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When To Confront Someone And When Not


sparkyone
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I'm writing this to see if I can get a little advice about dealing with a problem with someone at the church school where my 7 and 8 year olds attend. Maybe I'm just being touchy because I expect to be picked on with my "backsliding" going on, but here's the problem. Several times this school year I've heard from my children about criticism for the pants, or shoes or something else I've bought them. Today it was the gym shoes I just bought. Apparently, the pastor thought they were too big and make my son look like a clown, and I should have bought my other son some shoes at the same time, and he told my son that he told me his shoes were too small just so he could get new ones. I wish all this weren't true, but I don't think my son ever lies to me. I'm just sick of hearing this, but one time that I actually called the pastor to get his side of the story about his disapproval of some shoes I bought, I later heard from my son that he was scolded for even telling me what was said at school about it. Now I'm concerned that he will get in trouble (as are my sons) at school if I call to clarify this or ask him to stop being so critical. It seems like a small thing, but all these things adding up is starting to get to me. It isn't an option to put them in another school right now since my husband is 100% for this church and school and wouldn't allow them to go to public school. Please tell me that this sort of thing happens in public school and I'm just overreacting. That would make me feel more at ease about it. I have shared my concern with my husband and I feel that my choices as a parent are being put down by the pastor, not to mention that it's embarrassing for my son to have these things said. I don't want him to be thin-skinned, either, so I tell them that we just need to let it go and not be angry.

 

I was raised in church school and feel like I don't know what goes on in the "real world", so like I said, I'm probably overreacting. I would like to give him a piece of my mind, but think it would just make things worse for my children. I'm not too concerned about him disliking me.

 

Thanks!

 

Sparkyone

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So pastors now are supposed to be in the position to determine what shoes children should be wearing?

 

Memo to pastor: "You worry about spiritual needs, I'll worry about what shoes to buy the kids. Fair enough??"

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I don't think you're overreacting at all. I think the pastor is being a right dick about something that really isn't his damn business. Nobody should be picking on your kids like that, especially not an adult in a position of authority.

 

I don't know what to suggest but I'd probably call the pastor on it, if you can't remove your kids from the situation entirely. Hopefully you could get your husband's support on that, even if he's unwilling to remove them from the school.

 

But no, again - you're not overreacting. That'd piss me off no end.

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But for the complication of your husband's support for this church/school, I'd think the obvious thing to do would be to get the kids out of the school. Are you sure you and he can't find common ground on the matter? It sounds like there is other stuff in play here other than just the indoctrination of your children (which I assume your husband supports and you do not). Just from your post: 1) The degree of influence the pastor wants over things like shoes sounds inappropriate. 2) I think your concern about your choices being put down by the pastor are justified, and 3) It sounds like something's wrong if you or your son has to worry about retribution for bringing something like this up. What was your husband's reaction to your concerns, and is there any potential to work off of one of these angles? I apologize if I've offered ideas that aren't really feasible, but that's my two cents just in case they might be.

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I don't think you're overreacting at all. I think the pastor is being a right dick about something that really isn't his damn business. Nobody should be picking on your kids like that, especially not an adult in a position of authority.

 

Sorry if this sounds sarcastic but since when does a pastor have authority? He may be an authority of a Church staff but he has no authority over anyone. I am talking even about the big name Pastors either. I have never considered a pastor a person of authority. They think they have authority to tell peple how to act and ect, however there is no reason anyone should actually follow a pastor because it sounds like the pastor is up there with law, teachers or something but no pastor has authority over anyone. ( It is only they think they do)

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But for the complication of your husband's support for this church/school, I'd think the obvious thing to do would be to get the kids out of the school. Are you sure you and he can't find common ground on the matter? It sounds like there is other stuff in play here other than just the indoctrination of your children (which I assume your husband supports and you do not). Just from your post: 1) The degree of influence the pastor wants over things like shoes sounds inappropriate. 2) I think your concern about your choices being put down by the pastor are justified, and 3) It sounds like something's wrong if you or your son has to worry about retribution for bringing something like this up. What was your husband's reaction to your concerns, and is there any potential to work off of one of these angles? I apologize if I've offered ideas that aren't really feasible, but that's my two cents just in case they might be.

