Advise on avoiding gossip?


#1

So this past Thursday, I drove out of State to visit my Grandma. While there, my Grandma began talking about my mom's visit two weekends ago. This easily fell into gossiping about my mom, my brother and his fiance'. Then on the way back home, I stopped by my parents' and visited with them and my sister and her fiance', and when talking to my sister, again this very easily went in the way of gossiping about my brother and his fiance'. I did try harder to avoid it this time.

As I mentioned in a previous post, my brother is 19 and engaged to a woman who I had been friends with since 2007. However, throughout my friendship with her, she has been nothing but manipulative of me, constantly creating drama, demanding attention, etc. Everything became a nightmare when I asked her to be a bridesmaid in my wedding, as she started heading in the direction of trying to get me trapped into paying for her bridesmaid dress and getting upset any time I went bridal dress shopping on the spur of the moment and didn't invite her (even though she wasn't available) even though every time she did come along to such things, she's get bored and either leave early or to start begging us to cut the trip short because she didn't want to be there anymore.

After creating some drama at my wedding and then during the couple days after my sister's wedding, I finally just had it with her and would have ended the friendship then and there had she not started dating my brother.

Well, about a month after my sister's wedding, they announced their engagement. Then not too long ago, she asked me and my husband to be in her wedding party. I debated for awhile as to how to approach her. The fact is, we really can't afford it, but beyond that I obviously do not support them getting married and have no interest in having any relationship with her other than my desire to have a relationship with my brother. After thinking and praying about it, my husband and I decided we would send a gentle email that explained we could not be in any wedding due to finances and the baby, and we gave very brief and gentle advise about making sure they prepare for marriage and not just the wedding.

This short, simple and overly polite email got us both defriended by my brother and his fiance' on facebook. I was fine with this. But then I visit my grandma and find that my mom is trying to get all buddy buddy with my brother's fiance' and is trying to encourage them to agree to a Catholic wedding (since my Dad will only pay a portion of it otherwise). Grandma told me that my mom keeps insisting that my brother's fiance' has improved (even though she continues to keep jumping from job to job, is eating my parents out of house and home, obviously gaining a significant amount of weight in a very brief period of time, etc, and is right now living in my parents' place). I had been told by my Dad that this is on a month to month basis, but after this weekend, I see that my Dad has a bit of a fight to get that.

Then of course my sister's biggest gossip was only to mention to us that she and her husband have also been defriended and that my brother and his fiance' only glare at the two of them and treat them like they're not welcomed to visit our parents'. And then just before I left that weekend, I did see his fiance' and she just gave me this mean look and refused to say hi to me...all while mom is insisting that she's improved so much.

I'm just having trouble right now not going on and on about this with my husband or anyone I know. What is wrong with my mom? And then I'm just dealing with feelings of "well she acts like I've done her such wrong and it makes me feel guilty." I know I have nothing to feel guilty over, but at the same time I've never been in a situation where I've been estranged from any family or even friends.

How can I avoid gossiping about this and prevent it from bugging me to death?


#2

From what I have read, it seems your mom is the only one without a problem. She appears to be acting charitable. I think your family has to look at the wedding as being your brother's wedding - not his girlfriend's wedding. Family comes first. I have two sisters and a brother. I would have been very upset if they chose not to be in my wedding because of my bride. Sure, your brother's choice of GF is not up to your standards and she may be nasty to you, but he is still your brother.

Whenever you feel like gossiping, say a silent prayer for them instead.


#3

You have my sympathy. My own family is similar -- perhaps not quite as petty as much of this sounds, but the gossip part is about right. I have a relationship with my mom, but certainly not an honest one. She can never keep a confidence and thus, I've learned to keep my mouth shut. I feel bad about it quite frequently.

I'd just be honest. If a conversation looks like it's drifting into gossip, I'd just say, "I'm not comfortable with the direction our conversation is going. I like Bob (or whomever). I really don't want to say anything negative about him when he's not here to defend himself." Just leave it at that. Good luck.


#4

On avoiding gossip (the easier question), I think your best recourse is what might be termed "bean-dipping". This means simply changing the subject (without apology) to a topic that you're more comfortable talking about with the person in question. (Bean-dip Technique: "Mmhmm. So, [introduce new topic, ending with a question]") In other words, simply do not engage in the conversations that you believe are moving toward gossip and provide some other topic of discussion. If you get really pressed for conversation on a gossip topic, just say something on the order of "I'm really not comfortable talking about that. So, [bean-dip technique]"

The more difficult question as to how you avoid being bugged to death by the situation--well, here's my advice. Is there anything in the situation that you can change? And by can, I mean not only that you possess the ability to make the situation change but that you also possess the willingness (i.e., the activity does not compromise your feelings of personal integrity or your family [you, husband, baby]'s financial well-being) to make that change. If you can (according to my definition), do so. If you cannot (for example, the only way to relieve the situation is to turn yourself into a doormat for someone to abuse), acknowledge that the situation stinks and that you wish it were different. Then remind yourself that the situation isn't caused by you nor can you influence it. Then think about whether you truly wish to allow this situation to occupy your mind or whether you would rather think about other things. Offer it up in prayer and then go on to other things.

