Author Topic: On respecting family members who deserve non-stop facepunches  (Read 20773 times)

nikki

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On respecting family members who deserve non-stop facepunches
« on: December 09, 2013, 06:19:31 PM »
Okay... this is going to be a very personal and emotional post. I've been living abroad for the past two years, so I've been removed from my family and able to live my own life happily. But I'm going back to visit next month, which has brought my family's behaviors to mind once again. If you have any useful advice for helping me approach this visit and my family with a better mindset, I'm all ears.

And so the ranting begins:

My family has an interesting relationship with money. Almost everyone (except my aunt and half-sister) grew up feeling the pinch of not always having enough. Now that they all have enough--way more than enough--they treat money as something they have the right to spend as they wish. The end result is a massive house filled with junk for my grandparents and a more modest sized house even more filled with junk for my mother. Both parts of my family upgrade their SUVs and trucks, which they use to drive only themselves around town, every 2-3 years.

You may have seen in other threads, but my aunt and half-sister take advantage of their parents.

My aunt is almost 40, still lives with my grandparents, doesn't always pay the "rent" she's supposed to ($300 a month for room, utilities, and food that gets put into an envelope for her use when she screws up later on), and worse of all doesn't help around the house--something my aging grandparents might appreciate. She has squandered many opportunities given to her, like having a college degree paid for by her grandmother (she never finished) or having nutrition plans paid for by her grandmother (she is obese). She doesn't really have a career--she just goes from job to job every few years with a lot of off-time in between.

My sister is 20, has a two-year old truck my mom pays for (even though her job is 1.4 miles from her house), dropped out of a culinary school program after only 6 months--but still managed to rack up $16,000 of student loan debt in my mother's name in those 6 months, owes my mom over $3,000 for other random loans, goes out partying often, and shows signs of hoarding (when I went to help her pack for moving a few years ago, she literally packed trash, even though there was a trash bag at hand). Here is an example of her monthly cell phone usage:

  • 93 of unlimited mins.
  • used 22,830 of unlimited msgs This is basically a text every minute of her life spent awake
  • used 1,942 of 6,144 MBs used


My mom's cell phone bill, for her and my sister, is $230 a month. They are on some plan so they can upgrade their phones every year instead of every two years. Instead of buying the phones, my mom pays a monthly fee of $52 for both phones. With my sister's usage, a service like Ting actually would NOT save them money. And I guarantee she's too much of an entitled brat to thoughtfully reduce her usage.

There's a lot more I could add, but I think you get the idea. My family doesn't care about the environment, saving money, living thoughtfully, or anything that is at the core of my values. Because of this, I really don't like my family as people. They're wasteful, mindless consumers who try to substitute love with material goods. I'm not buying it.

I'm an overly rational person and I'm unable to separate my judgment just because they're family.

I'm really just looking for any tips on how to shed these negative ideas long enough to try to enjoy their company during my almost two week visit next month. I'm not even looking to change my thoughts permanently. I just want to make it through this visit and go back to my own life.

gooki

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Re: On respecting family members who deserve non-stop facepunches
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2013, 06:37:29 PM »
Drown your sorrows with alcohol the whole time.

Buy a cell phone jammer and leave it turned on in your room. See if they will survive the two weeks.

Accept they are adults, and lead by example.

nikki

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Re: On respecting family members who deserve non-stop facepunches
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2013, 06:40:21 PM »
Drown your sorrows with alcohol the whole time.

Buy a cell phone jammer and leave it turned on in your room. See if they will survive the two weeks.

Accept they are adults, and lead by example.

Bahahah--excellent suggestions! ;-)

I'm not certain about the "adult" bit for at least two of the family members, though.

impaire

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Re: On respecting family members who deserve non-stop facepunches
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2013, 06:42:32 PM »
Two words: anthropology, and breaks.

anthropology: just really, really study your family. You're overly rational? Approach the trip like a scientific mission: you're camping with a foreign tribe, they have absolutely incomprehensible traditions and ways of being, and yet it seems to all make sense to them... What interesting detail can you unearth? How can you make your readers back home understand, and perhaps even sympathize with their behavior? It is not your place to judge or try to influence--be thankful for the lessons you are getting, not in economy, but in human behavior.
[Ideally, in the long run, with understanding may come more affection or more effective ways to help; life, however, is not a Hollywood movie, so don't pin any hopes on that, just find the interest for yourself in the challenge of training yourself to extreme cultural sensitivity and learning about exotic customs. Super ironic given your life!]

breaks: yeah, sometimes you'll just need them. Bring a few books, projects, or whatever, to retire to when it gets to tough dealing with the natives. :)

edited for syntax
« Last Edit: December 09, 2013, 06:56:12 PM by impaire »

Bumfluff

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Re: On respecting family members who deserve non-stop facepunches
« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2013, 06:45:33 PM »
This struck me: "they treat money as something they have the right to spend as they wish." The thing is, they DO have the right to spend their money as they want to. I think accepting this (even though many of their choices are abhorrent to you) is the key to peace. I agree with you that they are "doing it wrong" but that really is their mistake to make.

If you can accept this I think you can just slap on a smile, survive the visit and then get back to living your life. Also, take some time out away from them if they drive you crazy. Good luck!

AccidentalMiser

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Re: On respecting family members who deserve non-stop facepunches
« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2013, 06:50:23 PM »
Now that they all have enough--way more than enough--they treat money as something they have the right to spend as they wish.

^This.

