Dear Pranksters,

I will ask you more about this tomorrow, but if you know of anyone who has a child with a neural tube defect, especially an encephalocele, will you please holler at me? Email, comments, carrier pigeon* WHATEVER.

There is much advocacy and work to be done. It’s time. I’m starting with gathering stories and information over at Band Back Together, but that’s not enough. It’s simply not. So we’ll start there.

Dear Aunt Becky,

I recently received an e-mail from my aunt stating that her and her family would be visiting my area sometime in the near future to be able to visit my family. She sent a list of places that she might be staying at and asked me to check them out.

I haven’t seen this lady since 1999 and speak to her on the phone about once a year. This is the first time I have heard of this visit and it appears I have no say in it.  How can I get across that I have no desire for her to visit without seeming too ungrateful and bitchy?  Should I just let the visit happen and suffer through it?  Help!

Oh Prankster, I like unwanted guests like I like head lice, which is kind like of an unwanted guest if you think of it. So, my suggestion is this: get head lice. No one likes lice. Even lice don’t like lice.

And if you want to be a better person than Your Aunt Becky, you could simply send her a list of things in the area that she can hint, hint, hint, do while she’s visiting, hint, hint, hint. Perhaps a nice meat-packing plant. Or a tour of a morgue? I mean, certainly there must be some awful attractions in your area that no one in their right mind would want to visit. I’d be showcasing those right about now.

Good luck, Prankster.

Dear Aunt Becky,

I have an overzealous mother-in-law who absolutely cannot stay out of our business.

How do you politely tell your Christian mother-in-law with her Christian dog and Christian friends to jump off the soapbox and quit meddling? She’s a closet Negative Nelly and it’s fucking making me insane. My husband is excellent at telling her where to shove her intel but she’s smart now and waits until he’s no longer in earshot to spew her poison.

Topics vary from parenting, finances, religion, anything she can turn into a argument. I am all for being respectful and polite but it’s getting to be hell. She loves to say I take her advice/comments/bible thumping judgments out of context but I am positive I am in the right here.

Advice?

Well, I had to check the email address on this one, Prankster, to see if I had, perhaps, sent this to myself in a Blueberry Vodka-induced haze, but since I require no email to send me a question, I am not sure that I am not answering myself here.

So, Prankster-that-might-be-Aunt-Becky, this is how I handle the lovely passive-aggressive-you’re-doing-it-wrong jabs that are often winged in my direction: I fling them right back. I gave up being polite awhile ago when I realized that it was my motherfucking house and I don’t allow bullies to bully me in my motherfucking house. You want to tell me my business? Go for it. From the street. I can’t hear that far, especially when I’m inside with the door firmly locked.

That’s the trick for passive-aggressive poo-flingers.

Now, if your mother-in-law is an arguer, I would simply turn cheek and jump on the computer/iPhone/Blackberry and tune her out. People who are convinced of their right-ness aren’t going to be dissuaded by you, nor should you expect them to be. You won’t win at her game, so don’t play it. She wants to tell you your business? Ignore her. A couple of conversations when all you say is: Yeah, mmmm-hmmm, you’re right, I am doing it wrong. Always.

And don’t let her get you alone any more, Prankster-that-might-be-Aunt-Becky. Let your husband handle her.

Dear Aunt Becky,

I’ve been dating a really great guy for almost 8 months now. Everything was going great, up until a few months ago.

I royally fucked things up when I was texting with an old guy friend. Things in our text message conversation, taken out of context, were really inappropriate and my man who saw the conversation later wasn’t too happy about it. We hashed things out and I thought the ordeal was over, however, he keeps bringing the issue up.

He says he can’t trust me anymore and doesn’t believe me when I tell him I love him. I understand that I screwed up but it seems that nothing I say can reassure my boyfriend that this is never going to happen again. Everybody messes up sometimes and I believe in second chances. I didn’t physically cheat on him or even “text cheat”.

I honestly have no idea what to do anymore or if the relationship is even salvageable at this point (which I really hope it is). I just can’t stand feeling like shit every single day over something that happened months ago.

Man, Prankster, I want to come and smack your boyfriend for you, and then give you a big fat hug, because you don’t deserve to be put through the wringer for this.

Here’s the thing: he’s got to move on from this. I get that he was hurt. I get why. It happens. Miscommunications happen all the time in relationships.

But the insecurity he’s still feeling over a little miscommunication right now isn’t fair to you. You’ve explained the situation, you’ve apologized and he needs to move on. If he can’t move on from this, maybe it’s time for you to move on. The stress you’re under has got to be horrible and that’s just not fair to you.

Maybe it’s time to sit down and have another real heart-to-heart about this. Explain that he’s got to let go of his insecurities and trust you or this relationship just can’t work. Relationships are founded on trust. He cannot keep beating you up for something that happened so long ago. You deserve better.

I wish you luck, Prankster.

—————–

I’d intended to shout this out on Friday, but I got distracted by my microwave.

My friend Anna, who is a smart fucking blogger, has written a how-to guide for making money from your blog. And? It’s free. That’s a total win, Pranksters.