And yes, it is hard. I'm coming at this from a pretty ugly situation myself (I'm divorcing my husband who had been verbally/emotionally abusive to me and the children as well as adulterous and finally was arrested for raping another woman back in April; he refuses to sign off on our relocation to another state where my financial burden would be significantly eased). I could dwell on the "ain't it awful" aspects of my situation (which are pretty awful, objectively speaking) or I can move on as best I can given that the court order disallows my relocation prior to a hearing and we haven't had that yet. My motto is: Someday this will be history, not current events. Trust that the situation will change positively, don't try to figure out why other people do what they do, and concentrate on living your own life in a healthy, happy manner.


#5

Maybe I’m reading into this a little… but I have a question…
When you were preparing for your wedding, you mentioned this girl “trapped you into paying for her bridesmaid dress”…
Was this because SHE was struggling financially? :blush:
And now, when put in the exact same situation, you’re backing out of being her bridesmaid when you are financially strapped?? :shrug:
I think you need to reevaluate the situation a bit… keeping in mind the Golden Rule of treating others the way you want to be treated… :o

Hey, now I do understand “drama queens” and have similar situations in my own extended family - but this girl is to be your future sister-in-law, whether you like it or not. Weddings are a time of celebration of a Sacrament, and in my opinion it’s important to celebrate this to the best of your ability. I don’t mean you have to be best buddies with this girl - quiet the contrary, it’s important to avoid “drama queen” nonsense - but for the sake of family relationships at a time of celebration, it’s a good idea to suck up the pride and just be happy for your brother.

I’d apologize if I were you - go back to her and say “I know you sacrificed to be in my wedding and I’m not treating you with that same respect.”… and rectify it in some way… whether that means taking the financial hit and being in the wedding, or at the very least apologizing for not giving her the same amount of respect during your wedding.

Then once the wedding drama is over you can go back to spending less time with drama queens… :smiley:


#6

I skimmed through the OP, partly because some of what is written could be interpreted as gossip. It was a fairly long post.
You have control of only one person's actions and words, your own.
As a teacher, when a student starts to tattle (as opposed to informing about true bullying), I ask a simple question. "Is what you are telling me helpful?"
When I found myself drawn into conversation about a particular woman I knew, I started to ask myself the same question. "Is this helpful, or hurtful?"
It is not my place to "reveal my brother's sin." Obviously crime needs to be reported. Nothing that leaves our mouths should contribute to scandal.


#7

I think it’s quite funny that you ask about how to avoid gossip and then give us a very gossipy post to ask the question!

The only way to avoid gossip is to get burned so badly by it that you never want to be in on it again. Some families triangulate all the time, and it’s very unhealthy. Once, when I was living in Colorado and both my sister and my dad were living in the same part of Missouri, each of them called me in the same day to complain about the other one!!! I was struck with the absurdity of that, and I told both of them “When you call, I do not want to talk about Dad, or T. If you have a problem, you need to deal with it yourselves. i cannot help you from here.”

The last time I got burned from gossip was when I was assumed to be in the gossiping group because my name was included in their email loop. What I had been doing was trying to talk some sense into these moms and get them to stop attacking the teacher of the class instead of looking into what their kids were or weren’t doing. I liked the teacher and she liked me, and my kid was thriving in her class. But because I had been associated with this group of gossiping and back-stabbing moms, that teacher distrusted me after that. She finally resigned, and I felt really guilty, and I couldn’t explain without sounding as if I were making up excuses. She really didn’t want much to do with me after that. I realized that I got tarred with the same brush as the backstabbers, although my motives were noble. The action looks the same and you can’t always fix something once it’s broken.

So now I run from gossip. Whenever the conversation turns to people who aren’t there, I get this icky feeling in my stomach and I excuse myself and just leave. If I can’t leave, I do my best to change the subject, although some people will return to their vomit even if the subject changes. Gossip is insidious, and very very destructive.

If you truly do want to stop the gossiping, then you will stop. It’s just like any other temptation. Stop indulging in it, pray every time it starts, and you will eventually change your focus and perhaps even change your family. At the least, you won’t be hearing all this junk and spreading the manure around.

And be nice to your future SIL! Sheesh. She may be silly in some ways but she’s hardly an evil person.