They do have the right to spend as they wish.  Your values are not their values.  Don't spend another minute torturing yourself over what other adults do.


nikki

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Re: On respecting family members who deserve non-stop facepunches
« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2013, 06:51:17 PM »
This struck me: "they treat money as something they have the right to spend as they wish." The thing is, they DO have the right to spend their money as they want to. I think accepting this (even though many of their choices are abhorrent to you) is the key to peace. I agree with you that they are "doing it wrong" but that really is their mistake to make.

If you can accept this I think you can just slap on a smile, survive the visit and then get back to living your life. Also, take some time out away from them if they drive you crazy. Good luck!

I understand what you're saying, but I think people should have some sense of responsibility for how their consumption impacts the environment. Approaching spending and consumption with only yourself and your immediate wishes in mind is irresponsible and harmful. That's more at the essence of the quoted statement.

If they want to blow through their money and never retire, fine by me. It's the bits that harm MY world too that get me.

EDIT: I say "fine by me" while still acknowledging how obnoxious it is :-p
« Last Edit: December 09, 2013, 06:58:26 PM by nikki »

Ellen

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Re: On respecting family members who deserve non-stop facepunches
« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2013, 06:58:51 PM »
"they treat money as something they have the right to spend as they wish"

They do. And you have to accept this, just as you want them to accept that you will not spend all that you earn, and perhaps many other things about YOUR choices in life--where you live, what you do for a living, your significant other, having or not having a family ... to list some possible examples.

It can be so hard to see people you love making choices that you feel will come back to bite them in the end, especially when those people are middle-aged and older. (Young people it's easier to give a pass to.) But if you don't accept them and their right to make the choices they do, then you are inviting them to criticize and judge you. Easier said than done, I know, but if they're not asking you for money, then you need to try as hard as you can to keep your opinions to yourself. Lead by example and explain your financially conscious choices to anyone and everyone who asks/seems interested, but don't criticize. If you have a close, loving family who you know would help you in your hour of need, then count your blessings.

And I also agree with the poster who recommended alcohol and frequent breaks.

LauraG

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Re: On respecting family members who deserve non-stop facepunches
« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2013, 07:00:10 PM »
With my in-laws, with whom I have similar problems, I find it best to just remind myself that they have really different values / priorities and I'm not going to change them through criticism. I try to lead by example through, when appropriate, mentioning how we enjoy walking to work because it gives us a chance to watch the herons on the river, how we try to live on just one of our incomes because it gives us more security, etc.

nikki

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Re: On respecting family members who deserve non-stop facepunches
« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2013, 07:00:37 PM »
Two words: anthropology, and breaks.

anthropology: just really, really study your family. You're overly rational? Approach the trip like a scientific mission: you're camping with a foreign tribe, they have absolutely incomprehensible traditions and ways of being, and yet it seems to all make sense to them... What interesting detail can you unearth? How can you make your readers back home understand, and perhaps even sympathize with their behavior? It is not your place to judge or try to influence--be thankful for the lessons you are getting, not in economy, but in human behavior.
[Ideally, in the long run, with understanding may come more affection or more effective ways to help; life, however, is not a Hollywood movie, so don't pin any hopes on that, just find the interest for yourself in the challenge of training yourself to extreme cultural sensitivity and learning about exotic customs. Super ironic given your life!]

breaks: yeah, sometimes you'll just need them. Bring a few books, projects, or whatever, to retire to when it gets to tough dealing with the natives. :)

edited for syntax

Your anthropological assignment will probably actually work for me. This is the kind of help I was reaching out for!

nikki

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Re: On respecting family members who deserve non-stop facepunches
« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2013, 09:43:43 PM »
I guess I was reading into the post that what really bothers her is the two relatives that are mooches, essentially spending other people's money.  Economic Outpatient Care is difficult to watch when it infringes on those you love (in your case, your mom and your grandparents). 

I have to witness a similar situation, and it makes me really despise the mooches.  I have tried to constructively talk to those that are blowing their money on the mooches, but it hasn't helped.  I have, however, led by example, though not intentionally.  Little things like me expecting my kids (five and up) to clear their own dishes, when said mooches are in 20s and 30s and still do not do that (their mom does it for them).

Best wishes!  I have thought of writing a post about our situation as well.

DING DING DING DING!

Booo @ mooches!

But my grandparents and mom are super wasteful, too, so that's not the only problem. Really there are just so many differences between our values that I don't fit into the family anymore. I need to figure out a way to pseudo-fit or at least not start ranting and raving while I'm there.

I'm really digging the feedback from this post! It's hard to share stories like this because I just come across as whiny myself.

Sid Zorbo

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Re: On respecting family members who deserve non-stop facepunches
« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2013, 10:00:29 PM »
Every time they do or say something that is highly antimustachian, laugh at them to their faces and then say through your laughter..."My God, you people are so repulsive, like the most repulsive people ever. They need to make a t.v. show about you like they did with Jersey Shore, because you are just like them. I am soooo much better than you, and I can't quite get over the fact of how I could be related to you. Please tell me I was adopted, or in your case, you bought me to be a cleaning slave, but were too drunk to remember the transaction, and just ended up believing over time I was an actual member of this ridiculous familial unit." Then leave the room still laughing before they can respond.

I also like the cell phone jammer idea.

