View Full Version : Family Gossip

12-12-2011, 09:09 AM
So my dad was just in town. I notice that there is a lot of talk about other family members behind their back- pretty little stuff like ragging on someone for not coming to dinner or something. Of course I know this happens about me as well (I did not go to a dinner bc of several things affecting my health). My question is, is this normal? Would I be stupid to ask what people say about me? Is it worth trying to defend myself or should I just not worry about what people say or think? I am just curious if other people's families do this, how or if it affects you and if you do anything about it?
Thanks, Skippy
ps I am not talking about ed stuff like how much you/I ate... In other words, the gossip does not come out of concern, really

12-12-2011, 10:01 AM
skippy i think you should not ask to know these things. unless it's as a constructive excercise. i'm one of those confrontational people and if i sense tension with a friend i'll outright ask what i did or why they're pissed. and usually they tell me. and we'll realise it was a silly thing (i mean clearly if i'd done something terrible then I would know) so usually it's a misunderstanding.

but saying that sometimes i vent. i'll complain to one sister that the other sister did x y and z. my youngest sister is very self centred. and for my birthday last year (january) she turned up very late even though there was a meal. with not so much as a birthday card. if i had done that to her (not gotten her a card then there would have been WWthree). so naturally i was pissed off. and didn't want to spoil the night. so i didn't raise the issue. but i was hurt. it was out of sheer negligence and ignorance that she was late. BUT saying that i did give her the benefit of the doubt. and i think that's important. there could be a million reasons why she was so late. and until i know them, then i shouldn't throw a wobbly. so say when you didnt go to the dinner, did they know it was for health reasons?!?

halloween the year before last my youngest sister was supposed to come over to mine at three to help decorate and carve pumpkins and dress up etc etc. (we were throwing a big party). and anyways she rocks up at ELEVEN PM !!! not a care in the world. no apologies. she'd sent me lots of messages that said she was on the way. all lies. she was still at home. i think when me and my cousin and other sister were bitching about her, we were allowed. because what she did was selfish and rude. did i feel bad about it!? a bit. but i did raise it with her and she explained. and we had a heart to heart about it and now she makes a HUGE effort to be on time to meet me like when we're having coffee or something. because she knows i dont find it acceptable.
my point is- she was in the wrong. we spoke about her behind her back BUT then I said the exact same thing to her face. and i think that's important. it's important that if you have a problem with something someoen did etc then you should say it to their face.

now saying that- im quite confrontational. i dont let things go and i WILL call you out on it if im pissed. and i many many friends have said they prefer that. that they know where they stand with me. if i dont like someone, i stay out of their way. and its pretty darn obvious. and same with if im annoyed.

my cousins talk about the cousins that arent there. my uncles talk bout my aunt. theres a few family members (distant) that rub everyone up the wrong way and they get complained about sometimes.

i dont know if this waffle is helping at all sorry... cant seem to shorten my thoughts today.

but one of my dad's brothers does a lot of funny plonker type stuff. like things go wrong. and yea the rest of the family laugh about it in a good natured way.
i know that my sisters complain to each other about me. because im 'rigid and judgmental ' apparently. and my standards are too high.

im ok with them talking about me if its venting and they are making themselves feel better if ive said or done something rude. because i do it aswell.

imo everyone sometimes says things behind others backs. its when a huge habit is made of this. or when the person wont say it to the face of the other person that i have a problem. because i cant abide two faced people. if you're bitching behind my back, do it to my face please.

ps- it seems to mostly be a female thing. my little brother is eighteen and i have NEVER heard him say a bad word about anyone. he defends EVERYONE. he wont tolerate bitching. and he's been like that since he was a child.

would it help you to know what people are saying ?!?!?!
what would it change?
would you use the information to hit yourself over the head?
if you know you did something wrong- then you could just say sorry rather than finding out the details of how annoyed they were.

i think it's human nature to vent. and i dont have a problem with people doing it about me. i know it happens. because i'm not special. so yea im convinced lots of people hate me. but im ok with it in one sense. because i don't like everyone. and i dont like everyone else's behaviour.

argh im so sorry for the ramble. i cant seem to shorten this to be more concise. blah

12-12-2011, 04:23 PM
Hiya MW,
Two things make me want to broach this subject.
One- I hate two-facedness as well :mad. I want it out so I can deal with it. I hate having to try and mind read or second guess wtf someone really thinks or feels.
Two- I think anytime I don't show up for something people assume it is for mental health reasons and or some lame excuse. I want to have the chance at least to correct them.

