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Seabiscuit
12-25-2011, 04:33 PM
This is the second thread I've started about arguments with this individual, the last one was about her telling me to go on a diet.

Today, on Christmas, this individual, and some other family members and I were opening gifts. Her husband gave me a gift which she thought was hilarious, so much so that she was hysterically laughing. I felt she was laughing at me so I got upset. My feelings were hurt and I got angry. She explained that she was laughing at her husband who gave me the gift but my feelings were still hurt. She had the nerve to say I ruined Christmas by my getting upset which just upset me and hurt my feelings even more. I cried, was sad and angry and I just am beginning to wonder why I let her do this to me, hurt my feelings and blame me for everything. I apologized but she did not because she always acts like everything is perfect, she can do no wrong and everything is all my fault, which will probably never change.

I care about her but am sick of taking all the blame, getting my feelings hurt and never being good enough for this individual. I love her but in some ways I dread the holidays because of such family tension. I don't know what to do but I am hurt, fed up and sad.

Thanks.

diamond in the rough
12-25-2011, 04:52 PM
:hugon Seabiscuit :hugoff

I am sorry you had such a rough time with that person. It is hard when you feel like someone is laughing at you. :sad

I hope the rest of your day went better.

Take care!
:gimmehug

MysteryLove
12-25-2011, 05:42 PM
Hey Seabiscuit. I know this won't make everything better, but I think it's awesome that you're able to see that what happened was not your fault. You're absolutely right that you don't deserve the blame and it's great to hear you recognize that. I also saw that you said you feel hurt, fed up, and sad. I'm sorry to hear that. :'( But I'm proud of you for identifying those as real feelings as opposed to masking them with attitudes towards food. Those feelings will pass. I really hope the rest of your Christmas is going better. Maybe next time something like this happens you can explain to her the way you feel about it like you did to us, instead of putting up with it and apologizing?

sunshinepoppy
12-25-2011, 11:02 PM
:hugon Seabiscuit :hugoff

I am very sorry you had an argument on Christmas. That's pretty rotten. The last time you posted about arguments with this person, you mentioned "letting" her hurt you. Things are not that easy and we can't just turn off feelings. It is not your fault for being upset and hurt.

That being said, DBT can really help people learn to manage feelings and interpersonal relationships better. Have you ever investigated DBT classes before? DBT really helped me a lot. I am much better able to manage my interactions with my argumentative mother now. Which is a real relief. Arguments with her were just awful... I used to have horrible nightmares about them.

I hope you feel better soon. Try not to put blame on yourself... you can't help feeling hurt and upset, one cannot do away with those feelings by will power.

Take good care of yourself.

:gimmehug :gimmehug :gimmehug

dermaline
12-25-2011, 11:34 PM
Hi Seabiscuit.

I am sorry this happened again. :(
Christmas can be a boiling pot fro this stuff. :(

Did you give any more thought to what boundaries you need to put up to protect you in this relationship? What things can you be sure that you are safe with with her and what are the areas that are vulnerable. Is it just the relationship between the two of you and what makes it so intense do you think?

Also wondered if it might brake the cycle if you you responded in a different way when she does something to hurt you. Have you tried that before?
What about calmly explaining that she is hurting your feelings. Or calmly and assertivly saying that that amount of laughing makes you feel uncomfortable?
When you get angry do you get personal and loose it or do you just get upset and angry?

Sadly sometimes we cant do anything about others behaviour but we can take steps to protect ourselves or see if we can do anything to break the cycle.

Take care.

Seabiscuit
12-26-2011, 10:59 AM
Thanks everyone for the caring and thoughtful replies.

I am still angry at this individual for accusing me of ruining Christmas when it was her reaction that I got upset about. As another family member has said, she will never change. I guess I just have to learn to accept her and roll with the punches.

I have tried DBT which was very helpful although now I work during the time the group is held. I would like to set more boundaries with her, and improve our relationship but that is an uphill battle. Although I think our relationship has improved over the years, there is still a lot of room for improvement and it seems I am the only one willing to change, sad but reality.

Thanks again.

Seabiscuit
12-26-2011, 11:52 AM
Thanks everyone for the caring and thoughtful replies.

I am still angry at this individual for accusing me of ruining Christmas when it was her reaction that I got upset about. As another family member has said, she will never change. I guess I just have to learn to accept her and roll with the punches.

