Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Why the fuck do I have to be nice!?!

(52 Posts)
WhoseGotMyEyebrows Wed 17-Aug-11 09:13:41

What is wrong with me?! For several years now my ILs have on and off done really horrible things to me and my DH and really let us down. Things that I am still angry about and will never forget.

When I am not with them and it pops into my mind I am so angry. Then when I see them I am all nice and friendly and chatty to them! I don't want to be as I want them to be aware (even if I haven't got the guts to actually say it) that I don't think they are nice people.

Why do I have to be nice? What's wrong with me?! It's like I can't help it!

AuntieMonica Wed 17-Aug-11 09:15:35

Because no matter what, you are stuck with them and if you were as awful to them, then it would mean fighting?

And you are obviously a better person wink

Pootles2010 Wed 17-Aug-11 09:16:51

Its because you're a decent human being. I'm same, can't actually bring myself to have a go at anyone. Was discussing with dp, I've never actually had a go at anyone. Not properly. Ever.

Lots of ranting in my head/at poor dp, after the event, but never aimed at the actual person.

ImperialBlether Wed 17-Aug-11 09:17:54

Could you try just being a little more chilly with them? There's really no point in being overly nice to them and then sticking pins in their waxen images once they're not there. Stop being as friendly.

purits Wed 17-Aug-11 09:17:56

If you had posted this in the Feminist section you would get some interesting theses. Women are 'conditioned' to be nice. It's what we do.

mycherubs Wed 17-Aug-11 09:18:28

As long as you are married, you got to put up with them warts and all. Just try to limit the contact. But remember blood can be thicker than water. Ive seen other members turn on non-blood relatives like a shot when arguments start. You are doing the right thing. Just keep smiling!

WhoseGotMyEyebrows Wed 17-Aug-11 09:26:45

ImperialBlether Thats what I've tried to do. I last 2 minutes!

I think it's confusing as they can be funny and things so good to chat with sometimes and I get caught up in that. But then the nasty comments just come out of nowhere and surprise me to the extext that I am dumbfounded! The same when they do horrible things! I am just so stunned! It probably doesn't help that a least 2 of them act like fucking psychos if you disagree with them! They're just not used to it.

purits I think I bloody was conditioned to be nice though!

Meow75 Wed 17-Aug-11 09:50:59

Why not try another method.

Imagine the scenario of your last post - nice chat, nice chat, nice chat, then BOOM Nasty Comment.

"Er, just so I don't misunderstand you, but were you intentionally really mean then?"

Not shouted, not angry, but definitely telling them that those kind of comments are not ok. You'd only have to do it a couple of times, but will have kept your Nice-ness at the same time.


WhoseGotMyEyebrows Wed 17-Aug-11 10:19:46

Yes Meow that's what I want to do. My FIL often makes nasty bullying comments at my DH but all bundled up to look like a joke, but of course it still goes deep and hurts him.

I have asked on here before and people have suggested the "wow that came across as really rude, did you mean to be so rude^ thing, but yours is the alternative for mean comments.

Just need to try to get it to stick in my head as they come so out of the blue that I am not prepared and then the moment passes and it's too late to say anything.

Pootles2010 Wed 17-Aug-11 11:42:58

Sounds exactly like mine OP. MIL will be being all nicey nicey, then just slips in a 'you're a bad mother' then we're back to discussing Jamie Oliver's later recipe hmm

WhoseGotMyEyebrows Thu 18-Aug-11 11:47:48

Why do they do it Pootles!

Pootles2010 Thu 18-Aug-11 12:00:40

No idea. Actually I do genuinely think there might be something wrong with her - I feel quite sorry for her in a way.

She makes herself miserable, along with everyone else. It's frustrating - she won't let anyone help her. She's got plenty of money and time, but won't consider doing anything for herself.

garlicbutter Thu 18-Aug-11 12:01:57

the moment passes and it's too late to say anything Actually, it's not. There is nothing wrong with saying "Just going back a few minutes, did you say XYZ?" Or even, if it doesn't hit you until they've gone, saying on the phone, "Remember when we were doing ABC on Saturday? Well, I thought you said XYZ, is that right?" It's most likely they'll try to wriggle out of it - and I'd let them - but, after you pull them up a few times, they'll be more careful.

Re being overly nice in general: I learned a lot from Latin-type people while living abroad! It's a great idea to observe a few stormy women, then imitate what they do ... it's actually fun once you get started! Obviously, in England, you would only "storm" when absolutely necessary - it works wink

You aren't being nice to them, you are being nice to your DH. If it would upset him for you to speak frankly to his parents then you are being friendly to them simply to stop your DH being upset. Sod them, they don't matter but your DH's feelings do.

My SIL has behaved appallingly towards my DH and I would dearly love to tell her to fuck off and when she gets there fuck off some more (I am more confrontational than my DH) but I have stepped back because I know it would distress my DH if I did that. I have left him to deal with it and after a year stewing he has spoken to his brother about the situation.

WhoseGotMyEyebrows Thu 18-Aug-11 12:16:20

Whats the storm thing garlic

Chazs Yeah you are right I do hold back because of my DH. He always used to say that his family problems were for him to sort out not me, he doesn't feel that way anymore though but I guess it has stuck!

garlicbutter Thu 18-Aug-11 13:14:09

You know, that Latin thing ... grin
Here's a scene from one of the Brazilian soaps (novelas)

Pootles2010 Thu 18-Aug-11 13:36:45

Can't Youtube as at work - do you mean like Gloria from Modern Family?

NanaNina Thu 18-Aug-11 13:40:34

Some brilliant responses here. There is a theory called Transactional Analysis, and one of its central points is that the emotionally healthy way for us to behave is to be honest and open which promotes authenticity.

