Author Topic: If I ever have the opportunity, should I say something? Long...sorry  (Read 4715 times)

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aussie_chick

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This is something I have been thinking about on and off since everything in this story happened and I'm looking for some ehell advice.

I am 1 of 2 children in my family. My mother died when I was a teenager, nearly 20 years ago.

My father remarried 3 years after my mother died to a woman from his country of birth. Someone he had known for years, since college. Step Mother moved to our country and moved in with my father and I. My sister was already away at University. I was almost 18 at the time.

The marriage didn't last (many many reasons for this and fault on both sides in my opinion for what it's worth) and my father and SM separated and then divorced with her moving back to her country.

Anyway, during the marriage, SM became friends with old friends of our family.

One friend had been a great friend to my mother and support during her long illness and to our family after her death. Another friend was someone we had a school band and also business relationship with. Both friends had been family friends for a long time.

Since the divorce, my dad has been subject to many rumours. Suggestions that he cheated while SM was in her country (after she told me she wasn't coming back, but before my dad knew - true or not I don't know) and that he was horrible and a bad person, and that the divorce left SM destitute (not true)

The family friends I mentioned before have been perpetuating these rumours and like in any smallish town, stories get back. Some to me and my sister, some direct to my dad which hurts him and makes him feel uncomfortable in old circles.

I'm really hurt that my mother's best friend (who I was very close to after her death) would help continue these rumours and spread them so far and wide. To other friends, throughout sporting clubs, and other hobbies.

I have avoided running into them so far (even so much as to cross the street to avoid them at times because i wasn't sure I could control myself if I did) Although now any anger has subsided.


I guess my etiquette question is about whether I CAN say anything at all to these people. Not to yell and rant at them but to quietly say their rumour mongering has hurt all of us, not just my father. It has hurt me because I see my father hurting but also it hurts me every time someone tells me yet more that has been said. - Although I have on occasion said to people "please don't tell me this. I can't control what so and so thinks and says"

The thing that hurt the most was that my mother has been brought into it by her best friend. E.g. "Marg would be so disappointed/angry/upset in what Ray has done to Sarah" and "I wonder if Ray was doing that to Marg all along" (with reference to suggested cheating)

I want to say to these people that marriages and divorces are private and that they effect families too and that their gossip is unhelpful and hurtful and that only the people in the marriage know what really happened and to please stop, if not for my dad, but for my sister and I.

The divorce was finalised about 2 years ago but these rumours keep going. I want them to stop and whilst I realise I can't control others behaviour, I want to tell them direct to their face that it needs to stop. If not for my dad, but for myself and my sister who these family friends claim constantly to care about so much.

So ehell, if I ever get the opportunity, if I run into these people and they attempt to make conversation (which I think they will considering I keep hearing that they miss me and haven't seen me around and wish they could. And they're just those kinds of people) can I say something like I've said above? Is it a polite response to impolite rumours even if perhaps futile? Or is there a different way of voicing the same thing? Not referencing my dad's hurt, only mine?

Or is the ehell approved response that there should be no response? That I shouldn't let on that I know or let them know it's affected me?

Sorry this is so long. I still haven't mastered the art of being short and sweet!

cicero

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Re: If I ever have the opportunity, should I say something? Long...sorry
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2013, 05:09:20 AM »
so busybodies are spreading and perpetuating gossip about something that happened 20, 15 years ago?

if you hear these stories from the "family friends" - then yes, you can say:
"You know marriages and divorces are private and that they effect families too. your gossip is unhelpful and hurtful and that only the people in the marriage know what really happened and to please stop, if not for my dad, but for my sister and I.

The divorce was finalised about 2 years ago but these rumours keep going. You are right that my mother would be sad to hear that people are gossiping about her"

If "others" are spreading rumors that supposedly were started by the "family friends" then stop them immediately - "you know this is my family you're talking about? I don't want to hear this".

dont' try to explain or justify or defend anyone.

and hugs - this sounds very very hurtful

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Redsoil

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Re: If I ever have the opportunity, should I say something? Long...sorry
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2013, 06:22:01 AM »
"Why would you keep perpetuating untrue and hurtful information?  These lies have impacted on my family severely, and I'm honestly astonished people would believe such things.  I'm tired of people telling me things like this and I'm very hurt by the rumour-mongering."

Speak up and speak out!  Small town gossip damages lives.  Put a firm stop to it (in your presence at least).  Your stance may well put paid to some of the lies, and at least people will know to stop speaking about such things in your presence.
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Pen^2

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Re: If I ever have the opportunity, should I say something? Long...sorry
« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2013, 07:15:50 AM »
"I'm disappointed that you would spread gossip about the private lives of other people like that." Look at them with your most disapproving expression and walk away.

Cicero has the big guns: "You are right that my mother would be sad to hear that people are gossiping about her." That'll sting anyone, and it works well if they try to use your mother as an excuse somehow.

Don't engage. Don't bother trying to disprove things. If people unconnected to something are going to believe lies, then there's not much you can do. Express your disgust and disappointment, and walk off.

LifeOnPluto

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Re: If I ever have the opportunity, should I say something? Long...sorry
« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2013, 09:43:52 PM »
I'd simply go with: "After the ridiculous and hurtful rumours you spread about my father, I have nothing further to say to you." and walk off.