#8

[quote="dconklin, post:2, topic:217371"]
From what I have read, it seems your mom is the only one without a problem. She appears to be acting charitable. I think your family has to look at the wedding as being your brother's wedding - not his girlfriend's wedding. Family comes first. I have two sisters and a brother. I would have been very upset if they chose not to be in my wedding because of my bride. Sure, your brother's choice of GF is not up to your standards and she may be nasty to you, but he is still your brother.

Whenever you feel like gossiping, say a silent prayer for them instead.

[/quote]

I agree with this.

I really wonder OP just how much you actually want to stop being a part of the gossip because your description of the situation seemed more to be a bashing and justification of why your family gossips about this future SIL.

I am estranged from my inlaws, mutual decision between me and my husband. I have no doubt my SIL could very well feel the same way about me as you do about this once friend /future SIL. I also know I have no doubt at some point I myself contributed to the estrangement with my own inlaws. There are things I probably could have handled better, said differently in hindsight. The point is nobody is totally innocent when it comes to family relationships and situations such as yours and mine. We've all contributed to the drama in some way at some point.

You can try to improve the situation, take your future SIL out for lunch, or something. Have your brother and her over for dinner or something. Try to see it from her point of view, because I would bet she does have some truth to her side of the story.

If you really want to stop gossiping, then JUST STOP. Its not that hard, don't talk about her, don't say anything about her that you couldn't repeat to her face or you would be embarrassed about if she heard second hand.


#9

[quote="Em_in_FL, post:5, topic:217371"]
Maybe I'm reading into this a little... but I have a question...
When you were preparing for your wedding, you mentioned this girl "trapped you into paying for her bridesmaid dress"...
Was this because SHE was struggling financially? :blush:

[/quote]

I had asked her to be a bridesmaid specifically telling her that I would understand if she couldn't afford it. I tried to make it clear to her that I would prefer her to decline if she could not afford it. She said she'd make a large effort to save up for it. Instead what happened was that another friend of hers informed her that she was getting married in a hurry, and did not initially ask her to be a bridesmaid. She started resenting this friend and wanted to cut this friend of hers off. We tried to explain to her that it might be finacially wiser for her to not be in two weddings in one year. In the end, she guilted that friend into being asked to be a bridesmaid. Her friend's dad was dying of cancer which was why the wedding was being rushed. She then put the family in a situation where they had to pay for her bridesmaid dress, hair and everything else or else they couldn't have her in the wedding and would not have time to find a replacement. She then tried to assure me she could now still afford to be in my wedding since she didn't have to pay for a thing with that wedding.

To make a long complicated story short, she attempted to put me and my family in a similiar situation, but we caught her before the deposits were put down on the dresses. Ultimately, we went several months after that without her going to be a bridesmaid till someone else dropped out. It turned out that the dress had been discontinued, so the shop was willing to sell a dress that would match that pretty much fit her for only $50. So in the end, she spent $50 to be in my wedding. My husband only permitted me to offer it to her again under the stipulation that I wouldn't freak out or bend to her manipulation tactics if she tried something. If we lost her as a bridesmaid (since she had threatened to drop out before to attempt to manipulate me), he was insistant that we'd just let the issue go and wouldn't go into a panic that would make us feel desperate to try to beg for her not to abandon the role. Our wedding would just be what it was.

And now, when put in the exact same situation, you're backing out of being her bridesmaid when you are financially strapped?? :shrug: I think you need to reevaluate the situation a bit... keeping in mind the Golden Rule of treating others the way you want to be treated... :o

We're not just financially strapped. We are financially insecure and are trying to prevent a castrophe from happening. My brother's finace' knew about our situation before she asked us. And as for treating others the way I'd like to be treated, I would have never wanted any of my bridal party to do something they could not afford. I was rather offended that she thought it better to pressure us to paying for her to be in the wedding than admitting she couldn't afford it and just being a happy guest.

Hey, now I do understand "drama queens" and have similar situations in my own extended family - but this girl is to be your future sister-in-law, whether you like it or not. Weddings are a time of celebration of a Sacrament, and in my opinion it's important to celebrate this to the best of your ability. I don't mean you have to be best buddies with this girl - quiet the contrary, it's important to avoid "drama queen" nonsense - but for the sake of family relationships at a time of celebration, it's a good idea to suck up the pride and just be happy for your brother.

Its amazing what different advise you get from people depending on the information they're given about a situation. I went to this board before when she had asked us to be in the bridal party, and was advised to avoid agreeing to it as it would turn into another way for her to manipulate me.

This isn't about me sucking up my pride. This is about me refusing to get back on her rollar coaster. I had been friends with her for 3 years and there simply is no pleasing her. I realize that much of this is due to a mental issues she has, but I've had enough. She takes herself off her medication too frequently and there simply is no satisfying her.

