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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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