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How to avoid rewarding s*** behaviour?


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I have a cousin that I've been very close with my whole life. She does not live in the same country as me but every summer she used to go away with me and my family on a holiday and we'd usually visit each other once a year on top of that. She can be quite an argumentative person and has pushed several of her friends away with her behaviour. There have been several incidents in the past number of months that have caused me to become a little less involved with her. The most recent event was when she told me that her sister (who myself and my family wouldn't be very close to at all) was getting married next year on a particular date. I told her that me and my family had booked flights to go visit my brother in Boston during those dates and she became very passive aggressive with me. She started acting like the whole thing was a personal attack on her. I was really upset about the whole thing and had a big discussion with my family about it and we agreed that we would try and change the dates we would visit him (bare in mind these dates we'd booked were over christmas because he isnt able to come home this year for it) this means that he'll be spending christmas alone this year. We managed to change the flight dates to a month earlier. I told her this and she was suddenly being SO nice to me and talking about how excited she was etc. I got pretty annoyed and told her that I felt that she was very passive aggressive towards me and that I was pretty upset that my brother's feelings didn't cross her mind at all. We had a bit of an argument, I didn't feel like she was seeing my point at all so eventually I just had to drop it.


Fast forward to now and we've been chatting a bit since this incident and everything has been ok. A month ago she mentioned to me that she wants me to come and visit her. I told her that all my annual leave for this year is booked off already but I would try and see if I could go during a long weekend a bit later in the year. I went on a holiday 2 weeks ago and the day before going I was chatting to her and mentioned that I was about to go away, she was very cold with me and stated that I had never told her that I was going on a holiday. I honestly cant remember if I actually did or didnt tell her but either way I didnt see why she'd really care?


I heard nothing from her while I was away or when I got back. I decided to message her today, just a normal breezy message. She's responded but is being pretty blunt and unfriendly. She mentioned that she has nobody to go away with during her annual leave and that all her friends are busy with other people. I think she may be annoyed with me because I went on holidays instead of going over to visit her. I feel bad that I havent been over in a few years and I do plan on visiting her this year and I was about to send her a message today saying 'im planning on coming to see you around october time for a weekend if you're available' but I stopped myself because I feel like everytime she acts like a brat she gets rewarded by me. I panic and do whatever it is she wants. I don't want to continue rewarding her bratty behaviour but I do feel like I should be making plans to go and visit her. So I suppose my question here is, how do I make these plans without her thinking that the way she acts is okay?

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Maccerz, do you have other family members or friends that live in the same country that your cousin does? If so, make the plans to visit but make it clear that you are not visiting just to see her but that you want to catch up with lot's of other people while you are visiting. Boundaries need to be drawn with your cousin and she needs to understand that things can't always go her way. If she doesn't like it and wants to argue than you need to distance yourself from her. You are stuck with this girl because she is family, the good thing is that she lives far away and you don't need to see her often. You need to set boundaries with her and you need to tell yourself that you can't be influenced by her bratty behavior and cave in to her every demand.

Best of luck.

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The inherent problem I see is that you're a people pleaser at your own expense. You would do well to stop this behavior, because no one respects a people pleaser despite them putting themselves first over others, people or in this case your cousin knows this and manipulates you.


You need to learn how to say no and then not give a ****. That may sound cold and disheartening, but there's freedom in this decision knowing that just because you say no to someone it's not your concern to feel bad, you asserted yourself and didn't want to do something they wanted you to do. However, you guilt yourself if you try to stick with your boundaries and this causes you to internalize things and make it more a problem than it is.


Stick to you decisions, your aunt's behavior to your decisions and lifestyle have nothing to do with you and everything to do with her. It certainly sounds like you don't even like to be around her with her crap attitude and passive aggressiveness. So don't hang around her if you don't want to, forcing yourself to do so only causes you more internal conflict.

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