I have tried DBT which was very helpful although now I work during the time the group is held. I would like to set more boundaries with her, and improve our relationship but that is an uphill battle.

Thanks again.

nc
12-26-2011, 12:08 PM
I get the since that since she said you ruined the holiday (which I am not saying you did, that is on her if her day is ruined or not) that this was not a quiet exchange but something that created a scene and got others involved.

I think voicing that someone's behavior was hurtful is great, but at the same time sometimes you have to pick your time, meaning waiting until you are calmer or until you have a private moment to speak which may be later in the day or even the next day.

So since you can't change how this other person behaves could you have changed the way you reacted to her behavior that could stopped things from escalating to an arguement?

dermaline
12-26-2011, 02:17 PM
Hi Seabiscuit,

Sure you just havnt had time as it is boxing day! :winky but when you do wondered if you would like to give these questions a go:

"Also wondered if it might brake the cycle if you you responded in a different way when she does something to hurt you. Have you tried that before?
What about calmly explaining that she is hurting your feelings. Or calmly and assertivly saying that that amount of laughing makes you feel uncomfortable?
When you get angry do you get personal and loose it or do you just get upset and angry?

Sadly sometimes we cant do anything about others behaviour but we can take steps to protect ourselves or see if we can do anything to break the cycle. "

Take care!

Seabiscuit
12-26-2011, 07:28 PM
Thanks again for the replies everyone. I apologize for the similar replies above, it is a challenge to post and reply from an iPhone, I am at my desktop now so it should be easier.

Nc, yes I agree, I can change the way I react towards her and that is what I will have to start doing. I typed her an email this afternoon and in it I said that I will no longer take the blame for things all the time and will not be the scapegoat of her blame so I will change my reaction to her. She can try blaming me all she wants but I don't have to accept it, allow it or put up with it.

Dermaline, Yes, I think I have to react in a different way as I said above. I will hopefully work on this with my T this week. I have a history of allowing her to "push my buttons" and I have to work on not giving her that power to do that. I did try to say to her when she was laughing, 'it's not that funny!' and I tried to hint that this uncontrollable laughter was upsetting me but she just kept on laughing. I used to lose it when I got angry, but now I get upset and raise my voice, I don't think I really lose it.

Thanks.

Seabiscuit
12-27-2011, 07:21 AM
Well, I sent her an email explaining that I wasn't going to take any more of her blame and she emailed me back saying I was being rude and disrespectful which sent me into a tailspin of anger. I left her a nasty voicemail and an angry email saying how dare she call me rude and disrespectful after she blamed me for ruining Christmas and not apologizing for anything and she is being rude and disrespectful in my eyes. I hope to talk to her today without getting furious. I love her but I am really fed up. I see my therapist tomorrow which will hopefully be helpful.

Thanks.

nc
12-27-2011, 09:24 AM
Can you see your roll in keeping this going?

I used to lose it when I got angry, but now I get upset and raise my voice, I don't think I really lose it.

Raising your voice, even if not completely losing it, ususally escalates a situation to the next level. And while I hear it is an improvement on how you used to react not allowing yourself to be pushed to the point of raising your voice is the next step.

Honestly, if I were part of this holiday event between the way you describe this person's laughter and you raising your voice I would have been ready to leave as the drama would have definitely put a damper on my day.

I left her a nasty voicemail and an angry email saying how dare she call me rude and disrespectful after she blamed me for ruining Christmas and not apologizing for anything and she is being rude and disrespectful in my eyes.

Since we don't know the tone of the initial email you sent her it is hard to comment on. But I will say the problem with trying to solve a problem through email is that "tone" can be read into something even when it is not intended. But now by leaving a "nasty" voicemail and sending her an angry email you have once again chosen to engage in this arguement and is sounds like it has sunk to a very childish level.

I would encourage you to put off talking to her as controlling your anger still seems to be a big issue, at least with this person. Allow time for the initial anger to subside. But I would also say that perhaps this is one of those situations best left alone. She has her point of view and you have yours and trying to convince the other to see things in a different way does not sound productive in this relationship.

Again, all you can control is yourself and you can choose to still engage in this, as you have, or walk away and let her believe what she wants to believe.

I know there was a thread before the holidays about how to deal with this and you were given lots of tips of how to handle things to avoid an arguement, why do you think you were not able to pull on those skills?

rafferty
12-27-2011, 09:00 PM
Well, I sent her an email explaining that I wasn't going to take any more of her blame

I was going to suggest that sending the email isn't wise.... and actually does nothing but escalate things even further - but then I read further and saw that you'd already done so - and things went pear shaped again.

