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  1. #1
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    advice needed:how to deal with conservative relatives

    I'm a non-confrontational person. Most of my rebellion has been way below the radar. I just like people to get along. But I sense something in the wind...

    I'm going to go to a family reunion in a couple of weeks and will see some of my religious, conservative, at times judgmental, opinionated and loud family. and, oh, did I mention they get worse when they drink? (of course.)
    But I love 'em (most of them.)

    ANYWAY... I want to come up with a way to say "mind your own friggen business" in a way that wouldn't be alienating or cause a huge family rift. I just don't handle conflict well (probably has something to do with my incredibly opinionated-loudmouth-ultra-right-wing-conspiracy-theory-NRA-member-who-won't-acknowledge-opposing-points-of-view-so-you-learn-to-just-keep-them-to-yourself father...)

    See, not only am I one of the few in my entire family who have actually gotten divorced, but I am a single mother to a 16 month old. I just know I'm going to get the third-degree about my daughter's father, his role in her life, etc. etc. and this is a situation that is in process, and the last I need is my aunt telling me again that I am "breaking my mother's heart"... argh.

    What I want to say is: "Shut the eff up. It's my life. If I ask your opinion, then please, by all means, tell me every little thing I should do. Otherwise, just keep your mouth shut." And I can't say that...

    Any suggestions/advice?

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  3. #2
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    Tell them that you did what's best for you and your child and that you don't care what they think about it. If you want to make your point, you can even avoid discussing all other issues you disagree with them on so that when you put your foot down on this matter, they'll see how serious you are. It provides a bigger contrast.

    You know, you're tuning them out and smiling and staring off into space as they talk about guns, but the minute they criticize you, snap into action. You have to establish that there's nothing to be ashamed of in making a decision that's good for you, and if they can't handle that, that's tough luck!

    Make sure you eat plenty of good food to give you strength to tackle the issue of dealing with family!

  4. #3
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    Hmmm, that's a tough one. If you say something confrontational (like mind your own damn business) you'll probably get a confronation. I would suggest giving that kind of talk towards you as little airtime as possible - don't resond to comments like that, just pause a minute and change the subject. Stay upbeat and positive, don't get a "tone", just keep steering the conversation back to positive ground.

    You say these folks are religious. You might also want to remind them of Matthew 7:1 -5 and the bizillion other places in the Bible where Jesus says people should mind their own business and quit trying to pass judgement on others.

    Good luck!!

  5. #4
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    Oh, I'm so sorry you have to prepare for a stressful situation like that. Being me, I would suggest not going, and making plans to see the relatives you actually like while they're in town, away from the general ruckus.

    But I'm guessing that is not an option. At the very least, perhaps plan something for that morning, or later in the afternoon, so you can arrive late, or leave early? give them just enough time to talk about how darling your daugher is and how she's grown, and leave before they get on you about your choices?

    I think soapandwater's suggestion is good too. i also highly recommend changing the subject immediately. talk about something positive about your daughter's life, or tell a funny story, and maybe don't dignify what they say with an answer, because you can't change their beliefs anymore than they can change yours.

  6. #5
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    Just wanted to offer you some moral support, because my in-laws are fairly far to the right of Ann Coulter, politically. I know how you feel, lady.

    Would it work if you told them, "I appreciate your concern, but there's too much going on right now for me to discuss it and I just need to leave it alone while we're here at the reunion"? (My family - who I AM comfortable telling off, would never respect that, but my in-laws - who I am NOT comfortable telling off - probably would.)

    Good luck!

  7. #6
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    just use *someone* who's not going as a "see it can be worse" situation with an effed up marriage so bitch about/feel sorry for/get all worked up over that instead since she's not there to take it! and show that being in a messed up relationship is worse than making it on your own with your unbelieably freaking brilliant and adorable daughter! the aunt you mentioned can go off about her instead. hell, wasn't that particular aunt the one who was a a very young divorced mother?!? and see how HER kid turned out?!? like she's the one to talk.

    and just kick it with gramma and the cousins.

  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarabell
    just use *someone* who's not going as a "see it can be worse" situation with an effed up marriage so bitch about/feel sorry for/get all worked up over that instead since she's not there to take it! and show that being in a messed up relationship is worse than making it on your own with your unbelieably freaking brilliant and adorable daughter! the aunt you mentioned can go off about her instead. hell, wasn't that particular aunt the one who was a a very young divorced mother?!? and see how HER kid turned out?!? like she's the one to talk.

    and just kick it with gramma and the cousins.
    ok, (1) i'm not going to bring anybody else into the situation, but dang, i wish *someone* was going to be there!

    (2) so true about the cousin

    (3) i can't wait to hang with gramma

    (4) i think i will just bring up how amazing and wonderful lil' miss is if/when. since, as far as i'm concerned, it IS all about lil' miss thang....she is all that really matters to me!

  9. #8
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    Family reunion

    It's a shame you have to be stressed about that when that doesn't sound like the time to go into all the personal problems people are having.So I would say something like "I'm not going to worry about all that today,I just came to have a good time and see everybody"Also it's better not to fill your glass or your plate and then you can use the old fall back of"Excuse me I need to get something to drink or eat" and then quietly head to a different area after you get it.lol Good Luck and don't let other people make you feel bad about your decisions.

  10. #9
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    This is going to sound cheesy, but sometimes I think it helps to practice refusing to answer. Have a friend come over and ask you lots of inappropriate questions, and practice saying "I'd prefer not to talk about that. How are your kids?" The art, I think, is to practice saying it in a pleasant, upbeat tone, so that you shut off all discussion without sounding angry or like you're accusing them of being inappropriate. Even though they probably are being inappropriate.

  11. #10
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    I'm with everyone who says try not to talk about it. One thing my sweet dear aunt taught me was this handy response to nosy questions:

    "I don't know. Why?"

    That puts the onus on them. Then when they respond, you can still defer it by saying something like, "Oh. OK. (then changing the subject) Well isn't it a lovely occasion?" Or "Oh. OK. Well I appreciate your concern. We're just really happy." Or something like that.

    Try not to answer their questions or by all means to start justifying anything.


 
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