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My father informed me that we will be attending thanksgiving dinner with them. His wife has comments for me EVERY SINGLE visit. Some related to homeschooling, some our routines (her and i have never lived together; when we were in my fathers basement, it was completely separate, and we both worked a lot), some my weight. She thinks she could "fix ds in a month."

 

This resturant we're going to is family style. We order together and big platters are brought to the table. It's italian family style, so lots of bread, pasta, and breadcrumbs for everything.

 

I can't have gluten and i am sick and tired of her comments related to everything, especially weight and food. I have very slowly been losing weight since 2011, she does not seem to be. She has many pounds on me, and the comments are just beyond irritating now.

 

Should i call ahead to the resturant and see if they can make a small dish of something gluten free? Or should i insist that the table order the pasta gluten free (i know this resturant has gf pasta, we were just there in august)?

 

I hesitate ordering gf for the table because she will comment about how gross it is, and will laugh and snicker about every thing i do after that.

 

If i can get the pasta gf without anyone knowing, they will not know the difference, but i dont know how to go about that.

 

I dont need to stuff myself with this dinner, but even a little gluten throws me off for days, and it hurts.

 

What should i do?

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I'm sorry. That is tough. Ask me how I know... about relatives who snipe at you... or maybe don't ask!!

 

I'm writing from the point of view of someone with CFS/ME and Anxiety, so that may have skewed my reaction - but - why do you have to go at all? It sounds like a very stressful evening, and unless you actually WANT to go for some reason, I would be inclined to think that you would be happier and more peaceful to just have your thanksgiving dinner either on your own, or with someone you get along well with.

 

But if you really need to go - then you could try making arrangements for a GF meal in advance, but what about when the waiter/waitress brings the meals out - they may ask who is having the GF dish in front of everyone, and then your cover is blown. Besides which, even if that works and she doesn't know that you are having something GF, it sounds like she will have a go at you about something else anyway.

 

I realise I'm sounding rather negative - sorry! I think I would just choose not to have that kind of person or situation in my life.

 

I suppose you could confront her head-on about the things she says - would that work?

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I'm sorry. That is tough. Ask me how I know... about relatives who snipe at you... or maybe don't ask!!

 

I'm writing from the point of view of someone with CFS/ME and Anxiety, so that may have skewed my reaction - but - why do you have to go at all? It sounds like a very stressful evening, and unless you actually WANT to go for some reason, I would be inclined to think that you would be happier and more peaceful to just have your thanksgiving dinner either on your own, or with someone you get along well with.

 

But if you really need to go - then you could try making arrangements for a GF meal in advance, but what about when the waiter/waitress brings the meals out - they may ask who is having the GF dish in front of everyone, and then your cover is blown. Besides which, even if that works and she doesn't know that you are having something GF, it sounds like she will have a go at you about something else anyway.

 

I realise I'm sounding rather negative - sorry! I think I would just choose not to have that kind of person or situation in my life.

 

I suppose you could confront her head-on about the things she says - would that work?

 

The kids and i dont even celebrate thanksgiving. I make a special or fun meal when the mood strikes.

 

We're already thought of as hermits, but that has always been said (even when i worked 50 hours each week and the kids were in daycare, and we spent weekends at the park or mcdonalds play area if it was cold). Since we hs now, i do like to "show off" how the kids behaviors have improved, and i've learned to sit there quietly. I may bring a book!

 

If this were a regular restaurant, it wouldnt bother me to make sure my dish was gf. The problem is that we sit around and decide which huge platters are brought to us (basically a buffet at the table), and every little thing on the menu has gluten.

 

I think i prefer weight/food comments over other things (i'm 5' and 140lbs right now. I have plenty to lose, but i'm not huge.). I hate other topics because she's a better debater than I. If she wants your opinion she'll give it to you.

 

I am thinking of compiling a list of passive aggressive lines to throw out. Or i can be the bigger person and shut up. She will be right regardless of what i say and her opinion of me will never change. But i still like to attempt to defend myself.

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I wish we could stay home, but my father still does a few things for us and he holds that against me when i decline an "invitation."

