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!