Meanwhile my brother is making the worst mistake of his life if he does go through with marrying her. Moreover, this is not a sacrament. She wants an outdoor wedding and has decided that the Catholic Church has too many rules. My Dad offered to pay for part of a Catholic wedding and she's declined this. Instead, what I see her doing is trying to manipulate my Dad through my Mom to try to see if she can bend my Dad to pay for a wedding since unless my parents' pay, no wedding can happen. I mean, even agreeing to be in the wedding party puts me at what? Her manipulation. There is no date set. They have no money for a wedding, so if I would agree, it would only be a way for her to have a handle on me to manipulate me. Her goal is not to get married. If it were, my brother and her would go to a Justice of the Peace, since she had no qualms about marrying outside of the Catholic Church. No, her goal is to have a big wedding at my parents' expense completely on her terms.

My issue right now just seems to be that I am having trouble keeping it from bothering me again and I keep feeling like I need to vent, but its neverending.


#10

That seems to be the basic problem - that you feel your brother is making a mistake marrying her. I can't say what the truth is, but he is an adult and it sounds like you've tried giving them advice which they don't take - which happens with a lot of people. Unfortunately you may need to live with this. I would suggest work on welcoming her to the family and not talking about her behind her back, unless she is truly destructive like a drug addict or alcoholic who will drive your brother down with her. Even if that is the truth you may not be able to stop them.

I can see a need to vent though. I would suggest talking to an understanding priest or someone else sympathetic or a therapist, not b/c you have mental health issues, but b/c you can find someone who is not attached to this situation in any way to help you analyze it. You sound like you are trying to figure out the way forward in dealing with them. It may not be possible to avoid talking about it, but if you choose someone who does not know anyone else in your family and will not see them, you know you'll have privacy and your conversations will not get back to them. Then it might be easier to figure this out.


#11

[quote="silentstar, post:10, topic:217371"]
That seems to be the basic problem - that you feel your brother is making a mistake marrying her. I can't say what the truth is, but he is an adult and it sounds like you've tried giving them advice which they don't take - which happens with a lot of people. Unfortunately you may need to live with this. I would suggest work on welcoming her to the family and not talking about her behind her back, unless she is truly destructive like a drug addict or alcoholic who will drive your brother down with her. Even if that is the truth you may not be able to stop them.

[/quote]

Honestly, I think most of the gossiping going out is primarily about how my parents are handling the situation. Grandma was basically complaining primarily about my mom. I tried to defend my parents and assure her of what my Dad said they were doing about the situation and she ended up telling me about the niave things my mom was saying on her most recent visit. Then it just turned into a whole "we're all so flabergasted" that my Mom can be so delusional to how terrible the situation is and that she doesn't listen.

Other than that, my sister primarily brought up my brother's fiance' in front of my mom. It may have been because Mom's been trying to convince everyone that my brother's fiance' is magically better. My sister may have been trying to help mom see that she's still mistreating people. That one I did avoid simply by stating that I'd rather my brother's fiance' completely ignore me than go all dramatic on me again and that I simply don't want more drama in my life.

But after leaving, its just bothered me and I keep going on about it to my husband. Like I was pondering why my mom's current experience with my brother's fiance' is so improved while she's continuing to treat other people like dirt still, and why she lied to my mom about how she was so excited to be able to see my baby bump this weekend when she left for almost the whole weekend obviously trying to avoid me, only to bump into me once and refuse to say hi. Suddenly, I turned to my husband and was like "I figured it out from comments mom said and what I know Dad had told them. She's trying to manipulate Mom to get to Dad. Its no longer to her advantage to treat mom like dirt."

My husband doesn't seem to have this problem. He's just like "I already know she's manipulative." Maybe it has something to do with worrying. Grandma got me worrying about Dad backing down which got me back to worrying about my brother's fiance' causing my parents' financial ruin because she simply will not respect financial boundaries and will push to get whatever she wants. I'm just worried about them being doormats and now have been dealing with wanting to call Dad to ensure to give him support not to back down, but then to what avail? He knows everything I have had to tell him about my friendship with her. Maybe its worrying that is the underlying cause to this urge to gossip. Worrying is always something that you do when you obsessively are looking for a solution you can't find but think that if you keep pondering it, the solution will reveal itself.


#12

As someone who has been the subject of much gossip in my lifetime with my in-laws, I would like to offer the "other side of the coin."

My husband and I were not yet engaged when I went to meet his family. Less than 2 hours after my arrival the Slander Fest had begun.

Why was I the subject of gossip and slander?

Because his grandmother who was dying of cancer needed more sticks to substitute the saliva her body couldn't make and I insisted to the nurse that they be brought quickly as sores were beginning to develop in her mouth and she was incredibly uncomfortable.