——————

As always, Pranksters, please pick up where I left off in the comments. And feel free to submit your burningest questions to Go Ask Aunt Becky on the top of the site.

*What the fuck is a carrier pigeon?

Comments = full of the awesome. Like gravy. I can haz an RSS RSS feed .

25 Responses to Go Ask Aunt Becky

  • Bell says:

    Ohmygoditis1:30amwhatamIdoingawake.

    Being young and only recently on my own, all of my family visits have mostly been “suffered through,” and I am a walking doormat so I would likely “suffer through” this aunt’s visit as well. However, it might be as simple as making your own plans for that time and claiming you forgot about them, or not being passive aggressive and actually explaining just why you don’t want her around.

    I am an arguer, and passive aggressive, and sarcastic, and all those wonderful things that piss other people off. I can’t stand being dictated to like a child, and being told how everything I do is wrong, so I tend to do as Aunt Becky said: tune them out. My mind wanders, my eyes glaze over. If I do catch something I give them the hollow satisfaction of saying “you’re right. You’re right. Yep. Right.” Because, honestly, there’s no way to really argue with someone agreeing with you even if you can tell they don’t mean it.

    As for the last one, I agree; you need to have a talk about this. One without judging or arguing. He may have even had this happen to him in the past, where it ended up his girlfriend did cheat on him and now he’s projecting it onto you. If he can’t learn to trust you, it’s not worth salvaging. It will just be more stress for the both of you.

    I’m going to go to bed now. zzzzzzzzzz

  • Misty O'Brien says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed your response to the MIL question. Sounds like wonderful advice and it’s very much appreciated.

    Signed,
    Not-Your-Aunt-Becky ;)

  • Kate says:

    I’ve got 4 children with neural tube defects ranging from chiari malformation & tethered cord to spina bifida. No encephaloceles, but still NTD’s. And none of ‘em were even remotely affected by my taking ginormous amounts of folic acid, so despite what everyone is told, folic acid doesn’t always prevent a neural tube defect. Just thought I’d toss that tidbit out for your readers. :)

    As for the visiting relative, I’d email the woman and politely but very firmly tell her that I would be unavailable to visit on the days she is planning her stay, but I wished her a pleasant stay in my town. Then I’d be unavailable when she showed up. You’re not obligated to be at this stranger’s beck & call (and that’s what she is, after all).

    And Prankster who has the bitchy mother-in-law? Aunt Becky has the answer 100% right on! Smile and agree with the witch, saying, “Yep, you’re right; I totally suck and I do everything wrong.” Then turn your attention somewhere else. My dad always told me, “Don’t try to confuse the issue with facts; your mom has her mind made up.” And it was true. Just like Aunt Becky said, people who are convinced they’re right are not going to listen to someone who disagrees with them. If you refuse to argue, she loses steam. And it’s super-fun to take the wind out of the hag’s sails. ;)

  • Misty O'Brien says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed your MIL response. Sage advice, Aunt Becky, sage advice. :)

    Signed,

    The-Prankster-Who-Isn’t-Aunt-Becky

  • GingerB says:

    Becks, the “Angel of PT,” as I refer to him on my blog, has a website called at http://www.professionaltherapies.com/ (and you can see a video on the front page that features Hannah demonstating his elbow bracing technique while riding on a horse on her hands and knees!)is probably pretty knowledgable from the treatment end, because he is the resident PT for the main spina bifida clinic here, and my guess is he has seen more than those kids only in his career. If you tell him in your email to him that you are one of my peeps, I am sure he will answer you. I should probably John C. Mayer him and his Bamboo Brace just as a courtesy, because it is that good – huge positive impact on my baby, his star pupil.

    I think with bad family visits you have to set clear limits up front. You probably need to see them, but in your communications now, express what times you are or are not available, your kids’ bedimes strictly enforced during the school year, suggest other touristy things they might do while you are working/schooling whatever and are therefore not free.

    Now I can’t remember what I was going to say except John C. Mayer is a double douche if he gets back together with Jennifer Anniston and then breaks her heart again.

    Is it too late to John C. Mayer someone? I was too fucking busy to pull that off last week, but I must say, you gave me endless joy.

  • Meddling in laws are indeed a twisted hemorrhoid on the butt of a marriage. I had to learn to ignore the haters and the opinionated in my sitch. Being happy in your marriage is the best revenge.

  • I do not know where to go first today Aunt B! First off I DO have first hand experience with the neural tube defect issue. My first pregnancy proved to be encephalocele.

    I also had the interfering in-laws which completely destroyed my first marriage. In my humble opinion it is imperative that you draw your line in the sand with your in-laws and make sure that you have full support of your spouse.

    My ex was a wet rag at the time but now I am thinking he wishes he would have backed me up more. He is alone with nobody but his parents and he is bitter…not toward me but toward THEM!

    So what I am saying is I agree with Aunt Becky. Give it right back to the passive/agressive in-laws. It may save your marriage.