It isn't always easy though for us to be honest and open and depends very much on how we feel about the person with whom we are inter-acting. With the situation with your ILs you are, as others are saying, behaving in a way that is probably normal for you and how you have been brought up in your family.

Some people in your situation "save stamps" this means that they do what you are doing (being nice) but holding resentments, so every time something bad happens, they save another stamp, and peope can "save a book full of stamps" and then finally trade them in with a big confrontation, divorce or whatever. However some people "dump stamps" which means that they tell others about the problems and this can work sufficiently well for them to carry on behaving as you are doing with your ILs. (I'm one of those - once I've dumped a stamp (as in a long talk to a trusted friend) I can usually carry on as usual.

It seems to me that you have a lot of "saved stamps" - a bookfull maybe - you will know whether this is true and how big the book is. Some people "save a dozen or so A4 pads of stamps" or even whole rooms or houses. When the angry thoughts about your ILs crops up, you are sticking another stamp in the book. Also the angry thoughts keep playing like a tape in your could write a letter to them when this happens (and not send it) or just write down how angry you feel. This is another method I use and I have A4 pads with some pages filled with "I fucking HATE YOU" and other such insults and this helps me to shift the angry feeling, getting it out of my head onto paper. Everyone is different and this may not work for you.

I agree with others that this is the ILs problem and you are rising above their nastiness..... this is probably quite irritating for them if they are looking for conflict. A good thing to remember is that "it is only losers that try to score points" - you are a winner not a loser.

If these ideas make any sense to you, it would be good to know how many "saved stamps" you have! You might think I am a head case though!

WhoseGotMyEyebrows Thu 18-Aug-11 14:43:24

NanaNina Woah! I have a lot of stamps! Never heard it put like that before. I do offload to friends but it doesn't dump stamps for me. I just save them up and get bitter and angry!

WhoseGotMyEyebrows Thu 18-Aug-11 14:45:19

garlic Have no sound on my computer! Are you able to explain it?

garlicbutter Thu 18-Aug-11 15:21:43

Haha, the sound wouldn't be all that necessary unless you're a fluent Portuguese speaker! (Just take it from me, it was loud and lively grin )
Nina's point about TA stamp-collecting looks more relevant to you than learning how to rant properly - at the moment, anyway.

An interesting thing about TA 'games' is that we all play them - they make the world go round - problems arise when you're in a game you can't win. Stamp hoarding is one of those. When you've got, like, ten million stamps, all you can do is trade them with another stamp collector (huge angry moaning session) and maybe get a "Kick Me" sweatshirt (act put-upon and victim-like). It's really good fun, this stuff: here are the books on Amazon:-
Games People Play
What Do You Say After You Say Hello
There's also:
Scripts People Live
I'm Ok, You're Ok
They all have a "Look Inside" smile

With the snide comment-dropping, your ILs are playing some sort of point-scoring game (can't be bothered to look it up; perhaps NN can oblige!) There's no merit in trying to score points back at them, because they're experts and play as a team. There are some ways you can deal with it, though. You can choose to rise above it - which would mean giving up your 'stamps' of resentment; may not be possible for you. You can save your stamps and dump, but that might not work for you either.

Alternatives off the top of my head:- You can make yourself score-keeper: get DH to join you in counting the digs, score them for nastiness and do a tally after each encounter. You could even start saying the points out loud to each other - I would! You can choose to play 'Adult' to their bitchy 'Child', which means reasonably calling them out as outlined in various posts above. You might even experiment with being a chiding 'Parent', saying "That wasn't very nice!" and suchlike whenever they do it. There's no reason on earth why you shouldn't have a go at all these games, and make some more up if you feel like it. You're not obliged to play by their rules grin

WhoseGotMyEyebrows Thu 18-Aug-11 16:15:52

I think the reason it gets to me is because they are not pulled up on it and so they get away with it. I want to be able to make it clear that it's been heard and it's not acceptable, but I am always too stunned to deal with it well! I am sure I could dump the stamp if I could do that.

MillyTant Thu 18-Aug-11 16:26:29

This strikes such a chord with me.
my IL's are exactly like this, nasty passive aggressive shit which you can't quite decide just how nasty they are being but you know it is nasty.

Example, we were having a meal with MIL and SIL and chit chatting. We mentioned a beetle drive we were going to ( just making small talk as ya do) and SIL said," Oh, whoopedy do" and rolled her eyes.
We just laugh. SIL is a bitter, childless unmarried woman in a tiny flat with a low paid job she hates. So I have to pity her.

glintwithpersperation Thu 18-Aug-11 16:37:53

I suffer with being too nice as well and its starting to piss me right off!

Firstly, I think I am an empath and so actually feel other peoples feelings and will expend energy trying to make other people feel good.

Secondly, I have some sort of weird belief that its my job to sort/save others (I am now aware of this and made in-roads to change this).

Thirdly, I only express dissatisfaction when some one else enables me.

And finnally, I find it difficult to deal with not liking people I know, it's like Ive been preprogrammed to be nice to everyone even if they are horrible

For example there are 3 mothers in my daughters class, who are very judgmental, nasty about others and small minded. I keep trying to avoid them and maintain a frosty but polite distance. However I fail and will end up being drawn into a converstaion, where I am friendly and think "oh they arent so bad." Eventually one of them will say something cutting and I walk away feeling dirty inside - like I'm not being tru to myself.

New resolution - be more distant and slightly polite (one lives opposite me, is a governor at the school so if I told her what I think, life will be difficultsmile

glintwithpersperation Thu 18-Aug-11 16:39:47

Being stunned is also a problem with me, it takes a while for things to sink in, by the time I have thought about it, the moment has passed.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: