Author Topic: Do you call people out on PA comments?  (Read 18546 times)

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Piratelvr1121

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Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
« Reply #30 on: September 30, 2013, 08:29:22 PM »
Depends.  With very close relationships (DH, kids, my bff) I would call them on it.  Even if just to say "I'm going to trust you didn't mean that to come out as PA as it sounded." thus giving them the chance to retract or reword if indeed it was a case of poor wording or misread tone.

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

gramma dishes

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Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
« Reply #31 on: September 30, 2013, 08:34:17 PM »

...     "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>"  ...

I consider this to be a perfect (and truthful and honest) response.

Normally I wouldn't jump to the conclusion that your SIL is being manipulative, but it does disturb me that they are teaching your daughter to pray when you and your husband have made it crystal clear this is not what you want.  A repeat of that would almost be worthy of a direct cut because it's so totally disrespectful to the two of you as her parents.

bopper

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Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
« Reply #32 on: September 30, 2013, 08:57:21 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?

I was going to say the same thing.  She may think "You don't have to believe in my faith or God, just hear Nephew sing! What does it matter what he is singing?" 

Sharnita

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Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
« Reply #33 on: September 30, 2013, 09:11:45 PM »
I think in that case I might respond -."We'd love to hearnephew sing incircumstances that don'trequire us to pretend beliefs we don't actually accept. The last thing we would want to do is treat the beliefs of others in that kind of disrespectful manner. We look forward to hearing nephew sing under other circumstances."

Pen^2

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Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
« Reply #34 on: September 30, 2013, 09:13:06 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?

I was going to say the same thing.  She may think "You don't have to believe in my faith or God, just hear Nephew sing! What does it matter what he is singing?"

Hopefully that's all it is, but if OP has said at any point that she doesn't feel comfortable in a place of worship, then it's not reasonable to expect her to behave otherwise, much less guilt-trip/insist. If someone says they don't do X, then even if you can't understand why, then we all realise it's not polite to demand that they do X because to you it isn't a big deal. Etiquette is all about respecting others, after all. Not understanding another person's reasons for not being comfortable with something is not an excuse to dismiss them.

If you haven't said outright that you aren't comfortable going to church, OP, then maybe your family doesn't realise that not following their religion means not going to their places of worship, and you might have to say it explicitly since they mightn't work it out on their own, obvious though it may seem to be.

However, the fact that your MIL was actively trying to teach your daughter to pray when she knew that that isn't how you want to parent her is a massive overstepping of your boundaries, and alone results in a minimum of no time alone with your daughter (she's shown she doesn't respect your beliefs, so there's nothing that says she won't try this again), and a maximum of a cut. There is no excuse for that at all. I hope this was all a misunderstanding as above because they don't really understand what it means to not follow their religion, and not some complete refusal to accept different beliefs. But again, you've made it clear that you enjoy nephew singing and his mother was still implying that if you don't come then you don't enjoy it, so either the religion/belief angle is a part of the impetus here or she's outright calling you a liar.

flickan

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Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
« Reply #35 on: October 01, 2013, 08:14:22 AM »
I think in that case I might respond -."We'd love to hearnephew sing incircumstances that don'trequire us to pretend beliefs we don't actually accept. The last thing we would want to do is treat the beliefs of others in that kind of disrespectful manner. We look forward to hearing nephew sing under other circumstances."

I think this is absolutely the crux of the argument.  For me as a Christian, I've never had a problem going to other services but that has been entirely dependant on what level of participation is expected at those services.  I can easily see how an athiest can feel uncomfortable at a church service when people are being asked to bow their heads and pray.  It's one thing to say, well you don't have to go along with it, but picture how it comes off when one person is sitting their twiddling their thumbs while others dutifully pray.  I know at my own home congregation people are not judgemental of whether others participate but in a smaller church it may be noticable and read as disrespectful.  I was never confirmed as a Catholic but because of my upbringing I know that it's acceptable and expected that I will not receive communion.  People visiting a Catholic church for the first time may feel pressured to participate if they don't know better.

When I was a teenager I was fortunate to have the opportunity to attend service at a Korean Buddhist temple with a friend.  At that time I wanted only to blend in so I did as I was told to do by my friend; namely prostrated myself before the images of the Bodhisattva and the Buddha before the service.  Nowdays I would know better than to get on my hands and knees before a different god, but I thought only of giving in the appearance of respect.  To blindly follow those instructions were disrespectful not only to the faith I practice but to the Buddha and the Bodhisattva for offering up an empty sign of obsequiousness.  It would have been better to ask how I could respectfully enter the temple as a nonbeliever.