  • ABDPBT says:

    Thanks for the shout out Becky! You are awesome as always, as you already know.

  • Dr. Cynicism says:

    As for the MIL, you’re spot on. I’ve found 2 successful ways to deal with it. 1) Spew right back (just as you said). Most people can’t take their own evil medicine. They dish it out because no one ever threw it back in their face. On top of the shock value, you may even garner a little respect. 2) Totally ignore it and act as though it rolls off your back like an insignificant drop of water. Most people do this crap in order to get attention, and when you don’t give it back to them, they end up quitting because you’re not playing their game. I must admit, option #1 is more fun :-)

  • Mario says:

    To the first person, I don’t see the big deal. They aren’t asking to stay at your house.

    Let your aunt know your schedule, meet her for dinner, do something with her and move on. Your kids may get a kick out of meeting their family members. Plus, you may be the aunt wanting to spend time with your niee at some point down the road. It doesn’t sound like they are asking all that much of you.

  • Erica says:

    Yeah, no bullying in your own house. People really don’t know how to mind their own business, huh? I agree with your advice – I’d completely ignore her via apps on my iPhone. Nothing like some “Angry Birds” to show her where she is on the erm, pecking order.

  • Emma says:

    I agree with mario- it’s not like there’s a big drama that went on once, as far as your aunts concerned your a niece who she’s tried to stay in touch with (you still speak on the phone once a year), but unfortunately lifes gotten in the way and now that’s she’s going to be local for a visit she’d like to catch up properly. SHE is the one taking time out of her visit to see you. I know you didn’t ask her to, but show some courtesy and see her, go for a dinner, or have her over for lunch. I’m sure you can take some time out of your “busy” schedule…

  • Emma says:

    I agree with mario- it’s not like there’s a big drama that went on once, as far as your aunts concerned your a niece who she’s tried to stay in touch with (you still speak on the phone once a year), but unfortunately lifes gotten in the way and now that’s she’s going to be local for a visit she’d like to catch up properly. SHE is the one taking time out of her visit to see you. I know you didn’t ask her to, but show some courtesy and see her, go for a dinner, or have her over for lunch. I’m sure you can take some time out of your “busy” schedule…

  • Jaci says:

    For the last one…

    His reaction is a big red flag. He probably was cheated on in the past and has issues around that (and honestly? Who of us HASN’T been cheated on?) but that’s his problem, not yours.

    He found something questionable–okay, fine. You gave your explanation. You apologized for hurting him. You said it was innocent, but since it bothers him it won’t happen again. That really should be the end of it! Going sulky, holding back I-love-you’s, and blowing you off when you say I-love-you’s is waaaay immature. He might as well write “I’M INSECURE AND NEEDY” across his forehead.

    Girl, you don’t need that. Even if he “forgives” you for this one (eyeroll) what’s he going to tweak out and sulk over next? A guy at the bar looked at you? A male co-worker seemed too friendly? Yuck. You want someone with enough confidence and sense of humor to laugh at your friend’s texts WITH you, not emotionally abuse you about them two months later.

  • Kristine says:

    Dude, I couldn’t have dished better advice myself…also am going to work on taking some of it.

  • ScienceGeek says:

    Third poster – Oh, hun, here’s the thing: If you’ve been together for 8 months, and several of those months have been miserable, then, I’m sorry, he’s not a Really Great Guy. Really Great Guys do not make you miserable for months. A Really Great Guy will call you on your shit, then, when you do all you can to fix it, they’ll forgive and move on. It’s in the Really Great Guy handbook, under Chapter One: Maturity isn’t just that your balls have dropped.

    I have a nasty feeling that what you actually have is a Really Great Manipulator. By constantly reminding you of your ‘textual indiscretion’, he’s keeping you atoning, guilty, all that misery-inducing stuff that frankly, gives him a handy little Get Out of Jail Free card for all of HIS screw-ups. Maybe it’s deliberate, maybe it’s just a really bad habit he’s fallen into, but regardless, it is not good for your mental health to stay in this situation.

    Like Aunt Becky said, time to sit down and have a good talk with him regarding the why and how of Getting the Fuck Over it. But if he’s not willing to budge, then seriously, walk. (There’s also some very honest-to-the-point-of-brutal advice on this sort of behaviour over at http://www.heartless-bitches.com/rants/manipulator/manip.shtml that may also help.)

  • Lis says:

    Wow, that “Really Great Guy” doesn’t sound so great at all. He sounds manipulating and controlling. I can’t stand passive-aggressive bullshit. Discuss emotions and thoughts like a mature adult, get passed them, and move on. If he can’t, then perhaps he’s not ready for a serious relationship.

    Aunt Becky, dropping by to let you know that you won a blog award! You can claim it here at: http://americangirlinbristol.blogspot.com/2010/09/substance-award.html

    I hope you had a great weekend! :)

  • david says:

    i totally feel your pain girl. you should have brokken up with him earlier. god i hate men like that. makes me wanna get all my neighbors
    head lice and transfer it in their head and all of his family

  • flutter says:

    you kill me. that’s all.

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