Although this is highly illegal, you very well could drug them with peyote or LSD or something, and then pull a large spoof of A Christmas Carol. I'm just saying, drastic times call for drastic measures.

gooki

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Re: On respecting family members who deserve non-stop facepunches
« Reply #12 on: December 09, 2013, 11:02:41 PM »
Is there another family you can adopt?

impaire

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Re: On respecting family members who deserve non-stop facepunches
« Reply #13 on: December 09, 2013, 11:16:44 PM »
There are a lot of things you can learn from them too.  Focus on family history, asking about the old days, like when they were kids, etc.  It is so interesting to learn about loved ones and learn about history through their lives.  Also, are there family recipes you would love to learn?  Or other skills from any of them?  Focus on these things ...

Ooooh, good ones. A little prep ahead of time to think of these things, and you have genuinely interesting subjects to redirect stupid conversations to. They'll appreciate the genuineness and, needless to day, so will you.

nikki

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Re: On respecting family members who deserve non-stop facepunches
« Reply #14 on: December 09, 2013, 11:37:24 PM »
Is there another family you can adopt?

I have a cat. She fully supports my lifestyle and looks forward to my FI, too.

nikki

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Re: On respecting family members who deserve non-stop facepunches
« Reply #15 on: December 09, 2013, 11:41:08 PM »
Above all, I would say to do your best to love on your mom and grandparents and appreciate all they have done for you.  You hardly get to see them, and you never know when it will be your last time (esp. the grandparents).  There are a lot of things you can learn from them too.  Focus on family history, asking about the old days, like when they were kids, etc.  It is so interesting to learn about loved ones and learn about history through their lives.  Also, are there family recipes you would love to learn?  Or other skills from any of them?  Focus on these things, not the differences, and if I were you, I'd do my best to avoid time with the mooches.

My grandmother is 67. My mom is 46. They aren't *that* old, despite what my mom thinks about her age :-p

Family recipes? You mean how to open a can? Herrrrrr herrrrrr. I'll pass.

I'll just try to help my grandmother around the house and ignore the fact that they have six TVs, four computers, two iPhones, an iPad, a new Microsoft tablet, four cars, etc. while I clean up.

Self-employed-swami

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Re: On respecting family members who deserve non-stop facepunches
« Reply #16 on: December 10, 2013, 12:32:25 AM »
Are there any outdoor chores that need doing (snow shovelling/landscaping; I'm not sure what sort of climate they live in)?  That way you can be helpful, without having to spend 24/7 with them?  One Christmas, everyone left my Grandma in the farm house, and we went to shovel the straw out of the whole barn, without her.  We talked, laughed, and enjoyed each other's company, sans negative Grandma. 

Is there something else like that you could do?  Do you have friends nearby that you'd like to catch up with as well?  Maybe you could plan a few sanity breaks away from the family, with the intent to visit friends as well?

Moomingirl

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Re: On respecting family members who deserve non-stop facepunches
« Reply #17 on: December 10, 2013, 01:12:24 AM »
Nikki - your family sound just like my mother. I just can't even compute how her mind works (or doesn't....). I find it almost impossible to hold a conversation with her, her values are just so different to mine.

The only thing I have found that helps is repeating the mantra to myself "if you know how hard it is to change yourself, imagine how difficult it is to change someone else". Then I tell myself that she is not going to change at her age.  I spend as much time as I can going out and doing something else. And, if all else fails, go with Gooki's original theory - wine.  :)

kms

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Re: On respecting family members who deserve non-stop facepunches
« Reply #18 on: December 10, 2013, 02:24:24 AM »
Wine will absolutely make things easier. If it fails try vodka, whisky, you name it. The higher the chance of alcohol-based autoignition when left in the sun the better!

I like the anthropological approach. Try to distance yourself from your relatives far enough to approach them as strangers with values different from your own. Then, observe and see if you can a) muster some understanding of their ways or b) learn something for yourself and your own way of life. The bottom line is that they're adults, the moochers and the moochees, and they have a right to live their life the way they want to. Don't try to convert them or give them lessons if they clearly aren't interested. Nobody likes a smartass. Unless of course you want to mock them, in which case Sid Zorbo's idea sounds wonderful. In addition to laughing at them keep an empty vodka bottle around that you've filled with water and whenever they do or say something stupid in addition to laughing at them take a sip from your bottle of "vodka".

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Re: On respecting family members who deserve non-stop facepunches
« Reply #19 on: December 10, 2013, 04:19:17 AM »
Here is what worked for me.... I look for "flips" -- as in, a way to "flip" my thought process.

I had some family members that I really, really wanted to call out for their poor financial decisions. Every time I saw them, I spent a week wanting to just say something to them. Nothing seemed to work as far as getting me to not want to do this (family harmony, none of my business, etc). Then I "flipped" it. There are certain parts of my life that are not perfect, where I can be called out myself for my own bad decisions. And I really, really don't want to have that conversation. So this flip I called Glass Houses.

If I call them out, they have every right to call me out. So I am not going to call them out. Not necessarily the right reason to keep my mouth shut, but it achieved the right result. And now, a few months later, I don't really care any more. I roll my eyes, say something snarky to my husband, and forget about it!

Best of luck to you!

TrMama

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Re: On respecting family members who deserve non-stop facepunches
« Reply #20 on: December 10, 2013, 12:17:40 PM »
Is there a reason you're going for 2 weeks? Can you plan a side trip for part of that time to give you a really big break? Or just cut the trip short?

I'm also pretty analytical and am having trouble understanding why you'd willingly put yourself in this situation for so long.

melalvai

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Re: On respecting family members who deserve non-stop facepunches
« Reply #21 on: December 10, 2013, 01:14:20 PM »
I'm going to advise against alcohol. Honestly that's likely to make it worse, not better.