The reason I was going to suggest NOT sending the email was that when you decide to change your reaction to someone - you don't have to announce it - you just DO it in the moment. Writing the email you wrote wasn't changing your reaction - it was just putting the argument into electronic form - as opposed to face to face.

Changing your reaction is about walking away - or about acknowledging that the feelings you feel in the moment may not be what this individual wants you to feel... or intends you to feel... or has any idea that you might feel that way. Therefore in order to save an argument - you accept and acknowledge you feel the way you feel - and don't ascribe blame in the moment. You give yourself time to calm down and then if it still feels important - then talk to her much later about what happened.

This stuff is hard! It's hard to control strong emotions in the moment. It take practice - and trial and error. It's easy for us to give suggestions from the outside - we aren't emotionally involved. But it's possible to get there!

Take care,

:love

Seabiscuit
12-27-2011, 09:02 PM
nc,

thanks for your reply, it was important for me to read.

Since reading your reply, I have been able to calm down and I was able to compose myself enough to write a civilized email to this individual. She doesn't want to talk right now and that's fine with me. I still feel very frustrated, upset and have been eating comfort foods coping with the negative emotions, not healthy I know. I am seeing my therapist tomorrow and I am looking forward to talking to her about a lot of this. As much as I want to change things, I think I just have to accept her for who she is because I can't change a relationship by myself and she doesn't seem very willing to work on things, more happy to 'sweep things under the rug.' I think I wasn't able to pull on some of my skills because I often have had a hard time using 'the the tools in my toolbox.' I don't always know how to apply skills that I have learned. I love this individual and want the best for both of us but am beginning to wonder what is fantasy and what is reality.

Seabiscuit
12-28-2011, 07:08 AM
rafferty-

It looks like we posted around the same time which is why I didn't reply to your post at that time, I didn't see it.

I hear what you are saying, that things may be escalated further by 'announcing' that I am not going to take any more blame but I guess I felt that I had to make a point and let her know that I wasn't going to stand for any more of it. I don't know that walking away is really saying that I am not accepting the blame because she could still infer from that that she is blaming me, I guess, perhaps it has to be an assertive statement?

You're right, this stuff is hard, definitely difficult!

Thanks...

bellydancer
12-28-2011, 09:44 AM
Hi SeaB,

I'm a little confused. When you say you sent an email telling her that you weren't going to accept any more blame, blame for what? Even if her comments were inappropriate, it seems that your reaction escalated the situation and continues to escalate the situation. Whatever it is that happened, it seems that your continued reaction has turned what could have merely been a tense exchange into a much bigger feud. Where have you taken responsibility for that, and for your initial reaction? It seems that you're so focused on not being blamed, that you haven't taken responsibility for your actions and your role in this.

Seabiscuit
12-28-2011, 11:45 AM
Hi bellydancer

Thanks for replying. I did take responsibility by apologizing to her and my brother for my getting upset. I also tried to call a truce between this individual and I which she did not agree to. I refuse to take blame for supposedly ruining Christmas which according to another family member I did not ruin Christmas. She has blamed me numerous times in the past for anything going wrong in a confrontation between us and I am always the first to apologize.

I hope this clarifies things.

nc
12-28-2011, 12:05 PM
Just out of pure curiousty, what was the gift she found so funny?

As well, how long did this situation last? Was it a short exchange and it was over, meaning a minute or less or did it last longer with the tension lasting all day? Was it private just between the two of you or did eveyone there have to witness it and bear the uncomfortableness of doing so?

Who was effected by the exchange you will never really know. Some probably are so used to conflict like this they did not even blink an eye, others may be more sensitive to it and it put a level of discomfort over the rest of their time there.

I know myself, if someone came to me and asked if their behavior had ruined a day for me I would probably be reluctant to be honest, especially if that person has difficulty controlling their emotions and reactions to those emotions. As well, I would think there was no point to being honest and probably making them feel worse as the damage cannot be undone.

You can't undo what was done but you can learn from it. You can explore your role in this, your responsibility in allowing it to escalate and how to step back so things like this do not continue to happen.

