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How to deal with 'nagging' from an older relative as an adult

(14 Posts)
wannabetennisplayer Thu 29-Oct-15 19:14:43

I have an older relative who took early retirement 10 years ago (and also employs a cleaner to do her housework). When she first retired, she often commented on how busy she was and that she didn't know how she used to manage to do a full-time job as well. Now, she's completely forgotten what it's like to have to work. I work full-time in a high pressure job where I often have to work extra hours. I also do a couple of (not massively onerous) voluntary roles and have other hobbies/activities I'm involved in, as well as keeping on top of all the routine household chores.

When I speak to her, she tells me how busy she is (a particularly busy day might be doing a supermarket shop, having a sandwich and a cup of tea in the cafe and then meeting up with some friends to plan where they are going for their Christmas meal). I don't resent that but she really doesn't appreciate how busy I am and, in particular, goes through spells of nagging me to do some task that she's decided I should do. e.g. She'll tell me that she's had a clear out of clothes or sorted out some drawers and managed to get rid of loads of stuff and that I really should do the same. (For the record, I don't live like someone from a Channel 4 hoarders programme!).

When she is on one of her crusades, she'll tell me that she wants me to do x task during the week and she'll be checking next time she speaks to me and offers some 'helpful' advice like that I can do it while I'm listening to music and how much she felt she'd achieved when she was able to give a whole bag of clothes to charity etc.

She always seems to pick the worst time, when I'm having a really busy, stressful time at work to go on one of these crusades (and also picks a random task that she has decided is important but rarely coincides with what would be my top priority for jobs to tackle when I have the time!). I end up either just silently fuming or trying to justify myself and what I do with my time (making me feel angry that I have to justify/explain myself to her and leading her to 'helpfully' explain how I could fit it in.)

Once before, I got so angry, I told her that when she had worked x hours per week, plus regular household chores and then done one of her 'projects' she could tell me what to do and she stopped for a bit but she's started again.

Has anyone got any tips on how to respond - or how to calmly let it wash over me?

Seeyounearertime Thu 29-Oct-15 19:30:07

You could just say, "Nope, can't be arsed"?
Ornis there a reason you can't simply refuse to do whatever task she has randomly picked for you to do?

Duckdeamon Thu 29-Oct-15 19:33:04

So she's interfering and telling you what you ought to be doing with your time, and how you should administer things. Yuck.

Duckdeamon Thu 29-Oct-15 19:34:15

If you enjoy her company otherwise, some assertiveness techniques might help, eg not justifying or humouring.

ImperialBlether Thu 29-Oct-15 19:36:51

Is this your mum?

I would just say, "Can't you remember what it was like when you were working?" and "Maybe you should go back to your old job and see your old friends there to remember what it was like."

Other than that, avoid where possible.

annandale Thu 29-Oct-15 19:37:27

Just turn it away. 'Gosh you are so organised that must feel great, tell me about what you got rid of' is good. Also be honest, don't try to justify yourself or get angry. 'I won't be able to do that in the next few weeks, I know that for sure.' Then change the subject. You know that this comes from not being very busy herself, there's no need to say it, just know it for yourself and that your own priorities are fine. It's pointless to get angry with her.

Alternatively, say you'll never have time to do that, and could she do it for you? grin

ptumbi Thu 29-Oct-15 19:38:15

she'll be checking next time she speaks to me - fuck that. Let her check as much as she likes, you won't, in principle being doing that, whatever that is.

Why do you let her nag at you? Ignore. Smile and nod. And ignore.

Seeyounearertime Thu 29-Oct-15 19:39:05

When I worked full time and was single my Mum would drop in from time to time and she'd want to know why I wasn't doing anything. Why didn't I have a hobby, why didn't i get a hobby etc.
Eventually my ear was about as bent as it could get and instead of nodding and saying things like,
"Yeah, maybe..hmmm, yes Mum, making crocheted mice sounds fun, maybe I should try ceramic doll making" etc.
I just started saying,
"No, can't be arsed"
This led tona lot of tutting and things like,
"Well it just seems like your wasting your life"
But she realised I was going to do what I want and eventually stopped suggesting things. She did start leaving little leaflets advertising various courses and events on my kitchen table though... Mums are weird. grin

RonaldMcDonald Thu 29-Oct-15 19:39:36

These are the things that validate her now. She probably does get a great deal of pleasure from them and might think that you would do too.
Simply saying, 'no, I am too busy and I'd rather not in any case' or 'I'd prefer to boil my head darling' straight away might let her know that you aren't going to do it

All this stuff about how relatively busy you both are is beside the point
Obviously she has no issue with assertion and you do
Read a woman in your own right by Ann Dickson...vair good

AnnaMarlowe Thu 29-Oct-15 19:41:07

"That's not a priority for me, I'm sure you understand.

"the lovely thing about being an adult is that I get to dictate my own schedule. That's not on it. Please don't mention it again. <big smile>

iwantanewcar Thu 29-Oct-15 19:52:38

No advice - my mum is the same. It is stressful, trying not to be rude!

wannabetennisplayer Sat 31-Oct-15 07:55:25

Thanks for the responses. I'm speaking to her again tomorrow so I will decide on a (polite) phrase to say that I won't be doing it and stick to that.

DoreenLethal Sat 31-Oct-15 08:01:46

'Oh no, thats not really my thing. Have you seen that new film about (whatever is out)?'

Kind of responses.

Or just 'nah, dont have time, too busy'.

BoboChic Sat 31-Oct-15 08:02:23

Difficult. Years ago, when I was incredibly busy at work, very tired and unhappily single because I had no time for a relationship, my mother had a go at me for being "selfish" and suggested I do some volunteering to make myself happier. She was so wide of the mark that it had an irreversibly impact on my feelings for her - at the time she was a young retiree with far too much time on her hands and she was in no position to criticise people who had so many more commitments than she did.

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