Feeling guilty that my life isn't everyone's business, the ttc questions need to stop - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 12 Old 12-19-2014, 05:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Angry Feeling guilty that my life isn't everyone's business, the ttc questions need to stop

Anyone else have a large, extended, and or, close knit family? Th at asks way too many questions. I find myself already thinking about how not to tell everyone. And we aren't even pregnant yet! They know we are ttc. Any tips for dealing with them without being rude. Cause apparently I excell at the rude part already, I am just so fed up. I should have been nicer when I talked to this relative recently.

Vent warning

Especially this one relativeShe's already made it clear, she expects us to tell her first, and outright asks. She considers herself the family authority on pregnancy and babies and has told me often how nice it is that I get to benefit from her experience. The other day I went to an appointment, not at all pregnancy or otherwise related. I didn't think it would be a big deal, to let her know I had an appointment and was busy during that time, without having to explain all about it in detail. Oh. My. Word. Did I ever get the third degree. Who with, what doctor (not a doctor, but. Didn't correct her), how was I reffered, etc. I get that family is entitled to be curious and ask questions about my life but I am so fed up with this one relative I could just smack her. So I told her flat, it's none of her business. Which felt good, more for her incessant pestering than for the actual appointment at hand. I later had to apologize to her and other people who asked after her (cause now that she is nosing around, of course, I feel all sensitive about totally unsensational material) for being rude. Because, she is family, my family asks each other stuff, I shouldn't be surprised by now. I could have just politely said, it's private, I don't want to talk about it now. I know full well that would have been fine, she would have temporarily dropped it. Just like now she has temporarily dropped it. She says she will totally drop it, but ... Well, you know what they say about snowballs in hell....

I'm just so fed up with the questions and the endless advice. The questions would be fine if it didn't always end in advice. It's like a vicious cycle. She asks prodding questions. Dh or I say something. She has advice about the something, and how it will impact the future baby, and the way it might impact the kids, and how we should be doing this or that better with the kids. Because we all need mommy guilt (sarcasm). It's worst when she does this in front of my kids, because they pick up on the scolding that I am getting and either internalize it and feel bad later, or repeat it back to me when they want something. So while she thinks I don't want her to know about an appointment, when what I really want to do is tell her to stop turning every conversation into a lecture on what I need to do better, and if she has advice, give it to me when the kids aren't underfoot and I am in the throes of explaining sharing.

End vent

So I should have been polite, and I wasn't, and is apologized and we are good.

But.

This whole thing got me thinking. This person jnow thinks I have had a doctors appointment. Of unknown origin. If I start now avoiding the "are you pregnant question", will she go around giving people the idea that I am? And would that make them all lay off me a bit for a couple months? Cause while I would never actually trick them by saying anything, she has already said stuff, right? I feel crazy to even be going there. My parents have even asked me about "the mystery appointment", and forewarned me that my sister needs to know now too. If they think it's a happy secret that they will learn about later.... Maybe I can get some space on the ttc front. Which is not going to help my pent up frustration about the lectures at all. I feel guilty about not dealing with it at the times she does it, but, as I said, she picks the worst moments and I don't want to just snap. But, this whole, hmmm let's go silent about pregnancy hare brained thing, will help on this other front of ttc questions.

Do I just stop answering all ttc related questions too? Since she has said, she is fiiiiine with being told it's private. Or is that mean? How the heck do you deal with people like this? She's great at making me feel guilty about anything and I hate that I fall for it. I still feel guilty for not telling her what she wants (not, obviously, enough to cave). How do you get past feeling guilty for having a life that isn't completely everyone else's business?

Thanks for listening. I just had to tell someone. Extra kudos if you read all that.

Slightly crunchy mama of three, one cs, one ubac, one vbac. Planning a vbac in October. Bookworms anonymous member.
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#2 of 12 Old 12-19-2014, 11:21 PM
 
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Just want to give you some hugs and support, that is a LOT to deal with, wow! I don't see anything wrong with telling them how you feel, and asking them to not give you the third degree.
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#3 of 12 Old 12-20-2014, 05:25 AM
 
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Frankly, you were not rude- well, I suppose it depends on the tone you used, but you can say "It's private, I don't want to talk about it" and even "Have a nice day" in a rude tone!

It isn't her business. Saying politely, "It's none of your business, I'm just telling you why I'm busy at that time" is perfectly fine. You should've come up with something outlandish and embarassing to claim the appointment was to get them all to shut up. :P (joking!)