 

Well, I have to side with SNM on this one. You have a lot of complicated issues going on here that are way beyond shoes.

 

Public School... I'm in Canada and Ontario on top of that and a good elementary school on top of that. People I know who go to religious schools get a decidedly inferior education. Your situation could be different but more likely than not, you have little to fear about public schools. Be involved and stay involved is our motto.

 

The thing about your pastor is that he, like most pastors, is used to using a combination of personality and coersion to get people to comply to his god agenda. Sounds like he is more coersion than personality. In your case it seems that personal attack (Ad Hominin - It is in my signature for a good reason) is a favorite means of changing behaviour. This is what people often do when reason fails.

 

Your pastor is *not* a professional educator. I sincerely believe you but I still find it strange that you are concerned about what will happen to your kids if you put them in public school when you freakin' pastor is telling your son not to tell you what happens at religious school.

 

That is a red flag. NO ONE has the right to tell your kids to hide information from you. Decent people don't say things like that to kids.

 

Let's be clear on someting. Maybe you are not a good judge on clothes? So what, it is not a sin. How the pastor handles this IS the issue. Don't ever let a conversation turn to the shoes rather than the verbal abuse.

 

That's only my view. The best of luck!

 

Mongo

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I'm just sick of hearing this, but one time that I actually called the pastor to get his side of the story about his disapproval of some shoes I bought, I later heard from my son that he was scolded for even telling me what was said at school about it. Now I'm concerned that he will get in trouble (as are my sons) at school if I call to clarify this or ask him to stop being so critical.

 

 

I cut out the most important part of your post. I want you to read it again. This is YOUR child....and he's getting authority-pressure to NOT tell you what goes on at school?

 

Oh HONEY....

 

I can't think of bigger red flags!

 

You need to have a sit down with this Pastor. And you should be enraged! No school has higher authority over a child than that child's parents. You need to look this asshole in the eye and tell him that your children tell you everything, and they will keep telling you everything, and if you hear of ANYONE trying to prevent or discourage YOUR children from telling you something....you will inform other parents as they may be interested to know that their own children are being encouraged to NOT tell them things either.

 

And without question, you need to get your kids out of a school that doesn't want parents to know what's going on.

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Sorry if this sounds sarcastic but since when does a pastor have authority? He may be an authority of a Church staff but he has no authority over anyone. <snip>

 

Well yeah, okay, we know that, but in a particular social context a pastor or other religious leader can be seen as an authority figure. If the guy is a teacher or somehow plays some role in the direction of the school in question, he may have some "authority" because of that as well. Religious authority isn't justified by anything other than human belief in it; and as ex-believers we understand that - but a believer might still be stuck in thinking that Mr. Pastor has something backing him up, and act as if he does. That's what I meant.

 

That does lead me to a question of what role exactly this pastor plays in the school setting? Xian school, right? Is he a teacher, administrator, etc...? Or is he just some schmoe who comes in to preach every once in awhile?

 

Really, who the hell is this asshole??

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Sorry if this sounds sarcastic but since when does a pastor have authority? He may be an authority of a Church staff but he has no authority over anyone. <snip>

 

Well yeah, okay, we know that, but in a particular social context a pastor or other religious leader can be seen as an authority figure. If the guy is a teacher or somehow plays some role in the direction of the school in question, he may have some "authority" because of that as well. Religious authority isn't justified by anything other than human belief in it; and as ex-believers we understand that - but a believer might still be stuck in thinking that Mr. Pastor has something backing him up, and act as if he does. That's what I meant.

 

That does lead me to a question of what role exactly this pastor plays in the school setting? Xian school, right? Is he a teacher, administrator, etc...? Or is he just some schmoe who comes in to preach every once in awhile?