This is a really good step you are taking in trying to be more respecting of them. You know the saying, you don't know what you've got until you lose it. You don't see your family as being old enough to worry that they might be around, but with that lifestyle, they might not. And why not take advantage of their relative health? You never know when it'll be too late. When you'll no longer be able to ask about the stories of ages past because the person is senile. You'd think they'd remember their childhood, just not what they said 5 minutes ago, but they lose their childhood memories too. I was so disappointed when I discovered that, several years before Grandma died, that she didn't remember those stories anymore, and I hadn't listened well enough or asked enough questions.

As some have alluded, your pain is because you actually love these people. There's thousands of people just like them, and those thousands don't bother you the way your own family does. You don't want them to be hurt, and you think the way they live is hurting them or will hurt them.

You're probably right. But you might be wrong. So don't try to change them. You can try to change the thousands of other people just like them, but don't try to change them.

The anthropology analogy is helpful and I'm going to boost it with an idea someone gave me a couple years ago that has changed how I relate to everyone: a spirit of curiosity.

When I find myself being judgmental, it hurts only me. The person I'm judging probably doesn't know I'm doing it. The spirit of curiosity inspires me to ask why the person has chosen that course of action that I disapprove of. If I truly try to understand why, then it makes sense and if I don't necessarily approve of it, at least it doesn't need to hurt me. It's very unlikely that the choice was made to hurt me.

Try this out on all the anonymous people in your life, like traffic planners and city officials. "Why do they have a stoplight right here? That's so dumb." With a spirit of curiosity, you can learn why there might be a stoplight right here. Perhaps it saves lives or prevents wrecks. Perhaps it doesn't but is a relic of an earlier time that just hasn't been removed yet. Perhaps it was to assuage local demand but it was actually unnecessary from a safety standpoint.

Once you've had some success using the spirit of curiosity on faceless people, see if you can try it with real people you encounter. "That clerk was so rude." Maybe she had a bad day. A rude customer before you. The manager made unreasonable demands. Her kid is in trouble at school again. If you are feeling brave, take it a step further and ask her in a non threatening, non judgmental way.

With your family it's really hard to let the spirit of curiosity through the emotional baggage. Don't expect instant success. But keep trying. Even if you have a few failures initially, you are much more likely to change yourself than to change your family.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2013, 01:18:12 PM by melalvai »

dantownehall

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Re: On respecting family members who deserve non-stop facepunches
« Reply #22 on: December 10, 2013, 01:30:50 PM »
Extended facepunch alert...

Here's an idea I have shamelessly purloined from Wendell Berry, who is perhaps the most badass (and incidentally super-Mustachian) individual alive today -

He's an organic farmer, uses horses instead of tractors, raises all his own food, is a wonderful poet/writer who doesn't own a computer, etc...  but still claims to be a large part of the environmental problem.  And he's right.

It's pretty easy to look down on people who are more wasteful than ourselves, but completely ignore the fact that we ourselves are also pretty wasteful.

Eye, plank, etc.

My advice - this is your family, for better or worse.  You didn't choose them but you can choose to love them.  If you're holding out for everyone you know to become Mustachian, you will run out of breath.  Focus on improving yourself (which includes loving people as well as you can) and allow your example to improve your family (although this may never happen).

I know a lot of people around here think that you can just cut negative people out of your life and view it as part of their Mustachian duty to do so, but this is simply not true;  those people are always out there, and learning to live with them but not like them is a much better solution.

Hopefully this doesn't sound too judgmental!  :)

C. K.

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Re: On respecting family members who deserve non-stop facepunches
« Reply #23 on: December 10, 2013, 02:05:23 PM »
I'll agree with Mom of 5 and dantownehall.  Before you go, I would list 10 things that are good about each of the people who irritate you (even the mooches) or something good about the situation. This will help you not only survive the visit, but enjoy yourself. You will begin to view the time with them, not as a detriment, but as a benefit.

I'll start you off:
  • They like you and want to see you.(And apparently you like them too; you're visiting.)
  • You have your own home to go to after this visit. When you want to go crazy, think of all the great stuff you'll get back home. (like peace and quiet)
  • The 40-year old aunt likes to be around her parents.
  • The older people care a lot about the younger ones.
  • Since you are aware of the problems, you have the power to put aside your differences and create a pleasant atmosphere and good memories so they will want to see you again.
  • They are wasting money, but at least they have money, food, etc. So many people do not have any of this.
  • You have a family. [I have worked with Kenyan orphans whose parents died of things so easily treatable in the U.S. They often live with not a soul to care about their well being. It's horrifying.]
  • Your family is physically well.
  • Your grandparents, mother,  etc. are young enough to be a part of your life. [I wish I had known my father's parents, but he was the last of 9 children. His parents were super old when dad married and had kids. Never met them.]
  • You're alive at a great time in history where you can find a forum to spill your problems to when the family doesn't understand you.
Hope this helps.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2013, 02:22:24 PM by C. K. »

anastrophe

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Re: On respecting family members who deserve non-stop facepunches
« Reply #24 on: December 10, 2013, 02:19:35 PM »
I like C.K.'s advice. And from a different angle:

I noticed that in my mid-to-late 20's I started feeling like I didn't understand my family as well as I used to, and had a lot less patience for eccentricities about them that I never even noticed when I was younger. I did not like that feeling, it seemed like I was betraying my origins somehow. But I finally decided that is part of growing up: some people become more culturally different from their families, and that's actually a good thing, it's part of becoming a Real Adult or something. So, every time I would start getting frustrated with some dumb thing they would do I would 1) pat myself on the back for being a Real Adult with my own ideas and 2) remind myself that I love them and all those good things.