That's what started it all.

The hatred from an act of kindness for a sister in Christ who was suffering in her last days on earth led to my wedding being boycotted by my in-laws. Only 2 attended the ceremony and neither of them remained for the reception. Their treatment of me caused my wedding to be one of the saddest days in my husband's life, instead of one of the happiest.

Please do not put your brother in this position. This is the woman he LOVES enough to marry and spend the rest of his life with. Do not let idle gossip and slander take away from what should be one of the happiest days of his life. If you don't feel comfortable being an attendant or cannot afford to be one, simply tell the bride that while you appreciate her extending you the honor, you simply will not be able to participate in the wedding as attendants due to the costs involved.

Don't start throwing sour grapes when the bouquet hasn't even been tossed yet.


#13

[quote="HAnne, post:12, topic:217371"]
As someone who has been the subject of much gossip in my lifetime with my in-laws, I would like to offer the "other side of the coin."

My husband and I were not yet engaged when I went to meet his family. Less than 2 hours after my arrival the Slander Fest had begun.

Why was I the subject of gossip and slander?

Because his grandmother who was dying of cancer needed more sticks to substitute the saliva her body couldn't make and I insisted to the nurse that they be brought quickly as sores were beginning to develop in her mouth and she was incredibly uncomfortable.

That's what started it all.

The hatred from an act of kindness for a sister in Christ who was suffering in her last days on earth led to my wedding being boycotted by my in-laws. Only 2 attended the ceremony and neither of them remained for the reception. Their treatment of me caused my wedding to be one of the saddest days in my husband's life, instead of one of the happiest.

Please do not put your brother in this position. This is the woman he LOVES enough to marry and spend the rest of his life with. Do not let idle gossip and slander take away from what should be one of the happiest days of his life. If you don't feel comfortable being an attendant or cannot afford to be one, simply tell the bride that while you appreciate her extending you the honor, you simply will not be able to participate in the wedding as attendants due to the costs involved.

Don't start throwing sour grapes when the bouquet hasn't even been tossed yet.

[/quote]

I am sorry this happened to you and your husband. It definitely does sound baseless. However, the issue with my brother is not baseless gossip, but deeply serious concerns that I had a moral obligation to discuss initially. The issue is that they have now been discussed and there is no use to bring the issue up anymore.

Most of the gossip involves how my parents are handling the situation and not that my brother is engaged. Definitely marrying this woman is the worst decision of his life and I sincerely hope he gets his head on straight before a wedding can happen. But if my parents are manipulated by her to pay for it, I am seriously concerned that she will manipulate them to financially fund a wedding far beyond any budget they try to establish with her as in my experience with her (3 year friendship), she has absolutely no respect for boundaries. I do not want to see my parents pressured into going into debt or delaying their ability to eventually retire in order to fund an imprudent marriage between a very immature 19 year old that still has the potential of a positive future to a 26 year old woman with very serious emotional and mental problems that complicate her life at multiple ends making it difficult for her to support herself and difficult to foster a healthy relationship with her.


#14

You know, I am going to be very blunt here. You wanted advice on avoiding gossip, but every single post of yours on this thread is filled with nothing but!

You're not helping yourself by continuing to get involved in your parents' business. If they want to fund your brother's wedding, what is that to you? It is their decision. They are adults and can make up their own minds. Even if you don't LIKE what they are doing, so what? They have no reason to ask your permission or advice. Are you worried that they will waste your inheritance?

You seem to have too much investment in what everyone else is doing. Why don't you try minding your own business and pay attention to your husband instead of winding yourself up around everyone in your family of origin? You have another family now, and that is the one your husband and you created when you took vows.

LET IT GO!


#15

Read Romans 1:28-32 and ask yourself if you want to be in that company.

And next time you find you want to talk (or type) about someone, and aren't speaking goodness or out of necessity, stick your tongue out and grab it with your fingers. Gross? Not nearly as gross as gossip.


#16

Wow people. It is truly amazing how just a difference in how a subject is brought up on this forum leads people to jump to different conclusions and to give completely different advise. See: forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=493409

That post wasn't about gossiping, since I wasn't having a gossip issue at the time, but about discerning the morally right thing to do with a very manipulative friend who normally I would have to cut off contact with, but who felt I couldn't because she was my brother's fiance'. I took some of that advise, but also sought the advise of my mother-in-law and my husband. Eventually I talked over everything with my Dad and we seemed to come to a resolution and the issue was not bothering me for almost two months till this past weekend.