 

Well, I guess I'm not surprised, but I sorta figured this out for myself. I just don't want to face it, because I'm kinda scared of the guy myself. It's no wonder my kids are. Let me point out that he seems like a really nice person and never confronts me about anything. That's what is scary about him--he seems so reasonable about things that even I think something is reasonable if he explains it to me. Maybe I'm overreacting. I just don't think my kids could make this stuff up. He's the one who runs the school as administrator/principal. It's a very small school, and half the teachers are his wife/kids/kid's spouse and about half the students are his grandkids. I'm the only mother/grandmother (I mean one of the preschoolers' grandmother is a church member, but not the mother) with kids there that isn't involved in full or parttime work there. My husband is close to the pastor and tends to dismiss my concerns about things that I bring up in criticism. What the pastor says is that counsellors in the public school will tell children not to tell their parents things they discuss, but it sounds like he might be doing the same thing. One of the teachers told my son not to tell me about something she got on him about, but he told me anyway. I'm glad they share what goes on, but it makes me so angry sometimes, and makes me feel somewhat powerless. I remind them that we're supposed to be kind to those who are unkind and not try to get back at them because that gives them more control over us.

 

sparkyone - the oblivious and naive one?

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... What the pastor says is that counsellors in the public school will tell children not to tell their parents things they discuss, but it sounds like he might be doing the same thing. ...

 

Your pastor is lying to you. Blatantly. Any counselor, teacher, or even a janitor in a public school who told a child this would be out of a job pretty damn quickly -- and probably under criminal investigation, and rightly so!

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Just because someone is a pastor it doesn't invest that person with any authority whatsoever, nor the right to tell your children to hide anything from you.

 

You ought to tell the pastor off at the top of your lungs and include any choice expletives you care to insert. And I don't think too many people would disagree with you for it.

 

People like that need to be put in their place.

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I later heard from my son that he was scolded for even telling me what was said at school about it. Now I'm concerned that he will get in trouble (as are my sons) at school if I call to clarify this or ask him to stop being so critical.

 

 

You answered your own questions right there!

 

WARNING - DANGER, WILL ROBINSON!!!!!

 

Get your kids out of there pronto and if your husband puts up a fight, get rid of the husband. You have a responsibility to protect those kids first!

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My daughter just started attending a church school; she is only in k-4. I honestly dislike the church myself (then again that would go for any church) but my wife is a member there and has many friends. The only reason I went along with the church school was because the public schools in my area are horrible, and I planned on moving to a better area in 2 years. So, in my mind it’s only temporary. At-any-rate, if the pastor was criticizing my child then I would have to break my foot in his ass and make a scene. I would in no way stand for it. My child is there to learn and socialize, not to be belittled by an adult.

 

On a similar note, my wife’s pastor was bragging about how he found a student who broke a table. Apparently a table was accidentally broken by one of the high school boys, so the pastor took all the boys outside and made them run wind sprints, then told them if no one confessed they would run them all day. Someone did confess, but seriously.....parents are paying hard earned money for their children’s education, not to run wind sprints all day over a broken table.

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.... I just don't want to face it, because I'm kinda scared of the guy myself. It's no wonder my kids are.

 

There is a book you need to get your hands on.....I think it should be gifted to everyone (particularly women) upon getting out on their own.

 

The Gift of Fear by Gavin DeBecker

 

http://www.amazon.com/Gift-Fear-Gavin-Beck...TF8&s=books

 

Fear exists for a reason. How long do you think a deer would last if it felt fear....and talked itself out of it? Yet as humans, we do it all the time.

Let me point out that he seems like a really nice person and never confronts me about anything. That's what is scary about him--he seems so reasonable about things that even I think something is reasonable if he explains it to me. Maybe I'm overreacting.

 

Nice is not an adjective. It is a verb. Nice is something someone does for a reason. As soon as you start thinking of "nice" and "charm" as the verbs they really are, your perspective on the motives of other people will get sharper.

 

And you are NOT overreacting! Any time you suspect you are overreacting is a time to stop and carefully ask yourself WHY you feel the way you do to begin with. Because that feeling doesn't hit you without a reason.