That said, I visit a lot less often now, and I am grateful to have my own life to go back to. It's just a visit! Since you are an anthropologist, you will learn on your visit, and then appreciate your own culture more when you go back:)

lifejoy

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Re: On respecting family members who deserve non-stop facepunches
« Reply #25 on: December 10, 2013, 02:31:53 PM »
Sometimes I take issue with the way my mom lives her life. My bf kindly reminds me:

Can you change her behaviour? (No.)
Would it be easier if you just accept that she is the way she is, and focus on the things about her that don't bother you? (Yes.)



Easier said than done, but it helped reframe things in my mind. I can't change her, so I might as well accept it.

C. K.

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Re: On respecting family members who deserve non-stop facepunches
« Reply #26 on: December 10, 2013, 02:44:43 PM »
I like C.K.'s advice. And from a different angle:

I noticed that in my mid-to-late 20's I started feeling like I didn't understand my family as well as I used to, and had a lot less patience for eccentricities about them that I never even noticed when I was younger. I did not like that feeling, it seemed like I was betraying my origins somehow. But I finally decided that is part of growing up: some people become more culturally different from their families, and that's actually a good thing, it's part of becoming a Real Adult or something. So, every time I would start getting frustrated with some dumb thing they would do I would 1) pat myself on the back for being a Real Adult with my own ideas and 2) remind myself that I love them and all those good things....


You too? I thought I was the only one who felt like something had changed in my family, and I didn't like it. Then I realized that even adults don't remain the same and that perhaps I too had changed while away at university.

I want to make sure, though, that "grown up" doesn't mean "grown apart" from the family. I can still be a member of the family, I just have to make my special niche or contribution. I haven't found it yet...

needmyfi

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Re: On respecting family members who deserve non-stop facepunches
« Reply #27 on: December 10, 2013, 02:56:31 PM »
. They.................try to substitute love with material goods. I'm not buying it.

This is the real heart of the problem, no?  And it doesn't work for them.  I suspect was your 40 year old obese aunt who lives with her parents and "sometimes" works, may have even less respect for herself than you have for her. 

Be grateful you didn't fall into the same trap.  You're not only a better citizen but a happier one as well. 

If asked for your input , tell mom and grandma that enabling is not making ANYBODY happy.  If the subject never comes up-just love them the best you can.

BPA

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Re: On respecting family members who deserve non-stop facepunches
« Reply #28 on: December 10, 2013, 03:50:37 PM »
Accept that they are allowed to live their lives the way that they are and live the life you want for yourself.  You don't have to agree with them, but their lives are their own.


nikki

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Re: On respecting family members who deserve non-stop facepunches
« Reply #29 on: December 10, 2013, 05:00:15 PM »
This thread gives me the warm and fuzzies. Thanks everyone for chiming in!

@TrMama: this trip will be almost two weeks long because I can't justify the cost for a shorter visit (although I must admit that round-trip from South Korea to Texas I paid only $1037 or so!!!). I haven't been back in two years and won't go back again for another two years at least, so two weeks seems reasonable to me. My grandmother always tries to guilt me into returning "home", so two years is probably the maximum she can handle.

My boyfriend will be visiting from California, too (that's a whole other story), so I'll be able to escape with him with the excuse/reality of showing him around the neighborhood.

My mom has taken off work for that entire time so she can spend more time with me and go do things with me, so I'll try to treat it as much as a vacation as possible. I'm already mapping out neat things to see and do to make it the most enjoyable for everyone. Hopefully.

The annoyance has already begun, though: last night my grandmother asked if I might like to have a car rented so I can have the freedom to drive around wherever and whenever I want, as if her and my mom's constant availability or the fleet of six cars between the two isn't enough to cover all bases. Alright, let's try to be positive about that bit--she wants to make sure I have the best time possible while I'm there, and in her view having a car (or more) for each person = freedom.

I can do this!

nikki

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Re: On respecting family members who deserve non-stop facepunches
« Reply #30 on: December 10, 2013, 05:03:05 PM »

It's pretty easy to look down on people who are more wasteful than ourselves, but completely ignore the fact that we ourselves are also pretty wasteful.

Flying around the world is pretty crappy.

I like this advice and try to keep things in perspective (as I'm sure many of us do--constant optimization and awareness is sort of a shared characteristic I see among posters here), but it's easy for me to get tripped up because of the emotions involved with family. I don't get nearly as upset when their neighbors do similar things, you know?

It's a work in progress.

melalvai

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Re: On respecting family members who deserve non-stop facepunches
« Reply #31 on: December 11, 2013, 06:33:51 AM »
Let us know how your visit goes.
I hope you have fun with family members you didn't think you could have fun with-- even your aunt and your sister.  And learn a lot about yourself and them.

galaxie

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Re: On respecting family members who deserve non-stop facepunches
« Reply #32 on: December 11, 2013, 06:56:46 AM »
The thing is, we can only facepunch people who have asked us for advice.  This board is a place where facepunches are ok, but we can't go around facepunching everyone in real life (or even judging them silently).  Time and a place for everything.

