly, she's a right b****", and I didn't get much of a chance to explain because the baby needed attention, it was late, blah blah blah.  I will sit down with him to let him know why I won't be going to the next gathering, and why I don't want her in my house anymore, but I'll wait until the subject of the next gathering actually comes up so it doesn't seem as though I'm attacking him or his friends. 

There are other women in the group, and they have observed this behavior, but it hasn't been directed at them because they aren't mothers.  There is one other woman who will be having a baby in the Fall, and she's already gotten the same lectures I got during my pregnancy, so we'll wait and see how it goes for her after her baby's born.  The other women haven't said much at all primarily because it obviously makes them uncomfortable, judging from the way they immediately look at the floor and stop talking. 

I have entertained the idea of just having a couple of the other women over when the dudes go out without having Alice, and that's also because Alice insists on bringing her daughter with her wherever they go, and her daughter cannot settle down in my house.  She chases my cats, yells at them when they try to play with her toys, and runs and jumps off of everything.  She behaves when I tell her to knock it off, but Alice has made it known that she doesn't like it.  Say, that's a thought: maybe I should tell Alice that if her daughter's in my house, she has to follow my rules, and if Alice doesn't like it, she doesn't need to worry about coming over?  I think I might have something there, what do you guys think?  That might be a little cowardly though, because that's a small problem totally separate from the root of the matter, which is that Alice is a Bitter Bossy Pants (tm).

She's telling you how to be a parent yet she's unable to control her own daughter?! You couldn't cut that bit of irony with a knife.


Piratelvr1121

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Re: Dealing with a Bossy Pants
« Reply #21 on: June 13, 2013, 12:00:01 PM »
Yeah that cracked me up, though I will say one thing I've noticed is that sometimes the most insecure are the bossiest.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata

LeeLee88

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Re: Dealing with a Bossy Pants
« Reply #22 on: June 13, 2013, 12:04:28 PM »
I know, right?  Pirate said exactly what I was thinking though about the lack of confidence thing.  Someone else asked why the women can't just not tag along with their husbands, and to be honest, I have no idea.  I've never needed to go where my DH goes, but I don't know if that's their reason or not.

TootsNYC

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Re: Dealing with a Bossy Pants
« Reply #23 on: June 13, 2013, 12:08:33 PM »
... Say, that's a thought: maybe I should tell Alice that if her daughter's in my house, she has to follow my rules, and if Alice doesn't like it, she doesn't need to worry about coming over?  I think I might have something there, what do you guys think?  That might be a little cowardly though, because that's a small problem totally separate from the root of the matter, which is that Alice is a Bitter Bossy Pants (tm).

No, no--you say, "your daughter isn't comfortable at my house following my house rules, so please don't subject her to that. I'll understand if you just stay home."


MindsEye

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Re: Dealing with a Bossy Pants
« Reply #24 on: June 13, 2013, 12:09:46 PM »
once a month, Alice and her DH (my husband's BFF) have a social gathering at their home, and if I don't go, all I hear from her is how I missed out on a good time, I really should have come, am I mad, blah blah blah,

Be honest?  "Yes, I AM mad.  I am mad that you cannot seem to keep your nose out of my business."

I have entertained the idea of just having a couple of the other women over when the dudes go out without having Alice, and that's also because Alice insists on bringing her daughter with her wherever they go, and her daughter cannot settle down in my house.  She chases my cats, yells at them when they try to play with her toys, and runs and jumps off of everything. She behaves when I tell her to knock it off, but Alice has made it known that she doesn't like it.  Say, that's a thought: maybe I should tell Alice that if her daughter's in my house, she has to follow my rules, and if Alice doesn't like it, she doesn't need to worry about coming over?  I think I might have something there, what do you guys think?

Yes! 

And some phrases that I have personally used to shut down the bossy-pants I have in my life (warning, not all phrases are perfectly polite.  Also at thie point in my life I have mostly dealt with the bossy-pants by cutting them completely out of my life):

"Your feedback has been noted and will dealt with appropriately."
"Your feedback has been noted and will be duly ignored."
"If I wanted your opinion/advice I would have asked for it."
"I don't care what you think I should do."

Good luck!

oogyda

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Re: Dealing with a Bossy Pants
« Reply #25 on: June 13, 2013, 12:16:08 PM »
I know, right?  Pirate said exactly what I was thinking though about the lack of confidence thing. Someone else asked why the women can't just not tag along with their husbands, and to be honest, I have no idea.  I've never needed to go where my DH goes, but I don't know if that's their reason or not.

They probably don't want her with them!!!
It's not what we gather along the way that matters.  It's what we scatter.