Last Thursday I had a really bad and long low blood sugar (in a store, where the pharmacist ended up calling paramedics, all in all awful and v. embarrassing). It took everything out of me. Then, instead of catching up on sleep, I fell more behind. Also, I had a cold :ugh :sad. So that is how I started this visit with my dad. But I can just see one of my brothers rolling his eyes, literally or otherwise, not even wanting to consider another truth.
Anyway, I agree venting is fine now and again, but not when it replaces direct communication with people you love and trust (as you said).
At least I know you will kick me in the a. when and if you feel it is necessary :winky.
And I'll kick right back if I differ :hairy.

12-13-2011, 04:36 AM
I am one of these people who nobody really knows that well. I suspect that EVERYONE bitches about me behind my back. It's just the culture I'm in. I can't believe the stuff people say about others (actually it's not that bad but I hate anything like that). Like a few weeks ago a couple of people asked if I wanted to go out for a drink. I had to leave for therapy about five minutes later so I said no, but I think it just compounds the belief that I'm a miserable prune who never goes out. I would have gone if it weren't for T but there's no way of telling anyone that.

I am also very confrontational. If someone even thinks something bad, I want to know what it is. This doesn't help me though. I always want to explain myself. The trouble is, I don't think it actually makes any difference to how people see me. Sometimes trying to explain myself just makes things worse. If I usually DON'T go out because I feel anxious, then the last time was because of a different reason, what is the good of explaining the different reason? The end result is still the same, I can't change anyone's mind about me.

12-13-2011, 06:35 AM
What is constructive about listening to what others say about you when they are blowing off steam? Right now, you are essentially blowing off steam? You are venting your feelings. Your family has a right to vent theirs. It creates drama or an argument if they confront you as you feel they are attacking you and you will seek to defend yourself. You as you said, if you don't agree with how they feel about something you did, you will kick them back....well, guess what....lots of people don't agree with the way we do things and it's their right to feel that way. Better we don't know about it, otherwise there's a fight. And fighting won't change the way anyone feels. You are you and you feel it's important to talk to people about how you feel to their face. Others feel it's important to be tactful, coy, quiet, assertive, aggressive, I can go on here..... There is nothing wrong with either, just be yourself and allow them to be themselves and where there is an issue between you, find a healthy solution that suits you both.

12-13-2011, 09:56 AM
I guess it is just important to me that my family understand what happened.
I have an issue with the truth in general. It really bugs me when people engage in lazy thinking, assuming that what seems real or likely is in fact true. I see it all the time and have been a "victim" of it a lot in the m.h. field. I also value clear communication with people I love. I don't see that a fight necessarily has to follow.

12-13-2011, 11:24 AM
But the fact you know something you shouldn't is bound to bruise feelings. Gossip sucks, but there's something to be said about keeping a secret. If people want to talk about you, then you shouldn't find out. I know you want to clear the air, but what is really going to happen? Are you willing to accept a negative fallout if they don't see it your way and apologize? Are you willing to drop it immediately or will you explain it to the point of upsetting others because their point of view is equally as valuable as yours and and sometimes people just don't see the same thing, no matter how right you think you are.

12-13-2011, 12:50 PM
I think it is pretty normal for family members to vent. It happens on both mine and my husband's side of the family. It is ususally small stuff, irritations that aren't worth making an issue and after venting you feel better about.

I am sure I get my fair share of being "vented" about and to tell the truth I would rather not know. My guess would be that the other person has already vented and gotten over it but my finding out what they were irritated about would only bring up new hurts and frustrations.

People are going to think what they think and even with an explanation that does not always mean the other person is not frustrated. For instance, I had a family member cancel out on Thanksgiving dinner the night before. She had a explanation but this has happened more than once and honestly I was still irritated despite her explanation and I blew off some steam to my husband and daughter-in-law. Once I vented I felt better and found no reason to cause a bigger issue by venting to her, her getting her feelings hurt and then dealing that drama.

12-13-2011, 06:47 PM
I seem to be the only one with a different perspective. Although I agree with some of this there is another side of this I think.

This is the way I see it:
Discussing or venting frustrations when we feel wronged but when it is either not worth discussing it with the person (not important or serious) or is pointless discussing it with the person (for whatever reason) is a healthy way of dealing with things.
I agree that maybe it sometimes isnt constructive knowing of these things.

But I think there is another type of "venting". Vindictive and habitual "venting" which maybe isnt venting at all and is more a passive aggressive way of expressing general bitterness at the world. or it seems to give people pleasure in some bazaar distorted way.
Sadly women seem to be particularly good at this and maybe culture plays into it too.

I don't like this side of human beings. I think its small and pointless and that there is too much of it that goes on. I especially hate comments that are personal and not about n action that the person has supposedly done.

