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How to be a nicer, more tolerant person.. is it possible to change?

(17 Posts)
af2000 Sun 16-Nov-14 16:36:45

I am having a bit of a personal crisis at the moment, relating to my feelings towards other people. I haven't posted anything like this before.

We have just had visitors for the weekend, my brother and his wife. I have just spent the weekend feeling supremely irritated by my SIL who is quite narcissistic, dominates discussion, brings everything around to herself, tells us what we should be thinking and tells us if our opinion is correct or not. As I said above, I find this irritating and I bite my tongue for a certain amount of time before I end up snapping. This comes across as stroppy and then lowers the mood. They have just gone home, I have cried because I feel like a horrible, intolerant person.

But the thing is, I seem to find a lot of people irritating these days.. my other SIL also brings out negative feelings, the new local mums I have met since having my baby. I feel judgemental and irritated by them and negative.

Does anyone know how to change a mindset to be more positive and tolerant? To enjoy their company of others without dwelling on things you don't like.. I am under no illusions about myself, I know I am probably equally as annoying to others! I just want a more positive outlook and to be a nicer person... at the moment I just feel horrible.

Thank you for reading this, sorry it is long.

hamptoncourt Sun 16-Nov-14 17:13:57

I think we need to know more about what SIL does before we can decide which of you is the "guilty party" OP It maybe that you don't need to be more tolerant at all, that in fact you need to be less tolerant grin

Sorry you are having a tricky time - vent here and tell us all about it. Most of us find something to dislike even in the people we love the most, so don't beat yourself up.

Maybe you need better boundaries so you can distance yourself from other peoples negative behaviour rather than allowing it to affect your behaviour IYSWIM?

UncrushedParsley Sun 16-Nov-14 17:17:22

Is this a new thing OP, or just since you had your baby?

UncrushedParsley Sun 16-Nov-14 17:18:32

I think I meant has it always been like this OR since you had your baby.

af2000 Sun 16-Nov-14 18:28:44

Hi, thanks for your replies smile

Hampton I think it is the fact that everything is about her. And it can be such trivial stuff but it makes me feel so inferior. We both have the same jobs but she goes on and on about how hard she works. I, in the other hand, whilst a hard worker made a decision not to let my job rule my life and took a step back from it. She is a bit younger than me, and on the face of it she is a nice person but I find her such hard work, she cuts me off mid sentence, smacks down my opinions making me feel like they are not valued.

My other sister in law is soooo intense and full on. She sort of blackmailed my brother in law into marriage by telling him that if he didn't propose to her by a certain time she would propose to him. Their wedding was planned in a very short time, was a massive OTT ceremony and reception (the day before our first wedding anniversary) and now she is pregnant with the baby due at almost exactly the same time as my son's first birthday. I feel like she is stealing my life. And you see this is my point... why do I care? Why do I feel the need to judge other people's decisions? They are grown ups and can do what they like! I recently found out an old friend of mine is pregnant with quite a new partner (he left his wife and children for her). Instead of feeling happy as I know this is what she has wanted for a long time, I have judged their relationship and had nothing but egative thoughts about what a bad idea it all is. Why can't I just be happy for her?

uncrushed I think it is a bit more since having my baby (he is 7 months old now).. I am at home on maternity leave and I think I have too much time to dwell on other people. Several of the mum's I have met locally,though nice enough, are quite inward looking and about themselves or their babies. I am interested to an extent but it is rarely reciprocated.

I would love to be one of those genuinely.nice people who skips through life only see I g the good in people and never voicing negativity. I have so much to be grateful for, I need to focus on that, I need a nicer outlook! Sorry for the rambling, I think I am just ranting now!!

af2000 Sun 16-Nov-14 18:29:49

Sorry for all the spelling mistakes, am on my kindle!

UncrushedParsley Sun 16-Nov-14 18:47:55

Hmn... Well it sounds like your SIL1 is a massive PITA, and you are experiencing a normal response to her. The other things sounds like you are reasonable person also. Given that this has apparently been more of an issue since the baby I am wondering if you might possibly be experiencing some mild PND? Does this sound possible, and if so would it worth you getting checked out with your GP? By the way, I wonder if people who sail through like never being irritated by anyone just suck an awful lot up or live in some kind of fluffy bunny land...

UncrushedParsley Sun 16-Nov-14 18:48:43

Sail through LIFE that should read...

hamptoncourt Sun 16-Nov-14 18:59:32

Yes SIL1 sounds like a PITA so your feelings there are justified. How would you feel about saying "Oh, you cut me off mid sentence there" or "I hadn't finished talking SIL"?

Re SIL2 it sounds like you are reading too much into her "stealing your life." It's pretty unlikely actually isn't it? I suspect her planning shows how little she thinks about you rather than how much.

Your friend - It is hard not to judge but I think you have hit the nail on the head when you say you have too much time to sit and think about other peoples lives.

I know having a baby is draining and time consuming but it can also be a bit boring.

Could it be time for you to go back to work? Or to go back part time maybe?

