15 answers

Rude Behavior

Hi Ladies,
Over my life as with everyone else I have had to deal with rude behavior. But when it happens with your family it seems to make it worse. Over the last few days my MIL has been incredibly rude. And everyone is telling me to not take it personally. How can I not???
I HATE confrontation but i'm sick of people thinking they can just say & do whatever they want without recourse! How do you deal with rude behavior?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Hello ladies,
First let me say thank you for all of your support. Next something that is VERY important that I should have mentioned is my husband is VERY supportive & has gone to blows with his mother on many occasions. In fact we had to "run away" to get married because she disapproved. Now I love my MIL, and she has her good & bad days. But her bad days are bad.

My husband says she is jealous & that she doesn't say things in a PC manner. The advice that made me really think about things was the diabetes. I wonder about my MIL. SHe already has high blood pressure.

I have been married to this family for 15 years, and I will be for life. I guess I need to get some courage to tell her the way she treats people on her bad days is not ok! Thank you all once again. G

More Answers

To quote Dr. Phil, you teach people how to treat you. It is perfectly acceptable (and healthy!) to put up boundaries with others, and even distance yourself if need be. Good luck, I know this can't be easy!

4 moms found this helpful

Oh yes, the MIL DIL relationship, not an easy one. :)

If you can, do your best to step back from the situation when it happens and realize that they are her issues and have little or nothing to do with you.

It sounds like she will not 'get it' if you say anything anyway and that everyone is going to enable the bad behavior, so unfortunately your only recourse is to not accept the behavior, distance yourself during those times and work through your hurt feelings by yourself.

Soon you will see a pattern (IE when she feels lonely or sad that she is not #1 with her son) and although it will be impossible to know when this will rear its ugly head, at least it will confirm for you that no matter what you do, these are her issues to deal with. So, as long as you do your best to include and think of her, there is not much else you can do.

Unfortunately her behavior may never change, so the only thing that can change is how you deal with it.

Hopefully soon, things will roll off of you much easier.

2 moms found this helpful

For 20 years I was married to a man whose mother was routinely rude. Add to this the fact that she believed her 8 children were the finest people God ever sent to the earth and each and every one of us who married one of them was a lower form of life. Imagine living with that, and please understand I'm not trying to say I've been through worse than what you are going through. I'm trying to say I learned a thing or two during those 20 years.

When I go to the store to buy a can of peaches or a set of sheets, if I look at the label and I read the word "irregular" I know I'm not going to pay much. The product is not standard and it's certainly not premium, so the price is in accordance with the fact the product is irregular. Irregular peaches are plenty good enough for my family dinner table and irregular sheets are plenty good enough for the bed I sleep on. But when the President comes to my house for dinner and the night, I'll buy the premium peaches with raspberry sauce and a set of fine Egyptian sheets and I'll be happy to pay the price for these premium products. Until the President says he's coming, I'll make do with irregular and be glad to save some money, because I can get by with irregular for everyday.

Just like peaches and sheets, some people are irregular quality. But people do not have labels on them to make it easy for you to know that's what they are. You must be discerning enough to figure it out. You are not in charge of quality control, but you are in charge of what price you pay. It sounds to me like you are paying a premium price for irregular quality - you let her everyday rudeness get to you. She's irregular, hun, and she's not going to magically become premium.

Peaches, sheets, or people, NEVER choose to pay a premium price for irregular quality. Whether it's money or emotion, invest only what the quality deserves.

2 moms found this helpful

"How do you deal with rude behavior?"
While it depends somewhat on context of situation, I always first ensure that my Self (not hungry, lonely, angry, tired) is cared for so that I can remain pleasant in any situation.
If someone else is rude, I counter with polite-ness, extra if necessary, careful not to let sarcasm sneak in.
If the behavior is UNacceptable, I simply remove myself from the situation. If an opportunity arises to say in a loving way, "this behavior is unacceptable", I will.
If I am battling whether to talk to someone about behavior I must first write it all down, figure out my part (if any), then find a loving way to present the boundary for the behavior.
I see this behavior...
I feel this way about it...
I think this is the solution...

Good job being patient G.!

2 moms found this helpful

One key point here is that your husband has to stand up for you. He should be speaking to his mother and saying she cannot treat you badly. He should be supporting you. It sounds like she may routinely treat people badly and that's why you've been told not to take it personally. IF the whole family has decided not to confront her you may not be able to do much about it. But you can choose not to have her in your home and to limit your contact with her.

If she does speak rudely to you or your children, you certainly can say, I don't appreciate you speaking to me in that tone of voice or Please don't speak to my children in that tone of voice. Again, please speak to your husband and be sure he is going to support you.

