Tuesday, October 09, 2007

I've been typing for hours now, trying to put down some thoughts. Some rather unpleasant thoughts at that.

This is about people I know in real life, not anyone I met through the blogosphere.

The short and sweet is that some people I thought were close friends, and some relatives I liked, are not very nice people. They don't even know about the pregnancy yet, and I've just realized that they live for schadenfreude, literally pleasure in seeing other people's misfortune, and are very very unhappy now, because my life is going well, and I am feeling content and happy to a degree. And this doesn't fit their script very well.

I was always the one with bad things to report, family tragedies, injuries, money problems, health issues, and they were always so quick to relish in every detail, to endlessly yet subtlely blame me for every event. Somehow, I must be at fault right? Marked by fate to suffer. Cluck, cluck, cluck. And they were always the ones to rush in and save me and offer a shoulder to cry on, a solution for my pain. Always there, always secretly glad that they were not the ones to suffer, that somehow I was balancing out their cosmic happiness. And as long as I was living in hell, that would ensure their lives would be perfect and happy, at least in their warped little minds.

I think I deserve some happiness in life and not just because of this pregnancy, but in general, and things have been going well for awhile for me, which is an amazing and wonderful turn of events. But I guess they don't think I should be happy, if their behaviour last week on the phone was any example, or if their behaviour at Thanksgiving dinner was to be observed.

Hmmmm, maybe that's just too accusatory, instead, maybe me doing well is all so bizarre and difficult for them to cope with, that they can't handle it. You know that old saying, we aren't attracted towards the things that will make us happy, we go for the things we are used to? Well, here's hoping they can find a way to change what they are used to, because one more stupid thing out of their mouths, and I just might scream. Really.

Examples? A relative of mine at dinner was incredibly bitchy the second she figured out that we were getting new furniture. Or maybe she was just angry that Mr.Cotta and I were getting along better than her and her husband, or pissed that my kids go to private school and hers go to public. (She can afford to send them to private, but has had a prejudice for years about it. It's now a problem since she may need to send them to private, but has been on this pedestal for so long, she can't climb down. I personally don't care about the issue, I think families make choices based on individual kids, but she thinks the public system is morally superior. Note: she went to a private school herself, *eyeroll*)

Another example: A friend was on the phone with me when I got an email detailing Mr.Cotta's quarterly bonus. I was so happy, I told her about it. This particular friend has had way way more money than us for years, and expects a big inheritance, which she has told me about many times. We were always happy for her and her family. Even when we were broke, I never said anything but, "Wow, that's fabulous!". But when I mentioned a decent bonus cheque? The phone line dripped with icy bitterness. You'd think it had come directly out her own pocket.

I dread telling these people about this pregnancy or eventually about a live baby because in the end, I will either have bad news to tell, and it will just feed their schadenfreude personalities, or it will be good news and they will find a way to be nasty and stupid and spoil my joy. And since we are either related or have mutual friends, it's pretty hard to cut them out completely.

And it isn't everyone. Most people are lovely and kind, and I want to shout about this pregnancy to the rooftops with them. I want to be bathed in their positive kindness. Everyone out here on the net has been great, and most people in real life will be the same.

I just wish I could stick these few jackasses in soundproof glass bubbles and send them to Mars, or therapy, or secretly slip them antidepressants.

Any advice? Help?


  1. Why would you waste any of your valuable time and energy on people who are basically vampires, sucking the joy and life out of simple pleasures?

    If there was a time to avoid the negative aspects that await you, it is now.

    On the other hand, if this people IRL are unavoidable for whatever reasons, then give them what they want in the minutae: a stain didn't come out of a shirt; your car engine sounds off; you broke a coffee mug in the washing machine. They hardly need to be told about your pregnancy.

  2. (ha ha! I just noticed. I would hope you wouldn't break a coffee mug in the washing machine. I meant the dishwasher! Oh hell, it'd make a good story.)

  3. No, no, in the washing machine is a great idea b/c then they'd think you were losing your mind and could feel all smug about that. Oh joy for them, right.

  4. You have a good life and that's nothing to be ashamed of. You are pregnant and that's an amazing thing! Have unshakeable confidence and faith that you deserve to be happy. If people want only the worst for you, what does that say about them? That they can only feel good about themselves if your life is going shitty. You deserve to be happy! If someone says something cold or stupid, ask them why would they say that? Or "is that your way of saying you're happy for me?" Do not take what dumb thing they say to heart - it would only be empowering them and only you will lose sleep at night. Surround yourself with positive people and leave out the rest.