TrulyStashin

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Re: On respecting family members who deserve non-stop facepunches
« Reply #33 on: December 11, 2013, 07:39:47 AM »
With my teenagers, I remind myself that they are literally brain impaired.  All of our ability to plan for the future and forecast/ anticipate the future is managed by the frontal lobe of our brains.    The frontal lobe is not fully mature until the mid-20's, which is very unfortunate when you consider the gravity of life choices that our society asks us to make in our late-teens.

Perhaps, for whatever reason, your family members simply have impaired frontal lobes?  Maybe their brains just never fully matured.  Or at least you can choose to frame it this way.

If they walked with a limp or had diabetes or some other physical ailment, having compassion is easier. This might be a bit of a stretch because their brains SHOULD be fully mature at their ages.

But "should" isn't very helpful, is it?

The Dalai Lama has some very helpful writings on having compassion for ourselves and others.  It's the key to happiness.

Good luck.

C. K.

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Re: On respecting family members who deserve non-stop facepunches
« Reply #34 on: December 11, 2013, 07:52:58 AM »


The annoyance has already begun, though: last night my grandmother asked if I might like to have a car rented so I can have the freedom to drive around wherever and whenever I want, as if her and my mom's constant availability or the fleet of six cars between the two isn't enough to cover all bases. Alright, let's try to be positive about that bit--she wants to make sure I have the best time possible while I'm there, and in her view having a car (or more) for each person = freedom.

I can do this!

Yes you can! Good for you!

nikki

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Re: On respecting family members who deserve non-stop facepunches
« Reply #35 on: December 15, 2013, 05:47:06 PM »
Okay--new issue!

I had planned on giving my sister a cute Korean cash book to record her income and expenses, as I heard that she's unwisely about to move out of my mom's house and in with her boyfriend of two months despite being in debt and earning maybe slightly more than part-time minimum wage.

I also thought about getting one for my bozo aunt and maybe even one for my mom (they really are cute, and perhaps they'd use them...?)

I *also* thought about giving my mom either Your Money or Your Life or one of Dave Ramsey's books (haven't read any of them) because she likes Jesus. My mom earns six figures a year and could easily turn her financial ship around if she implemented key changes. It doesn't make sense for me, earning around $30k a year, to have more savings than her--even considering she owns a home and I don't.

But now I'm thinking that all of these planned gifts might be inappropriate because I'm probably better off distancing myself from their financial irresponsibility altogether. Giving a gift like that is my way of showing that I care about their financial well-being, but I can already guess that the gifts will go unused and unread. It's probably better to just not even go there and not give them gifts at all.

Sigh.

Peony

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Re: On respecting family members who deserve non-stop facepunches
« Reply #36 on: December 15, 2013, 06:43:31 PM »
With my teenagers, I remind myself that they are literally brain impaired.

This is what I do with one of my teen sons as well. (It has become a quiet inside joke between me and my BF: "Grow, frontal lobe, please hurry up and grow!")

In regard to your family, my very first thought was, "Mental illness." My BF's ex-wife was a hoarder and had a shopping problem. She was a sweet person and did not mean to harm her family, but she was unwell and she did hurt them (she spent her son's college fund and inheritance), and when she died she left an enormous mess -- literally and figuratively -- behind. Hoarding, weird money issues and horrific judgment seem to go together, and it sounds like something may be up with your sister other than just brattiness. And same with your aunt. She may be annoying as hell, but she also does not sound like a fully functional person.

Anthropology, oral history, gathering material for your screenplay -- all of these approaches may help you to keep some precious detachment.


EK

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Re: On respecting family members who deserve non-stop facepunches
« Reply #37 on: December 15, 2013, 06:47:26 PM »
Okay--new issue!

I had planned on giving my sister a cute Korean cash book to record her income and expenses, as I heard that she's unwisely about to move out of my mom's house and in with her boyfriend of two months despite being in debt and earning maybe slightly more than part-time minimum wage.

I also thought about getting one for my bozo aunt and maybe even one for my mom (they really are cute, and perhaps they'd use them...?)

I *also* thought about giving my mom either Your Money or Your Life or one of Dave Ramsey's books (haven't read any of them) because she likes Jesus. My mom earns six figures a year and could easily turn her financial ship around if she implemented key changes. It doesn't make sense for me, earning around $30k a year, to have more savings than her--even considering she owns a home and I don't.

But now I'm thinking that all of these planned gifts might be inappropriate because I'm probably better off distancing myself from their financial irresponsibility altogether. Giving a gift like that is my way of showing that I care about their financial well-being, but I can already guess that the gifts will go unused and unread. It's probably better to just not even go there and not give them gifts at all.

Sigh.

I think the cash books would be okay as a gift since they're cute and from Korea and maybe they would use it just because it's cute, but giving the books could come across a little judge-y... Just my 2 cents. 

tariskat

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Re: On respecting family members who deserve non-stop facepunches
« Reply #38 on: December 15, 2013, 06:53:46 PM »
You could just bring tasty Korean treats that we don't have in the USA.  Consumables would go fast, leave no extra stuff behind in their houses which sound a bit full already, and won't come across judge-y.  Just make sure it's cool with customs, first.  Or get some nice framed photos of gorgeous places you've seen in your travels; bring the photos into Kinko's or someplace on your first day back and have them printed out nicely.  Or have some calendars make with family photos in them.  With photos, you only need to pack an extra flash drive.

