Author Topic: Do you call people out on PA comments?  (Read 18397 times)

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Hmmmmm

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Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
« Reply #15 on: September 30, 2013, 12:23:46 PM »
I agree it is an honest response but a judgemental one.

She is dissapointed that your discomfort at being in a house of worship on such a holy evening outweighs your desire to see your newphew sing.

I'd probably respond "I'm dissapointed that the only opportunities we have to hear him sing is at religious ceremonies. Maybe he'll grace us with a solo later."

But I'm curious why if you don't want to spend the evening with them at all, why not just say no instead of playing this game.
From OP: but asked what time they would be home afterward. (I personally think it will be too late afterwards, but was hoping they would come to this conclusion independently as well.)

Teenyweeny

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Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
« Reply #16 on: September 30, 2013, 12:25:48 PM »
Like PPs, I just see your sister's comment as honest. She IS disappointed that you won't be there, and she's telling you so.

As an aside, I think that people generally misunderstand what passive aggression is.

Passive aggression is kind of the opposite of what your sister was doing: it's trying to achieve a certain outcome without ever stating your wishes or feelings directly. PA doesn't necessarily mean being snide or mean, but it does mean trying to manipulate a situation.

For example, let's say that I don't want to go to the supermarket with you. Instead of saying so directly, I spend so long trying to find my keys and doing my hair and all these other things that will 'just take a sec' that the supermarket is closed by the time we are ready to leave. That would be a classic example of passive-aggressive behaviour, and I may not even be doing it consciously. Many passive-aggresive people (in my experience) learn to be that way because they have a deep dislike of conflict, and have no experience of stating their desires/feelings directly.



Green Bean

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Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
« Reply #17 on: September 30, 2013, 12:27:01 PM »
Seems a bit guilt-trippy to me. The "Don't want to see him sing" as opposed to "it disappoints me that you won't be there to see him sing" is what does it for me. It makes it sound like your lack of desire is about the nephew, rather than your own convictions. I don't think it's egregious of her, and I'd probably say something like, "I'd love to hear him sing in a nonreligious environment."

But, I'd probably just let this one go. She has the right to be disappointed, and you have the right to not allow that to affect your decision.

I did follow up that we would be interested in hearing him sing, but not in a church environment. This was her response, "All I want is for your family to come watch him sing. I do not expect you to stay for the service. I know Nephew will be very disappointed if you all didn't come."

First of all, I can't imagine walking out of a Christmas Eve service. I think that would be horribly rude behavior on our part. Second, every kids' Christmas Eve service I've ever been to had the choir sing throughout the service. Even if we did go, how would we determine what was the right point to leave?

I think it's time to live our values. I already take issue with MIL teaching my daughter to pray. I think it will send confusing messages to her if we now take her to a place that actively encourages it.

Venus193

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Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
« Reply #18 on: September 30, 2013, 12:31:46 PM »
Some people are very uncomfortable in a house of worship not their own.  I don't know your reasons for this, but your sister should know and respect them.

Teenyweeny

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Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
« Reply #19 on: September 30, 2013, 12:33:48 PM »
OP here. Perhaps this wasn't really a  PA comment. I have difficulty always detecting it.

This message was in response to holiday plans. (Drat, those darn holidays. You may have seen my post in the holiday folder.). Her child is singing in their church's Chrustmas Eve service. DH and I are both atheist, a fact his family is disappointed with but accepts. Neither of us wants to go to a place of worship, especially for a holiday. We don't feel comfortable, and that is not where I want to spend my holiday. So I told her that we would skip on the service, but asked what time they would be home afterward. (I personally think it will be too late afterwards, but was hoping they would come to this conclusion independently as well.) Her response was "it disappoints me that you wouldn't want to see nephew sing."  Was that PA? I feel it's a bit manipulative.

I would actually say that you are more guilty of passive aggresion, given the bolded. You are asking a question knowing that you will only be truly happy with one answer, instead of stating your feelings and desires directly. You don't want to go to the church, and you don't want to go to her house afterwards (those are absolutely fine decisions, btw, I'm just laying it on the line), but instead of saying so, you're hoping to get what you want without stating it directly.

Now, I've been there. I am (although I am trying not to be) the queen of conflict avoidance (IRL, anyway  ;) ), but I am trying to stop precisely because I realise how PA and annoying such tactics can be (and ultimately, you can't avoid conflict with everyone; your avoidance with one person may precipitate a conflict with another, as I also learned to my cost  :-\).



Two Ravens

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Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
« Reply #20 on: September 30, 2013, 12:39:08 PM »
First of all, I can't imagine walking out of a Christmas Eve service. I think that would be horribly rude behavior on our part. Second, every kids' Christmas Eve service I've ever been to had the choir sing throughout the service. Even if we did go, how would we determine what was the right point to leave?