I just don't think my kids could make this stuff up. He's the one who runs the school as administrator/principal. It's a very small school, and half the teachers are his wife/kids/kid's spouse and about half the students are his grandkids. I'm the only mother/grandmother (I mean one of the preschoolers' grandmother is a church member, but not the mother) with kids there that isn't involved in full or parttime work there.

 

Okay, this is going to sound odd....that school is too small for serious BS not to be happening!

 

My husband is close to the pastor and tends to dismiss my concerns about things that I bring up in criticism.

You need to have a serious talk with him. Dismissing your concerns is something you want to take very seriously, particularly when your children may be paying the price.

 

Trust me. It's better to rock the boat, than to find out down the road that your kids are the victims of long term sexual abuse.

What the pastor says is that counsellors in the public school will tell children not to tell their parents things they discuss, but it sounds like he might be doing the same thing.

 

That is a fucking lie. Counsellors in public schools tell kids that they themselves won't tell the parents what they, the children, want to discuss with them. NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND, which is absolute BS.

 

Again....it's NOT TRUE. The pastor is LYING to you.

 

If anything, a counsellor will tell a child they don't have to tell their parents what they talk about, but NO counsellor who wants to keep his job would ever tell a child they CAN'T tell.

One of the teachers told my son not to tell me about something she got on him about, but he told me anyway. I'm glad they share what goes on, but it makes me so angry sometimes, and makes me feel somewhat powerless.

 

It is great they tell you things, but if you don't protect them, they will eventually stop telling you stuff. Why do you choose to feel powerless? Your kids will pick up on that too, and is that something you want them to emulate?

I remind them that we're supposed to be kind to those who are unkind and not try to get back at them because that gives them more control over us.

 

Are you trying to raise enablers?

http://www.inspiredcounseling.com/enabling.asp

 

It would be better to tell them to tolerate unkind people. Not be kind to them. But I do agree with the avoid vengence part.

 

sparkyone - the oblivious and naive one?

 

Perhaps....but I think we all spend time in that state of mind at one time or another.

Start educating yourself. Get a copy of your local public school disctrict policy. Read up. You will be able to tell which things should be standard regardless of whether a school is religious or not. Talk to people at the school district. Ask them questions.

 

And there's another book by Gavin DeBecker that gives you ideas on what to ask:

 

It's called Protecting the Gift:

http://www.amazon.com/Protecting-Gift-Keep...TF8&s=books

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Hundred Pound Hammer solution To A Single Nail Problem:

 

"Go Thee And Fucketh Thine Selfeth Pastor Cretin"

 

When you've got the asshole's attention, have your carefully crafted complaint against his attentions and actions to your kids ready to lay out.

 

Do so with confidence this cat is a fucking bully, held up by his "position of auth-OR-a -TAH" not his ability or teaching credentials.

 

Let this cat continue to run over you on minor issues of which he has no *say* or better yet *reason* to be involved in, shit and situations only get more muddled and confused.

 

Buck up and take the good advise by the more gentle and less abrasive posters here, or use the almost perfect 100 Pound Hammer Solution..

 

Not saying anything will empower this assklowns *auth-OR-A-Tah* over you when he meets no resistance.

 

This is "Be an Asshole" time..

 

kFL, Professional Asshole

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[There is a book you need to get your hands on.....I think it should be gifted to everyone (particularly women) upon getting out on their own.

 

The Gift of Fear by Gavin DeBecker

 

http://www.amazon.com/Gift-Fear-Gavin-Beck...TF8&s=books

 

Fantastic book! Highly recommended.

 

Mongo

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[There is a book you need to get your hands on.....I think it should be gifted to everyone (particularly women) upon getting out on their own.

 

The Gift of Fear by Gavin DeBecker

 

http://www.amazon.com/Gift-Fear-Gavin-Beck...TF8&s=books

 

Fantastic book! Highly recommended.