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Re: On respecting family members who deserve non-stop facepunches
« Reply #39 on: December 15, 2013, 07:46:43 PM »
All the responses are great, so I only wanted to add that I feel for you, Nikki! I have had a similar journey with my family -not around finances, because we're all similarly frugal (I may be the biggest spender, actually), but around other values, like ways of speaking to other people, becoming healthy, etc. This won't work for you as you're travelling across the world for this visit, but I have learned to keep my visits to a maximum of 36 hours (plus travel time). If I must be in the region longer, I stay with friends, recover at their homes (by sharing values), and visit my family. This works well for them and for me. Finally, before I go I think of things most of us might have in common, whether that be Scrabble, topics of conversation which I can make into a game, etc, and bring those out as needed.

Since I implemented this "program" a couple of years ago, I have really enjoyed my time with my family (again, in 36 hour slots max), regardless of our differences.

Best of luck!

impaire

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Re: On respecting family members who deserve non-stop facepunches
« Reply #40 on: December 15, 2013, 09:07:12 PM »
Are the books necessarily account books? They would make cute notebooks if they are usable either way, so if you already have gotten them, why not gift them? If you haven't bought them yet, well... Yes, I would look for a different little gift.

But congrats, you've definitely caught yourself trying to intervene before it happened!

LRS

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Re: On respecting family members who deserve non-stop facepunches
« Reply #41 on: December 15, 2013, 09:35:42 PM »
Nikki, I remember your old post asking whether it was even a good idea to make this trip. I don't think I replied, but I remember wanting you to go, because I think that spending time with family, even though it might not seem like it at the time, is a good thing.

You may not be able to foresee how, but being around relatives - even ones with whom you don't see eye to eye - can be very rewarding. You never know when you might mention something about work and mom will say something about a friend of hers that alerts you to a great job opportunity, or when a cousin will offhandedly mention an interest in a hobby that you never knew the two of you shared that results in a closer relationship, or when grandma will tell an amazing old family story you've never heard before that forever changes the way you think about yourself and your family.

Try to keep an open mind. Help where you think you can, but be tolerant of your family's foibles, and be open to having experiences that change the way you view them and your relationship to them. Be willing to do more than your fair share of the work building those relationships, and you may find yourself richly rewarded.

Think about how common it is for people on their deathbeds to say "I wish had spent more time with my family."

And hey, at the very least, maybe you'll glean some additional insight on what traps to avoid if/when you're starting your own family. :)

nikki

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Re: On respecting family members who deserve non-stop facepunches
« Reply #42 on: December 15, 2013, 10:38:51 PM »
Are the books necessarily account books? They would make cute notebooks if they are usable either way, so if you already have gotten them, why not gift them? If you haven't bought them yet, well... Yes, I would look for a different little gift.

But congrats, you've definitely caught yourself trying to intervene before it happened!

Ya--the little cash books are specifically for tracking cash inflow and outflow. Actually when I first saw them I thought about getting one for myself because they're super cute, but my system for recording things is paperless (except for receipts that are already given to me)--I just type things in Excel as soon as I get home. I haven't gotten any yet, so no worries there.

It's hard for me to commit to giving any presents at all because they all really just have too much stuff (in my mind--maybe not theirs). I sent some Korean snacks in a package last year, and my grandparents wouldn't touch any of it. Not too willing to try new things, you know?

Bah. Humbug.

I'll go exploring some markets to look for souvenirs that might be acceptable. Tshirts? Magnets? More fans?

Lina

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Re: On respecting family members who deserve non-stop facepunches
« Reply #43 on: December 16, 2013, 10:22:47 AM »
I think you have to have a lot of patience with family. I have partly turned my parents around. We have always discussed finances in our family or I have at least discussed it with my parents. Next year they will pay of their mortgage and that is I believe a result of our discussions. They have also reached a point where we look at for example insurances and telephonebills yearly to evaluate if they have the best option. They also have other loans but that comes up in different discussions on how to handle these.

My siblings on the other hand.... sigh. And my aunt and her husbands annoys me greatly but I can stand it for 3-4 hours per year.

Debbie M

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Re: On respecting family members who deserve non-stop facepunches
« Reply #44 on: December 16, 2013, 10:54:10 AM »
You could think of them as having a different religion than you.  It's like they have religious icons all over the house (clutter), but you can ignore that.  They may try to drag you to their church (the mall, especially the day after Christmas), but you can decline to join them.  They may talk in terms of their god (spending) all the time, but you can translate what they say into your own language (as you've already translated the offer to set you up with a rental car).  Or just let your eyes glaze over during those parts.

People have more traits than just their religion/sense of responsibility (or lack thereof).  Try to focus on these other traits (well, the ones you like).  Do you share any tastes in books, movies, games, creative outlets, exercise/movement, sports, charities, clothing, DIY anything, architecture, art, gardening, hairstyles, humor, etc.?

You may be able to make a game out of focusing on these other topics.  I once knew a gal who liked complaining all the time--I made it game to never give her an opening.  So I learned to never ask how she was or how school was going--to this day I don't know how she broke her arm.  And then whenever she brought up any good news, I would dwell on that a bit--(such as "it's awesome that you have the kind of boyfriend who would do that for you!")  At first you may stink at this game, repeatedly leading them into yucky topics of conversation, but it's fun when you improve.  Who knows, you might even hear of some fiscally responsible idea that you can encourage!

I'd say don't get finance-related gifts (these are from your own religion) unless you see any interest from them (which clearly you have not).

