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.
Family member who is complete b!tch but everyone loves her?!?!(22 Posts)
Right, this is petty and pathetic but I need to know how to handle this kind of thing...
My cousin was a fat little bully when she was young. She has blossomed into a beautiful, intelligent and extremely confident woman. She is very popular and utterly gorgeous. Everyone loves her and thinks she is great. Thing is, she makes impossible bitchy comments at the end of every sentence and no one appears to notice. I can't really remember them all because I have only just noticed recently when OH pointed it out. Since then, I am noticing it more and more.
One example was there is a photo of us all on Facebook in hospital after DS was born. Needless to say I was feeling like sh!t but lying on the bed, smiling for the cameras and kind of in the background of the photo. Everyone else was focussing on new baby and family members in photo who they've not seen for a while. She, however, makes a comment about "You look well... Shame your legs are so white..." ?!?!? Yeh - I will have to add that to the list of "things to do for labour - no 1. fake tan legs". She arranged to pick up a friend that I was driving to a party (I am terrified of driving but friend was going with me for moral support and cos she needed a lift) and cousin knew this. I turned up to pick up friend and so did cousin. Friend came with me at the end of the day, but cousin was really p!ssed off and told everyone so they took her side. She even said "I only offered to pick her up cos I knew P1sttimer was driving". She keeps making comments on "with YOOOOUUUURRRR skin type" when talking about her recent holiday and my upcoming holiday as I am really pale. No one bats and eyelid and they all just think she is the friendliest, kindest best thing in the world.
Maybe I am secretly jealous and don't wanna admit it to myself - I don't think so though cos I really liked her too until she was in my company more often and these comments keep coming.
Thing is, I want to know how to react (or not react) as I am the kind of person (quite shy and timid) who doesn't "get away" with comments. Eg if I say something back to her, I sound like a total cow as she is really good at gift wrapping her bitchy comments....
Maybe I am being completely stupid but it really is starting to get me down and I can't avoid going to family stuff just to keep out of her way cos I love seeing my family...
Anyway, thanks for any comments - even if it is just to say "grow up and get a life"
Do you notice her comments at the time, or is it only later?
Sounds like she is still a bully and people aren't so much in love with her as they are "afraid" of her: plenty of people "get on" with bullies for fear of being the target of their bullying.
Call her on it. Next time she makes a comment about your pale skin, say something about how damaging the sun is, how it causes irreparable damage to the skin and wrinkles, and how pale is beautiful.
Tans only became fashionable when the 1920s Jet-Set hit the Cote D'Azur and could afford to take time off in the sun (I think it was Coco Chanel who first made tans the done thing). Now that any Tom, Dick or Harry can afford a sunny holiday by the Med, a tan is hardly the fashion accessory it once was. Look at Kate Winslet, Nicole Kidman, etc. All pale. All beautiful.
Tell her you're hoping to age slowly and gracefully.
Laugh at her and say, 'Did you mean to say that, because it sounded quite rude!'
People like that hate to be laughed at, and it means you can call her on it without looking upset and sensitive.
Also, if you can, pull her up on her comments as soon as she makes them. So, using the example of the driving thing, you could've responded immediately: "Sorry, but it bothers you that I wanted to have my friend along for moral support. You know I'm anxious about driving. Is that a problem for you?" What could she have said in response without looking like a bitch?
If you make plain the subtext (or indeed overt text!) of her remarks, perhaps more people will refuse to tolerate them.
It sounds like she is jealous of you.
She may have made the comment about your legs in the birth photo because everyone was cooing over the new baby and no-one was giving her any attention.
She probably made the comment about your driving because she knows it's a weakness and therefore an easy target for her to pick on.
She may be gorgeous, but she's probably insecure as fuck, and needs to be bitchy in order to make herslf feel better.
X-posts - saintmaybe's suggestion is much better. Make her look foolish. Laugh at her stupid remarks.
The direct approach is definitely best a la saintmaybe.
The underhand approach would be to turn back each and every one of those comments back on her own insecurities. So to
"You look well... Shame your legs are so white..."
You could respond
"Gosh yes they are aren't they. Do you remember when we were kids and we both had glowing white legs? It was hilarious, and yours were so BIG you could probably see us glowing from the other side of the beach"
<<steals saintmaybe's fantastically good suggestion for own awful family member>>
Paranoid, she sounds quite horrible. I actually think that saintmaybe's line is so good that you should repeat it at every slight your cousin makes.
always goes wrong though, trying to beat them at their own game.
you'll get it wrong, say something REALLY awful and she'll look shocked and you'll look mad. She's had more practice.
Laugh and the world laughs with you...
