Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sticks And Stones And Sisters-In-Law

Posted by Anonymous.

I just have to get this off my back because it keeps playing over and over in my head and it is starting to disrupt my happy and carefree lifestyle.

Lets start by coming out with the cold hard facts. My sister in law and I are pretty good friends. She is actually also my supervisor at work. We get along fine generally.

It's hard for me to even type this. She makes fun of my ears.

I am a confident adult woman. I have slightly large features. big brown eyes, full mouth and lips, large nose and large ears. I have always enjoyed my eyes and lips and tried not to think about my nose and ears. I am very sensitive about my nose and fantasize about having it "done". It is the middle of my face though and I have accepted it as my nose. I idolize beautiful actresses with large noses because if they can get past it then I am. (And I am). I was mocked a bit for it in school but what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. I am stronger for it.

My ears... *sigh* My mother always said if I tucked my hair behind my ears they would stick out. I couldn't help it though. My hair was in my eyes and the ears held the hair wonderfully. I have embraced and accepted my ears. There is nothing I can do about them, and I have had them pierced 7x each in a sort of "so there" gesture. Yes they're big but SO WHAT. They're ears. I was never made fun of for them and I don't even think of them besides to hold my hair. No big deal.

Until now.

At first it was kind of, "wow, I never noticed how big (my name's) ears are!" to my partner while I am standing there.


"WOW look at those ears!"

"Look at (my 2 year old son's name's) ears! I hope you don't have mommy's ears!"

"I just can't think with THOSE EARS!"

"Would you just LOOK AT THOSE EARS!"

Etc, randomly. We could be in the car with my partner or in the house with my mother in law
and out those comments come.

I know she does it for attention but WHY???

Just thinking about it makes me nauseous. If this is how bullied kids feel going to school then I don't blame them for not wanting to go. I want to avoid my sister in law completely. And when we are in the car, like last weekend, and she turned to my partner and says, "OMG HER EARS!" and he turns to me and says, "Hey I didn't say it!" I want to punch him in the mouth for not standing up for me. We have a rocky relationship at best (on my end, he thinks its fine), but the thought of hearing her say that for the rest of my days HONESTLY makes me want to leave him. GONE. I would never have to hear it again.

I don't know what else to do at this point. I have said it bothers me, I have gotten angry. If I bring it up with my partner I know he will blow it off as joking and playing and then not only would I be angry with him I would be hurt to actually hear him say it.

I don't know where else to turn either because it so too embarrassing to even discuss it with my best friend. To me they're just ears until it comes out that they're so big. UGH.


Anonymous said...

Wow. That's just such unacceptable behavior. A child would be reprimanded for making such comments. Honestly, I think the best solution is to criticize something about her body. I, however, would probably punch her in the face and definitely get a new job.

And your husband needs to know under no uncertain terms that as your husband, it would be real nice and decent of him to stand by you as his partner and tell his stupid sister to shut her mouth.

Anonymous said...

You need to sit her down and let her know that what she says hurts you. Ask her to stop doing it. If she says she's just kidding, tell her how you feel. That you avoid her because of what she says.
If she makes fun of you for being sensitive, repeat that it hurts you when she says it and ask her to stop. If she doesn't, every time she says something, very calmly say "I have repeatedly asked you to stop saying things about my ears. I have told you how it hurts me. I don't understand why you continue." EVERY TIME she says something, you say that. Calmly, not upset, but expressing your feelings. Eventually, she should stop. If she doesn't, each time she brings up your ears, if you are able to, walk away from her. SHE IS A BULLY. If she does it at work, try the requesting and then tell her you will report her to HR. She is creating a hostile work environment. Best wishes.

Kate said...

I agree w/poster #2. You really need a sit down talk with her. This is completely unacceptable. It is harassment and no matter how much she thinks she is "joking", it is not funny. Stand up to her, we are behind you.

red pen mama said...

I agree with everyone here. When my 4-year-old comments on another person's appearance, I tell her that it's rude to talk about how people look.

Tell your SIL to knock it off. You can do it the way Anon #2 says to, or more rudely -- what ever gets the point across.

And you should mention to your partner that his support isn't optional.

good luck.


NGS said...

Oh, I'm so sorry. I can feel your hurt and embarrassment through your words. I don't have any advice except for keep holding your head up high.

mmichele said...

If somebody kept saying something like that to me, I think I would cry.

Anonymous said...