 

Mongo

 

Thanks to everyone for responding. I'm a bit bowled over by some of it. I'm just a soft-spoken person who almost never stands up for herself, and rarely uses anything harsher than a darn. I don't want to go overboard and give them a reason to consider me the ungodly person they likely already think I am. I really don't think anything hinky is going on, and I don't think the kids are in danger. I'm sorry if it came across that way. I'm just tired of someone trying to run my life down to the little details. After discussing this with my husband I can see it from a different angle, that maybe the pastor was just kidding in a good-natured way and in no way wanted to hurt anyone's feelings, and teachers might tell the boys not to tell me stuff so that I don't overreact. I'm so tired right now, this might not make sense. I think I lost sleep over this last night, but I didn't get the chance to talk to my husband until a few hours ago. He often sees things from a different angle than I do.

I'll consider talking (civilly) to the person involved just to show myself that I can do it.

 

sparkyone

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I'm just a soft-spoken person who almost never stands up for herself, and rarely uses anything harsher than a darn. I don't want to go overboard and give them a reason to consider me the ungodly person they likely already think I am.

 

SparkyOne,

 

Does your husband use derrisive or intimidating language to get his way?

Does he make you feel "dumb" for questioning these types of things?

You don't need to answer that to me but to yourself... but if both of those are "yes" then I have more questions.

 

If you and your husband can not sort this out in a way that is mutually respectful and satisfies your concerns then you need to be more assertive and insist that he acknowlege and deal with the legitemate issues until you are both reasonably happy that your kids are being treated with respect.

 

If you feel that your husband sides with the pastor and is not standing with you (your kids) then you have to gain the respect of your husband.

 

My suspicion is that you blame yourself for most social conflict. If I am correct, then I recommend you to take some steps to change that and start blaming others more often.

 

Good and decent people get into spats with other people. Good and decent people make mistakes. How do you measure your self-worth? If you measure that by how many times you turn the other cheek then you should rethink that.

 

You know... people's skins are thicker than you may think. It is OK to mix it up with people, most of them out there can handle it.

 

If you find me a little rough... go ye and do likewise! You can do it.

 

Mongo

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[And you are NOT overreacting! Any time you suspect you are overreacting is a time to stop and carefully ask yourself WHY you feel the way you do to begin with. Because that feeling doesn't hit you without a reason.

[My husband is close to the pastor and tends to dismiss my concerns about things that I bring up in criticism.

You need to have a serious talk with him. Dismissing your concerns is something you want to take very seriously, particularly when your children may be paying the price.

 

He does listen to me without trying to belittle what I say or intimidate me. I used to be afraid of his reactions to certain topics, but since I've been more assertive, it has gone alright.

 

If anything, a counsellor will tell a child they don't have to tell their parents what they talk about, but NO counsellor who wants to keep his job would ever tell a child they CAN'T tell.

 

Maybe this was what I heard: that they don't have to tell.

One of the teachers told my son not to tell me about something she got on him about, but he told me anyway. I'm glad they share what goes on, but it makes me so angry sometimes, and makes me feel somewhat powerless.

 

It is great they tell you things, but if you don't protect them, they will eventually stop telling you stuff. Why do you choose to feel powerless? Your kids will pick up on that too, and is that something you want them to emulate?

 

I guess I don't know what else to do. Should I talk to the teacher?

 

I remind them that we're supposed to be kind to those who are unkind and not try to get back at them because that gives them more control over us.

 

Are you trying to raise enablers?

http://www.inspiredcounseling.com/enabling.asp

 

I don't know what that means. I need to follow the link you posted.

What can I tell them to say if an adult says something rude? They don't want to get in trouble for "talking back".

 

sparkyone - the oblivious and naive one?

 

Perhaps....but I think we all spend time in that state of mind at one time or another.

Start educating yourself. Get a copy of your local public school disctrict policy. Read up. You will be able to tell which things should be standard regardless of whether a school is religious or not. Talk to people at the school district. Ask them questions.

 

And there's another book by Gavin DeBecker that gives you ideas on what to ask:

 

It's called Protecting the Gift:

http://www.amazon.com/Protecting-Gift-Keep...TF8&s=books

 

Thanks for taking the time to suggest all this.

 

sparkyone

 

I'm just a soft-spoken person who almost never stands up for herself, and rarely uses anything harsher than a darn. I don't want to go overboard and give them a reason to consider me the ungodly person they likely already think I am.

