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How to deal with negative comments..

(13 Posts)
roland83 Fri 26-Dec-14 13:12:10


I have my sister visiting me over New Year.

She lives in Australia and loves it there, I'm always pleased for her and love the fact that she enjoys every aspect of the country and her life. Not seen her in 4yrs.

I also have a good life here in England, I am self-employed, I work a lot of hours.. 9-5pm in my office doing orders, and then I work in the evening on my laptop designing new products, I'm on the sofa with my partner and so we still chat and watch things together, he works early and usually falls asleep after dinner anyhow.. it's only me that works for my business and so I have to do everything. I got a new machine this year and I'm working very hard to make the most of it. It's been very successful so far and I really want to get the hard work done now to prepare for when I have children.

I live with my boyfriend, he has no problems with my work, or the hours I do and is very positive towards it and congratulates me for being such a hard worker.

Whenever me and my boyfriend have problems, she always says to "move to Oz", it's great etc etc..

Anyhow, that's the back story.

My issue is, she's already started harping on... "God, get a life and put the computer down".. "take some time off".. "if you weren't so obsessed you would have a life".. "There's more to life than work".. "you need to get out more"..

It makes me so mad that she's so negative, she has a good career as a nurse, so it isn't jealousy.. She constantly makes out that I have no life. I have a great life, I've done lots of things with my life before now and I'm happy, I have plans for the future, but for now our plans (mine & partners) are to save for a house deposit and buy a house in the next 18 months so we can start a family. This year we had a week's holiday, seen 3 big name comedian shows, been 2 to rock gigs, went to see 3 American football matches in London with a long weekend stay. Booked lots of similar things for next year too.. Her idea of a holiday is to lay on a beach for a week, not my thing, I'd be bored in half an hour.

My sister is long-term single, lost a lot of weight in the last few years and is supposedly happy! but she can't seem to help but to make digs at me? Is it because I have a partner? We've been together nearly 6 yrs.

What can I say back? I'm usually good with words but I feel so hurt and upset when she says it, like I'm being bullied in some way, I feel embarrassed almost and talking back or being defensive gets an "oooh I'm only saying" childish voice response that makes me even more annoyed.

How can I deal with it? She's got nothing to be jealous of, we just have very different lives, but I can't help but think that must be her reason. She's also very loud and extrovert but with few hobbies, and I'm fairly quiet day-to-day but have had lots of exciting hobbies in the past, so I'm no shrinking violet by any means..

Sorry for the essay, just didn't want to drip feed.

roland83 Fri 26-Dec-14 13:14:03

I'm 31, she's 34.

ImperialBlether Fri 26-Dec-14 13:22:23

It sounds as though you're happy, so maybe that's enough reason for her to be jealous. I'm jealous of your job, in any case! I'd love to know what you're doing.

Would she like to be with someone? Maybe she's looking at you and all your options are wide open, where she is older and feels her options are closing down. Not that they are or should be, but I think it's common to feel a kind of desperation in your mid thirties if you think you might not have children.

Does she ever give constructive advice re your relationship with your boyfriend or is her immediate response that you should leave the country?

roland83 Fri 26-Dec-14 13:31:17

Thank you for the response ImperialBlether..

Her response is always to "move to Oz", even when I say everything is going well for me, or it's chilly today it's always "move to Oz it's warm here". She can be very childish still, thinks nothing of farting loudly in a room full of people for example, so sometimes I have really nice chats with her, but she's very black and white about a lot of things whereas I'm a deep thinker.

It's all started really when I got my degree a year ago, I got a 1:1, whereas she got a 2:2 and struggled a lot, but I've never cared, I've always been proud of her and her career in nursing.

Don't get me wrong, Australia sounds great, but I like it here, I have a life, my job is great and I have my own future plans.

She does mention about a partner/kids now and again, and I guess that's the reason.

I don't want to argue with her or have these childish confrontational spats.. it annoys me and she has her opinion and that's that. Arghhh.

P.s, my job is sort of Graphic Design, and then I make things with the designs, think, T-Shirt printing but slightly different smile I don't think she thinks it's a proper job as I work at home, despite earning over 30k this year and it's going up.

Trills Fri 26-Dec-14 13:37:10

Some people are just not very good at understanding that different people like different things.

She sees your life and thinks that if were her life she would make certain changes. So she advises you to make those changes and thinks she is helping to to make your life "better". But it's not better, it's just "more to her taste".

SunshineAndShadows Fri 26-Dec-14 13:37:51

Is she staying with you over Christmas? Is it possible that she misses you and would like you closer? That the nice worked well for her and she wants you to have the same opportunities and be near to her (even though this isn't what you want). Is it possible that she's feeling neglected if she's visiting you and you're working every evening? I'd probably be a bit miffed if I'd travelled all that way to be ignored in favour of a laptop!

roland83 Fri 26-Dec-14 13:40:41

Thanks Trills, yes I think that's also true.