It can be difficult for those who are regular churchgoers to see how certain aspects of the ceremony can make outsiders uncomfortable.  Which is why one should always take people at face value when they say they cannot attend a certain service because of their own beliefs.

lisztchick

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Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
« Reply #36 on: October 01, 2013, 12:08:51 PM »
I would be interested to learn two things: the age of the nephew (is it true that he would actually be very disappointed and hurt that aunt, uncle and cousin weren't there? Or is he three years old and unlikely to care or notice one way or the other?) and the role of the nephew in the service. For me, that might play a role in determining the level of PA. For example, if nephew had an lengthy and challenging solo to perform, SIL might have said, "OP, I understand that I'm asking quite a lot, but nephew has been practicing this for months and it really means a lot to him....is there any way you might consider....."etc. But if SIL is asking OP to compromise her beliefs and that of her family to watch nephew sing *insert favorite Christmas carol here!* with fifty other kids lisping along....well, I'm sure it would be very sweet, but hardly worth compromising one's beliefs. If that's what nephew is doing, then that does seem a little self-important of the SIL to request everyone's presence for that. And it may very well be (as others have suggested) a guilt-tripping ploy to get your family to church.

mime

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Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
« Reply #37 on: October 01, 2013, 12:23:09 PM »
I don't see classic-PA in the SIL's comment, but maybe guilt-trippy.

First of all, I'm making the assumption that MIL's teaching OP's daughter to pray was not SIL's doing, so it is a different issue... an inexcusable boundary-trampling issue, but still a different issue.

I think SIL's response is honest but incomplete. She's disappointed. True. OP doesn't want to see nephew perform enough to override her decision to stay away from a ceremony of a faith with which she disagrees. With that clarification (that I assumed was implied), it is also true.

IMO calling SIL intolerant is over the top. From the backstory, it sounds like OP has not always taken this stand. If SIL has seen OP at a funeral, wedding, etc in a church, she may not be current on the OP's evolving priorities, and her statement of disappointment really makes sense. I'm inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt and assume she was honest but incomplete in her response, and needs to know more clearly where the OP stands. A direct response of "I love nephew and I'd love to hear him sing, but not if it requires attending a ceremony opposed to my values" would help clear things up. Any guilt-tripping after that point is up to the OP to reject as she gets to set her own priorities.

FTR: Unlike the OP: I'm a Christian. Like the OP: there are ceremonies and events I will not attend for anyone because doing so would be incompatible with my beliefs. If I was faced with this situation, I'd assume SIL didn't understand my position and I'd clarify with just a simple and kind statement like the ones suggested, and let it go.


TurtleDove

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Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
« Reply #38 on: October 01, 2013, 12:25:31 PM »
mime makes a good point - if the OP attends weddings or funerals in a church I thunk the SIL is legitimately confused.

Green Bean

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Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
« Reply #39 on: October 01, 2013, 11:32:32 PM »
OP here. I really appreciate everyone's comments. It has made me think about things from a different perspective.

Someone mentioned that they may not understand that I would feel u comfortable attending their church. I never have actually come out to anyone and said I didn't feel comfortable attending. I think I assumed it was obvious, but now see that isn't the case.

I think part of the difference has to do with our upbringings. I attended parochial schools all the way through (K - college) in a more religiously conservative environment. DH, also raised Catholic, was in a less conservative city. So, even though same religion our perspectives differ. Walking away from my faith was a not a decision I made lightly. It was very difficult. Every time I go to a church now, I feel like a hypocrite for being there, and I am very well aware I don't belong there.

His family would always pop out of services early - something unheard of in my upbringing. Ducking early would make me so uncomfortable. SIL truly feels its no big deal and says people do it all the time. That may be the case, but she only sees how her sons rehearsals go. For some reason, I don't even think they are members of this church. I still think it would beyond rude yo leave during a service. And Christmas no less - that's one of the holiest days of the year.

So, DH doesn't like to make waves and has the family role of people pleaser. (That's why he didnt want to speak up sbout the whole prayer thing to his parents. im not sure they even understand we take issue with it and so i seethe every time they encourage her to say grace.) After he talked to SIL, I think he is on the fence for the whole thing.

Someone asked how old Nephew is... He is 5. There could be many, many more years of this ahead of us.

Pen^2

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Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
« Reply #40 on: October 02, 2013, 01:22:36 AM »
Thanks for the update, OP.

I think you're right in that since you haven't been explicit about things, they might not understand where you stand. "I don't believe in your religion" doesn't imply "I don't feel comfortable in your religious services" to everyone, and clearly here it definitely needs to be said.

Your in-laws try to encourage your daughter to say grace? I hope you jump on that early before it grows into something potentially problematic. It really sounds like you have a family that needs to be told politely but directly about these things, since they haven't worked it out for themselves. "Oh, we're not bringing our daughter up to be religious, so please don't teach her to say grace/pray/etc."

