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Horrible negative comments from family

(56 Posts)
TwoFourSixOhOne Wed 08-May-13 08:12:56

I've namechanged but some of you may recognise some of this as it's nothing new. I just need to get it out and get some advice or even just some hairstroking because it's making me feel utterly wretched.

My mother and my sister seem to think they can just say anything they like to me, and they seem to rejoice in saying the most awful things.

What's kicked it off today for me is that I was away seeing friends this weekend, my mum phoned last night and did a 'how are the poor children' concerned question, I said, 'they're fine, had a lovely weekend with DH, did lots of fun stuff, I had a lovely weekend too, thanks for asking, it's a shame my friends live so far away and I can't see them more often'.

My mum repiled with, 'yes, you can't just abandon your family like that for a whole weekend again, especially on a Bank Holiday. It's not fair on anybody'.


She was then really dismissive of anything else I said, just kept repeating that it was a terrible thing to have done, and I got off the phone and just cried.

I am around my children pretty much 24/7, by the way, I work from home and rarely have nights out (maybe three times a year). Not that I shoudl need to justify it, of course, but it was such an unfair and spiteful thing to say.

I was given a gift while I was away, something very beautiful and personal that my incredibly talented friend had made for me, and my sister phoned to tell me she didn't like it. Nothing else, just 'I saw the photo of it on FB and I have to say I really dont' like it'.

Well, no, you dont' 'have to say' that at all. No one has to say they dont' like something. I defended it, and myself, but then again got off the phone and just sobbed.

It's fairly constant. 'Your wallpaper's peeling there', 'Ooooh that's a hideous spot', 'Have you lost weight, you look really gaunt', 'You've put weight on, you need to diet'.

Then there's the more things like how I parent, or it's no surprise DD has the issues she has, or 'funny' jokes about my house being a candidate for How Clean Is Your House.

Whenever I decorate or move furniture around or put up a new picture, they come to my house and slag it off. It's like a complusion. When I decorated my bathroom my mum SNORTED at me and said, 'what's the point, you won't keep it tidy'. My house is fine and normal by the way, both Mum and sister live in minimalist white boxes.

I would never say anything negative to either of them. My sister is actually quite needy in that respect and takes criticism terribly: my mum once mentioned that she looked a bit porky and she went on a crash diet and lost two stone straight away. Mum never usually makes digs like that to her, it was a one off and she hasn't repeated it.

My mum has an awful relationship with her Dad, and is always telling me about the horrible digs and nasty things he says, she just doesn't seem to make the connection between that and how she treats me.

Any time I've brought any of this up, it's laughed off. I'm accused of beingt oversensitive and that they 'only say things out of concern' or that 'Oh it's just what I'm like, ignore me'.

I am just completely out of energy for it. I don't know how to process what they say, because it DOES get to me, and I do take it to heart despite knowing I shouldn't.

Cutting them out is not an option, they both live a few doors away and
the benefits of having them in our lives still, just, outweigh the nasty digs. But I am exhausted and so sad.

Thanks for reading, I know this is a bit epic.

DontmindifIdo Thu 09-May-13 10:20:59

oh yes and check childcare vouchers for both you and DH claiming them.

lottieandmia Thu 09-May-13 10:29:03

I haven't read the whole thread but it sounds like you have a toxic family. My parents are the same, and I really sympathise.

I spent years trying to work out why they were behaving the way they did and it was a total waste of my time. Remember that with people like this - it is not about you, it is about THEM and their insecurities and what toxic parents do is to use their children as a dumping ground for all their unresolved issues in their lives.

As others have said, you have to try to get to a place where you no longer care what they say or what they think. It is the only way. You will not be able to change them, but you can change the way you react.

It is easier said than done - I think I've managed to get some distance via therapy.

Squitten Thu 09-May-13 10:35:05

Well done for finding a solution to the childcare issues. MUCH better not to have to deal with these people.

You know you don't have to accept all this from them. I know other people have suggested ways to be clever and get your own back but there is another way. Just hang up the phone. Every time your family say something nasty, just put the phone down. You are not obliged to explain yourself, you're not obliged to tolerate it. Just refuse to listen to it.