 

Here is the deal. You are talking about *content*. Weight specifics, food specifics, etc.

 

None of that is the issue. You could live on Twinkies and Koolaid and her comments would be inappropriate.

 

That makes it a process (dynamic) issue, not an issue of what you eat.

 

I think it's time to work towards the development of healthy boundaries. That will likely include extracating yourself from the strings tied to whatever your father still does for you. This is an awkward, scary process. I do not intend to be flippant about it.

 

But I do think it's a necessary process for mental health, maturity, and growth.

 

I'm in a different place in life; but if the choice to spend holiday time with this person came up in my life, I would either:

 

1. Decline

2. Attend with the clear, direct statement that I and my family will exit the event the moment an intrusive, inappropriate comment was made.

 

In your case, I suggest looking at what does does for you, and evaluating if you still need that. If you do, the next step is to evaluate whether he will provide it if you change the power/hierarchy/control pattern with boundaries.

 

Ultimately, it's likely to come down to finding a way to not need from Dad whatever it is he provides. At least in terms of mental health and good boundaries.

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My father has stopped a lot of his carp, but then i have no problems standing up to him. It has also been easier since he no longer pays the rent. He does still keep my car on the road (insurance) and insists i have a cell with the 2 kids (cell is in his name paid by him). When he extends invites, he'll usually offer to also fill my gas tank.

 

His visits are MUCH better since i made it clear to him that i am trying to do best by these 2 kids.

 

His wife has made it clear since early on that their money is separate, and has also said that if she were helping us, she would have stopped when i started homeschooling.

 

My father has, fairly recently, started sending random texts (NOT in the middle of the night!) saying he's proud of me, and that he sees the kids doing better. He also stuck up for me with one of the comments made last visit. It has to be a hard line for him to walk.

 

It's all her, and i need to either be quiet, maybe while agreeing (yes, i'll consider putting the kids in ps. Yes, you're right, ds goes to bed far too early and inconsistent, i'll work on that), or stand up to her.

 

And i still have to figure out how to eat in this restaurant without being sick later! (I will call later when they open just to see if they come with any solutions).

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My father has stopped a lot of his carp, but then i have no problems standing up to him. It has also been easier since he no longer pays the rent. He does still keep my car on the road (insurance) and insists i have a cell with the 2 kids (cell is in his name paid by him). When he extends invites, he'll usually offer to also fill my gas tank.

 

His visits are MUCH better since i made it clear to him that i am trying to do best by these 2 kids.

 

His wife has made it clear since early on that their money is separate, and has also said that if she were helping us, she would have stopped when i started homeschooling.

 

My father has, fairly recently, started sending random texts (NOT in the middle of the night!) saying he's proud of me, and that he sees the kids doing better. He also stuck up for me with one of the comments made last visit. It has to be a hard line for him to walk.

 

It's all her, and i need to either be quiet, maybe while agreeing (yes, i'll consider putting the kids in ps. Yes, you're right, ds goes to bed far too early and inconsistent, i'll work on that), or stand up to her. And i still have to figure out how to eat in this restaurant without being sick later! (I will call later when they open just to see if they come with any solutions).

 

I still see you tying your life specifics (i.e. gluten free) to her behavior. They shouldn't be tied. It's time to consider choosing "stand up to her."

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:grouphug:

 

I don't have any wisdom for you. I *might* ask my dad to order gf pasta for me. But it's really not about the food. If it were, you could just 1. Not eat, 2. Bring something you can have, or 3. Call ahead as you are thinking of doing.

 

How many people will be there? Is there a chance you won't have to talk with her? I'm just thinking about ways you can get thru this one dinner, not ways to change the dynamic--which is work you really need to do, but you know that.

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I simply wouldn't go. My mom does alot for me but she would never expect me to deal with nonsense like that. If my mom were petty enough to not help me out then I would most likely go without because I am just that kind of person. I do not let my family dictate my life or my kids and I never have.