  5. I like DD's idea of giving them lots of little stuff to feel sorry for you about.

    Or -- how about this -- give them my number. Whenever they want to revel in someone else's bad news, they can give me a call. Because let's face it, I've got a unending supply on tap.

  6. I am surprised I haven't seen you at any family functions, because I would swear you were describing most of my worthless family.

    How do I handle them? With as little info as possible. When asked questions, I give as vague of an answer as possible about everything. If we get something new, I don't mention it and when a comment is made, I just play dumb and say "oh, I thought I told you."

    It doesn't work for everyone to do this, but it does for me.

    Basically, it is jealousy that is driving these kinds of reactions. I just do my best not to fuel the fire.

  7. OH, lord. No advice whatsoever as my instinct is to just tell them to STUFF it, which is rarely an appropriate response.

    Sorry you have to put up with this.

  8. Hopefully you can rise above it. Trite? Well, there's no good answer.


  9. No advice, but lots of congratulations, since I missed the beginning of this party by being out of the country. (I need to do that more often - I come back and everyone's knocked up!)

    And, hell, I know it's hard not to be sick to your stomach because of past bad experiences - it doesn't get any easier until they leave the womb when they're supposed to. And then it's a different kind of fear.

  10. Yeah, I would be a smartass to give any kind of advice here. 'Cause when I get into these IRL situations, I swear that I'm only going to talk about the weather and then as soon enough as I see them, I'm a babbling fool.

    That's why I find it easier to cut these kind of people out.

  11. Oh Niobe!!! HUGS

    I don't have friends like that because my therapist once told me to cut anyone out my life that caused me any sort of emotional angst. That doesn't leave many friends but the good ones I have are worth the other losers!

    I know you said you can't tell them to eff off but I've never felt better since following her simple advice :)

    Otherwise, DD's idea is a good un, if you can be bothered to pander to them ;)


  12. Yo! Something happened to my comment I posted! Will start again...

    I learned back when I had my m/c's who my real friends were - those who really cared listened while I cried, asked how I was doing. Those who did not just went on as of the losses never happened. Through that, I learned who I can REALLY count on - and those are the people who will know about this PG earlier.

    I cut the cord a long time ago with those who were really "toxic" - and although I sometimes miss them, it was the best decision to make. I no longer had to worry about being judged, about being supported through my troubles, about being cared for. It was very liberating.

    I hope you can find the strength to cut out those who really don't deserve you as a friend. You need to be surrounded by only people who care - even if that means you cut the number of people in your life down to a select few. It is better to have a small number of friends who will really be there for you vs. a large number of friends who will stab you in the back.

    Good luck... If you can cut the toxicity out of your life, I think the true happiness will emerge.

  13. I have cut most of the people like this out of my life. If cutting out is impossible (Family), then I give them as little details as possible, especially the things they enjoy such as my endless foibles.
    Another approach would be just to blithely live your life and f*ck what they say or think.
    Good luck.

  14. Unfortunately, I have no good advice. What you are describing sounds just way too familiar - a lot like my dad's family. For example, news spreads like wild fire in my dad's family. They all wanted to talk about it when they found out I had breast cancer - even my dad. Mind you no one showed up to support me, or even called me - they just talked about me. When I found out that the chemo worked, that the cancer was gone - that there was no sign that it had ever been in my body (which was the most amazing and best news I ever could have gotten) - no one cared. My dad didn't even bother to tell anyone. They dislike me because of where I live, the job I have, the car I drive, the money I make, but let me tell you - if something goes wrong - they are all on the phone in 5 minutes - with each other. Anyway, I no longer attend family functions with my dad's family. Why subject myself to that? But that isn't always an easy choice to make. So to the extent I am forced to subject myself - I limit the conversations as much as possible - I just don't tell them things. I don't even tell my dad things anymore. When I do show up - half the family doesn't talk to me. It's just jealousy. Just remember, if they can't be happy for you, that's their shit and you can choose to not be affected by it.

  15. For my relatives that I don't see eye to eye with, I am simply polite and cordial with them. If they want more info, I keep it brief. They don't get to revel in my success or setbacks.

  16. Geez. You want to know what I think? I think they aren't really friends. Real friends are there when you need them, but they are also happy for your joy. People who aren't are toxic parasites. It's a pity that they're too wretched to rejoice with you, but honestly, they can stuff it.

    If they were my acquaintances, I would simply stop being honest with them. Yes, it does mean one can't have a real relationship with them, but do you want one? Or... just never tell them anything bad. It amounts to the same.

    By the way, CONGRATULATIONS!!! I was sick, or I would have come and exclaimed sooner. WOOOOOO!!!