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My "Overly-Blunt" Mother


LC8328

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Hey guys,

 

I've been thinking about this for a while and it never occurred to me to post my problem on here. So here it goes.

 

My mom's been blunt and honest all my life, but now as she's getting older (early 70's) it's getting worse. And with Christmas around the corner and all our extended family coming to gather, a few of us are concerned about what could happen. Every year my adult niece cries because my mom gets on her case about her weight (she is not overweight at ALL). My toddler is always "too skinny" and she is constantly asking me whether or not I feed my own son (she doesn't listen when I tell her that he is slim like his dad and that it's hereditary). Naturally, my siblings and I are always too fat, we don't make enough money, etc.

 

My siblings and I are always telling each other to let one another know as we get older if we ever start acting like our mother. It would break our hearts if our kids were reluctant to visit us because we were always saying rude things to them.

 

Talking to my mother won't help. I know it sounds lame, but after 36 years of dealing with her, all that's going to accomplish is that she will scream and throw a fit.

 

So lately I've decided to be assertive but not aggressive with her. But when it's Christmas, that will be a bit different because who wants to start a family fight on Christmas? If I need to, if my mom's insulting too many people, I will have to stand up to her. I just don't know what else to do.

 

She's been with my dad for almost 50 years. He also tries to ignore the nasty things she says, or he just leaves the house to hang out with his friends. He is a very laid-back person and is the opposite of my mother.

 

What say you guys? Anything to add? Similar experiences to make me feel better (LOL)?

 

Really the biggest thing with me is that I don't want my kids (or nieces and nephews) to grow up with various complexes because of what their grandma says to them. As it is my siblings and I have our own varied complexes.

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Can you turn it around as mild entertainment? When she asks if you're feeding your son, tell her sure, every week he gets his rind of bread. If she comments on your weight, tell her "don't you know? Plus size models are coming back in style!" Not snotty, but gently ribbing her while winking at the others. Bonus points if you can give genuine physical affection while doing it, like putting a hand on her shoulder or back.

 

I wouldn't worry about future complexes....grandmothers are one step removed from the "complex-making machine" and your kids will have likely figured out that this is just "how grandma is".

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Yes, my mother has Alzheimer's symptoms and although she's never been a nasty person and I love her to death, she now says things out loud that once upon a time she might have "thought" but never said. Half the time she isn't even aware she says these things and they can be truly awful remarks. I've found a quiet but firm, "Mom, hush. That's hurting feelings," then switching the topic to something else will usually deflect it. Other than that I don't bring it up, because she won't even remember it if I do.

 

Not saying that's what it is with your mom, but I think sometimes age-related issues can cause the usual social filters that keep most of us from blurting out hurtful things just aren't there. I've had the same issue with other elderly relatives and my own grandmother was like that too. And yes a good dose of humor helps too.

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Can you turn it around as mild entertainment? When she asks if you're feeding your son, tell her sure, every week he gets his rind of bread. If she comments on your weight, tell her "don't you know? Plus size models are coming back in style!" Not snotty, but gently ribbing her while winking at the others. Bonus points if you can give genuine physical affection while doing it, like putting a hand on her shoulder or back.

 

I wouldn't worry about future complexes....grandmothers are one step removed from the "complex-making machine" and your kids will have likely figured out that this is just "how grandma is".

 

Thanks. That's a good idea.

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Can you turn it around as mild entertainment? When she asks if you're feeding your son, tell her sure, every week he gets his rind of bread. If she comments on your weight, tell her "don't you know? Plus size models are coming back in style!" Not snotty, but gently ribbing her while winking at the others. Bonus points if you can give genuine physical affection while doing it, like putting a hand on her shoulder or back.

 

I wouldn't worry about future complexes....grandmothers are one step removed from the "complex-making machine" and your kids will have likely figured out that this is just "how grandma is".

 

I like this idea. You can talk with the rest of the family so no matter who she talks to or what she says everyone does this. Now if that doesn't work I would use the "get up and walk out of the room" method.

 

"Your over weight!"

"Ok." Get up and walk into another room

 

"Your baby is to skinny!"

"Ok." Get up and walk into another room

 

"Why don't you have a real job?"

"Ok." Get up and walk into another room.

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Can you turn it around as mild entertainment? When she asks if you're feeding your son, tell her sure, every week he gets his rind of bread. If she comments on your weight, tell her "don't you know? Plus size models are coming back in style!" Not snotty, but gently ribbing her while winking at the others. Bonus points if you can give genuine physical affection while doing it, like putting a hand on her shoulder or back.

 

I wouldn't worry about future complexes....grandmothers are one step removed from the "complex-making machine" and your kids will have likely figured out that this is just "how grandma is".

 

I like this idea as well - just make sure everyone has the roadmap before gathering so nobody thinks the put downs are being made light of and get hurt more.

 

But turning it around and making it entertaining could help everyone cope with her.

 

And if someone really gets hurt, see if there's one relative that's particularly maternal or soothing who is willing to pull them aside and reassure them that everyone knows mom has no stop button between thoughts and tongue, and isn't giving any credence to what's said.

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I like this idea. You can talk with the rest of the family so no matter who she talks to or what she says everyone does this. Now if that doesn't work I would use the "get up and walk out of the room" method.

 

"Your over weight!"

"Ok." Get up and walk into another room

 

"Your baby is to skinny!"

"Ok." Get up and walk into another room

 

"Why don't you have a real job?"

"Ok." Get up and walk into another room.

 

HA! Nice. I'll have to tell my siblings about this. Thanks.

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I like this idea as well - just make sure everyone has the roadmap before gathering so nobody thinks the put downs are being made light of and get hurt more.

 

But turning it around and making it entertaining could help everyone cope with her.

 

And if someone really gets hurt, see if there's one relative that's particularly maternal or soothing who is willing to pull them aside and reassure them that everyone knows mom has no stop button between thoughts and tongue, and isn't giving any credence to what's said.

 

I was nodding as I read this. Thanks a bunch...I'll share these thoughts with the rest of the fam. Maybe we'll survive the holidays after all. haha.

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I have family like this too, I used to let it bug me, but now I just shrug and change the subject, or make a joke. It tends to diffuse the situation and when i make a joke it changes the dynamic from being potentially negative to a positive--I would prefer my family time to be as positive as possible. I also don't let it bug me anymore, this was hard to do, but if you think about it, her bluntness is coming from a place of love and concern for you and your family's well-being and likely not to ruffle feathers.

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