 

I have never understood the people who allow family to terrorize their lives. I wouldn't do it for a car or a phone, it is not worth it. For the record though I would never expect other people to eat like I do either. I am vert picky about my food as I am sure you are as well. That is your thing and you expecting them to eat gluten free is the same as expecting you to eat regular food.

 

If the place cannot be set for your needs then you should gracefully decline.

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I would not suck it up and non-gf. I also wouldn't ask the entire table to do gf either. I eat gf, my dh hates gf pasta. I also find pasta to be one of my worst triggers for issues. Last time I ate at Olive Garden, before finally realizing gluten was an issue, I was sick practically before I got home from restaurant.

 

Surely the restaurant can make accommodations for part of a party eating gf. I would at least call and ask. I would start there.

 

I will add, at some point we (as emotional humans) have to stop worrying what others think about us. Most people probably have someone in their life that thinks they're odd/weird/bad/awful/shameful/sinful because they do ________ (insert whatever). Most people have manners enough to overlook that which they disagree with. However, there are boundaries about what people can say or do around us or our children, and family seems to dig much deeper with their comments.

 

If you remove the emotion from the situation and look at the practical.

 

1. You can't eat gf

2. The restaurant may not be able to accommodate you

3. You're sure to get some jabs at dinner, regardless of what you do.

4. You may leave feeling worse than when you showed up

 

1 is a given, 2 is the next step, 3 you need some comebacks or deflections to not allow her to get to you, and 4 you have to decide if it's worth it.

Edited by elegantlion
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I will be able to ignore most of the carp. There will be quite a few people, and i'm not usually included in the "adult" conversations. I guess i'll just ask her why she feels the need to bash every little choice i make.

 

If the restaruant cant accommodate a gf dish, i'll bring food to eat in the car before we get there.

 

I'm going to spend the next 22 days focusing on the kids table manners! Ds will wear his young marine dress pants, and i'll get an outfit (salvation army) for dd.

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I spoke with a woman whose son couldn't eat gluten. She was Indian and mostly ate at Indian restaurants. She said she was very aggressive in asking for their gluten free menu, and when they didn't have one, demand to have her food warmed up. I would not eat food that makes you sick, but I am not sure the whole table should be expected to eat that if they don't also like it. The restaurant needs to help you out here.

 

You definitely need a way to deal with her, without being nasty yourself.

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Okay, I agree with Joanne. It is time to choose standing up for yourself.

 

I would start with declining the invitation as there is NO way the food at that restaurant will truly be gluten free. Be gracious, but you have to do what is right for you. If he offers to change the location, let him know that isn't necessary. If he does, of course, enjoy the evening. *(an alternative would be taking your own food)

 

Then with EVERY other thing with his wife, be gracious and move on. Gracious does not mean discuss it or agree with her! A quick boundary setting comment then change the discussion to something more desirable, like scoodies! LOL Above there is the super sweet and the "it's not up for discussion" examples of comment. Either way can be fine :)

 

And, in general, you *really* need to set yourself up for success with Dad. It is HARD to stop depending on people inappropriately. I'm *well* aware. But you will feel so much better once you do. It will be difficult to set appropriate boundaries with him and his wife if you have weak boundaries in other ways. However, as you're getting this all in place, you still can. Just like TGing - he may be upset, but he'll deal if you decline the invitation.

Edited by 2J5M9K
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Kill her with kindness.

 

"thank you for noticing that I'm working on my weight. It's really sweet of you to care so much about me"

 

"thanks for your suggestion. what exeriences led you to give it?"

 

Of course, if you'd like to chat with your dad and not listen to her rattle on, you'll have to change the subject after you thank her.

 

Work with your dad on the gf arrangements.

 

Her comments are sometimes hard to answer. Her last weight comment had me puzzled for a comeback.

 

This was the august visit and i was wearing a pair of camoflauge capri pants that she passed down to me. Her son (8 years younger than me and works out daily) also passed along a handful of camo pants that are crazy comfy!

 

Her: are those the pants from x?

 

Me: no, these are the ones you gave me.

 

Her: i forgot about those, and yeah, x is *really* skinny. (Totally implying i was too fat for the pants he gave me).

 

Me: the ones from x are really comfortable, but it was too hot today. (She didnt even listen to this! And it really bothered me)

 

It bugged me because yes, her son is fit, but he is quite a bit taller than me, and not *skinny*, just in shape. His shape is bigger than me.

 

Or last visit up here; she was saying how she could fix ds in a month. The first thing she would do is put him on a consistent bedtime schedule. My father jumps in a says that ds DOES have a consistent schedule. She asks ds what time he goes to bed, he says 6, she says "oh that's way too early."

 

Again, bugs me to death because obviously i can do nothing right.

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We do have to go. It's our only chance to see some family. The kids will have a good time (dd will, i'll have to be creative with ds) and many things go over their heads.

 

Maybe i will just be obnoxious and claim not to hear her. She usually will not repeat inappropriate comments.

 

As rude as i know it is, i think i'll have a book with me and just read as long as ds is occupied. Maybe the kindle so she cant comment about the title. She doesnt think i can read well, of course im a math moron, and im fat, im the cause of all my kids problems (cause you know poor parenting causes aspergers), etc.

 

Im just going to get through it, note everyones rudeness to wait staff (they are rude in a "we're soooo much better than you" way), be pleasant with my father.

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I could always turn to ds and remind him of our lessons.

 

"Ds, you know how we've been talking about keeping your mouth closed unless it's nice? What you just heard is a good example. When people say mean things, they sound like inconsiderate morons, and i dont want you to sound like that."

 

If i answer anything, it'll be along the lines of:

 

I'll take that into consideration. Why do you ask? What was that? Oh, i'm sorry, i didnt hear you. Now that you've said your bashing of the day, can we move on? Did you learn that from experience of raising your 2 kids (she has 1)?

 

I even have a friend that can work with me! Lol.

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I just spent a weekend with MIL who makes snipey comments about everything. It's completely weird to me. She really seems to like my kids, supports hsing, approves of our choices 99% of the time. However, she spends all the time she isn't complimenting us making snide little comments over things that just. don't. matter. For example - dh went to the store with them and bought himself some shampoo. That evening the kids took it because they were out of shampoo in their bathroom. Dh asked where his was and I went to get it for him out of their bathroom. MIL says (in a very ugly voice) "He bought that for himself." I said something about that they were out of shampoo too and she says "What? They didn't have any shampoo?!?" Like it was failure as a mother that my kids had used all of their shampoo?!?! And who cares if Dh bought the shampoo - that doesn't make it only dh's shampoo that no one else can ever use. Now - she's probably never shared anything in her entire life. She was an only dd and then had only boys, so she would have no idea about how much shampoo 4 kids use, but seriously, that is a matter for judgement?

It's a lose/lose situation for me as far as trying to get her approval. So I quit trying. If I point out that dh didn't bother to buy shampoo for the kids, she will express that it shouldn't be his job to buy shampoo. I just have to accept that it makes her feel better to be superior about something, even something as stupid as shampoo and let her have it.

 

Wow -that turned into a vent!

 

I would make arrangements to have gf at the restaurant and when she makes her ugly comments, state quietly that you're not asking her to eat it and chow down. Isn't there another quote about the best revenge being a life well lived? Go see your family, love on your dad, enjoy your meal and let her stew in her own ugliness. That's what the whole family has done with MIL and while I know it's hard to be around, the reality is that no one cares if she approves of my housekeeping/time management/child-rearing etc. My kids are way happier and well adjusted than dh or his brother ever were and dh and I are going to keep doing it our way.

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You need to stop engaging. The second she starts to say something inappropriate, say "Hmmm" ignore her and start a conversation with someone else. If she asks you a direct question, answer her vaguely ("his bedtime is appropriate for his situation"). You don't owe her any explanations. If she persists, continue the change the subject. Make it clear to her that you won't engage. If you need practice, try thinking of every inappropriate comment she has made and practice a response that does not invite her to discuss further.

 

And pre-order a gf meal for yourself.