 

SparkyOne,

 

Does your husband use derrisive or intimidating language to get his way?

Does he make you feel "dumb" for questioning these types of things?

You don't need to answer that to me but to yourself... but if both of those are "yes" then I have more questions.

 

If you and your husband can not sort this out in a way that is mutually respectful and satisfies your concerns then you need to be more assertive and insist that he acknowlege and deal with the legitemate issues until you are both reasonably happy that your kids are being treated with respect.

 

If you feel that your husband sides with the pastor and is not standing with you (your kids) then you have to gain the respect of your husband.

 

My suspicion is that you blame yourself for most social conflict. If I am correct, then I recommend you to take some steps to change that and start blaming others more often.

 

Good and decent people get into spats with other people. Good and decent people make mistakes. How do you measure your self-worth? If you measure that by how many times you turn the other cheek then you should rethink that.

 

You know... people's skins are thicker than you may think. It is OK to mix it up with people, most of them out there can handle it.

 

If you find me a little rough... go ye and do likewise! You can do it.

 

Mongo

 

This is sparkyone:

My last post is very confusing. I don't know how to make the parts I'm replying to show up in separate boxes all pretty like some of you posters do it.

Mongo, you are kinda scary, but I know I would want you on my side in a debate. I have found that I'm growing thicker skin, but it takes time and confrontation for it to happen. My husband and I get along well, but I'm afraid of upsetting him, so I suppose you could say that I'm blaming myself for any conflict we get into, instead of looking at it from another viewpoint.

 

sparkyone

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I understand (firsthand) what it's like to not be out-spoken. Just keep in mind that the best interest of your children is at stake here. You are their advocate. I'm convinced that there are real red flags and concerns here, and I seem to be in good company. The impulse to not make waves may be strong for those of us who are soft-spoken, but if your husband is a reasonable man (or even not), you should carry a full half the clout here. I'm betting HE's not too thin skinned to hear an opposing viewpoint. Besides, what about you? Are you upset about some of what you see going on? Are you any less worthy than him of not being upset? Of course not! Yeah, conflict is unpleasant to those of us who have an aversion to it, but if there's a time and place to be heard, I'd say it's now, in defense of the kids.

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I understand (firsthand) what it's like to not be out-spoken. Just keep in mind that the best interest of your children is at stake here. You are their advocate.

 

I second that!

 

You are your children's LIONESS, not their kitten. If there are two people in the entire world worth being the biggest asshole for, it's them.

 

You need to remember that your husband probably doesn't see the same things you do. The Pastor treats him differently (likely with more respect), and your husband cannot imagine that the Pastor might not talk to you the same way.

If anything, a counsellor will tell a child they don't have to tell their parents what they talk about, but NO counsellor who wants to keep his job would ever tell a child they CAN'T tell.

 

 

Maybe this was what I heard: that they don't have to tell.

 

Come on Sparkyone....if that were the case, then WHY would a teacher get after your son for telling you about her getting after him? It was HIS choice to tell you, and therefor NO business of hers to disapprove.

 

One of the teachers told my son not to tell me about something she got on him about, but he told me anyway

 

And then they may be flat out lying to the kids too.

 

I went to a christian private school thru 4th grade. They had corporal punishment. I was made to understand...at least it was very much implied by the teachers that all the parents knew and approved of whatever discipline they applied.

 

It wasn't until many years later, once I was in public school that my parents found out about the butt-paddlings I got a couple times (I really wasn't a troublesome kid). They were horrified and angry, and wanted to know why I never told them. I answered that it was because I thought they already knew.

 

If your kids are given the impression that their parents already KNOW what's going on (and you know how trusting kids often are)...how can you expect them to tell you what they think you know already?

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if I were in that position I would walk straight up to that pastor and tell him that

 

A: the kids WILL be treated with respect, and that means the pastor needs to stop nagging them over shit that's not important. If the pastor has a problem with the kids he should take it up with the parents, period.

