How to deal with crude family members


#1

I try very hard not to judge people or in anyway look down upon them. Growing up, my mother talked very well about her father’s family but we had very little contact with these people. She seemed to avoid them. Now that she has passed they seem eager to be involved with my mother’s children. In their defense they are very giving people and more then willing to give a person the proverbial 'shirt off their back. But I find myself concerned by both their crudness and my younger sister’s.

Here are some examples: One of the family members is very old-in her eighties. She and her husband act very fond of one another. A much younger brother of hers stood up at the viewing of my mother’s body and told this story of the older couple. One day the husband-he was young at the time- was asked by someone why he kept getting his wife pregnant(They had many children). The husband responded that he had little to do with the matter. When he woke up at night his wife was helping herself.(meaning having sex) This story obviously embarrassed the now eighty year old woman.

I was told that the same older man used to-until he had daughters- feel up every woman’s boobs that he met. This was considered funny and simply something that you, as a woman, were supposed to submitt too.

I haven’t physically seen my sister in several years, although I have talked to her own the phone and e-mailed her. In her phone conversations and through e-mail, she is very funny. In real life, she is very crude. She took my children to lunch and tried to convince them to name their farts and burps. She points out the size of other’ women’s boobs, and discusses aspects of her sexual relations with her hubby that I do not want to know. Any correction makes her angry and she responds with “I am terse and abrupt, deal with it.”

There is much more that I could post but for the most part, I am not certain how to respond to such crudeness. I thought that I was a pretty earthy individual but my goodness, these people are at some strange extreme. Part of the problem is that they all came from very severe poverty and their way of dealing with their problems was to laugh at them. I can understand and admire this trait by itself. The crudeness though bothers me. Also the idea among them that a person can do dishonest bad things but if they are willing to help another person then everything is alright.

(continued)


#2

My grandmother’s husband used to beat her horribly. Not only did he abuse her but he beat his oldest son, occasionally waking my Uncle up by hitting him. He tried to sell his oldest daughter for groceries. He also would get drunk and threaten to shoot his family and even chase them outside with a gun. They would have to hide in a field from him.

Yet, the family constantly braggs about how kind hearted he was when not drinking. It was told to me that my mother’s father would 'give you his last shirt but would take your last nickel also." According to the family, he was wonderful and honest,despite the fact that they tell stories of him conning people.:banghead:

I do not want to look down on family members, many whom are attempting to be kind, but this is crazy. I feel as though I have walked into some strange movie made up of all the worst southern stereotypes.

I thought that my hubby had a strange sister but my family has him beat for strangeness.:o Some of you who are very much wiser then me, explain how to react to crudeness in your own family. I don’t want to be harsh in my view toward them.


#3

I think you should leave them alone as much as possible. They aren’t going to change to please you, so you have every right to have a little contact with them as necessary, especially to keep the innocence of your younger sisters intact as long as possible.


#4

I guess now you can see why your mother didn’t talk much about them! I agree with Della, stay away from them as much as possible. We are currently in a bad situation with my husband’s family, and they have no contact with our children because that’s what is best for them. Remember this, your mother had you and your siblings best interest at heart in not having much interaction with these people, and as you can see it was probably for good reason. She grew up and lived with them, and she knew them better than anyone else. I don’t think that staying away from them is being judgemental. It’s looking out for your emotional and mental well being, and if distance is what it takes - then so be it.


#5

One time when my extremely crude FIL was having fun at my expense, making crude jokes and talking about sex toys (in my home at a dinner it had taken me 3 days to prepare, and in the company of DD’s classmate and parents from South Africa, whom he had never met), it was clear that our guests were embarrassed (and so was I).

I feigned a Victorian swoon, asked for smelling salts while fanning myself with my napkin, and said:

“Oh, Dad! Please! I’m far too young for this kind of talk.”

“How old are you?” (in a condescending, “grow up and deal with it” tone)

“Old enough to know how to behave in polite company.”


#6

Let every sin you perceive in them become a way to strengthen your own expectation to talk clearly, plainly, and with only beauty.

Do not try to fix others who are above the age of reason. Be an example of the perfectly correct speaker when speaking. When listening, be the perfect correct merciful and nonjudgmental listener.

It’s only putting Christ’s expectations not to judge into practice. If one sees that another is above a certain type of behavior but is otherwise a nice person, one just may begin to emulate the better behavior.

Alan


#7

[quote=AlanFromWichita]Let every sin you perceive in them become a way to strengthen your own expectation to talk clearly, plainly, and with only beauty.

Do not try to fix others who are above the age of reason. Be an example of the perfectly correct speaker when speaking. When listening, be the perfect correct merciful and nonjudgmental listener.

It’s only putting Christ’s expectations not to judge into practice. If one sees that another is above a certain type of behavior but is otherwise a nice person, one just may begin to emulate the better behavior.

Alan
[/quote]

I will try to avoid those members of the family that I can. My sister though is a different story. I love her and my brother very much and I want contact with them. Also, I have adorable neices and a nephew through my sister. By avoiding my little sister, I would be avoiding them. I like Alan’s idea and I think that it is how I will model my behavior toward my sister from now on.

For some reason my sense of humor has changed. I still enjoy laughing and I am probably too easily amused, but crude jokes simply no longer have any appeal for me.


#8

That is the most powerful way to defuse – is to allow the Holy Spirit to change you first and no longer be controlled in your own reaction. If you truly aren’t amused, then you don’t have to be ambiguous or embarrassed about your reaction to them. That way you can be “good natured but not particularly amused” instead of “offended” or “they got me again and I wish they’d stop.” They may even be able to detect your good natured through your pain, in that you are being nice to them in a way higher than either condescention or placating. I think if it embarrasses you, it’s like being tickled – the abuser thinks you’re having fun because you’re laughing when really you’re having trouble breathing.

Others who know psychology can say if there is a valid principle here; I’m just going on hunches – hunches that took me almost 46 years until I understood things and my own feelings well enough to trust them.

Alan


#9

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