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Old November 30th, 2007, 02:27 PM
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"That's just the way they are."

I think it is about time someone started a thread like this, considering how often it is said. In fact, me and my sis were just talking about this over the weekend (her inlaws make mine look like saints.)

How many of us have heard the line "That's just the way they are." Usually followed by a nonverbal "so get over it." I know I have. At first this pizzed me off. But now, I think I finally get some of it.

First off, this was the way DH was raised. As a child he could not fight back, set boundries or change his parents behavior. So he grew up thinking not only was this behavior normal, but that even if he thought it was abnormal, what could a child do. Most children who grow up like this have different kinds of coping skills. So, after 18 years of sucking it up, it is now habit and they have fine tuned their coping skills. My DH can completely tune his parents out.

Now for the part that someone is going to beat me over the head with a frying pain for. Please, be gentle. I'm okay with it. Yes, I can fully accept that this is just the way the inlaws are. I have no power to change them and neither does DH. So, when the "that's just the way they are" comes out, I say "I can accept that." I think in some ways DH still felt like a powerless child.

I also say "But this is the way I am and your family is just going to have to accept that. I am not one to sit around and allow them to treat my kids like they treated you. I am not going to be pushed around and bullied by another adult and I am NOT going to keep my mouth shut when they are WRONG just to keep the peace. That is just the way I am."

I know this won't work for everyone. In fact, I am not actually recommending it. I am just kind of wondering how every one else handled the "That's just the way they are" speech.
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Old November 30th, 2007, 02:37 PM
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Re: "That's just the way they are."

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Originally Posted by grubby View Post
I also say "But this is the way I am and your family is just going to have to accept that. I am not one to sit around and allow them to treat my kids like they treated you. I am not going to be pushed around and bullied by another adult and I am NOT going to keep my mouth shut when they are WRONG just to keep the peace. That is just the way I am."


Good for you, grubby.
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Old November 30th, 2007, 02:52 PM
Black Box Black Box is offline
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Re: "That's just the way they are."

At first I tried:

Him: "That's just the way she is."

Me: "A liar? So that's just the way she is, a liar?"

That didn't go over well.

Then I tried the "And this is the way I am." and I got the 'be a bigger person' and 'take the high road' (ie, pretend nothing happened) speech.

Then I said this:

"That's just the way she is."

Me: "Like a bull in a china shop, right?"

Him, lighting up thinking I finally understand and accepted, "Yes, right, like a bull in the china shop."

Me: "But what's in the china shop is important and valuable. And it's not acceptable to randomly break things even if that is 'how you are'. If you can't gentle her down and protect the china shop, the bull needs to be put in the pasture. A bull doesn't belong in the china shop."

I also have the advantage that my husband's ex is truly mentally ill and has been involuntarily committed to mental hospitals with psychosis several dozen times. This gives me the opportunity to say, "Ex can't help it either. So should you have just let her treat you and the kids however badly as she did?"

I don't hear "That's just the way she is" anymore.

Last edited by Black Box; November 30th, 2007 at 02:56 PM.
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Old November 30th, 2007, 03:43 PM
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Re: "That's just the way they are."

I can't stand when DH tells me this. This is usually said to me after she has said or done something rude. When DH says this, it makes me feel like he thinks it's okay for his DM to be rude to me, but I have to always respond with a fake sugary sweet smile and take it. Riiiiiight Right now I just walk away from her, though if it keeps continuing, I don't even want to waste time visiting her. My time can be better spent, and much better appreciated, elsewhere.
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Old November 30th, 2007, 09:55 PM
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Re: "That's just the way they are."

i HATE that sentence, i heard it every fricking day, it makes me see red.
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Old December 1st, 2007, 07:17 AM
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Re: "That's just the way they are."

My DH has a different version of that

"She's just trying to help."
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Old December 1st, 2007, 08:44 AM
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Re: "That's just the way they are."

My DH says, "She didn't mean it."
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Old December 1st, 2007, 09:06 AM
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Re: "That's just the way they are."

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Originally Posted by snafu View Post
My DH has a different version of that

"She's just trying to help."
Uggg, what the heck do you say to that? Except maybe "So what exactly did she help with?" or "Tell me exactly how that helped."
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Old December 1st, 2007, 09:09 AM
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Re: "That's just the way they are."

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Originally Posted by Beth View Post
My DH says, "She didn't mean it."
"So what exactly did she mean. Go ahead and explain DH, because I am not fluent in nasty, whiny old hag"

Sorry, I am a little snarky today, .
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Old December 1st, 2007, 06:09 PM
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Re: "That's just the way they are."

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Originally Posted by grubby View Post
"So what exactly did she mean. Go ahead and explain DH, because I am not fluent in nasty, whiny old hag"

Sorry, I am a little snarky today, .
That gave me a good belly laugh. Thanks, I am going to have to use that one.

My MIL is passive aggressive master. DH has been around it his whole life and didn't understand that is not nice behavior. I have convinced him that telling your feelings when you have them is much healthier. Now he has changed how he handles his feelings. He is starting to see how nasty it is to hold it in and just throw passive aggressive daggers.
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