I noticed this'll be your fourth- jeez. I would expect this, and still find it unbearable, with your first, but your fourth? I think you can also set a polite but firm "I'm glad to know that if I need any advice you'll be there, but I know what I'm doing- I've been through this 3 times".

Now- have you told your family how you feel? Have you ever said "I appreciate the advice, but it's unasked for and overwhelming"? Have you ever said "I appreciate that you care enough to want to know what's going on in my life, but I don't appreciate being drilled and there are some things that you just don't need to know"? You can be very gentle and polite, making sure they know that you love them and know they come from a place of love, while making it clear that they're upsetting you. If you haven't told them- hopefully this'll be easily settled with no hard feelings.

If you have told them this- yikes. There are definitely books and advice out there on how to set healthy limits. The biggest problem is that a lot of times, people respond badly. Feelings will likely be hurt. But they'll be a lot less hurt than if they push you too far and you lay into someone, saying something you'll really regret!

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#4 of 12 Old 12-20-2014, 10:06 AM
 
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Sillysapling took most of the words out of my mouth in her last paragraphs - as I read your post (and commiserated - I choose NOT to tell anyone about ttc just so that it can remain private and I don't get any underlying judgment - I don't tend to get too much pregnancy advice, thankfully) it occurred to me that it sounds like you haven't explicitly told your family how you feel and what your needs are during this ttc time. I think you should tell them and it can be done politely and respectfully. That way you avoid miscommunications of whatever that female relative who is already nonplussed is now passing on (gossiping?) to other relatives.

If they all know your position, they will also all see it when someone is crossing your boundaries. You can tell them that you want to announce to them only when you are pregnant, and only when you choose to. You do not wish to have to hear constant questions before that (or even after that) unless you ask for advice or help. Or whatever you want them to know.

I think most people (with a few exceptions) are coming from a place of genuinely thinking they are helping and meaning to be helpful, even the busybodies. Sometimes it is just that no one has told them to bugger off or to stop, so they don't know any better. They also tend to love to share their experiences. Which can be bonding and nice in the right circumstances.

One thing to think of, too, I guess, as I reflect.... I read or hear about many women who say how alone they are in their ttc or pregnancy or parenting journeys and who are very stressed out and exhausted by the lack of support or community around them. Maybe you just have a bit too much of it, but at least you have some?!

I don't think you were rude, by the way, but I do think you will continue to get the questions and advice unless you tell them you don't want to hear it or make your own boundaries clear and that they can understand. There are ways of doing this - some people use letters or emails, others call or talk in person one at a time. I'll bet you can ask certain people to tell the rest of their family members and cut down on the work to pass it on!

Best of luck - you don't need this stress right now.
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#5 of 12 Old 12-22-2014, 12:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks mamas. I didn't say it rudely, and I have tried to set these same limits before. I feel very private about birth and pregnancy, and I don't want to be asked about it I can bring it up when I am ready. I appreciate parenting advice being given when my children are not present, in front of them or in front of a large group is embarrassing.

You hit the nail on the head @sillysapling . It was annoying with my first, who we told a few people about at first and others later (the others made it clear that partially telling the family is the meanest thing in the world and utterly unfair to those told and the untold too, I still get passive aggressive digs on that score). So for the second baby, we kept it a secret for nearly five months (utter. Bliss. Which in retrospect says a lot about the state of affairs). Third baby the digging was worse because we had kept secrets, so we told them right away like with the first, but the pressure just about made me kick someone to the curb by the end. I have told everyone that we will tell them the moment we know about the fourth. In reality I want to fake pneumonia and hide through second trimester.

Oh and no vague ties in answering people, I just told them hey no, not pregggers. And not one but four people asked if we were pregnant. The one person egged on at least one, she is not sutle. In front of large groups of their friends who all turned to stare at my definitely not toned belly. Thanks. I feel bad but that family are just way bigger sharers than I am. And this person who digs has a habit of holding grudges so I still get feedback on the errors of my ways for any past non disclosure decisions. Dropping hints about how it's okay if I want to find out the gender as long as I tell my family, or it's okay to get multiple ultrasounds as long as I don't hide it from important people who will help me with understanding it all. Because heaven forbid I should know something after three children right.