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I see that you have settled on enduring this dinner -- so it's important to have a plan to cope. I suggest not sitting near her, if possible. If she does say something that touches a nerve, simply say, "Hmmm." or, "I see." or, "That's fine." -- then take a drink of water and/or change the subject or begin talking to someone else. This is the conversational equivalent of a road that goes nowhere. It's not agreement, it's not debate, and it's not sniping back at her or defending yourself. You don't need to be as childish as she is. Be the grown up and just let her road go nowhere.

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You need to stop engaging. The second she starts to say something inappropriate, say "Hmmm" ignore her and start a conversation with someone else. If she asks you a direct question, answer her vaguely ("his bedtime is appropriate for his situation"). You don't owe her any explanations. If she persists, continue the change the subject. Make it clear to her that you won't engage. If you need practice, try thinking of every inappropriate comment she has made and practice a response that does not invite her to discuss further.

 

And pre-order a gf meal for yourself.

 

:iagree:

 

I wouldn't decline the invitation. I also would not take a book. To me that is worse than declining the invitation.

 

I had a very very difficult and nasty MIL for 26 years. She literally could make me physically ill with her comments. There was no way to win with her. Eventually I figured out that it was her not me and as Joanne mentioned it had nothing to do with actual topics but rather her character (or lack of). When I got to that place I developed skills such as ones mentioned in the post above. I played little games in my head where I dealt with her much like I would a cashier at the grocery store. I did lots of 'hmmms.' And blank stares. And if pressed for a response I would say sort of dumb like, 'I'm just not sure what to say about that.' And if she got nasty enough I would say, 'Wow! You are hurting my feelings.'

 

It was very helpful for my sanity. And as long as you want to have your father in your life I think some variation of the above is the way to go.

 

YMMV.

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I see that you have settled on enduring this dinner -- so it's important to have a plan to cope. I suggest not sitting near her, if possible. If she does say something that touches a nerve, simply say, "Hmmm." or, "I see." or, "That's fine." -- then take a drink of water and/or change the subject or begin talking to someone else. This is the conversational equivalent of a road that goes nowhere. It's not agreement, it's not debate, and it's not sniping back at her or defending yourself. You don't need to be as childish as she is. Be the grown up and just let her road go nowhere.

 

:iagree:

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I see that you have settled on enduring this dinner -- so it's important to have a plan to cope. I suggest not sitting near her, if possible. If she does say something that touches a nerve, simply say, "Hmmm." or, "I see." or, "That's fine." -- then take a drink of water and/or change the subject or begin talking to someone else. This is the conversational equivalent of a road that goes nowhere. It's not agreement, it's not debate, and it's not sniping back at her or defending yourself. You don't need to be as childish as she is. Be the grown up and just let her road go nowhere.

 

But i wanna be childish! :willy_nilly:

 

I'll be the adult and zip it. And eat in the car. Dd eats enough to cover any plate fees for me.

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You need to stop engaging. The second she starts to say something inappropriate, say "Hmmm" ignore her and start a conversation with someone else. If she asks you a direct question, answer her vaguely ("his bedtime is appropriate for his situation"). You don't owe her any explanations. If she persists, continue the change the subject. Make it clear to her that you won't engage. If you need practice, try thinking of every inappropriate comment she has made and practice a response that does not invite her to discuss further.

 

And pre-order a gf meal for yourself.

 

 

I wouldn't decline the invitation. I also would not take a book. To me that is worse than declining the invitation.

 

 

:iagree: I'm sorry that she's so difficult to deal with but I think you should attend and engage in conversation with others.

 

Could you order a salad with no croutons? My dh is gluten-free so I understand how that adds another layer of problems to an already touchy situation.

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I'm covered.

 

What about ds? I truly couldnt care if he all he eats is bread. She will (and has more than once) tell him he's had enough and move the bread. Do i get up, give him back the bread, and only speak to him? This has nothing to do with making sure others get a share of the bread. It is purely a way to "top" my parenting.

 

I always sit as far from her as possible, so this is covered!

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I would call the restaurant ahead of time and ask if they will make you a small platter of gf pasta to accommodate your dietary restriction. If so, then go and do this. If not, eat salad only. I would not ask the entire table to eat gf pasta and add further conflict to an already strained relationship.