TootsNYC

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Re: Dealing with a Bossy Pants
« Reply #26 on: June 13, 2013, 12:18:42 PM »
I know, right?  Pirate said exactly what I was thinking though about the lack of confidence thing. Someone else asked why the women can't just not tag along with their husbands, and to be honest, I have no idea.  I've never needed to go where my DH goes, but I don't know if that's their reason or not.

They probably don't want her with them!!!

But the point is, why don't they all stay home?

The husbands are going to some place that's near the OP's home, and so that's why they're not there. The wives have all traveled with their husbands and are hanging out at her place while they wait for the husbands to finish.

I think the OP should simply say, "I'm not going to host the wives this time, so let them know there won't be a wives gathering the next time, and they shouldn't come along."

LeeLee88

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Re: Dealing with a Bossy Pants
« Reply #27 on: June 13, 2013, 12:25:15 PM »
Or that they can come along, they just won't be hanging out at my house.  I've done that before, I can do it again. 

VorFemme

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Re: Dealing with a Bossy Pants
« Reply #28 on: June 13, 2013, 12:39:52 PM »
Can you play "I have my OWN expert" with her and tell her that your mother (obviously has a child over three years of age) told you to use X, Y, and Z while Alice is telling you to use A, B, and C?  Bonus points if you use your MIL instead of your own mother.

Cite your doctor's advice instead of what Alice is telling you - then ask if Alice has a medical degree - warning - this is rather snarky.  On the other hand, so is what Alice is doing, she's just less obvious about it (to a guy, she might just sound like she's offering an opinion or an alternative - instead of the female equivalent of marking as "her territory" the subject of being a "good mother".

Not all men are oblivious to the one upmanship games women play - sometimes they aren't in the room when they are being played or they've taken the pose of "giving advice" face value instead of reading between the lines.  Women....read between the lines, sometimes even when there are no lines.  Yes, that sounds odd, but it is the way some of us just are.  Or were raised to be, if it didn't "come naturally".  Meh. 

Then there is playing Jane Goodall and watching the mother chimp (or gorilla, she worked with more than one species) try to establish herself as a higher ranking female by "showing the other mother chimps how to do it better".

Last of all - there is the "Bingo" game - after five predicted comments, you tell your husband that he owes you something with a code word.  Backrub, hot chocolate, chocolate milk, or he does the laundry for one day while you have a nap (a treasure when you have a baby less than a month old) would make suitable treats with a baby in the house.  But you tell him a code word that means "she's reached five comments" and a second code word that might mean "she's reached ten comments and we are leaving in the next fifteen minutes because if she Bingos me three times tonight I am NOT going to be responsible for what happens".  A five week old baby really doesn't need to be out & about.... or if you do take her out, she doesn't need to be out & about very LONG.  And nobody but her parents (or possibly a grandparent) needs to be holding a baby that young...not even the hostess.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2013, 12:43:08 PM by VorFemme »
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hjaye

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Re: Dealing with a Bossy Pants
« Reply #29 on: June 13, 2013, 01:21:21 PM »
Can you play "I have my OWN expert" with her and tell her that your mother (obviously has a child over three years of age) told you to use X, Y, and Z while Alice is telling you to use A, B, and C?  Bonus points if you use your MIL instead of your own mother.

Cite your doctor's advice instead of what Alice is telling you - then ask if Alice has a medical degree - warning - this is rather snarky.  On the other hand, so is what Alice is doing, she's just less obvious about it (to a guy, she might just sound like she's offering an opinion or an alternative - instead of the female equivalent of marking as "her territory" the subject of being a "good mother".

Not all men are oblivious to the one upmanship games women play - sometimes they aren't in the room when they are being played or they've taken the pose of "giving advice" face value instead of reading between the lines.  Women....read between the lines, sometimes even when there are no lines.  Yes, that sounds odd, but it is the way some of us just are.  Or were raised to be, if it didn't "come naturally".  Meh. 

Then there is playing Jane Goodall and watching the mother chimp (or gorilla, she worked with more than one species) try to establish herself as a higher ranking female by "showing the other mother chimps how to do it better".

Last of all - there is the "Bingo" game - after five predicted comments, you tell your husband that he owes you something with a code word.  Backrub, hot chocolate, chocolate milk, or he does the laundry for one day while you have a nap (a treasure when you have a baby less than a month old) would make suitable treats with a baby in the house.  But you tell him a code word that means "she's reached five comments" and a second code word that might mean "she's reached ten comments and we are leaving in the next fifteen minutes because if she Bingos me three times tonight I am NOT going to be responsible for what happens".  A five week old baby really doesn't need to be out & about.... or if you do take her out, she doesn't need to be out & about very LONG.  And nobody but her parents (or possibly a grandparent) needs to be holding a baby that young...not even the hostess.

Yes....... this is what I was going to suggest..... "Gee Alice, my mother or MIL, has been a mother a lot longer than you have, so if we're going by experience, they don't agree with your advice at all."