 

B: if the kids get treated like shit they WILL tell you and the pastor has NO right WHATSOEVER to try to keep them silent

 

C: that if the pastor doesn't intend to buy the kids new clothes to replace what you bought them, he needs to shut the fuck up.

 

and I wouldn't back down until he said there would be no more problems of this nature.

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<snip> My husband and I get along well, but I'm afraid of upsetting him, so I suppose you could say that I'm blaming myself for any conflict we get into, instead of looking at it from another viewpoint.

 

I dunno about anybody else, but something about the bit I've highlighted from this quote is giving me SERIOUS red flags about your husband, too.

 

What happens if you upset your husband, that makes you afraid to upset him?

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Mongo, you are kinda scary, but I know I would want you on my side in a debate.

 

Sorry for scaring you. I hope I've given you another way of looking at things.

 

I have found that I'm growing thicker skin, but it takes time and confrontation for it to happen.

 

Growing up is a lifelong exercise. I'm still learning and making mistakes. My wife reminds me of that and sometimes my kids.

 

You may think I'm a bombastic loud mouth. Sometimes I am but that is not a regular mode.

 

Let me tell you about my wife.

 

A little while after we got married we got into a series of fights about her family that does not easily comprehend social boundaries. My family is accepting and doesn't interfere and her's interferes and closes rank even socially cutting me off.

 

For a very long time (years) my wife kept closing rank with her family rather than siding with me and negotiating a compromise.

 

For a long time she carried a deep resentment because I would not overlook her family's bombastic and manipulative crap.

 

You might still think it is me eh? OK... when my son was 3-4 years old, the inlaws would come into our house and ignore him because he would act indifferent to their arrival (he is high functioning autistic - mild). They would talk to my 4-5 year old daughter who would be excited about them coming. In essence they were punishing him until he learned to be polite enough to greet them politely. He was **four** and they were all adults who ought to know better! When we went home to visit my family, he was magically all over them because they all accepted him without judgement.

 

My brother-in-law and SIL are single and have trouble getting along with others.

 

While I'm not exactly a "peace maker" I have a job that requries me to get along with people and I am relatively successful in this. Probably more because I can take both roles as required.

 

Anyway... following in her family instruction my wife decided that anger was to be her way of beating me into submission. Let me tell you, it works!

 

However... I am also pretty determined and a good strategizer.

 

I did not cave completely and learned some great wisdom from Dr. Phil. "We teach people how to treat us". I read "his book Self Matters".

 

When my wife got angry with me, I would **match** her tone. When she told me to not get angry, I reminded her that I would calm down when she would calm down.

 

Now... here is the difficult part. My inlaws have use a harsh tone when they want something out of each other. My wife would use that as a regular behaviour. My wife would take the harsh tone with me (out of the blue) for no reason.

 

Whenever I got sick of this I would remind her that I don't like that tone. The sparks would fly and she would say, "I can't help it" (Horseshit I would say to myself) and I would reply, "Yes you can".

She hated that.

 

This went on for a long time until she figured out that she wanted to have a peaceful marriage rather than contentious one.

 

Magically she has managed to control her vocal tone.

 

Every now and then (this last weekend for instance) she reminds me to calm down.

 

We respect each other and she has learned to take my side and try to bridge gaps rather than take sides.

 

Well... I hope I'm a little less scary and I hope you understand part of me.

 

You take care eh!!!

 

Mongo

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<snip> My husband and I get along well, but I'm afraid of upsetting him, so I suppose you could say that I'm blaming myself for any conflict we get into, instead of looking at it from another viewpoint.

 

I dunno about anybody else, but something about the bit I've highlighted from this quote is giving me SERIOUS red flags about your husband, too.

 

What happens if you upset your husband, that makes you afraid to upset him?

