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families. pfft.

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Old 11-28-2010, 08:04 PM   #1
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Default families. pfft.

There's a saying in my family that after three days, fish and family start to stink. How true that is. Of course we had the big production of Thanksgiving and everyone flew in from all over. And of course, just like always, it ended in disaster.

I am very sensitive. My feelings get hurt fairly easily and my family knows this. And yet, last night at dinner, I heard many hurtful comments about how lazy I am (for not helping to do the dishes after lunch), and how my job is hurtful to this country because I make decisions about medicaid and food stamps for families in need of resources in the area, and they said "all of those people are just working the system so they can sit on their a***s all day and do drugs." That's very hurtful to me because I take a lot of pride in what I do, and a lot of the families I work with (I only work with families with children, who have been reported to us for child abuse and neglect) mean a lot to me. And I can see the difference I'm making, even if mom and dad ARE lazy drug addicts, my actions may help those children learn to make better decisions for their futures.

So, I stood up for myself. I told them I felt hurt by what they were saying and didn't appreciate it. And they retorted that I always have to make everything a fight and I ruin all family get togethers with my sensitivities. Which also hurts, to be told that they think I'm the reason things don't go well. I tried to explain in a rational way that they had hurt my feelings, but I was getting upset and emotional and had to leave because I know myself, and there would have been a bigger issue had I stayed.

Now my sister is telling me she doesn't want me in her wedding because I walked out on a family dinner and upset my mom. I know that none of you were there, and of course there are two sides to every story, but does anyone have any advice on how to deal with people who don't seem to care if they hurt your feelings? I can't tell you how many times I've tried to explain to them that I'm truly hurt by some of the things they've said to me in the past, with the only response being "You're too overdramatic, stop making everyone else's lives harder." hmph.
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Old 11-28-2010, 08:23 PM   #2
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Opinions are like ***holes. Everyone has one, and family members are no different. My family likes to comment on everything from my looks, to my car, to my watch and even my hobbies. If I gain weight, they talk about how fat I'm getting. If I spend time on my makeup, they say I'm prissy. If I don't do my makeup, they say I'm letting myself go.

I used to have to try so hard to let it go. I would SEETHE inside. I would sit and wonder what awful things they were saying about me. Then I realized something: How awesome must my life be if people were REALLY that concerned about what *I* do on a daily basis? More accurately, how boring must THEIR lives be to do that?

I mean SERIOUSLY. People love to tear someone down, especially if they think that person is "better" than them. When they get a reaction out of you, it's THAT much better for them. I stopped responding to them, and if I did respond it was something like this: Yeah, my watch looks like it has diamonds. Pretty, huh? (They didn't need to know it was a cheapy watch from Walmart.) Or, "Yeah I decided not to wear makeup today. I like the way I look au natural. (which I do) And then drop the situation.

About your job, NONE of them know for sure what you do. NONE. You and me and everyone else out there are well aware that there are *some* people who abuse the system, but more importantly, there are people out there who absolutely NEED that assistance, and you play a vital role in that. Don't let anyone belittle that.

Ignore them.

edit: And as for your sister's wedding, don't flip out about it. She's using it as a weapon, and that's totally wrong. Don't let her hold it over your head. Tell her it's her decision, and you wouldn't want to partake if it is going to cause problems, especially since she's treating it as something to punish you with. You have to take your power back from them.
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Old 11-28-2010, 08:34 PM   #3
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I used to have to try so hard to let it go. I would SEETHE inside. I would sit and wonder what awful things they were saying about me.
uuugh, that's totally me. I tried last night to let it pass and not say anything, but sometimes it just hurts so much that the people who are *supposed* to love me the most can be the meanest. I love my family very much, but sometimes it's hard to be around them and keep my sanity. I have been doing much better at letting things go as I've gotten older and more mature (oh, the teen years were just peachy, because I would react to all of their negative comments with tears), I guess I just need more practice And I'm sure it didn't help that I was with these people nonstop from Wednesday until last night.
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Old 11-28-2010, 08:35 PM   #4
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Sounds like an excuse to miss the wedding would be nice.

The whole dishes thing is particularly annoying and passive aggressive. If they want you to help with the dishes, ASK you to help with the dishes. *****ing about it later is maddening.

As far as the food stamps thing, I'm the only liberal in my family so I just ignore all the political talk. My family is generally awesome, but RABID republicans and they often try to get a rise out of me. I just ignore it, say stuff like "that's fascinating" or leave the room until the subject gets changed. I really just tune it all out. I have NO DESIRE to talk politics with anyone in my family, they can just talk to themselves about it.
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Old 11-28-2010, 08:41 PM   #5
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My family are all die-hard Democrats. I registered as a Republican just to piss them off. I really hate talking politics, just for the simple fact that I'm RIGHT in the center on my view points. I agree with some "Democratic" views, and some "Republican" views, as well as some "Liberal" views. But not all of any of those views.

And Kathryn, I just told myself that they were WINNING when I would sit and worry. They wanted me to feel a certain way and boy did they get it. And I am a crier too. I don't cry often, generally when I'm very angry or overly frustrated. That meant a lot of tears at the hands of my family as well.
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Old 11-28-2010, 08:43 PM   #6
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The whole dishes thing is particularly annoying and passive aggressive. If they want you to help with the dishes, ASK you to help with the dishes. *****ing about it later is maddening.
I mentioned that on the phone with my mom today. The reason I opted out was because I cleared up my own dishes and food mess, then the kitchen got cramped with the 5 people who were in there cleaning up and there was no room for me! I also made note that no comments were made about any of the men who didn't help out...

It's hard to be the odd man out and feel like you don't have a voice. I suppose I'm wondering if keeping my mouth shut while being put down in order to avoid an argument (which I have done many times in the past) is worth feeling the way I do when they say stuff like that?
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Old 11-28-2010, 08:48 PM   #7
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Just because they're your family, doesn't mean they can't be toxic, emotional vampires. If they refuse to heed your polite requests to speak to you nicely, limit your contact with them.
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Old 11-28-2010, 10:11 PM   #8
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That's really sad that they have to bring up sensitive and heated topics like that over dinner. It's bad enough to call you lazy in a roundabout passive aggressive unjustified way, but bringing politics to the dinner table knowing darn well that you probably don't agree with them is really repugnant.

Maybe they'll find themselves in immediate financial hardship and change their tune when they suddenly can't afford a visit to the ER.
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Old 11-29-2010, 09:51 AM   #9
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I have sooooo been where you are. The only solution is to stand tall in who you are, and not be bullied. It will take a while for them to learn that you won't continue to be the family scapegoat, but if you don't change, they won't change the way they treat you.

At the next get together, if the kitchen (or whatever) is already too crowded, consider running the vacuum, taking out the trash, or some other solitary assist. You could even establish such a plan with the host early on in the visit, before it is time to clear the table or whatever, simply saying something like, "I'll take charge of XXX chore today." Let the cats be catty if that is their intent, but don't let yourself be caught in the middle of it.

You know what you believe, and why you've chosen your field of work. You know it to be valuable. Stand tall.
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Old 11-29-2010, 10:06 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pint Sized Terror View Post
Opinions are like ***holes. Everyone has one, and family members are no different.
SO true!

@op- good for you for standing up for yourself!
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