Trust me, I know it is not easy. But if I lashed out everytime a family member said something I found hurtful or rude there would be conflict at every gathering. There are some people in my and my husband's family who just have poor social skills and say things without thinking about how they sound or how the other person might interpret them. Even knowing this they can get under my skin but I choose to rise above and let it go which makes for much nicer gatherings and in the end we only gather like this a few times a year so a few times a year of biting my tongue in order to save the peace is not so bad.

Seabiscuit
12-28-2011, 03:09 PM
In order to not get sidetracked, I don't think I am going to go into the details of the gift. The point I have been trying to make, regardless of what the gift was, is that I am tired of being the one who makes all the effort in this relationship and am tired of being blamed. It is not just with this gift. This is a pattern.

The words between this individual and I lasted about fifteen to twenty minutes or so and then my brother and I already had plans to leave to celebrate the remaining part of Christmas elsewhere, so we did. I am pretty sure that both her laughter and my getting upset made people uncomfortable which is unfortunate because we have had altercations on holidays in the past. I don't know how to break this cycle.

According to an email from last night, she doesn't want to talk right now because according to her, I will blame her. I emailed her back and said that she is putting words in my mouth to say that and that she is not taking responsibility. She has put words in my mouth before and if she cannot honestly see that she blames me, she is living in denial.

I am about to leave for my therapy appointment. I hope it helps, should be interesting.

nc
12-28-2011, 03:27 PM
Breaking the cycle means refusing to respond or react the the other person.

You are still actively engaged in an email fight, you are not breaking the cycle you are fully engaged in it.

bellydancer
12-28-2011, 03:34 PM
I think, first of all, that all the emails need to stop. It's back and forth at this point. Whatever the original incident was has been blown way out of proportion and nothing is being accomplished.

You break this cycle learning which battles to pick and when and where to pick them. And you have to learn when to let things go, which most often is your best option. You have to consider the signficance of the person's remark or action warrants your reaction. You have to learn--is this person's intent to hurt my feelings? Is what this person did worth arguing over for fifteen to twenty minutes, and then days afterwards?

We do spend a lot of time here encouraging people to use their voices, but part of that also brings with it responsibility to understand how. Calling someone out in the middle of Christmas is not the best option. A more effective way to handle this is to ask the person aside, perhaps at a time when other people are busy, and say "I'm sure you did not intend it this way, but your laughter really felt hurtful to me."

Believe me, I used to be the sort of person who never spoke up. I would let things fester until I blew up at the person six months later for some stupid remark they'd made. I did have to learn how to let things roll off my back, or to speak up in a timely and appropriate manner.

SnowbuddyM
12-28-2011, 04:52 PM
I am sorry you had to deal with such a difficult situation at Christmas. Not that this makes it any easier to deal with, but most people have at least one person in the family who makes them uncomfortable or hurts their feelings. Every time I got to a certain aunt's house, she finds subtle ways to insult me (those insults have been getting less subtle over time). I've had to come to the painful conclusion that she is the way she is, its not my fault and I can't take it personally since she does it to other people. It still hurts but I've found it helpful to anticipate her comments before going to see her. I've calmly discussed with my parents how to handle it when she insults what I'm studying in school, my choice of friends, my political views, etc.

I agree with bellydancer that the e-mails will not accomplish anything at this point. What is done is done and you both do not see eye to eye. That is not your fault. Some people are difficult to deal with and its most likely true that you are not the only person to feel hurt by this woman, nor will you be the last. My advice would be to let it go, surround yourself with supportive family members, and next time you are forced to interact with her, have a plan of action if confrontation arises.

I'm not saying you shouldn't be angry or hurt. I'll never stop being hurt by my aunt. However, its important not to spend too much time being angry or hurt because that stops you from experiencing the love and support of others around you. My aunt hurts me, but if I dwell on that, I lose sight of the friends and family who are proud of me and make me feel good about myself.

The wisest piece of advice my mother ever gave me was that forgiveness is not for the person who wronged you. Its for yourself. Letting go of the anger is freeing and makes you feel better.

Seabiscuit
12-28-2011, 05:14 PM
thanks nc, bellydancer and snowbuddy

I agree that the emails need to stop. Thank you for that wise advice. I think we both need some space from each other.

I know forgiving her would help me and is the right thing to do, but I honestly don't feel I can forgive her at this point. I know I am hurting myself by staying angry but I am having a really hard time letting this go.

It really helped me to talk with my therapist tonight and we came up with some things I can do to take care of myself, other than food.