 

Okay, nothing happens other than him getting annoyed maybe, or disagreeing with me. I'm such a pitiful people pleaser, that it used to be enough to keep me quiet if I had a different opinion. He doesn't WANT me to be that way; it's my problem. I'm not explaining myself very well. He is a very tolerant, loving person, but I was always so afraid of disagreeing with someone (maybe because of my fundy upbringing, submissive wifey crap I was taught) and making them upset, that I'm just recently working through that part of my personality. I'm getting better at expressing contrary views without being afraid of ruffling someone's feathers. However, one more thing comes to mind. One of the last times I went to our church's ladies' Bible study last spring, one of the women made some comment about people who don't believe the KJV is the only word of God are middle of the road skunks. That really made me realize that it must be the way at least one person there thinks of me if they know my new stance, and so I'm not really eager to go to the Bible study anymore. Haven't been in a long while. Maybe if I'm in the mood to start a spirited discussion some Tuesday, I'll go, but usually I'd rather stay home and relax.

 

Mongo, you are kinda scary, but I know I would want you on my side in a debate.

 

Sorry for scaring you. I hope I've given you another way of looking at things.

 

I have found that I'm growing thicker skin, but it takes time and confrontation for it to happen.

 

Growing up is a lifelong exercise. I'm still learning and making mistakes. My wife reminds me of that and sometimes my kids.

 

You may think I'm a bombastic loud mouth. Sometimes I am but that is not a regular mode.

 

Let me tell you about my wife.

 

A little while after we got married we got into a series of fights about her family that does not easily comprehend social boundaries. My family is accepting and doesn't interfere and her's interferes and closes rank even socially cutting me off.

 

For a very long time (years) my wife kept closing rank with her family rather than siding with me and negotiating a compromise.

 

For a long time she carried a deep resentment because I would not overlook her family's bombastic and manipulative crap.

 

You might still think it is me eh? OK... when my son was 3-4 years old, the inlaws would come into our house and ignore him because he would act indifferent to their arrival (he is high functioning autistic - mild). They would talk to my 4-5 year old daughter who would be excited about them coming. In essence they were punishing him until he learned to be polite enough to greet them politely. He was **four** and they were all adults who ought to know better! When we went home to visit my family, he was magically all over them because they all accepted him without judgement.

 

My brother-in-law and SIL are single and have trouble getting along with others.

 

While I'm not exactly a "peace maker" I have a job that requries me to get along with people and I am relatively successful in this. Probably more because I can take both roles as required.

 

Anyway... following in her family instruction my wife decided that anger was to be her way of beating me into submission. Let me tell you, it works!

 

However... I am also pretty determined and a good strategizer.

 

I did not cave completely and learned some great wisdom from Dr. Phil. "We teach people how to treat us". I read "his book Self Matters".

 

When my wife got angry with me, I would **match** her tone. When she told me to not get angry, I reminded her that I would calm down when she would calm down.

 

Now... here is the difficult part. My inlaws have use a harsh tone when they want something out of each other. My wife would use that as a regular behaviour. My wife would take the harsh tone with me (out of the blue) for no reason.

 

Whenever I got sick of this I would remind her that I don't like that tone. The sparks would fly and she would say, "I can't help it" (Horseshit I would say to myself) and I would reply, "Yes you can".

She hated that.

 

This went on for a long time until she figured out that she wanted to have a peaceful marriage rather than contentious one.

 

Magically she has managed to control her vocal tone.

 

Every now and then (this last weekend for instance) she reminds me to calm down.

 

We respect each other and she has learned to take my side and try to bridge gaps rather than take sides.

 

Well... I hope I'm a little less scary and I hope you understand part of me.

 

You take care eh!!!

 

Mongo

 

Thanks for that insight into another side of yours. I wasn't reeeeeely scared by you; I could see edges of teddy bear (yeah, right). I'm a big Dr. Phil fan and watching his shows actually helped me get through months of depression and anxiety by giving me hope of finding "my voice". Now I only catch the shows I'm really interested in for lack of time. Our pastor doesn't like Dr. Phil, Oprah or probably anyone else who tries to help people get their lives back on track without exclusively using scripture; that's my take on it. All that psychology nonsense, etc. In fact, one of my first "rebellious" acts was to watch Dr. Phil in spite of disapproval. I felt like it was a lifeline for awhile. Sounds corny, but it helped me. I just finished a college general psychology course, and it was very intriguing and eye-opening.

 

sparkyone

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