My last hint is that I do much better with family visits if I go in expecting the worst.  With my family that means watching TV all day every day.  I can still have plans, like trying to talk them into playing disc golf, but when when I assume that none of my plans will work out, I enjoy the visit much more then when I am thinking that I might really have a plan that will work this time.  And of course occasionally my plans (or other good plans) do work out, but it's better for that to come as a pleasant surprise.  (Supposedly people live down to your low expectations and you can magically think your way into happiness, but I don't find that to be true for me.)

nikki

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Re: On respecting family members who deserve non-stop facepunches
« Reply #45 on: December 16, 2013, 06:56:00 PM »
You could think of them as having a different religion than you.  It's like they have religious icons all over the house (clutter), but you can ignore that.  They may try to drag you to their church (the mall, especially the day after Christmas), but you can decline to join them.  They may talk in terms of their god (spending) all the time, but you can translate what they say into your own language (as you've already translated the offer to set you up with a rental car).  Or just let your eyes glaze over during those parts.

People have more traits than just their religion/sense of responsibility (or lack thereof).  Try to focus on these other traits (well, the ones you like).  Do you share any tastes in books, movies, games, creative outlets, exercise/movement, sports, charities, clothing, DIY anything, architecture, art, gardening, hairstyles, humor, etc.?

You may be able to make a game out of focusing on these other topics.  I once knew a gal who liked complaining all the time--I made it game to never give her an opening.  So I learned to never ask how she was or how school was going--to this day I don't know how she broke her arm.  And then whenever she brought up any good news, I would dwell on that a bit--(such as "it's awesome that you have the kind of boyfriend who would do that for you!")  At first you may stink at this game, repeatedly leading them into yucky topics of conversation, but it's fun when you improve.  Who knows, you might even hear of some fiscally responsible idea that you can encourage!

I'd say don't get finance-related gifts (these are from your own religion) unless you see any interest from them (which clearly you have not).

My last hint is that I do much better with family visits if I go in expecting the worst.  With my family that means watching TV all day every day.  I can still have plans, like trying to talk them into playing disc golf, but when when I assume that none of my plans will work out, I enjoy the visit much more then when I am thinking that I might really have a plan that will work this time.  And of course occasionally my plans (or other good plans) do work out, but it's better for that to come as a pleasant surprise.  (Supposedly people live down to your low expectations and you can magically think your way into happiness, but I don't find that to be true for me.)

All great ideas, Debbie! We really do have different actual religion, too, which is why I'm no longer on speaking terms with my aunt. She was a bit too forceful with her ideas; it's nice to think of the analogy so I don't end up doing the same to the entire family with my interest in spending wisely.

My grandparents mainly watch TV too, so even though I'm really going to visit my grandmother, I'll probably spend much more time going out with my mother. It would be nice to find some way to try to convince her to spend time with me rather than the TV, but her excuse was always that we couldn't disturb my grandfather while he was watching TV either. Board games were a short-lived indulgence. I really don't know what we have in common. I guess that's what this trip can be about.

Bruised_Pepper

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Re: On respecting family members who deserve non-stop facepunches
« Reply #46 on: December 16, 2013, 07:39:27 PM »
I really don't know what we have in common.

Mod Edit: personal attack removed - refer to forum rule #1
« Last Edit: December 17, 2013, 05:07:56 PM by swick »

MrsPete

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Re: On respecting family members who deserve non-stop facepunches
« Reply #47 on: December 17, 2013, 10:32:05 AM »
You can never control other people's actions.
You can only control your involvement in their lives and your reaction to their choices.

Think about that and let it go.
Live your life and let them live theirs.

I believe -- and you do too -- that it's wise to live in a frugal manner, to save for the future, to be careful with resources.  We could give plenty of reasons why this is a good lifestyle.  But that doesn't mean other people will agree or embrace the same concepts.  Here's the thing: That doesn't make them wrong. 

If you give up trying to change them, you will feel less stress about their choices. 

You get to decide how much to participate in their consumption-based lifestyle.  If they're talking about going out shopping, you have the option to say, "I'll come along, but I'm just going for the social activity.  The only thing I might buy is a new pair of pants for work, and only if they're on a great sale."  Or, "You're going out to dinner?  Great.  Have fun, but I'm not going along.  How about we go for a walk when you return?"  Don't make excuses; in fact, the less said, the better.  Just say what you're going to do /not going to do. 

On the other hand, it's also not your responsibility to bail them out of trouble.  You'd be wise to keep your finances close to your chest.  They don't need to know how much you're saving, or how you're spending your money.  If the subject comes up, say something non-committal, then change the subject.

I know this isn't easy, but it's something I've been working on for years:  My extended family can be pretty bad with money, but that's not really my business.  In particular, I have a sister who is very, very irresponsible with money; I've quit lecturing on saving, etc.  She knows what I think, and she isn't going to take any advice from me -- continuing to harp on the subject will only result in friction between us.  I take them for what they are, and I do what I please with my own money. 


Exflyboy

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Re: On respecting family members who deserve non-stop facepunches
« Reply #48 on: December 17, 2013, 03:56:13 PM »
Yes I'm sorry Nikki but the only way not to get hurt is to not play the game.

I.e there is no point in getting into an argument or even being disgusted by your family's actions.

Of course I had to remind myself of this fact when after decades of my educating my parents I find out they have had a car loan for the last 10 years. When its paid off they will not doubt go get another loan!


Arrrgh!

Frank

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Re: On respecting family members who deserve non-stop facepunches
« Reply #49 on: December 19, 2013, 07:54:26 AM »
Yes I'm sorry Nikki but the only way not to get hurt is to not play the game.
You know, you just said what I said . . . but you said it better, and in only one sentence.