In regards to this point, I am picturing what my church does. There is special music an hour before the ceremony starts. The choir goes to the front of the church, performs, then afterwards, takes their usual spot in the choir lost. There is a clear demarcation of the end of the music and the beginning of the service, and it would not be rude at all to leave at that point. In fact, it may delight latecomers who now have seats.

All of this is beside the point. If you have decided its time to "live your values" then you need to make it clear to your family you will not be going into a church for whatever reason, not arguing about how it would be rude to leave or that you wouldn't know when. Your values outweigh any desire to hear your nephew Christmas Eve.


JoyinVirginia

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Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
« Reply #21 on: September 30, 2013, 12:56:17 PM »
Not Pa, but direct.  The focus of this evening will be the church service and the child singing during the service. If you think it will be to late to come by afterward then just say so and visit another day. Just decide what you will do and do it. Maybe they could videotape the performance. My church tapes services for those who cannot attend.
You can understand the in laws perspective. You're mil is religious, you and dh are atheists, suppose your child tells you she has decided she doesn't want to be atheist anymore. That is sort of what the in laws are still responding to. I am assuming your dh was raised in some faith and attending services.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2013, 01:00:18 PM by JoyinVirginia »

flickan

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Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
« Reply #22 on: September 30, 2013, 01:04:40 PM »

I did follow up that we would be interested in hearing him sing, but not in a church environment. This was her response, "All I want is for your family to come watch him sing. I do not expect you to stay for the service. I know Nephew will be very disappointed if you all didn't come."

First of all, I can't imagine walking out of a Christmas Eve service. I think that would be horribly rude behavior on our part. Second, every kids' Christmas Eve service I've ever been to had the choir sing throughout the service. Even if we did go, how would we determine what was the right point to leave?

I think it's time to live our values. I already take issue with MIL teaching my daughter to pray. I think it will send confusing messages to her if we now take her to a place that actively encourages it.

I think you are right on all points.  Walking out of a Christmas Eve service is impolite.  On her end, refusing to understand that you would be uncomfortable at a Christmas Eve service shows a surprising lack of tolerance.  It seems that there is some guilt tripping going on there.  I do not blame you for wanting to stick to your values.

As far as PA comments in general- my family have made passive aggressive needling an art form.  My usual response is to just ignore it.  I'm not afraid to tell my mother off if it comes down to it.  She'll never own up to it but she will knock it off.

My father is a whole other story, but suffice to say once you learn what being baited sounds like it's incredibly easy to decline the bait.

Ignore PA comments or take the at face value.  People who engage in this kind of behavior tend to be a little too cunning to not have a way to make themselves look as though their words have been twisted.  Don't get caught up in it.


JenJay

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Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
« Reply #23 on: September 30, 2013, 01:58:49 PM »
I don't think she was passive-aggressive but I do think she was guilt-trippy. If she respected your religious choice (to decline invitations to church events) she could say "I'm bummed you won't get to hear DS sing. Would it be okay if he sang for you at our home later?"

I would have replied to her "I'd love to hear Nephew sing, but you know that I am not comfortable attending church services, and I'd never want to disrespect everyone by getting up and leaving early."

Depending on how old the nephew is I might explain it to him with something like "I heard you were invited to sing at your church's Christmas program. That's amazing! I wish I could have been there, but I'm not comfortable attending other people's churches. If you want to sing for me now I'd love to hear you!"

TurtleDove

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Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
« Reply #24 on: September 30, 2013, 02:08:52 PM »
I like JenJay's approach.  From the OP, I got the sense the OP just doesn't want to spend time with the nephew or his family in addition to not wanting to go to the church service.  If that isn't the case, I think JenJay's wording makes that clear.

Pen^2

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Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
« Reply #25 on: September 30, 2013, 03:13:17 PM »
Seems a bit guilt-trippy to me. The "Don't want to see him sing" as opposed to "it disappoints me that you won't be there to see him sing" is what does it for me. It makes it sound like your lack of desire is about the nephew, rather than your own convictions. I don't think it's egregious of her, and I'd probably say something like, "I'd love to hear him sing in a nonreligious environment."

But, I'd probably just let this one go. She has the right to be disappointed, and you have the right to not allow that to affect your decision.

I did follow up that we would be interested in hearing him sing, but not in a church environment. This was her response, "All I want is for your family to come watch him sing. I do not expect you to stay for the service. I know Nephew will be very disappointed if you all didn't come."

First of all, I can't imagine walking out of a Christmas Eve service. I think that would be horribly rude behavior on our part. Second, every kids' Christmas Eve service I've ever been to had the choir sing throughout the service. Even if we did go, how would we determine what was the right point to leave?

I think it's time to live our values. I already take issue with MIL teaching my daughter to pray. I think it will send confusing messages to her if we now take her to a place that actively encourages it.

The first message seemed a bit guilt-trippy, but that might have just come across badly in writing and not been meant. But the bolded above screams of manipulation. This is exactly what is called the "good-cop, bad-cop" routine, like the one from the start of Great Expectations. "If you don't do what I want, someone else with emotional/physical power over you will be disappointed, and we wouldn't want that."

I agree strongly with flikan. The sister here isn't being tolerant of the fact that you aren't comfortable in a place of worship, and is saying (initially implying, but now being blunt) that you are instead choosing not to go to slight nephew. That's pretty insulting. Would saying the same thing be accepted if you were a vegan, or devout Buddhist, and your nephew was a butcher doing a demonstration of highly-technical meat preparation at his butchery? "I just want you to watch him set up, I don't expect you to stay for the meat carving part. Sure, it's in a place you aren't at all comfortable in (a butchery), but if you really love nephew you'll do it for him."

It's important to stand your ground and be clear about your beliefs when they aren't the same as your family's, to help make it clear for them and so everyone can respect each other. I think your response about hoping for a solo performance made it clear that you do indeed want to see nephew sing. But even after this, his mother is still trying to manipulate you into going to the church, so I don't think she seriously thinks you don't want to see him sing. I suspect there's something else here--maybe she's worried the audience won't be very large and he'll be disheartened or something. But whatever it is, I think JenJay's advice is pretty good. I'd ignore any further guilt-trippy, manipulative texts from the sister here, or keep responses to, "Yeah, I wish I could hear him sing--he's so wonderful! Please give him love from me!" without addressing her impolite accusations.

Hillia

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Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
« Reply #26 on: September 30, 2013, 04:00:04 PM »
And she may not understand that even being in a place of worship makes you uncomfortable.  I hadn't thought of it, honestly.  If someone says they are atheist, I hear that as 'I choose not to attend religious services', not 'Simply being in the environment is uncomfortable and a betrayal of my principles'.  I can easily imagine that your SIL is thinking that nephew's performance is completely separate from the venue, and you choosing not to attend is the same as you refusing to attend a performance in the school auditorium.  Maybe a little more explanation would help her understand your feelings? 

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aiki

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Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
« Reply #27 on: September 30, 2013, 05:05:59 PM »
She says:
  "it disappoints me that you wouldn't want to see nephew sing." 

And you're hearing :
  "it disappoints me that you won't be manipulated into going through the motions of worshipping at my church" 

Which might actually be quite accurate - you know her best, and if she has a history of pulling this sort of move. Either way, it won't hurt her to be disappointed. If you reply at all you could use a conciliatory non-apology

  "I'm sorry you're disappointed. I'm sure there'll be other opportunities to hear nephew sing. We'll look forward to seeing you all at <later event>" 

 
"A true gentleman is one who is never unintentionally rude."  - Oscar Wilde

*inviteseller

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Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
« Reply #28 on: September 30, 2013, 08:01:42 PM »
Yes, I do call my close relatives out on their PA because they use it as a conversation starter and sometimes they need to know it is not necessary.  As for your SIL, it sounds like DH's family is religious and cannot stand that your family is not.  It is very guilt trippy and possibly manipulative as they try to get you and your DD into church (they are already trying to teach her to pray?  Major boundary overstepping!!).  I would just apologize for her/his feelings on it ( I am sorry your will be disappointed) and move on to scheduling a time to get together for the holidays. 

shhh its me

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Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
« Reply #29 on: September 30, 2013, 08:23:02 PM »
I see it as honest.  Your sister is disappointed that you won't be present to hear your nephew sing.  Presumably he has put effort into preparing and would like for you to experience it with him.  You are choosing to honor your desire to not attend a religious ceremony over hearing your nephew sing.  That is fine, just own your priorities.  Your sister has the right to be upset about it, but I didn't see her manipulating you or being PA at all - just honest.

I agree. Nothing PA about it -- just honest disappointment.

I pretty strongly disagree -- she didn't say she was disappointed that the OP wouldn't be there.  She said she was disappointed that the OP "wouldn't want to see the nephew sing".  One is honest, the other is manipulation.

I think it is PA ............I am disappointed  that you wouldn't choice to come see your nephew sing/I'm disappointed you don't prioritize seeing nephew sing over your preference not to be in a church/I'm disappointed you wont be there. Those wouldn't be PA.

I'm not sure I would call it out the PA in this particular case , you're not that close and its a pretty deep and big underlying issue.