Thanks.

dermaline
12-28-2011, 05:54 PM
Well done for being able to hear what people are saying here seabiscuit! And for speaking to your t.

I have a sister and we had a few recurring issues that used to come up in our relationship. We love each other dearly but there were situations that used to result in extremely hurtful and disturbing situations and which would literally take me months to recover from.

V different dynamic and situation to yours here.

If I shared being upset about something or asked for advice or told her I was unwell then something in that was triggering for her and her response would be to be aggresive and angry. The more aggressive she became the more in shock and upset I would be (as it was v similar behaviour to my dad and I would have an extreme reaction) and so it went.

What made the difference was to accept where each of us was and the reality of what we couldnt be for each other.
I had to accept she wasnt someone I could safely be vulnerable with and that that for her me being unwell or vulnerable in any way was triggering.

I set firm boundaries and refused to go into discussions or react in a way that fed the situation.

She would start being aggresive with me and I would calmly say that I wasnt going to discuss this as there was no point. She would literally follow me around trying to kick something off ! but when she realised I wasnt going to engage she would give up.

I realised that any mention of my mother was a trigger for her so put a boundary in place and we never discuss our mother. She was v unhappy about this but her t supported me in it. Since I made these changes there have not been any of the dreadful incidences.

But I want to say that it wasnt about who was wrong or right. I really dont care about that. It was just about dealing with the reality. Its sad we cant be closer but we cant at present and at least we now have a safe and stable relationship.

That is I think where you are stuck. You are still doing the who is to blame thing and that is pointless and leads nowhere.
Anger and hurt is something different and will take as long as it takes but reacting to her feeds the situation.

bellydancer
12-28-2011, 07:30 PM
SeaB,

I'm glad that you're going to stop the emails and that you're going to forgive this person. But I'm still not hearing anything from you regarding your own role in this scenario and the fact that while her initial interaction may have disturbed you, that your reaction was still inappropriate.

Seabiscuit
12-28-2011, 08:36 PM
thanks dermaline and bellydancer,

I am stopping the emails but am not forgiving her at this moment. I do not feel I am ready to forgive her right now. I believe forgiving someone is a process and I am not at that point where I can forgive her yet.

I know what I did by reacting the way I did was inappropriate and I owned up to the responsibility of apologizing right afterward to my brother and this individual. I also tried calling a truce. I know I could have reacted in a more mature way, not have got so angry or left the room earlier to cool off. I can look back in retrospect to think about possible ways I can act in the future should a similar situation arise and I regret getting as upset as I did. I am proud of myself though that I did apologize and attempt to call a truce, I don't know what more I could have done to take responsibility. I can't change the past and I know I would have done things differently, but I can work towards a better future...

Seabiscuit
01-01-2012, 03:12 PM
well, things are getting better... at least it seems. she called me yesterday and we had a civil conversation. I expressed how I was feeling and she said she didn't want to re-hash anything, just say Happy New Year, that she loves me and call to say hi. It is sad that we keep on having arguments in our life but it seems to be the pattern. I hope things improve but I have to be realistic. We'll see...

dermaline
01-01-2012, 03:20 PM
You may already be doing this of course but it is often best to have converstaions like this using "I" words rather than "you" words. Blame is what stops things from progressing and keeps conflict going so that may be something to look at.

Glad to hear it is improving!

TennisLady
01-01-2012, 03:47 PM
Hi Seabiscuit,

I would avoid email exchanges with this individual.

It sounds like in person or talking on the phone is best.

dermaline is spot on about the "i" words.

I hope you are feeling better now!

Seabiscuit
01-03-2012, 06:49 PM
Hey Dermaline and Tennis Lady,

Thanks for your replies. Yes, I think that using "I" statements instead of "you" statements is important. We were talking tonight and I used a few You statements, a hard pattern to break... :ummm

I am trying to limit my contact with her so I don't feel too close or too dependent on her because in the past, I feel we have been too close. I love her very much. There are years of hurt in the past on both sides.

I tried talking to her about things tonight but she was running out the door so we may talk this weekend. One of the most hurtful things to me is that I believe she has these deep-seeded beliefs that I hate her or feel that she is mean and no matter what I say or whatever I do will ever change that :sad I want to talk about this in therapy tomorrow. I don't think she is mean. I think she has done mean things but that is different than being a mean person.

Clearly there is a lot of work to be done and I don't know how far we'll get. One day at a time...

Thanks...