Tuesday, 2 May 2006

Rebuffed peace advance

OK, so I'm sometimes a bitch.

But mostly I'm nice. Yesterday, I decided to send J's infamous mother a conciliatory email with pictures of J from our easter vacation.

Why is this picture fitting?

a) Because I'm fighting the elements all on my own

b> Because it shows an icy climate
I sent her a bunch of links of pictures posted on the blog I maintain with my friends, along with a couple of paragraphs of "how are you", "hope you had a good Easter" and "I hope to see you soon" and other pleasantries.

What do I get back?

An email that said: Thank you very much.

And her initials.

I'm sorry, as I said I know I'm being bitchy, but I really do think that verges on a rude brush-off. She's retired and probably spends half her day online; how much would it really cost her to write "I hope you are well" or something?

It's just incredible. My brain can't understand how it's possible for someone to just decide like that not to like someone else.

Every time we haven't been in touch for a while, I kind of forget and approach her with this kind of casually friendly move, and each time it's brutally rebuffed. It's quite depressing.

Of course I also feel sorry for her because she must be quite an insecure and bitter individual to want to act that way, but when I know that she dislikes me mostly because I don't read 'intellectual' literature and I don't take an obsessive interest in opera and ballet, I really am lost for words.

Now, of course, I'm also feeling mildly paranoid about having sent her links to my blog, as it contains not few items ranting about her being rude to me (which she of course vehemently denies ever happening); despite it being in a foreign language her seeing it would, one could say, be mildly unfortunate.

Although I've now reinstalled a hitcounter so I can monitor any UK visitors... Did I mention the part about being a little paranoid?

So how can I make her like me? The only way I can see is to become a complete doormat and just let her be her condescending and snobby self towards me.

So far she's criticized the university I went to (not Oxbridge), my drinking habits (I don't drink enough), my touchiness (I took it quite personally when she said she thought J and I were completely incompatible), my cultural background (she's scared that I'll take J away from her and move home, which I fully intend to do) and my unculturedness (I listen to music with guitars and mostly read contemporary literary fiction rather than classics).

I know that she is like that to everyone, down to her poor pre-teen nieces, but I still can't get my head around how to cope with it.

I come from a non-confrontational family where everyone is largely prepared to make an effort to like everyone else, where the slogan has always been 'people are different but we're all equally valuable as human beings', and I'm afraid this is hampering my understanding of her attitude.

I've had many boyfriends and their parents have mostly loved me, so I know it's not me.

Any advice? Meanwhile, I think I'll reply to that email and say something else nice... Probably invite her over for dinner in our new home; maybe say my parents want to meet her when they come over to visit (my mum is already terrified of her).

I am obviously a bit of a masochist when it comes to in-laws.


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  2. She sounds just like my mother! If she is like my mother, she's not intending to be harsh, nor does she realize that she's being harsh. Some people are just really hard to get close to.

  3. Hah - anonymous tracked you down ;-)

    Okay, she is a bitch. That's her problem though, not yours. And do you know, I've been reading & commenting for months, but I don't know where "home" is? You can email me on the subject if the mood takes you...

  4. Kill 'em with kindness is what they say. Don't ask me who, because I don't know. :P

  5. It sucks that sometimes you really can't do anything to make a person like you.

    I might try just behaving as though she did like me, regardless of whether she did or not. If you refuse to be hurt by the things she says to you, if she really IS trying to be malicious, then that'll really piss her off. And she won't be able to say anything about it.

  6. Yo, I know this is relevant to a couple of posts back, but sorry to hear about J's depression and the wait he has to endure to get therapy (I presume Cognitive Behavioural Therapy).

    Next time you hear the clamouring for expensive drugs like Herceptin to be made available for all on the NHS, think how many courses of CBT could be run with the money from just ONE person's treatment. Quality of life for a lot of people could be made a lot better if people started to take mental health seriously in this country. I suspect you know this already, but I needed to vent my spleen on your behalf.

    Best wishes to you and J.


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