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.

What's this called and how can I deal with it?

(41 Posts)
whatdoIget Sun 17-Jan-16 21:58:15

A family member has an infuriating way of discouraging any criticism. For example if someone asks this person to not say something to one of the children because it's likely to be quite damaging and may affect their confidence, the person will say something like "oh yes, that's what I always do, I always say things wrong". It maybe sounds quite innocuous, but it does grate a bit after 30 odd years of hearing it and it actually works well as a way of making sure they can say what they want with impunity.
I just feel like I would like thjngs to change and if anyone has any suggestions of how to respond, if possible without starting ww3, I would be so grateful.

sykadelic Sun 17-Jan-16 22:12:21

I'm afraid I don't really understand. Is this person told not to say something BEFORE they've said it? or after they've said it they've been asked not to say that sort of thing?

There's really no way to stop someone saying something before they've said it, unless you stop them from being alone with anyone and stop them from saying anything at all.

The only way is to make sure everyone around them knows to ignore "silly X who doesn't know what they're saying".

mum2mum99 Sun 17-Jan-16 22:15:25

She is playing the martyr. A very passive-aggressive way of getting about her own way.

whatdoIget Sun 17-Jan-16 22:18:38

Sorry I've not explained it very well. I know I can't stop someone speaking. When the person has said something crushing to a child's confidence, if anyone pulls them up on it, they then say something like "yes that's right I'm a rubbish person who says stupid things. I'm always getting told off"
I find that this makes me less likely to challenge what was said in the first place, because I just can't stand hearing them feeling sorry for themself. I think it's a strategy that they've developed over the years to avoid criticism.
I hope that makes more sense smile

whatdoIget Sun 17-Jan-16 22:20:13

Thanks for both replies.
So it is passive aggressive mum2mum99? I though it probably was. Any ideas of how I can discourage the person from using this strategy with me please?

mum2mum99 Sun 17-Jan-16 22:21:56

Check this:

Happyinthehills Sun 17-Jan-16 22:23:20

Makes sense to me.

They've deflected the criticism whilst shielding them self from future comment.

whatdoIget Sun 17-Jan-16 22:23:22

Great thanks I'll have a look!

whatdoIget Sun 17-Jan-16 22:24:17

Yes exactly Happyinthehills. It's exhausting tbh.

Hassled Sun 17-Jan-16 22:26:03

Actually I had this very recently with a boss. She said something that offended me - not a massive deal, but enough that I sort of addressed it, in a "I was a bit surprised when you said X" sort of way. And her response was exactly that - "Oh silly me, I always say the wrong thing" - which was annoying, because I know she knows exactly what she's saying. I don't know what it's called other than a deflecting tactic but it's absolutely infuriating and there's nothing you can say to deal with it.

whatdoIget Sun 17-Jan-16 22:30:41

Yes that's exactly it Hassled.
I suppose I'd like a way of sort of bringing it out into the open without being too rude, so the person just stops doing it with me, because it doesn't work any more.

Gobbolino6 Sun 17-Jan-16 22:31:28

Aaargh! I don't know what it could be called other than being a passive aggressive fake martyr pathetic shite (aaand...breathe), but it's absolutely infuriating.

whatdoIget Sun 17-Jan-16 22:32:55

Ha, yes exactly Gobbolino! Thankfully I don't have to live with them!

Ooh, I have a very similar family member smile

ImperialBlether Sun 17-Jan-16 22:35:40

Try, "Stop being a martyr and listen to what I'm saying --for once in your bloody life--"

whatdoIget Sun 17-Jan-16 22:35:42

Maybe we're related? How do you deal with them? I tend to just seethe inwardly hmm

whatdoIget Sun 17-Jan-16 22:37:10

I don't think I'm brave enough Imperial. And it would just provoke more of the same I think?

Triliteral Sun 17-Jan-16 23:02:52

I have someone like this in my life. Of course, the natural response (and I believe the response the person is looking for) is for you to disagree because what they want to hear is, "Oh, of course you don't."

Nowadays, I Just agree with them and reiterate what I wanted to say, but try to do it in a way that isn't insulting. In response to the comment in the OP, I would probably say, "Well everyone gets things wrong from time to time, but I really would prefer if you didn't say that to little Freddy again." My tone would remain bright and breezy throughout.

whatdoIget Sun 17-Jan-16 23:07:55

Thanks Triliteral, that sounds like the sort of response I'm looking for. It acknowledges that I've heard what they've said, but that I'm not going to be manipulated by it, and also reiterates the original point! Brilliant smile

whatdoIget Sun 17-Jan-16 23:20:55

Have you noticed whether that kind of response has reduced the behaviour at all?

springydaffs Sun 17-Jan-16 23:21:20

Stick to the topic eg:
You: please dont say damaging things like that to dc
Her: oh I always get things wrong
You: OK. Saying things like that to a child is damaging
She: people are always telling me off/I always get things wrong
You: Alright. Comments like that are damaging to a child and i'd like you to stop.
She: poor me I can never get anything right
You: right/OK/hmm - pause - so please don't say things like that again

Works a treat with my parents. They go a bit nuts, mind, bcs their manipulations aren't working - but just keep plowing on, saying the same thing in a variety of ways a few times, then end the 'discussion' - by changing the subject as you walk away.

Etc. Don't address the content of what they're saying, even obliquely. Don't get upset/enraged/reacte.

whatdoIget Sun 17-Jan-16 23:28:56

Thanks springydaffs. I'm laughing a bit at the thought of shutting them down like that after all these years.

alliheararetantrums Sun 17-Jan-16 23:39:59

Potential responses:

"What's wrong with you then, that you keep doing this? And why do you do it when you know it causes suffering?"

"you must not do x again because it causes suffering to Y. You know now what not to do, so if you do it again, it will be perceived as done out of spite."

whatdoIget Mon 18-Jan-16 00:13:43

What's wrong with you then? That's a massive can of worms that I don't really want to open!! And I'm really reluctant to be quite as confrontational as that tbh. I just want it to stop but hopefully without me being involved in a massive argument. I've obviously been well trained hmm

Aussiebean Mon 18-Jan-16 01:50:38

You could always say

' well if you are always saying things like that, maybe you should look into some councilling so you learn how not to do it'

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: