Originally Posted by mamallama
I used to think ignoring the little digs was good advice...but I have very recently changed my mind.
Now I think it might be more beneficial to (gently) point out the transgression.
SISTER: I have some old pants you might like. They're too big for me since I started taking care of myself.
YOU: <understanding smile>I'm sure you didn't mean that the way it sounded.
MIL: I saw Julia's baby the other day. She's SO well-behaved. I'm so glad Julia got her onto a schedule so she wasn't whipping out her breast every hour.
YOU: <eyes open in surprise> Oh, are you uncomfortable with frequent breastfeeding?
I have a friend who has been driving me nuts with her passive aggressive crap ever since I've known her, but it's gotten really bad over the past year. I ignored, ignored, ignored the nasty little digs. I started seeing her less and less. She escalated into just rude and aggressive (she was angry with me & she said my child self harms because I've failed as a parent.) When I called her on it she claims I misunderstood, and then it was all my fault for being angry & she was the hurt one....
I would like to resolve this issue with her so that our kids can see each other again (eh, or not,) but each time we start to talk about it, she starts in with the little digs. Since I'm still ignoring the little digs, our conversation just can't get off the ground.
I wish I'd started calling her out on the rude stuff before it got to be unforgivable. I'm not going back now, though. It was a stressful relationship, and I have a much greater degree of peace without it.
In thinking about other passive aggressive people I've known, I think that's a pattern. Once you start ignoring the little digs, they will either fade away, or if they can't/aren't willing, they will escalate the rudeness until it becomes something that's sure to cause a big fuss.
I'm trying the new thing in the future--calling out the crap as it happens.
I agree with calling the digs out as they happen, especially with people who are in your life longterm. My MIL makes HORRIBLE digs at me. She visited us for three weeks this past summer, and I've already posted about it. However, I told my husband that if I am to forgive her and move forward, she has to stop making digs at me. For example, she and I have had several conversations about how DH and I plan to nurse for at least 2 years and to do child led weaning. MIL recently inquired to DH on the phone if 8 month old DS was still nursing heavily. DH said yes, that he would be for some time. MIL said that SHE wouldn't nurse past 1 1/2 years, knowing our goal is at least 2 years. DH did stick up for our planning to continue to nurse DS.
DH's perspective is it doesn't really matter what MIL says because it's not going to affect our decision. My perspective is that it's damaging for me to be the recipient of her digs all the time. (The nursing is just one example; honestly, it's the least problem I have with her over things she's done and said.) We've agreed that in the future DH will say something like "I understand that you wouldn't do X. However, that is the parenting decision we've made and it's not up for discussion." Then move on to something else. Honestly, he'll need to repeat himself time and again.
Now, when she says things to me, I do plan to toss it back to her. For example, when she says horrible things to me about my mom (who she doesn't even know) in front of the grandchildren, I'll say something like, "MIL, do you have a problem with my mom? You seem to say awful things about her." But mostly, I'm just having DH deal with her. Ignoring her doesn't work for me, though. Things just build to a point where they're irreparable.
Somebody did mention this book to me, but I still need to order it: http://www.amazon.com/Sheeps-Clothin...=2WA1HA2A0BPJP