Now I come here admitting that I've been re-stressed out about the situation and have over the weekend been tempted and given into gossiping about it as a way to deal with the stress and have been seeking advise on how to better deal with the stress. Instead what I get is a bunch of people treating me like I'm a habitual gossiper, gossipping because its somehow fun (yea right) and merely ruining the reputation of my brother and his fiance' who are taken to be as innocent victims of my sin. Then, I get accused of all things about worrying about inheritance? My attempts to clarify the situation and the reality of how difficult it is is only seen as more gossipping.

No, certainly expounding any details of a stressful situation is never necessary to know when advising people on gossiping, because every gossip situation must be a cookie-cutter situation. Because the solution is just to lecture them on gossiping, not advising them specifically on how to deal with a specific type of stress. Obviously my devulging any information was just giving into gossipping and not at all my trying to give the context as to why I'm experiencing this temptation or how complicated it is. Heck, as usual, withholding information and then expounding more later to clarify misunderstandings of a situation is taken to be just more gossip. I guarentee, (as evidence from my original post), had I divulged the gorry details first, I would have likely got a similiar response to the original post. So ultimately my attempt to avoid gossipping turned out to get me condemned for just being a Gossip.

Thank you all for the lecture and LACK of advise on how to deal with REAL temptation that has occured over a short time period. Its always great to get advise about "Well the way to stop sinning is to simply stop. Its not difficult. What's your problem?" I'll make sure with every temptation I have to sin, that I'll just remind myself that all I need is a good bible quote to scold myself with and that its as simple and uncomplicated as "just stopping."

I realize there were a couple of people who actually didn't just lecture and condemn. I do appreciate and acknowledge that.


#17

Here is what you might have said if you were as concerned about your own behavior as you are about the behavior of others:

"I have this temptation to gossip about my future SIL, I feel justified in doing it, I know it's wrong, how do I stop it?"

And then truly listened to what people were telling you. I gave you two personal experiences where triangulation (a psychological term for gossip within families) and gossip have hurt me and where I stopped doing it, with God's help and action on my own behalf (getting up and walking away when gossip starts).

You are so deeply into this that you can't even recognize that you are doing it. We are trying to be helpful but instead you scold us for being honest with you. Take a look at all your posts here, and ask yourself, "Do I really want to stop this soap opera, or am I getting a sort of kick out of it? What is MY payoff for continuing to talk about my future SIL behind her back?

Because, honestly, no matter what she is or is not, you are slandering her in conspiracy with the rest of your family. Do you understand that it doesn't matter what you think about her, it's YOUR actions that you need to work on? What might happen if you all stopped talking about her this way, treating her this way, and instead treated her with the love that Christ showed to all sinners? If you, instead of cataloging her deficits and failings to everyone who will listen, would be hospitable to her and treat her just as you would one of your own sisters - maybe miracles would happen. If not in her, then in yourself.

Again, I think you titled your thread "Advice on avoiding gossip" because there is a part of you that really knows this is wrong and wants to stop. But the temptation to tell the whole story to a new group of people was just too strong. To have people cluck and tell you how awful your future SIL is for doing x y and z. To give you sympathetic responses and not to give you the truth, which is that you cannot affect other people positively by talking about them behind their backs. We are trying to respond to what you expressed in your title.

Maybe you wanted this title instead, "My brother's awful fiancee and what she's doing to my family." That would make it clear that it's not really about avoiding gossip right now.

I am a frank person in real life, and if you were my friend, I'd be telling you the same thing, only face to face. Over a glass of iced tea. Sometimes the people who love you the most, tell you the truth.


#18

[quote="TheRealJuliane, post:17, topic:217371"]
Here is what you might have said if you were as concerned about your own behavior as you are about the behavior of others:

"I have this temptation to gossip about my future SIL, I feel justified in doing it, I know it's wrong, how do I stop it?"

[/quote]

I have NOT said that I feel justified for gossiping! Gossip by definition is giving negative information about someone that there is no moral imparative to share or which works only to hurt someone's reputation.

This situation did involve a moral imparative to share such details and to take a direct approach to what was happening over the spring and summer. I was also justified in taking every step to get out of her control, even though it has meant taking steps that from the outside appear to be cold and cruel in normal situations with normal people. Most of the time people respect boundaries and don't require you to be rude to them in order to get them to respect your boundaries.

In regards to this forum, I have done nothing but explain the emotional rollar coater I've been going through, the temptation and than later being forced to explain why reconcilation is not possible with her and that this is such a complex situation that again, its a choice between either being her doormat or being rude to her. She takes advantage of charitable approaches and either uses them against you or is completely obvious that she's crossing any boundary you're trying to establish.

Giving my reasons why reconcilation is not possible is NOT gossip. It is an attempt to make the reader understand the situation is not quite so simple in the avoidence of gossip and that the advise needs to be adjusted to the situation.

