Sunday, January 24, 2016

The One-Upper



Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri.

I read your column but I’m not a young girl so I don’t know if I’m able to write to you or not. I also don’t think my situation is about bullying.

Anyway, this is bugging me so much that I can’t sleep: I don’t get why my daughter-in-law behaves like she does towards me.

Before she and my son got married, I felt like I was on a quiz show. What perfume do I wear? (She wears only natural essential oils.) What type of bread do I eat? (She only eats organic multi-grain without gluten.) What makeup do I use? (She only uses herbal lipstick and stuff she gets at a natural food store.)

How much do I exercise? I said I walk most of the time in the mornings. She, of course, runs in marathons.

She asked me if I have ever had plastic surgery or would I? She said (at age 24) she would never do that because women should be happy with what God gave us.

After that comment, I turned to her and said, “God gave us a brain to decide for ourselves what we want to do.” And, no, I have not had plastic surgery … yet.

She looked surprised and then told my son that I was mad at her and she cried! So my son told me to be careful with her feelings because she is sensitive around me.

Now, four years later, plus a baby, she has started to ask me about how I brought up my sons. No matter what I say, she has a better come-back. I just keep quiet and don’t comment on what she says to me.

However, I feel like I’m being judged. I don’t know why. She’s beautiful and has everything going for her and my son loves her and they seem to have a great marriage and family.

I don’t want to make a big deal about it but I’m sick and tired of her antics.

I am having a face-lift in a month and I’m sure THAT will go over well!

Signed,
Mother-in-law

Dear Mom,

It’s very simple, she considers you worthy of being one-upped. She would not do this if she felt she was as great as she sees you.

She is trying to impress you with how good she is for your son. Truly, she must see you as a woman that she is impressed by. But her insecurities are getting in the way. If you did not matter to her, she would not bother trying to tell you how wonderful she is.

One-Uppers can’t seem to resist judging others to look better than others. It takes a lot of energy to keep up the invisible contest they start. People who judge usually judge themselves even more harshly.

You don’t have to be annoyed. Just remember, since you are the one being escalated to a ranking your daughter-in-law thinks is better than hers, you can be gentle with her and try not to feel judged by her.

Don’t engage in the competition. Change the subject after you answer her in a matter-of-fact way. Don’t compete. You’ll both lose.

You are obviously happy with yourself and she needs to learn that herself. Don’t talk with your son or anyone about it. Let her deal with her own self-esteem issues and be the good example you want to be. You have already defined yourself.

Let her figure it out and love her and give her genuine compliments when you can.

By the way, our column is for everyone! Thanks for writing!

Signed,
Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

No comments:

Post a Comment