But even when this is the case I think its sometimes pointless trying to have a rational conversation about it as it says much more about the people engaging in the activity than those they discuss.

My fathers side of the family is very good at all this. It really doesnt bother me much any more and I wouldnt waste much energy on it. And it is all hidden behind so called politeness. There are constant undercurrents but life is too short and I choose to distance myself from it all. I just let them get on with it. :grin

But skippy. Re your situation. I would look at the pattern here. I think its also wise to consider if some of this about our sensitivities. Sometimes people mean v little or have not even said a word against us but our vulnerabilities make us find things that are either not there or are not badly meant.

If there is likely to be bad intent then there are two options. Assertiveness (not aggression) or just ignore it.
It can be tough though so good luck.

12-14-2011, 08:04 AM
As my t suggested, if I think of it sometime, i will offhandedly bring up what happens and how I feel when and after my blood sugar gets as low and for as long as it did last week (and yesterday :ugh). None of my brothers have actually witnessed that. There is no need now, days later, to bring this up and make a big thing of it. I just think my brothers, and other people, sometimes do not give others the benefit of the doubt.

12-14-2011, 08:44 AM
agree with nc on this
I am sure I get my fair share of being "vented" about and to tell the truth I would rather not know. My guess would be that the other person has already vented and gotten over it but my finding out what they were irritated about would only bring up new hurts and frustrations.
i really am ok with my family venting about me if it's small stuff. and they feel a bit better. because sometims bottling things up just creates huge dramas out of small things.

I agree with derms on this:

I especially hate comments that are personal and not about n action that the person has supposedly done.
some girls in my class would be bitching about someone because they did something annoying or rude or actedlike a bad friend etc and they discuss this. then suddenly the conversations takes on new below the belt comments about her hair or dress she wore etc. and then it has turned into something nasty and i am less than impressed.
there is one particular clique in my class (i have two best friends in my class and other than that i float about with everyone) and if i'm with them they seem to bitch about whatver girl is not present. sometimes i actually have to just get up and leave. because if they say that about that girl, then i shudder to think what they think and say about me. its bitchy.

Sadly women seem to be particularly good at this and maybe culture plays into it too. very true.

also i get riddled with guilt if i say something negative about a good friend. so much so that often i go and tell her i said it or thought it etc. but i think that's actually not a good thing. since im doing it to relieve my guilt. and she might just end up a little hurt. so its selfish of me. blah.

I just think my brothers, and other people, sometimes do not give others the benefit of the doubt. very true. but sometimes the problem is about way more than the thing it seems. as in sometimes irritations and angers can build over time so that once incident will finally be the straw that breaks the camels back. and it might be something petty. but really the *actual* problem is something else. i don't know if i'm explaining that well.

thing is skippy- you know why you didnt make the dinner. YOU know. that is enough in a way. if the others want to speculate and not trust- then that is there business.

12-17-2011, 01:35 PM
I know this is a few days old now but I just wanted to say that it's a really interesting thread. For me I am so intense about gossip and always want to know what people are saying about me, what they feel, what they think. The perspective that this is unhelpful to both myself and others is a useful one. I keep trying to bring up unresolved topics in the hope I can talk about it and put my point of view across. Starting to see that is unnecessary and makes others uncomfortable.

I find it hard to accept that people move on quickly after having a rant. That someone might not hold something against me from ten months ago even though I still feel guilty about it, and suspect they must bear a grievance because I've never had a chance to explain. Maybe sometimes I don't actually know myself better than others do -- on occasion it's possible that grievances that others have are perfectly valid.

This is one of the hugest topics for me and one of the ones that entanges most of my interactions with others... explaining away every slight misdemeanour might actually piss people off even more, because it does vaguely imply I need a reason for every action or mistake. I might think it's true at the time but a lot of the stuff I do is just me.

Anyway sorry for waffling I just found the comments on this thread extremely helpful at this time. Thanks,


12-17-2011, 04:47 PM
It's funny but I was 'complaining' about one of my family members to my mom and thought of this thread. And my mom said to me "Mara, while I understand what you are saying, you do the same thing"

Sometimes we forget that venting frustrations is healthy. Venting to family about other family is probably not always the best policy as they aren't the best audience (I think it's better to share your feelings with someone not involved with the other person, a friend perhaps). But last, we forget, that we aren't perfect either. And midnight hit the nail on the head but in a different way. I use the line "it's just me" all the time. And sometimes...that isn't ok, because sometimes being me...can offend, hurt or bruise someone else...just like someone being them, offends, hurts or bruises me. But our uniqueness is what we love about ourselves and what others love about us too. We can't tell someone else what is wrong with them, unless we are willing to be judged by them as well.