(Side note: I'm wondering if your late mother's friends saw your father's re-marriage as "replacing" your mother; betraying her memory, etc, and dislike him because of it?)

aussie_chick

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Re: If I ever have the opportunity, should I say something? Long...sorry
« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2013, 12:32:33 AM »
Thank you for the replies. It's been difficult to decide what, if anything to do. Your responses have been helpful. I think if I'm ever in the position where we cross paths, I won't cross the road to avoid these people any more.
I won't commence a conversation with them but if they acknowledge me or try and chat to me then I will say something along the lines of
"you know, gossip and innuendo about someone's marriage and divorce is extremely hurtful and unhelpful. You actually don't know the ins and outs of the situation yet you continue to perpetuate hurtful gossip. I have nothing more to say to you" and walk away.
 Or something along those lines anyway.

I've certainly calmed a lot since this first began happening, right after their separation a few years ago. The divorce started it back up again and it seems to keep going. I can't really stop them, but I can let them know that I know, and that it's not appreciated.


LeveeWoman

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Re: If I ever have the opportunity, should I say something? Long...sorry
« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2013, 12:55:46 AM »
(((((ausisie_chick))))))


aussie_chick

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Re: If I ever have the opportunity, should I say something? Long...sorry
« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2013, 02:25:56 AM »
(((((ausisie_chick))))))

Thank You LeveeWoman :)

Winterlight

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Re: If I ever have the opportunity, should I say something? Long...sorry
« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2013, 09:36:45 AM »
I'd simply go with: "After the ridiculous and hurtful rumours you spread about my father, I have nothing further to say to you." and walk off.


(Side note: I'm wondering if your late mother's friends saw your father's re-marriage as "replacing" your mother; betraying her memory, etc, and dislike him because of it?)

This.
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Five things observe with care,
To whom you speak,
Of whom you speak,
And how, and when, and where.
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Mikayla

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Re: If I ever have the opportunity, should I say something? Long...sorry
« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2013, 11:39:44 AM »
((Hugs))  This sounds awful.

I'm with the majority that it's fine to say something to them, but are you absolutely positive these are the people starting and spreading the rumors?  The OP just stated it as fact, so I'll assume you're accurate on that.  But just be careful about anything not said directly to you, or to someone you fully trust. 

I've made some really bad assumptions in the past that at the time seemed perfectly reasonable!


TurtleDove

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Re: If I ever have the opportunity, should I say something? Long...sorry
« Reply #10 on: December 12, 2013, 11:43:02 AM »
(Side note: I'm wondering if your late mother's friends saw your father's re-marriage as "replacing" your mother; betraying her memory, etc, and dislike him because of it?)

I would certainly hope that no one would begrudge the OP's father finding happiness after his wife died.  That, to me, is a very cruel thing to do to someone. 

SamiHami

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Re: If I ever have the opportunity, should I say something? Long...sorry
« Reply #11 on: December 12, 2013, 02:02:18 PM »
"Stop spreading nasty gossip about my family. It's hurtful and ugly, and quite honestly our family issues are none of your business."  You might also add, "You know, my mother considered you a dear friend. She would be appalled to know that you would betray her memory by saying such awful things about her family."

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Nuala

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Re: If I ever have the opportunity, should I say something? Long...sorry
« Reply #12 on: December 12, 2013, 03:38:46 PM »
"You know, my mother considered you a dear friend. She would be appalled to know that you would betray her memory by saying such awful things about her family."

If I said anything at all, I would say this, and leave out the first part.

aussie_chick

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Re: If I ever have the opportunity, should I say something? Long...sorry
« Reply #13 on: December 13, 2013, 01:43:53 AM »
I guess I know it's these 2 particular people spreading nasty things as far as possible without hearing it directly from their mouths. I agree that before making accusatory statements to people I need to be really careful to make sure it was in fact those people saying things.

What I keep hearing is "I ran into Betty (name i'll give to one of them) the other day, and she asked if I had seen you. Then she went into some rant about your dad and Sarah and saying your mother would be upset". Or some variation on that. It's always that someone ran into Betty, Betty asks about me, then rants on about my family. I've heard it from several people now in the same way.

Except on one occasion Betty was participating in an art class and was discussing divorce with another participant sitting next to her and used my family as an example not realising the person teaching the class is one of my good friends. In that instance, the teacher (my friend) told her bluntly that I was a friend of theirs and I would be very unhappy to hear this gossip being discussed in such a casual way. I'm grateful to my friend for that.

I really like the suggestions from posters about not saying much, but perhaps saying something about my mother was a good friend and she would be unhappy with this.

I actually know that. One thing I remember my mother saying is "Always be gracious. No matter what people say or how they behave, you always be gracious".

SamiHami

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Re: If I ever have the opportunity, should I say something? Long...sorry
« Reply #14 on: December 13, 2013, 08:18:05 AM »
Good advice from your mother. Even though knowing this shrew is gossiping about your family, you have to remember that it says much more about her than it does about your family. If I heard someone saying ugly things behind someone's back, my first thought would be, "I wonder what she says about me when I'm not around?"

People see gossips for what they are.

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