Top tips for dealing with crazy people?
June 2, 2011 9:12 AM Subscribe
How do you stay calm under (social) pressure? I'm looking for some tips on how to keep my cool when someone is really trying to wind me up and make me lose my temper.
posted by rubbish bin night to human relations (28 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
The sad truth is that the person I'm talking about is my mother. Our last visit went really well and I thought it would be ok to come and have her stay for a week. That was obviously a total mistake, but I want to somehow get through it until next Monday when she leaves, without any more major scenes.
Needless to say there's a lot of backstory to this, but right now I have one very clearly defined goal: how do I avoid being baited by her? It's really difficult because it seems like the smallest thing can set her off (she just gave me the glare of death because she mentioned the name of a childhood doll that I lost and I corrected her). I can't just keep my mouth shut until she leaves, so what else can we do or talk about?
To forestall any helpful suggestions of getting everything out in the open with her: I tried that the day before yesterday, saying to her to come and sit down so we could talk. It ended in an enormous scene and I only narrowly managed to stop her storming out the door. She's made it very clear to me that discussing things calmly is not an option - the main thing she kept saying when I finally got her to sit down was, "I feel sorry for you", over and over in a superior, pitying tone.
I just want to get through the next few days with minimal further damage to my self esteem, and not provoke any more silent treatment or personal attacks. What are your best tips for dealing with crazy relatives?
Random information that may be relevant: I am female, in my late thirties, my mother 25 years older; my mother has lived by herself for many years; I had a very unhappy childhood and don't really have any interest in seeing my mother at all, but my partner and I don't want to cut her off from our son (her grandchild) and really want to keep things civil if we possibly can. I've had more therapy than you can poke a stick at and feel totally comfortable with my past, but am having a lot of trouble dealing with the continued conflicts with my mother, especially since our interactions now are always either on my territory or hers, with no escape, as we live in different countries.