I have a family member like this the difference being that everyone has recognised it.
I think it is down to insecurity. Every sentence ends with a dig. Sometimes I end up losing it and saying something really childish.
You are right saintmaybe but then, you are a saint and I am not
saintmaybe wow... That is PERFECT!!! What a retort - everything I think of to say at the time (and I do notice her comments at the time cos she says them with a big cheesy smile on her face as if to say "and I didn't even say anything bitchy there at all...smirk smirk")just makes me look oversensitive and she DOES do that "OMG! I am sooooooo SHOCKED you could have twisted my words like that!" and everyone looks over and goes "What's going on!?!"
I am going to memorize that one so that I can use it next time it happens. And it will happen!
Thanks so much. I was worried I was being a total saddo even bothering about it but why should people like that get away with being total bitches but no one can say one word against them!
Or you could say something like, 'you do realize you're talking out loud...'
- but you do seem as if you are both being a little odd. You both arrange to pick up a friend and the friend chooses to go with you. Cousin was annoyed. I'd be annoyed. Then you start talking about "taking sides." When did who gave someone a lift to a party or not attain enough importance to cause a family feud? Blimey.
The only thing I think is really off is about the comment on your legs. But even so, she had said how well you looked, anyone who said that about me after my children's births would have been flattering me wildly.
I realise I am making excuses for her (I am not her honest ), but there is something about the tone of your OP that grates. Maybe it's the line about her being a fat little bully. You just had to say she was fat. Makes me think she is perhaps not the only person to make bitchy comments.
Saintmaybe's suggestion is brilliant though
She sounds suspiciously like my ex SIL who was also stunning to look at and always seemed too sickly sweet to be true..! DH and I used to hear the bitchy asides she made about people to others and wonder how she got away with it all. MIL thought the sun shone out of her backside, and she's not normally taken in easily - I had to keep quiet as I'd have sounded an utter bitch if I'd tried to explain what she was really like.
She played these games for years until she got a bit cocky and started tripping herself up with petty lies. Then out of the blue she left BIL (after running off with his richer best mate) and hasn't spoken to any of us since. Bizarre but a relief to be rid of it.
It's a very difficult one - I'd just keep your distance wherever possible. Give her an eyebrows raised look when she makes a nasty comment to subtly let her know you know what she's up to. You don't need to cause a scene or sink to her level. Good luck..
yes, i think laughing at her is good.
also, repeat the offensive bit of what she's just said with a laugh, almost like you can't believe she's just said it - but you think it's a joke.
'ahahahahha you think my legs look white?!?!?!? hahahahah'
you don't need to add the rest: my god woman - i've JUST GIVEN BIRTH!! everyone else will be thinking it though.
you are laughing at her, you are laughing at the thing she thought she could get away with, and you are laughing because it really doesn't bother you one bit. because she's the bitch and you're the lovely person.
I have a sister like this. She appears utterly charming to all - but makes tiny little digs/bitchy asides that seem like nothing to other people but which (used to) cut me to pieces.
After years and years of her, I've realised the only way to win is never to show her that I'm upset or wound up by what she says and to appear totally oblivious to her comments and smile. To do anything else means that she knows that she has got to me.
It's really hard to just ignore and smile, but it works. Especially as she has to go a bit further with her attempts to get at me, and that means that other family members have begun to notice what she is like.
I have a sister like this
Witty, sparkling, charismatic, looks like Audrey Hepburn
but she maes me utterly tongue-tied, she can be so cruel
for example I went though a difficult time in my teens with some quite severe self-harming - cutting etc
my sister was staying one Christmas and sidled up to me in the kitchen, after something had happened to mildly upset me - and said "Oh dear, poor little Greeny, perhaps you'll cut your wrists - but then you've already tried that"
when she saw my first house (I was letting her stay there as a favour because my mother threw her out) she said
"Oh Greeny, you've been so clever with the decor - it hardly seems pokey at all"
and the first time she met dh she was charming and sweet and wonderful until he went to the loo - and then she said
"Oh Greeny, wherever did you find him - he's as biddable as (our stepfather) but not nearly so unsightly"
I have nothing to do with her these days
Greensleeves - your sister sounds very like mine.
I hardly see my sister at all either, which makes me sad.
But it is very difficult to deal with someone who is so nasty in such a nice way.
sorry to hear there are two of them otters
I think at root, if I'm honest, my sister is miserable, frustrated, insecure, onely and has an eating disorder.
But frankly, the job of helping her back to a state of basic humanity is so mammoth somebody else will have to do it. Not me. And her behaviour makes me feel miserable whenever I see her. So I don't see her.
Join the discussion
Already registered? Log in with:
Please login first.