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Source: (consider it) Thread: Difficult relatives
Wesley J

Silly Shipmate
# 6075

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Thank you, Denizens of Hell (and assorted boards).

Much food for thought. - Like Schwarzenegger said: I'll be back.

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Be it as it may: Wesley J will stay. --- Euthanasia, that sounds good. An alpine neutral neighbourhood. Then back to Britain, all dressed in wood. Things were gonna get worse. (John Cooper Clarke)

Posts: 7224 | From: The Isles of Silly | Registered: May 2004  |  IP: Logged
Jemima the 9th
Shipmate
# 15106

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Harrumph. One tiny message to say (getting the formalities out of the way) "how are the family?", followed by "I'm ill".

The problem is that messages aren't just messages, they're code for "come and look after me". DR might be ill, just as he might have been the preceding 8 million times. But it seems unlikely. What's hellish, though, is that I've wasted hours pondering whether to reply, and if so with what. And it's made me stroppy with the children. Pffft. To steal from the Handmaid's Tale, it's high time I got my fucking shit together.

Posts: 747 | From: UK | Registered: Sep 2009  |  IP: Logged
cliffdweller
Shipmate
# 13338

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quote:
Originally posted by Jemima the 9th:
Harrumph. One tiny message to say (getting the formalities out of the way) "how are the family?", followed by "I'm ill".

The problem is that messages aren't just messages, they're code for "come and look after me". DR might be ill, just as he might have been the preceding 8 million times. But it seems unlikely. What's hellish, though, is that I've wasted hours pondering whether to reply, and if so with what. And it's made me stroppy with the children. Pffft. To steal from the Handmaid's Tale, it's high time I got my fucking shit together.

Agh.

This reminded me of my paternal grandmother, a narcissistic queen who perfected the passive-aggressive illness.

In a rare moment of insight my dad called her one morning and asked how she was. This, of course, was followed by long stream of sighing re imaginary ailments. Dad responded, "oh, that's too bad. I'd called to see if you wanted to join [my mom] & I to drive up the coast for brunch at [fancy upscale beachside inn]. Oh, well. we'll have to go without you..."

He cut off the sputtering to say they had to go to arrive before the brunch service ended.

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

Posts: 10909 | From: a small canyon overlooking the city | Registered: Jan 2008  |  IP: Logged
Golden Key
Shipmate
# 1468

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cliffdweller--

Bravo to your dad! LOL.

--------------------
Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?"--Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon"
--"I'm not giving up--and neither should you." --SNL

Posts: 17647 | From: Chilling out in an undisclosed, sincere pumpkin patch. | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
Golden Key
Shipmate
# 1468

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{{{{{Jemima}}}}}

--------------------
Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?"--Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon"
--"I'm not giving up--and neither should you." --SNL

Posts: 17647 | From: Chilling out in an undisclosed, sincere pumpkin patch. | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
Jemima the 9th
Shipmate
# 15106

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Thank you, Golden Key.
cliffdweller, that is utter genius. I love it.

Posts: 747 | From: UK | Registered: Sep 2009  |  IP: Logged
Golden Key
Shipmate
# 1468

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I came across a Carolyn Hax advice column about trying very hard to get attention/affection from Difficult Relatives who will never give it, and coming to terms with that.

It resonated with me, and it might with you, too.

{{{{{Everyone with difficult relatives}}}}}

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Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?"--Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon"
--"I'm not giving up--and neither should you." --SNL

Posts: 17647 | From: Chilling out in an undisclosed, sincere pumpkin patch. | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
North East Quine

Curious beastie
# 13049

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A has something important to discuss with B, and wants to discuss it face to face, when they next meet, in several weeks time. In the meantime A wants it kept a secret, to avoid B hearing second hand.

A has discussed it with me and C, and told us who we can and can't mention it to. A is happy for D to know. But C doesn't want D to know and has asked it be kept secret from D.

D has texted me to say thanks for a birthday gift, and has also said that she thinks A is keeping a secret from C. D says she is going to phone me for a chat.

Fuck. What do I say to D if she phones fishing for info? I know that A isn't keeping a secret from C, but that it is in fact C who is keeping a secret from D.

The North-East offspring have suggested that if D phones and the conversation starts getting awkward I can give them a signal and one will shout "Mum! Mum! There are sparks coming from the kettle!!" which will let me end the call rapidly, but I think the situation is complicated enough without inventing a malfunctioning kettle. I can almost guarantee that if I do, within 24 hours I'll be fielding anxious phone calls from, inter alia, A, and possibly B and C about rumours of a fire in my kitchen / my house burning down.


[brick wall] [brick wall] [brick wall]

Posts: 6337 | From: North East Scotland | Registered: Oct 2007  |  IP: Logged
Golden Key
Shipmate
# 1468

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{{{{{NEQ}}}}}

I've been known to make an "appointment" with myself. During a difficult, unwanted phone call (e.g. with a Difficult Relative): when I couldn't take it any more, I'd plead an appointment. Didn't say what it was. May well have been TV, reading, taking a walk. But an appointment with *myself* is just as valid as any other.

If the kids are old enough to have homework, they could call out that they need help with it.