You're an adult and you don't have to be treated badly by anyone. I don't care if they're a relative. Just my opinion.

1 mom found this helpful

Since it is affecting your relationship with this person, I believe you should have a heart to heart conversation about it with this individual. I would suggest making this private between the two of you. It sounds like you have already involved others with your feelings, yet this is something that is best handled in an intimate setting.
With my whole heart, C.

1 mom found this helpful

Is the lady generally rude, or just rude recently because she's over-stressed due to life's complications? Generally, rude people have character issues which are unrelated to anything you've personally done, and they won't take the news well if you confront them (or even try to gently point out their behavior).

So I agree with the people who say not to take it personally. There are all kinds of mental illnesses, by the way, which could have this rudeness as a symptom. Contrary to popular belief, hordes of mentally ill people go untreated, and many types of mental illness are completely untreatable unless the person is willing to have intense psychotherapy. So she might just be a little "off", and you're stuck with it.

PLEASE, I'm not saying she's necessarily mentally ill. I'm just saying that being chronically rude isn't normal, because it's mean, and who on earth would be chronically mean on purpose?

My mother was like that, with other problems as well. One of my siblings or I would invite her to dinner every two weeks, and that's the extent that we dealt with her, she was so miserable. Yeah, we felt guilty cutting her off, but she contributed NOTHING to our lives, was a child abuser, and was just nasty, negative and depressing. You might find that you need to somewhat limit contact with the woman. That's okay to do.

1 mom found this helpful

I've found over many years that rude behavior is more complicated than it ever seems on the surface. When most people - relatives, friends, or even strangers - are rude to you, you're not part of the real problem. Something entirely different is going on, and he or she is taking it out on you!

That's not fair, but it's the way most people act once in a while. Think about what you may do when you're "having a bad day" and you'll understand.

When "everyone" says not to take it personally, they may be saying that confrontation should always be avoided at any cost (I'm related to some people like that), or they may be saying there is more here than meets the eye but they don't feel that they can say anything more. That's frustrating, and it calls for some trust in "everyone."

If I were in the position, I'd do everything I could to prevent my mother-in-law from pushing my buttons. I would respond, not react, to her, keeping firm control of how I myself behave, because I don't want to answer rudeness with rudeness and I certainly can't control what she does. Since the problem is only of a few days' duration, I'd ask my husband (privately) if something else is going on that I should know about.

I wouldn't want to talk to her about it until I could do it with calm friendliness, and without letting my own emotions flare up. I also would refuse to relieve my feelings by backstabbing. If one of your children says, "What's Grandma so mad about?" you can honestly answer, without making any excuses, "I sure don't know!"

This sort of response to rudeness is more difficult than just "having it out" (which frequently ends up as a mere exchange of insults) but it's often the high road, and that's the example you want to set for your children.

If the behavior is really unusual, or if it keeps on in intensity, keep asking your husband (privately!) to dig into it. Perhaps his mother has a physical problem, or a great anxiety.

Turn to your faith, also; your MIL could probably use prayers for (not about) her right now.

1 mom found this helpful

You've gotten some great advice. I particularly liked the advice from Deb K. There is a polite and caring way to bring this up with your MIL, so it doesn't sound like you are angry. I know that my in-laws become very defensive if they hear a tone that is angry or has an edge to it, especially if it's from a non-blood relation. I also agree that your husband needs to back you up. If possible, he needs to address this issue with his mother. It is easier to have things pointed out by your own child rather than someone else. Besides listening to her own child better, if she gets angry, she will be more likely to quickly forgive her son rather than you.

1 mom found this helpful

I am the wife of an adopted only son... SO, I totally understand what you are dealing with. I go through this very often and have taken it for a couple years now. I recently decided that I did not have to deal with it, that I could distance myself from the negativity and that would be the best way to let myself heal and send a subtle message. Luckily we live thousands of miles away and I only deal with this if I decide to answer the phone. Lately I have opted to take a break from the phone calls so I can maintain my sanity and regroup before I say something I will regret. I don't want to stoop to her level, although I think this is what she wants. Good Luck and just try to make your well being first and foremost.