If they continue trying to force things after you've told them directly, then I'd be worried. That's a whole different kettle of fish, though, and if they're respectful of you and your family then it won't happen anyway. For now, it really looks like they just don't know and you need to tell them.

5 year old nephew? In that case, the only way I can see him being disappointed is if his mother tells him things like, "Everyone will come to see you, except Green Bean because she doesn't want to." I mean, come on. He'll have friends and other relatives who won't be there, for a start, so it's not like he'll be assuming that people who don't come don't care about him. He's not old enough to keep tabs on all the people in his life and whether or not it's reasonable to expect them to be there, and so on. The only way he'll be disappointed is if his mother wants him to be. Her whole "he'll be disappointed if you don't come" is nonsense and is just a form of guilt-trip pressuring.

I think you need to make things very clear to your family now to save yourself more trouble later. Even with that, though, SIL's whole guilt-trippy thing is a bit of a worry, and not entirely explained by her not understanding that her beliefs are different from yours. Maybe just make a mental note of the behaviour in case it becomes a pattern. I hope not. People here have suggested good stock phrases to use in case she tries this again, though, so I'm sure you'll be fine.

Deetee

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Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
« Reply #41 on: October 02, 2013, 02:41:21 AM »
I agree with the guilt trippy verdict over passive aggressive. I also wanted to come in with what you have already acknowledged, the fact that atheist does not mean the same thing to people.

My family is cheerfully atheist but I will attend weddings and funerals and choir singings in churches. I admire the beauty of the music and ceremony and don't worry about what is behind it. I loved visiting cathedrals in Europe and lit candles and have the donation as it would have pleased my late grandma. But I was raised in a culture of non religion  and didn't have to wrestle with anything. I am content and comfortable in my belief system.

So I would have gone to the church to see the pageantry and listen to nephew but that does not mean at all that you should. One of my strong beliefs is that people should be free to choose and manifest their beliefs as they wish.


Teenyweeny

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Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
« Reply #42 on: October 02, 2013, 04:34:03 AM »
Came back to say:
I don't think that there is a 'one size fits all' solution for snotty comments. However, generally my response falls into one of two categories.

Generally, I'll take the comment at face value, as PPs have suggested. "Why yes, it is nice to be going on holiday! Spain is lovely at this time of year!"

However, sometimes (and I think that the OP's situation is one of those times) I focus less on being right and more on getting a peaceful resolution for everybody.

So, if my mother were to say, "well, it must be great to be so busy that you can't chat for 5 minutes", I'd try to look beyond the words and tone, and listen to what she's really trying to say to me. She's saying (in a bit of a rubbish way, I grant you) that she misses me and wishes we could talk more often. So THAT is the statement I will respond to. "Yeah mum, I miss you too. It sucks that we don't get to talk more, but I promise I'll call you on Wednesday."

In the OP's case, what I'd be hearing is, "I'm hurt and confused that you aren't coming. I had no idea that even being inside a church was an issue for you. I'm proud of my son, and I'd like you to make time to come and hear him sing".

THAT is the statement I'd respond to, and I would do my level best to make time to hear the nephew sing in a non-church setting.



sammycat

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Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
« Reply #43 on: October 02, 2013, 05:53:15 AM »
I agree with the guilt trippy verdict over passive aggressive. I also wanted to come in with what you have already acknowledged, the fact that atheist does not mean the same thing to people.

My family is cheerfully atheist but I will attend weddings and funerals and choir singings in churches. I admire the beauty of the music and ceremony and don't worry about what is behind it. I loved visiting cathedrals in Europe and lit candles and have the donation as it would have pleased my late grandma. But I was raised in a culture of non religion  and didn't have to wrestle with anything. I am content and comfortable in my belief system.

So I would have gone to the church to see the pageantry and listen to nephew but that does not mean at all that you should. One of my strong beliefs is that people should be free to choose and manifest their beliefs as they wish.

My situation too.  I wouldn't hesitate to watch a family member in a church based activity if (1) it was convenient for me to do so at that time, and (2) I wasn't expected to partake in any religious part of the event. But I understand that not everyone feels the same way.

bopper

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Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
« Reply #44 on: October 02, 2013, 08:51:17 AM »
Maybe it is because this religion is to close to what you gave up.  I would have no problem going to a jewish service even though I am not Jewish.  I go to Catholic services sometimes even though I am Protestant...I partake in the parts that I feel comfortable with but don't do the ones I don't (don't kneel, don't do sign of the cross, don't take communion as not am allowed to, do sing, do say Lord's Prayer, etc).