Or they could always have a "fight"... [Biased]

Oh, and sometimes it helps to set a mental time limit on how long you'll let the call last. (E.g., "I'll hang up after 10 min., unless A drives me mad before then".)

Good luck!

--------------------
Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?"--Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon"
--"I'm not giving up--and neither should you." --SNL

Posts: 17647 | From: Chilling out in an undisclosed, sincere pumpkin patch. | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
Curiosity killed ...

Ship's Mug
# 11770

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The other thing you could do is say that A, B and C all seem to have their heads together at the moment, you're not entirely sure what the problem is, but you hope when they've sorted themselves out you'll know what's going on and will be able to explain. Now this minute you're not sure yourself and would hate to pass on a garbled version that would add to the confusion; has D asked A? With your fingers crossed behind your back that A will tell D if prompted.

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Mugs - Keep the Ship afloat

Posts: 13479 | From: outiside the outer ring road | Registered: Aug 2006  |  IP: Logged
North East Quine

Curious beastie
# 13049

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A would happily tell D, were it not for the fact that C has asked A to keep it a secret from D.
Posts: 6337 | From: North East Scotland | Registered: Oct 2007  |  IP: Logged
Curiosity killed ...

Ship's Mug
# 11770

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But it's not your problem to be kept a secret. It's A's, and C has decided that it should be kept a secret from D.

So deflect the issue back to A, by suggesting D talks to A. This may mean A overrides C and tells D, or backs C and doesn't tell D. Either way it's A's secret and up to them whether they tell D or not, so their problem to deal with.

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Mugs - Keep the Ship afloat

Posts: 13479 | From: outiside the outer ring road | Registered: Aug 2006  |  IP: Logged
Doc Tor
Deepest Red
# 9748

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1. Publish it on social media.
2. Live-tweet the fallout.
3. ...
4. Profit.

If they've told someone, it's not a secret.

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Get your arse to Mars

Posts: 8696 | From: Ultima Thule | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
Leorning Cniht
Shipmate
# 17564

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quote:
Originally posted by North East Quine:

Fuck. What do I say to D if she phones fishing for info? I know that A isn't keeping a secret from C, but that it is in fact C who is keeping a secret from D.

"I haven't picked up on any kind of problem between A and C. What makes you think that?" Then let D talk all her worries out, and tell her that you don't think there's anything to it, but you'll keep your eyes open. Has the benefit of being 100% true.

[ 23. August 2017, 02:39: Message edited by: Leorning Cniht ]

Posts: 4745 | From: USA | Registered: Feb 2013  |  IP: Logged
Lamb Chopped
Ship's kebab
# 5528

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In such cases i simply wave my hands and say helplessly to whoever enquires, "It's all so complicated. My head is going round. If you find out, maybe you could let me know?" Rinse, repeat, till they go away.

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

Posts: 19956 | From: off in left field somewhere | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
RuthW

liberal "peace first" hankie squeezer
# 13

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quote:
Originally posted by North East Quine:
D has texted me to say thanks for a birthday gift, and has also said that she thinks A is keeping a secret from C. D says she is going to phone me for a chat.

Fuck. What do I say to D if she phones fishing for info? I know that A isn't keeping a secret from C, but that it is in fact C who is keeping a secret from D.

Tell D that if she thinks A is keeping a secret, she should talk to A. There is no reason for you to clarify the situation for D -- it's not up to you to decide who gets to know what in this scenario.

Edit: cross-posted with LC.

[ 23. August 2017, 04:09: Message edited by: RuthW ]

Posts: 24368 | From: La La Land | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Brenda Clough
Shipmate
# 18061

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This is getting v. weird. Since my parents passed away this year, my sister and I decided it would be good to visit our three aunts, my mother's sisters, who all live in New York City and are all in their late 80s or early 90s. We did this earlier in August. Two of them are very sensible.
But the one, my Aunt P., has a screw loose. We have not seen her in a good 20 years, because of her penchant for family feuds. She assured us that another cousin has stolen/hoarded all the assets that should have been distributed to the family, and proposes that we all hire a lawyer.
We assumed this was a 'let's you and him fight' ploy, and played dumb. Now today she is pelting my unlucky sister with phone calls (I prudently neglected to give Aunt P my number) trying to either organize this lawsuit or a family confrontation, which cannot possibly go well.
I should mention that all these assets (stocks, land, etc.) are in China from several changes in regime ago. The chances of getting anything out of the current Chinese government are infinitesimal. And in any case I believe she has forgotten that a settlement of some sort was achieved in the 80s, by relatives now deceased. If there was any money, it's gone.
I suggested to my sister that she block the number on her phone, but I'm a one for the fast solution...

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Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

Posts: 5356 | From: Washington DC | Registered: Mar 2014  |  IP: Logged
Lamb Chopped
Ship's kebab
# 5528

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Playing dumb and ignorant is always useful. It gets you out of any number of feuds. As does failure to return timely phone calls. (Those who are chicken can call up, say "how are you?" and get intentionally interrupted 5 minutes in, so as to remove any pretext for "you're blocking me...")

This is actually how I've handled matters in my extended family for lo, these twenty years now. I have a rep as the clueless one. [Snigger]

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

Posts: 19956 | From: off in left field somewhere | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged



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