You are so deeply into this that you can't even recognize that you are doing it. We are trying to be helpful but instead you scold us for being honest with you. Take a look at all your posts here, and ask yourself, "Do I really want to stop this soap opera, or am I getting a sort of kick out of it? What is MY payoff for continuing to talk about my future SIL behind her back?

I did. In fact, from the responses I got, I had assumed what I had said initially was worse than what I actually wrote. And of course I want this soap opera to stop! There's certainly no kick in it! Again such generalizations about what motivates gossip is not helpful. Not all gossip is motivated by getting a "kick" out of it.

Because, honestly, no matter what she is or is not, you are slandering her in conspiracy with the rest of your family. Do you understand that it doesn't matter what you think about her, it's YOUR actions that you need to work on? What might happen if you all stopped talking about her this way, treating her this way, and instead treated her with the love that Christ showed to all sinners? If you, instead of cataloging her deficits and failings to everyone who will listen, would be hospitable to her and treat her just as you would one of your own sisters - maybe miracles would happen. If not in her, then in yourself.

Again, I think you titled your thread "Advice on avoiding gossip" because there is a part of you that really knows this is wrong and wants to stop. But the temptation to tell the whole story to a new group of people was just too strong. To have people cluck and tell you how awful your future SIL is for doing x y and z. To give you sympathetic responses and not to give you the truth, which is that you cannot affect other people positively by talking about them behind their backs. We are trying to respond to what you expressed in your title.

I'm not looking for sympathic responses but responses that actually advise me on how to actually let go and not let the situation bother me anymore. Whenever I see any expression of displeasure from her, my initial response is still "I need to be a doormat." I have to fight this response and remind myself "No, this is another boundary she is crossing and I need to stand up for myself." But then I am torn between guilt over my resistance to not allow her to walk over me and then guilt that I'm struggling with it, guilt that I'm still stuck in this situation, guilt that I didn't end the friendship when I initially should have, and had I, she would have never dated my brother, moved in with my parents....thus guilt that its my fault that my brother is making the worst mistake of his life and guilt that my parents may put themselves into financial ruin. Then thoughts of "Well no, I should be a doormat because no one could possibly be THAT bad." only to be reminded "No, now I'm being the idiot. How many times do I need to go on her rollar coaster before I realize completely that the outcome is always the same ride?"

I've never been so bothered by something like this in my life. I don't know what to do with all these feelings and they all seem to come out as gossip. And that's all I'm looking for. How do I just let it go and learn to just things slide like water off a duck's back? That I can permit her to just freak out without finding that her freaking out is causing me a mixture of guilt for opposing reasons?

I haven't gotten any advise on helping me overcome the source of the gossip. In fact, all the advise has been on a false source.


#19

[quote="twoangels, post:18, topic:217371"]
I have NOT said that I feel justified for gossiping! Gossip by definition is giving negative information about someone that there is no moral imparative to share or which works only to hurt someone's reputation.

This situation did involve a moral imparative to share such details and to take a direct approach to what was happening over the spring and summer. I was also justified in taking every step to get out of her control, even though it has meant taking steps that from the outside appear to be cold and cruel in normal situations with normal people. Most of the time people respect boundaries and don't require you to be rude to them in order to get them to respect your boundaries.

In regards to this forum, I have done nothing but explain the emotional rollar coater I've been going through, the temptation and than later being forced to explain why reconcilation is not possible with her and that this is such a complex situation that again, its a choice between either being her doormat or being rude to her. She takes advantage of charitable approaches and either uses them against you or is completely obvious that she's crossing any boundary you're trying to establish.

Giving my reasons why reconcilation is not possible is NOT gossip. It is an attempt to make the reader understand the situation is not quite so simple in the avoidence of gossip and that the advise needs to be adjusted to the situation.

I did. In fact, from the responses I got, I had assumed what I had said initially was worse than what I actually wrote. And of course I want this soap opera to stop! There's certainly no kick in it! Again such generalizations about what motivates gossip is not helpful. Not all gossip is motivated by getting a "kick" out of it.

I'm not looking for sympathic responses but responses that actually advise me on how to actually let go and not let the situation bother me anymore. Whenever I see any expression of displeasure from her, my initial response is still "I need to be a doormat." I have to fight this response and remind myself "No, this is another boundary she is crossing and I need to stand up for myself." But then I am torn between guilt over my resistance to not allow her to walk over me and then guilt that I'm struggling with it, guilt that I'm still stuck in this situation, guilt that I didn't end the friendship when I initially should have, and had I, she would have never dated my brother, moved in with my parents....thus guilt that its my fault that my brother is making the worst mistake of his life and guilt that my parents may put themselves into financial ruin. Then thoughts of "Well no, I should be a doormat because no one could possibly be THAT bad." only to be reminded "No, now I'm being the idiot. How many times do I need to go on her rollar coaster before I realize completely that the outcome is always the same ride?"

