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People say the rudest things, and we just take it

| Monday, Nov. 10, 2003

It's interesting how some people get away with murder -- figuratively -- because nobody wants to face them down.

This has been brought to my attention a number of times by various people.

Perhaps you work with someone who says whatever they please, whenever they please, and gets away with it. Or maybe the offender is a relative, even a friend, if you can call him or her that.

These people say the most outrageous things and nobody ever calls them on it.

Things like:

What did you do to your hair• It looks awful.

You've been married for five years, why don't you have any kids?

You shouldn't wear your clothes so tight. You look fat.

Why do you let your kids get away with stuff like that?

You must have put on 20 pounds since the last time I saw you.

Why are your kids so skinny, don't you feed them?

Why do we tolerate this kind of behavior• Why don't we simply tell them MYOB?

Instead, we defend them. "Oh, you know, that's how Aunt Nancy is. She's always been that way. Nobody's going to change her."

Well, that may be true, but Aunt Nancy gets away with saying a lot of stuff that nobody else would get away with. Rude, infuriating, nasty stuff and nobody says a word.

It's time somebody had the courage to say, "Whoa, there Aunt Nancy, you can't get away with talking to me like that. I'm not going to tolerate it, and if you don't put a sock in it, we won't stay in the same room with you."

No one has a right to be deliberately rude to another human being, and they can't be allowed to get away with it.

This does not mean, of course, that you have a license to be rude in retaliation. Simply grit your teeth and say, "Aunt Nancy, I really don't appreciate the hurtful things you say to me and I wish you would cease and desist. Don't you realize how awful you make me feel - or make Cousin Bunny feel, or whomever - when you say those terrible things. You really hurt my feelings and it's not fair because I would never say anything like that to you. I would never say anything that would deliberately offend you.

Sometimes you make me feel so awful that I am depressed for days or I cry because my feelings are so hurt.

Let her have it.

Maybe she's one of those people who can dish it out, but can't take it. She needs to see the error of her ways.

Maybe it won't change her. Perhaps she will keep on saying outrageous things, but at least you have made your point.

And if you must, make it over and over and over again until she gets the message.

Just remember, no one deserves to be demeaned. And you don't have to take it.

Not from Aunt Nancy. Not from anyone.

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