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Just seeking some advice on how to handle a strong, difficult personality....

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  • Just seeking some advice on how to handle a strong, difficult personality....

    Let me preface this by saying that I am not a confrontational person, and I'm pretty sure I have a slight inferiority complex when it comes to this person. I'm going to call her Mary.

    Mary is my mom's best friend--has been since I was about 7 or 8; I'm now 31. Mary has also been like a second mom to my younger sibling and me. We had a great relationship in my younger years. We had sleepovers at her house in the summertime, went on vacations, you know, just normal family experiences. Mary had a falling out with her parents at some point. My grandma had allowed us to stay with her (single mom, two kids...), and during that time, Mary was invited to stay as well. Now, Mary was supposed to just stay until she found a place of her own. A couple of months turned into two years. At this point, and I'm still unsure of the specifics here, but Mary and my grandma had it out, which ultimately ended up in us packing up and leaving. You have to understand that those few years staying under my grandma's roof were the only stable years my brother and I ever experienced. It was home! I went to 10 different elementary schools before I reached Fourth Grade (4 in kindergarten alone).

    Plus, I was really close to my grandma, and she and my mom weren't always on great terms. They loved each other, but the relationship was still strained. I was afraid I'd never get to see my grandma again. This was around the end of Seventh Grade. It was around this time that a switch flipped. My relationship with Mary began to deteriorate. I chose to stay with my grandma. At the time, I know it hurt my mom, but, like I said before, I was desperately holding onto my home. It got to a point that I was spending much more time at my mom's place, and all the relationships kind of plateaued. Everyone was cordial with each other.

    Around the age of 13/14 my self-esteem was shot. My insecurities had me drowning, and I just didn't know how to handle them. I didn't really voice anything aloud because it just didn't settle well for me. I found solace online with other teens. I would spend hours online. I was chatting, playing games, or just looking up trivial stuff. I also wrote a lot. It was my escape. I got to a point where I wasn't even eating. My grandma became concerned when I stopped eating, especially when I was dropping weight. Red flags were waving. I just curled into myself and made it so I was "happy."

    You know, all these years later, and I'm still not sure exactly what I did to Mary to make her so toxic and hostile during my teen years. I will share one incident that is still vivid. I was about 16 years old at the time. I was on the living room floor playing fetch with our cat. Mary was seated at the kitchen table with my mom, and the cat pounced under her chair. He didn't touch her or disrupt her in any way. The look she gave me was sharp and brutal. No words were said. I crawled into myself that day and just couldn't deal with her anymore. I've gone over that scenario so many times over the years.

    Things are better than they were. I think part of it has been that I've grown and realized that only you can truly make yourself inferior to others. There are still some things that she will do or say that makes me second guess myself. Or she will make a comment on something that I like or say that will make me grit my teeth. My favorite is when she says something wild and then says she is just joking. Even if she is joking, words can still cut like a knife. Some of the things that bother me seem so trivial. She has this habit of trying to denounce or one-up things that I do. I'll mention that I had a long day at work and I'm tired. She fires back with, "Oh, well, I had to do XYZ. My boss is horrible. Blah blah blah." I really feel like she's trying to compete some days, er all days.

    Am I being overly sensitive, or is there a thing here?

  • #2
    Hi Bayla,
    Don't allow Mary to steal your joy. Be your own person and live your own life. Just be polite even if it's not 2-way. Be respectful and well-mannered but it doesn't mean you have to be chummy with Mary. You're not being overly sensitive. A lot of people take things personally. I've found that those who don't really care about the relationship act out in various ways such as hostility or indifference. Once I know someone doesn't think I'm worthy, I'm out. If we cross paths, I'm cordial but I don't go out of my way to be nice. Keep your distance. That's how you protect your feelings. Mature people know how to make relationships work by talking it out, arriving at a resolution, care and tend to be peaceful types. The rest? You have to cut them loose in your mind because you need to be kind to yourself. That's what I've learned from my past painful experiences. It helps build your self-esteem and self-confidence. It saves your sanity and contributes to your well-being. Life and relationships aren't always ideal but at least we can all strive for peace.
    "If you bungle raising your children, whatever else you do well in life doesn't matter very much."

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    • #3
      Wait a second - are you still living with your mum and Mary? Good Lord. It's been two decades of Mary. Why haven't you found your own life outside of all this? Yes, I do feel you're being overly sensitive but I also think you haven't been making the right decisions distancing yourself from irritating people.

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