What she doesn't get is that I'm more sensitive to criticism than her and I see it as a put down or an insult.

I've always loved the town/villiage that I live in, it's not our home town as I moved away years ago. She not been here before and I'm stressing that she will put it down and say "it's boring, how can you live here". It's lovely here and I feel very happy and at home, something that hasn't always been the case previously.

I feel on edge and I just want to tell her to shut up about Australia and appreciate that my life isn't this cow shed existence that she seems to portray.

roland83 Fri 26-Dec-14 13:42:59

Oh no I won't be working at all during their visit, she says that when she calls and asks what I'm doing this evening etc. When my mums stays with me for a few days I never work either, they have my full attention.

She does miss me yes, but she's very hard work in a lot of ways and after a few days I get very mentally tired.

She is staying for 2 nights over New year, I'm really excited in a lot of ways, but I can never work out what attitude she will have.

BallsforEarings Fri 26-Dec-14 13:50:13

Oh OP you have my sympathies, I too work on my business all round the clock except when sleeping or doing things for family and have been subject to negative remarks too!

This year will be the year when I move my job into the 'daytime hours only' as I will be hiring other staff to perform some of the roles I have been multi-tasking myself! For years I did EVERY aspect of management, sales, marketing and admin plus staff training customer service, business development you name it, you have to first few years if you want success and you really believe in what you are selling.

Firstly, my ears have become strangely deaf to the 'get-a-life brigade' it's sooo old and I'm soooo over it so I just say for example in response to 'Balls, YOU need a holiday!!!' (said accusing tones) me: 'Oooh nooo imagine the stress if I dropped the ball at this key stage of growth, plus i'm FAR too exited to go away and leave all this right now, I'd sooo hate a holiday right now!'

Secondly, to actually address the issue of pushing business forward without drowning personally, I recommend the book 'E-myth revisited' you don't have to do it all forever and this book explains how to progress to the next stage of your business until you own the thing and it no longer owns you!


roland83 Fri 26-Dec-14 14:04:28

Balls - wow, you must be me from the future haha.

My stock answer is "but I love my job, so it's no problem for me".. then I get a "erghhoohhhhh" sort of reply, like I've just exposed a nasty boil for people to look at. grin

I like holidays, but like you say, it's a pivotal point in my business at the moment and if I work hard now, then the future will/should be easier.. more money and more scope to expand so that I can hire staff.

Thank you for the book recommendation! I will get that, it sounds like it could be very handy.

Thank you for all the replies, I feel a bit better just discussing it and forming a bit of a mental plan in my head in case it happens... it is knocking my confidence in some ways as I've always been adventurous and had hobbies, I've had to put things on the back burner for now as there are things I want (house, family etc) and I feel this is the way to achieve what I want.

I've only ever got anywhere by working hard, surely that isn't hard to appreciate.

slightlyglitterstained Fri 26-Dec-14 14:23:53

Have had a milder version - spent ten years working pretty hard to get myself established in career, doing lots of study and additional professional development. I didn't think of it as hard - I thought of it as my hobby as well as work. Now well established, work part-time & still well paid (and still think of extra time doing work-related stuff as playtime).

Don't think my sister ever quite understood that, so I tend not to mention it to her now.

Maybe just say "ah it's all part of the plan - so tell me more about [whatever her latest holiday/thing is]", i.e. deflect & move on to her stuff?

nunkspugget Fri 26-Dec-14 14:25:06

"Move to oz!!"
"No way, all that sun is incredibly aging".

roland83 Fri 26-Dec-14 14:32:14

Slightlyglitterstained - yes, that's my plan too.. especially when I have children, I hope to work part time and still earn a very good wage from it, and still have the business for later when I can work longer. I think my sister doesn't believe it's a proper job, or that it's hard work, just thinks I press a few buttons and it sorts itself out. Deflection is a good idea, I'll practice that.

Nunkspugget - I actually don't much care for hot weather, and yes, even she will say skin cancer is a major concern for people in Australia. I'm sure in some way I would like it there, but we have an 80yr old Grandma, my mum and dad etc, and I just don't think the sun really compensates for missing out on them.

I've lived away since I was 18, only 150 ish miles away, but I still know how much I've missed by not being local to family, I don't want to make that worse. My mum really struggles with my sister living away, so it would break her heart if I went too, and it would break mine.. I don't want that.

I have my chance of a family now, in a few years, and I want that more than anything. We obviously have different priorities in life, but I worry that her single and care free attitude will catch up on her when she's late 30's/ early 40's.

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