I suspect that trying to change their attitudes will be an utterly draining waste of time for you and how many more days are you going to waste in tears? Just hang up or walk away as soon as the rubbish starts.

This doesn't have to be your life.

TwoFourSixOhOne Thu 09-May-13 10:45:33

As ever, thanks so much for all the fab advice. We are planning to use childcare vouchers, one of the issues was that the training wage minus childcare vouchers woudl take me under minimum wage (which means they can't offer them) but my sister was going to charge me less to compensate.

I've made my mind up to use outside childcare now, we won't starve and it'll be worth it to minimise my family's influence on things.

I remember years ago, when we bought a dining room table without going through the usual round of picking one out with everyone's input (seriously). I found it so hard to do, my instincts were all to check with Mum that it was ok. Things are a lot better since then.

DH is very good at telling them off, my mum adores him and will let him tell her to butt out.

We need to move to a bigger house soon and it's unlikely to be in the same road, I think we are going to look at the villages, and move far enough away that they can't pop in unannounced and judge my life.

My sister (toxic one) said yesterday that Mum finds it hard because I live very differently from her. I'm a 33 yo mother of three fgs. Not a teenager.

My sister did everything right, after a blip in her teens, she got a good job straight of of school, met her DH, bought a house, had DC. My life has travelled other paths (I was kicked out 15 which may have something to do with it...) but I have done well for myself in the last seven years or so and now live an incredibly 'normal' life, married, mortgage, middle class pursuits (IYSWIM). Mum can't let go of the image of me as fucked up so she feels entitled to 'guide' me constantly. It's exhausting.

Sorry for brain dump, this is all very helpful thanks

smilingthroughgrittedteeth Thu 09-May-13 10:59:28

My grandmother is like this,

My mum cut her out a long time ago, she will be polite to her at family occasions but that's the extent of their relationship, she is also quite happy to tell her to stop being rude and keep her opinions to herself.

My uncle also refuses to have anything to do with her and won't even come to a family party if she's going to be there.

My aunt sees her once a week and it always ends in tears, she's actually my nans favourite so doesn't get as many insults as everyone else but she's a really sensitive person and the slightest criticism upsets her, she's too nice to cut her out or give as good as she gets unfortunately.

I used to just ignore her and reply to everything she said with "if you say so" but I've been really unwell in the past year and have just discovered that I may have a problem with my kidneys, it's made me less tolerant with her and last time I spoke to her she spent 25mins shouting at me for not ringing her after I'd had surgery to tell her how I was. I hung up on her and refused to talk to her for 3 weeks, dp answered the phone and just told her straight that I have enough crap to deal with and until she apologized I didn't want to speak to her, she apologized last week so I am talking to her again but she now knows that if she carries on I will cut her out forever.

You sound like my lovely aunt op, if your not willing to cut them out of your life then you need to start being more assertive with them, cut them off mid sentence with a cheery "enough criticism for today thanks" and change the subject, just shrug and say "I suppose your allowed an opinion" or just let them rant on whilst you stare above their heads thinking about something else then when their finished walk towards the kitchen and say "are you done because Im going to put the kettle on I was just thinking I could do with a cup of tea, what was it you were saying I think I drifted off for a bit"

I think your doing the right thing using your cm friend instead of your sister

DontmindifIdo Thu 09-May-13 12:01:59

I do think that limiting their access to your life (so not doing their childcare, not using others for childcare), not telling them about things going on in your life, if you're going away or buying a new sofa or redoing your bathroom, or changing jobs etc will help.

It's hard to not tell 'difficult' parents things when you've been trained to seek their approval (I know, been there) but it does really help. Limiting information and limiting access to you. I only present stuff to my mum and dad as 'done deal' because they would always have an opinion, and even if it was something they would approve of, I realised by including them in discussions beforehand gave them the impression they had a right to make the choice (not just influence my choice, for them to make it and me to be told anything else was wrong). So making the right choice was also wrong because it made them think what they thought matters more than what I wanted and that by involving them, and that I still needed them to 'help' me make decisions.

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