It's totally from a place of love @ ocean spray, I know. But I feel like we are stuck in a vicious cycle. They probe. I winceand reply honestly. They subtly (publicly) ask if it was okay to kep digging like that. I lie. They dig again, this time, I either don't answer or lie because by now I have already lied and been dug into it's not like it danger worse. The lie placated them, they move on. Then they start again. Eventually they figure out whatever I hid earlier and try get mad and dig more. I stonewall. They dig. They say (in front of like ten people, right), oh you don't mind if I ask right because we are (whatever relation), you aren't offended right, or of course you will tell us about xyz. No no I don't mind, I say, of corse I I'll tell you, of course it's fine from you (completely lying). The little social niceties, I don't know if it's really lying but I guess I feel a lot of guilt about this whole privacy thing, I fee
Guilty wanting some space. Because the grilling is given to everyone else so it's supposed to be fine.. But it's not fine. I would rather be talking about anything else. We thought we were pregnant recently, it's sensative.

It's hard to want to tell relatives the truth about anything anymore, I am so fed up with pretending it doesn't hurt. I just want a line somewhere. Some part of my life that they know nothing about and can't dig in. For awhile my second pregnancy was that happy space. I want this fourth baby, if we are so blessed, to be like that. Peaceful. Bliss. But not because I have to fake people into giving that peace to me.

Slightly crunchy mama of three, one cs, one ubac, one vbac. Planning a vbac in October. Bookworms anonymous member.
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#6 of 12 Old 12-22-2014, 10:53 PM
 
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I'm sorry. It sounds so difficult, and I can hear the frustration and pain in your voice. If it's a cycle (and it sounds like it), it has to be broken if you want peace, I suppose. I don't know how you are going to do it, though. Strength, Mama!
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#7 of 12 Old 12-23-2014, 05:09 AM
 
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Wow. That's.... wow. Okay. So... wow. Those were all really, really good compromises, too. Yeesh. Rock and a hard place, there. It's very unhealthy. If you'd never tried to set boundaries, that's one thing, but it sounds like they (should) know that you feel differently and put their feelings above yours. Yikes. Yes, it's coming from a place of love, but they need to respect your privacy and boundaries and wishes. It sounds like it's causing stress and a huge rift in your relationship with all of them. And the idea that you have to share equally with all at the same time is absurd.

Since you've tried setting boundaries and it failed miserably, I don't see a way that this can end smoothly. You have three options:

1. Continue as you are
2. Embrace their way
3. Set boundaries and stick to them

You know what'll happen if you continue as you are- more of the same. I don't think it's sustainable, no one sounds really happy here. You're in a constant tug of war with your family- sooner or later it's going to end, and I don't really think either side is going to win here.

Embracing their ways is an option. You can work on reframing things. Work on shifting your own attitude and figuring out how to feel in control of the situation rather than feeling bullied into things you don't want. If you can get yourself to a place where you embrace their brand of support, it may not be as difficult for you. If you freely and happily give them the information they want and accept their advice as they want to give it, a lot of tension will likely disappear on both sides and you could just enjoy your family.

You know that if you set boundaries, there'll be backlash. I don't know what kind of backlash, I'm not sure that even you do. You know what happens when you set a single reasonable boundary- what would happen if you stand firm on it, refuse to back down, and add more? Ideally, they'll realize this is important to you and acquiesce. But there'll be a period of some very hurt feelings to wade through first. In many ways, adults are just overgrown children- you'll be trying to unteach bad behavior that you'd previously reinforced. So, to start, it's very likely they'll push harder at your boundaries to try and restore things to the status quo, possibly even throwing adult-style tantrums. And it sounds like you can't even try identifying the members who'd be most amenable to it and work on boundaries with them first...

If you want to set boundaries, my advice would be not to try until you're fully ready to. Right now, feeling guilty, feeling like you have to apologize for politely saying something, I don't think you're ready to set boundaries. I'm not saying that to be mean, I just don't want you to set yourself up for failure. It's likely going to be very difficult, and I'm not sure how long it will be difficult for. You need to go into this with full confidence that you're doing the right thing, steeled against a lot of well-meaning people trying to tear you down, not self-doubt that a polite "It's none of your business" deserves an apology!