I've never been so bothered by something like this in my life. I don't know what to do with all these feelings and they all seem to come out as gossip. And that's all I'm looking for. How do I just let it go and learn to just things slide like water off a duck's back? That I can permit her to just freak out without finding that her freaking out is causing me a mixture of guilt for opposing reasons?

I haven't gotten any advise on helping me overcome the source of the gossip. In fact, all the advise has been on a false source.

[/quote]

As I stated in my first response, I merely skimmed your OP. Why? because it does come across as the gossip you are trying to avoid. I will not be drawn into the soap opera. It is very easy to look at the negative actions of others without being aware of the plank in our own eye.
I don't know that anybody has asked you to be a doormat. There are ways to assert your own position without pointing to that person's faults. Use "I" statements. "I am very upset. I would like to talk to you privately about what is bothering me..."
If you don't address the situation your resentment will grow. It will become the poison of unforgiveness that hurts you much more that the person against whom you hold the resentment.
There are always going to be people in our lives who rub us the wrong way. As another poster stated, you need to step back from the situation. A neutral third party can help you see the situation from a different perspective. You are unlikely to find that neutrality here. I will not give details regarding a specific situation in my own life. A good friend stepped forward, told me what he saw in an argument I was having with somebody important to me, and allowed me to see the situation from the other person's point of view.
Continuing this thread will only increase your frustration and fail to lead to your resolving the situation. Christ does call us to forgiveness, to a reconciliation with those who may have a grievance against us. If this is beyond your current ability, then ask for God's grace and guidance. Be open to what He tells you.


#20

[quote="twoangels, post:18, topic:217371"]
**I

I'm not looking for sympathic responses but responses that actually advise me on how to actually let go and not let the situation bother me anymore. Whenever I see any expression of displeasure from her, my initial response is still "I need to be a doormat." I have to fight this response and remind myself "No, this is another boundary she is crossing and I need to stand up for myself." But then I am torn between guilt over my resistance to not allow her to walk over me and then guilt that I'm struggling with it, guilt that I'm still stuck in this situation, guilt that I didn't end the friendship when I initially should have, and had I, she would have never dated my brother, moved in with my parents....thus guilt that its my fault that my brother is making the worst mistake of his life and guilt that my parents may put themselves into financial ruin. Then thoughts of "Well no, I should be a doormat because no one could possibly be THAT bad." only to be reminded "No, now I'm being the idiot. How many times do I need to go on her rollar coaster before I realize completely that the outcome is always the same ride?"

I've never been so bothered by something like this in my life. I don't know what to do with all these feelings and they all seem to come out as gossip. And that's all I'm looking for. How do I just let it go and learn to just things slide like water off a duck's back? That I can permit her to just freak out without finding that her freaking out is causing me a mixture of guilt for opposing reasons?

I haven't gotten any advise on helping me overcome the source of the gossip. In fact, all the advise has been on a false source.**

This post is different from your other ones. You are now getting into YOUR feelings and concerns instead of discussing what this person or that person said or did. This is more easily addressed, because the only person you can change is YOU.

Your guilt is misplaced. Have YOU done any wrong? If not, then why are you feeling guilt, which is an emotion that I believe God gave us to let us know when we are doing wrong. Misplaced guilt is paralyzing.

You are not giving yourself CHOICES. You are limiting yourself to only 2: either give into the person you have problems with, or fight back against her and turn your family against her as well. There are many choices open to you. But you won't be able to see them as long as you are still taking on problems that don't belong to you.

You keep coming back to your parents' financial ruin. Are they incapacitated in some way? I assume they have handled their own affairs up to this point. It is their money,so if they want to spend it on your brother's wedding, you will just have to accept it. Are you jealous of that? Did they help you with your own wedding? You don't have to answer my questions, just ask yourself honestly and respond honestly to yourself. Journaling can also be helpful, to write down the whole sordid story and then shred it. Then start a new page called "Solutions," and start writing down everything you can think of to help the situation and not continue in your current path. Such as, "Pray for my brother's fiancee whenever I think about her." "Imagine that i have masking tape over my mouth when I have the urge to talk about her behind her back." "Pinch myself when I start to get emotional about my brother's wedding." etc. etc. etc.

It's not going to be easy to get off this merry-go-round, no one said it would, and it may not feel like "water off a duck's back." I still have to force myself to get up and leave when a friend starts in with gossip. But I do get a sick feeling, I get uncomfortable now, and I can tell when a conversation starts to cross that line. If it is something I would not want the person to hear me discuss, then I have no right to bring it up with anyone else.

The Golden Rule is helpful too - "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Imagine someone talking about you the way you do about your brother's future wife.

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