Or is this symptomatic of a general dissatisfaction with life? You say nothing about DH.

af2000 Sun 16-Nov-14 19:23:36

Thanks both, your comments are very insightful. I live in a different city to my family Hampton and a lot of the time I do feel quite dissatisfied and lonely. I think I do need to do something to occupy myself and my mind. My DH is great and very supportive, he thinks I shouldn't worry. He also is coming to appreciate (slowly) that I am finding maternity leave a bit unstimulating. And you are right, I give too much thought to people and their lives when we don't feature in their thoughts!

uncrushed I think I have slightly lost my identity a bit since having my son, or it has become blurred, I was quite confident in myself and my life and that has become confused, I do feel a bit low sometimes.

Add to all this that I am knackered and I just seem to have lot less patience with everyone!

Thank you so much for reading my ramblings and for your thoughtful replies.. I feel a lot better for getting it off my chest

Viviennemary Sun 16-Nov-14 19:31:24

I find quite a few people irritating. (And very likely they find me irritating.) In-laws you can do nothing about IMHO. Just tolerate them as best you can and keep the times as short as possible if they're really bad. It might be an idea to join a group such as crafts or book club because then you'd meet quite a few different people and they can't all be annoying. Or even something like a language class and you'll meet people but not have to be their best friend.

RubberDuck Sun 16-Nov-14 19:41:57

af2000, you've had some good advice here smile

In terms of changing mindset I've found meditation to be very helpful. Two types of meditation, in particular, that you might find useful are:

- mindfulness meditation which helps you to become more self-aware, more able to relax into what's happening now and less reactive in general

- loving-kindness meditation which is designed to encourage feelings of kindness and compassion, towards ourselves, friends, people around us that we don't normally pay attention to and even towards those we find irritating or annoying.

(Note, however, that sometimes maintaining proper boundaries and distance is the kindest thing we can do for ourselves and others!)

I've been meditating daily since the beginning of this year and started interspersing loving-kindness meditation into my routine about 6 months ago. I've really noticed my irritation levels decreasing and my relationships flow better. Got a long way to go, but it has helped!

Blowmeonelastkiss Sun 16-Nov-14 19:44:59

I think a bit of irritation and jealousy towards others is human nature. We all feel like that sometimes but if it's eating you up that is not so normal.
Most of us try not to show those feelings. Do you manage to put a brave face on things or are these feelings showing in your behaviour?

Also there must be a lot of people stealing your life if you feel that just for someone getting married and pregnant. That is a natural stage of life which I imagine many of your contemporaries are reaching.

It is good that your are recognising this is an issue for you and shows you are self-aware.

holeinmyheart Sun 16-Nov-14 19:49:11

Well I think it is nice that you are on speaking terms with your SILs.
To a certain extent everyone who isn't YOU is irritating because they are not you. I have never had a friend who was absolutely perfect.

I think that being at home with a child can be mind blowingly boring, so if the women that you have met so far are not very intellectually stimulating you could start your own club. Advertise in the PO for women who would like to join a book club. Or women who have children who would like to begin running. I think there are things called buggy runs. Find women who are more interesting. Not all women who have babies are dorks.
Meanwhile you can manage your SIL by being assertive and trying to concentrate on her positive points. At least you realise saying that she is stealing your life is ridiculous and smacks of jealousy.
As the Pythons said ' try to look on the bright side of life' you can decide to be happy. You control your brain after all.
If you can't sleep and feel anxious all of the time then perhaps you have got PND. It is a very serious illness and you need to seek help straight away.

af2000 Sun 16-Nov-14 20:16:59

Thanks everyone so much for your replies and suggestions, and for being so understanding.

blowmeonelastkiss (was going to shorten to 'blowme' but thought better hadn't!).. yes it is because I have started to become preoccupied by negative thoughts that I have become more aware of the situation.. I think I must come across so badly if my first reaction to things is negative or judgemental. Thinking about it now, I wouldn't be surprised if my friends don't tell me things anymore for fear of a judgemental reaction.

holeinmyheart thanks for those suggestions, I think you are so right, I need to get myself some hobbies where babies aren't the one thing we have in common. Perhaps if I can build my own life back up so I am occupied and comfortable with it I will stop giving so much unnecessary thought to other people. It is funny how having a baby can present challenges you would never think of, like having to re- shape your life and identity with them in it.

rubberduck thank you for those practical suggestions, I will absolutely give those a try. I loved going to pregnancy yoga so perhaps I will try and find a class to go to now.

Thanks everyone, I really appreciate your advice grin

Moniker1 Sun 16-Nov-14 20:18:22

The thing with being with a baby all day is there is no light-hearted banter (as you would have with work colleagues) to lift your spirits, nor praise or thanks for all your work. Nor heavy physical work to get your serotonin levels up. Then add to that lack of sleep.

It's not surprising you are feeling disgruntled. And that is prob why you are less tolerant. With a lot of other interesting things going on in your life you would barely register your relatives behaviour but your brain isn't being stretched so you notice things you normally wouldn't.

Can only suggest getting out more (with baby unless you have a babysitter available occasionally), try anything you can and hopefully something will click and get you more interested in life.

The mindfulness is worth trying too.

mariposaazul Sun 16-Nov-14 20:25:37

If you work on yr feelings of dissatisfaction & loneliness then you will feel better in yourself & won't feel so intolerant to others...
I don't know what PITA means but I get its derogatory though probably not sufficient in itself to explain yr feelings towards her...when you are in a better place you will perhaps empathise with her insecurities...
As others have suggested - connect, be involved, do something for someone else...all will help you towards a brighter outlook.

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