Tell her last time you checked the size and shape of a person's ears is inherited, the crap shoot of lucky genetics. There is nothing you can do about it, but there IS something she can do; specifically request that she stop talking about it. You don't even have to say why. Just tell her that you are requesting that she no longer mention your ears. If she is unwilling to abide by your request then limit your contact with her to essential contact only. She DOES NOT get to be your friend if she cannot abide by such a reasonable request. If she mentions it at work after you have asked her not to, change jobs. Seriously, don't give her your time. She is NOT worth it.

Anonymous said...

I agree with everything that the previous commenters suggested. She is being hurtful and acting like an inconsiderate kid. It isn't right. And your husband needs to stand up for you.
How is your relationship with your MIL? I get along with my in-laws and I know I could count on her to help tell her kids (including hubby) to cut something out. I know you have a hard time talking about it, but maybe she could help.
And she doesn't should like much of a friend if you've asked her to stop and she doesn't.


You need to tell her, in front of other people(!), as already suggested, that ear size IS genetic, unlike poor manners. Then kind of laugh it off as a joke and let it go. It's either laugh or really lay in to her poor tact, and suffer the consequences both personally and professionally.

Anonymous said...

I agree with everyone else, but I'd like to say that it's more disturbing that you feel you can't talk to your partner about it. You mentioned that your relationship is rocky. It sounds like it's him you should be speaking with, even more than your SIL.

We call them partners because we're supposed to be in life together, standing up for each other and watching each other's backs. Why can't he do this for you? And why should you have to be afraid to ask him too?

Anonymous said...

I agree with everybody else that you have to talk to her about it (and particularly with the poster who commented that those remarks at work are not only distasteful and hurtful, they are illegal). And if she doesn't stop, you have to distance yourself from her. Here's why - I don't want to diminish the effects that her comments are having on you, because it's obviously deeply hurtful & unacceptable. But you are also an adult and can take steps to protect yourself. Your child, on the other hand, cannot, and you remarked that she's said such things DIRECTLY AT YOUR CHILD. Now whether or not your child inherits your ears, it sounds like your SIL's behavior could have a very negative effect on your child's self-esteem. You have to step in to protect your son. Big ears run in my family too and I spent my childhood listening to other children taunt my brother. I literally cannot watch Dumbo because in spite of the happy ending it is too traumatic for me.

Anonymous said...

Here's a script for you if you want:

SIL, I have to talk to you. When you make fun of my ears, it hurts my feelings. I feel like a kid in gradeschool being bullied.

Please let me finish.

I'm not talking about the INTENT of your actions, I'm talking about the RESULT. So when you make fun of my ears, it hurst my feelings. I can forgive and forget for the past, but from now on, since you know that it hurts my feelings, I will assume that you INTEND to hurt my feelings, and it WILL hurt our relationship.

Try that one on her.

Anonymous said...

One of my nephews used to comment that I have a big belly. I asked him a few times not to say it, hurts my feelings, etc and his parents never reprimanded him. So, the next time he said it, I said, "Hey, you have a really big head, but I don't talk about that." Worked like a charm.

Anonymous said...

I'm with a previous commenter... your partners behavior is even more reprehensible than SIL's. He should stick up for you and support you.

You should talk to SIL for sure, maybe she'll get it, maybe not. I would not be one to be so nice about it either.

The Bells said...

I LOVE the comment that your ears are genetic, unlike poor manners. That's it in a nutshell.

Just curious, who's older - your hubby or your SIL?

Anonymous said...

What would you tell your child to do, if he was being bullied in school?

do that.

Hayley said...

I would respond in either of these two ways:

A: Holy crap, check out that face! I never realized how deformed and unbalanced it was until JUST RIGHT NOW.

B (the more mature route, I guess): You know, the ears jokes weren't funny even the first time around. *said in a scathing tone*

The lack of consideration in some people is astonishing.

6279 said...

I have a friend who does something very similar. I say to them, "When you make these comments, you remind me of a badly behaved terrier."

: ) Paula said...

So what, now that she's noticed your ears, do your ears have to be part of every conversation you have with her until the day you die? And at your funeral will there be an ears portion of the program starring your SIL. Good luck stopping her, I'd hate to have to deal with such comments for the rest of your life! Family members can be EXTREMELY insensitive sometimes.

Anonymous said...

"The better to hear your rude, cruel comments with, my dear."

...and walk away.