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#8 of 12 Old 12-23-2014, 11:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We will be spending a week in the same house together, my mom just announced that they are giving us all a week together. Not yay. So I don't feel up to this boundaries resetting thing but I get to get in the mood, I guess. It's that or my husband is just going to say we are leaving about halfway through, because one or two moments we can handle at a party, and come home and retalk about things with the kids. It's going to be a training week! I'm tired and not feeling up to this.

Probably the easiest way to do this is semi restart the boundaries we had last time. Want to know about my health, ask me privately. Have a issue with how we are training the kids, talk to my husband, I like the way we do it and it works for us, and you have tried to talk me about it enough. Privately ask the problem persons to follow them. And call them on the carpet for breaking it. I better do that part on Christmas day since it's going to be the week after that we all stay in the same house...

They were good ish about boundaries for awhile. Or they were to my face anyway, the one relative is always going to be digging around by asking other people. Part of the problem is that this is one person's personality. She won't let stuff go, she gives tons of advice, and side hints are her special way to be nice to people.

I think I need to do the whole boundary setting thing, gently, privately, so that she takes it well and just agrees without having to admit that she has been wrong. and be aggressive when she breaks them, because she will. She has been asked to counsel other families with children so that doesn't help at all. Having thought this through, it seems like part of the issue is me. I'm being a pushover about the whole thing, and I need to let the advice part roll off since that is never going to change. It's not their way only. I see these people rarely enough that it doesn't feel like it's fair to be myself, which is silly. They want to know me, and this is me. This is how my famIly works. We are private about some things that they are not. We talk louder sometimes. It's about time they started accommodating me. Oh brother, I can't even say that with conviction yet. Oy.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me...

Slightly crunchy mama of three, one cs, one ubac, one vbac. Planning a vbac in October. Bookworms anonymous member.
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#9 of 12 Old 12-23-2014, 12:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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And thanks for the support mamas, it's encouraging!

Slightly crunchy mama of three, one cs, one ubac, one vbac. Planning a vbac in October. Bookworms anonymous member.
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#10 of 12 Old 12-24-2014, 11:57 AM
 
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Originally Posted by fayebond View Post
It's going to be a training week! [...] Having thought this through, it seems like part of the issue is me. I'm being a pushover about the whole thing, and I need to let the advice part roll off since that is never going to change. It's not their way only. I see these people rarely enough that it doesn't feel like it's fair to be myself, which is silly. They want to know me, and this is me. This is how my famIly works. We are private about some things that they are not. We talk louder sometimes. It's about time they started accommodating me. Oh brother, I can't even say that with conviction yet. Oy.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me...
@fayebond : you have said some very insightful things here - it sometimes helps to just talk things through in order to process how you really want to approach a difficult situation.

Baby steps are always a good way to start (excuse the pun ) - if small training for the week after will give you some confidence, that sounds like a great idea. Even if it is just one statement/boundary to one person (someone easy to say it to).

And, if you feel you are being a push over, perhaps it has been difficult to accept that you deserve the respect and accommodation that you really do deserve (yes, you do!). With "practice" and support and time, that will come.

I hear in your words that you are taking some responsibility for the difficult place you are in, which I believe is amazing and good. You are a piece of this puzzle, and if you can stand strong on the things that really matter to your happiness (and that of your immediate family), you will feel more in control of the relationships (in a good, healthy sway). Then, presto, I will bet that a lot of the resentment will go away and you may actually get along better with those other relatives and enjoy their company more (and they yours).

I agree with sillysapling that this process will have bumps in the road, but it will be well worth it, based on what you have said here.

When you said: "It's about time they started accommodating me. Oh brother, I can't even say that with conviction yet."

You are right; they do need to accommodate you in these ways for who you are. And it's okay not to be able to say it with conviction yet. You will, with time and confidence.

Many hugs and positive thoughts for the next weeks with family!

Drop a line if you want to vent or just talk more.... you aren't the only one who has been in situations like this at some point in life.
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#11 of 12 Old 12-25-2014, 11:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, baby steps, I had the talk with all the non-actual-big-issue family members. The reactions ranged but basically they respected my requests and felt kinda bad that they had forgotten/overstepped. I felt bad for making everyone feel awkward but it was a relief to see at the same time. People just forget. And that is so completely more fixable! One person even mentioned that she only asked if I was pregnant because she had overheard it being talked about so much around me, not something she would normally ask. Ah the holiday spirit is back!
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#12 of 12 Old 12-26-2014, 10:49 PM
 
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That's great to hear! Quick start, too, if I may say so!
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