1 mom found this helpful

If this just started and she hasn't always been rude then don't take it personally. I am for speaking up and saying something like "you seem a little irratated with me when we speak, did I do something to offend or upset you?". A lot of times people don't realize their tone if they are overly stressed out about something. If she has always done this then I feel to be careful in your words but do stand up for yourself by saying something like "you know I really care about you and love being part of your family, however I feel kind of like an outsider with the way you speak to me".
People use tones I don't agree with, people can be offensive and not care who they offend. I think it is totally okay to step up. If a clerk at a store is rude to me I have always said something like "wow is it a rough day today for you"...like acknowledging their behavior but hopefully making them aware they are taking out their bad day on everyone else. If someone I know is rude I just say "hey what is up, is there something you want to talk about because you seem stressed"...if some stranger is rude I typically always make sure I am extra nice using please and thank yous and holding doors and so on, hoping to wake them up for being rude and not being like them.

It is hard, you should think through what you need to say. I say if it did just start up then it is probably something that has nothing to do with you. I heard a saying "we typically treat those we love and care about the worst in times of stress because of the security of knowing they will accept us no matter what"...not sure if that holds true here or not, but maybe approach her as you being concerned about her...good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

I recently discovered that Diabetes can cause people to be incredibly rude without realizing that they're doing it. It has something to do with their insulin levels being really out of balance.

In my family, if someone is being rude, we get them a snack. I just get the food out - like cheese and crackers or slice up an apple, then offer it to them.

My mom politely excuses herself from the room when someone's being rude. I prefer creating an awkward pause in the conversation: "Wow - I can't believe you said that...[pause]" or "Wow, that was a little rude" Then when they respond, apologize quickly and say: "oh, sorry - I was just surprised."

It's important to say it with an attitude of shock rather than accusation.

My old flat mate swears by http://www.digestiveadvantage.com/prod_adult_li.html for her milk allergy. The whole time we lived together, she had horrible, debilitating cramps if she accidentally ate anything that had the tiniest bit of milk in it. Now she's able to eat things without checking for milk content. She's even eaten a slice of cheese pizza without ill effects. She also had a small bowl of ice cream with no ill effects.

1 mom found this helpful

I'll suggest a book. How to hug a porcupine. It's helped me in many a rough relationship.

1 mom found this helpful

I know exactly what you are going through! First thing, take a deep breath. Now ask yourself, is you MIL's behavior new or something that has been going on for a long time? If it is a new behavior, it may be better to just let it roll off your back, because she may be having a hard time with something that you dont understand yet and taking it out on everyone around her. I know that is hard to hear, especially when your feelings are still smarting from her behavior, but if up until now she has been nice to you, you should really count your blessings. If it is not new behavior, you may be ready to stand up for yourself. My husband and I have been married for a little over 10 years now. My MIL has been nothing but mean to me from day one. I understand how it feels to be hurt by someone's words or actions only to have the people around you tell you that you are overreacting. I was never one to take things lying down, but with her, I had a hard time standing up for myself because the easier course was to keep the peace. But it got to the point where I was seeing an offence in everything she did or said to me. Dont let this happen to you! It is ok to say kindly "Do you hear what you just said to me?" Or "How would you feel if I did/said that to you?" Make sure your husband is on board first, or he will feel like you are making him choose. My MIL ultimatly was the one that brought my husband completely over to my side in the problem when she 1.Hid the fact that his father was remarring, and 2.Told my husband that it was "his mistake" for marrying me. When she did those things it backfired on her because it showed my husband that I wasnt just being sensitive. Keep your chin up, and know that as long as your relationship with your husband is strong, it doesnt matter who or what comes against you! Good Luck!

1 mom found this helpful

I kind of have to deal with this on a recurring basis also. I tried confronting her and she absolutely would not listen to me. Her husband wouldn't listen either. My husband will only listen if I am calm about it, and that is not always the case, but I have learned to wait a day or two and gather my thoughts and go to him. For example, yesterday he had surgery and the hospital called to have him come in early. During the surgery she said "why didn't you call me?" Well, I didn't think to. I apologized and she said "It's not a big deal, I just didn't get to see my son before he went into surgery." and I said "it is a big deal". I really felt bad for not thinking of her, but here I felt bad that she did not accept my apology. I repeated all of this to my husband tonight and he said "I sent her a text message telling her the hospital wanted me early." So he forwarded the same text message to her and we soon found out that her phone was dead because she didn't charge it. That's about as good as it gets, at least for now. When I get upset about her, I usually go say a prayer. I feel like I get inspiration for what to do, and sometimes it is along the lines of "I will take care of it for you". We all will have our day of judgment someday, and I hope that God will be merciful to me, so I really try to follow that scripture "of you it is required to forgive all men". Still I think you are entitled to take a break once in a while. Forgiveness does not mean becoming a doormat, and sometimes I just stay away because I know I am not in a mood to deal with such inconsideration. I hope that helps.

1 mom found this helpful

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