 

For the record, my kids and I eat gluten free.

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I'm covered.

 

What about ds? I truly couldnt care if he all he eats is bread. She will (and has more than once) tell him he's had enough and move the bread. Do i get up, give him back the bread, and only speak to him? This has nothing to do with making sure others get a share of the bread. It is purely a way to "top" my parenting.

 

I said I had a horrible MIL for 26 years....I now have an AWESOME MIL. She is so sweet to me, so good, kind. However, she is married to a man who could be considered a jerk. No where near like my XMIL....but last week at a restaurant he pulled something that REALLY got to me...and won't happen again. My ds12 left some whipped cream on his plate from a very sweet dessert and he 'made' my ds eat it. I was busy visiting and was only sort of half hearing the conversation...but he was way over the line. (I paid for that and you are going to eat it!) Later I was beating myself up for not grabbing the ticket and paying for our own darn food! So I 'get' how it is in those situations when you are blindsided with stupidity....that is why practice is essential....That will NEVER happen again. No one is going to force my kid to eat a cup of whipped cream.

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"i certainly understand your concerns"

 

apparently, from the other thread, this is very annoying. just keep saying it to father's wife.

 

robin

 

I really think you're onto something here! Work from a script. Don't let the other person's arguments or issues enter into the conversation; just stick to the script. I suppose that's how customer service reps keep their sanity (granted, while testing ours), and it just might work with Mrs. Malcontent.

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I'm covered.

 

What about ds? I truly couldnt care if he all he eats is bread. She will (and has more than once) tell him he's had enough and move the bread. Do i get up, give him back the bread, and only speak to him? This has nothing to do with making sure others get a share of the bread. It is purely a way to "top" my parenting.

 

I always sit as far from her as possible, so this is covered!

 

"Excuse me, but I am the parent here. " Rinse, repeat. Stick to that boundary.

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Hi- Im a single mom and my family is just toxic. I've stopped letting them pay for things. I have a super cheap cell phone and could care less what they 'think' I need. I've found a way to pay my insurance. I've sought out community resources to cover things when I find us short of funds.

I'm not going to be tied to them for $$, I'm not going to told what to do because I need a few bucks until payday.

I would NOT go to dinner. I don't need that distress in my life. (I also avoid gluten) I would suggest you meet your dad for dinner but avoid the entire 'wife' drama.

I've worked long and hard on boundaries. Years in therapy to get here. I don't need dinner that badly.

If your kiddo only wants bread, then he only eats bread. Would anyone tell grandma " no more salad" type thing? I doubt it. Don't worry about plate charges or the cost. If you were invited to dinner then you can eat/no eat whatever you want. Honestly, I woudn't go. It's not worth the stress, the few dollars thrown your way, and the awful feeling in the pit of your stomach days before and after this event.

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DON'T ENGAGE. Don't try to win - you won't. It DOES NOT MATTER what she thinks of you. What matters is how you feel about how YOU act. Stay classy.

 

"Huh. I'll think about that."

"Thanks for your concern."

"Maybe. Can you pass the green beans?"

 

Don't subject others to the GF pasta, but DO order some for yourself.

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What about ds? I truly couldnt care if he all he eats is bread. She will (and has more than once) tell him he's had enough and move the bread. Do i get up, give him back the bread, and only speak to him? This has nothing to do with making sure others get a share of the bread. It is purely a way to "top" my parenting.

 

Make sure your ds sits next to you, and if she tries to move the bread, reach out and stop her, look shocked and appalled, and tell her that you will make the decisions about what your ds may eat. Honestly, I would simply tell her that you are your ds's mother and that she is not to tell him what he can and cannot do in your presence. Ever. Period.

 

My feeling is that it's up to you whether or not you want to ignore the snotty little remarks she makes about you, but you absolutely have to protect your son from her attitude.

 

I think it might be a good idea to voice your concerns to your dad and tell him point blank that you're not putting up with any of her attitude toward your ds. Surely he will understand that you want to protect your child's feelings.

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