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lovingpartner's avatar

What to do when a cousin disrespect my mother?

Asked by lovingpartner (68points) December 29th, 2012

Our house is a duplex type of house, meaning there are two families living in here, one is my family, and the other is my auntie’s family. We lived here ever since me and my cousins were kids.

It was just this Christmas when the quarrel happened. My cousin’s daughter loved to go out, to amusement parks. She is my neice, who’s only 4 years old. My mom was eager to take out my neice to amusement park because to my mom, Christmas is really for kids. When I was a kid, my mom would spoil me every Christmas just for me to have a fun. I always have a wonderful childhood.

When I woke up that early morning, I asked my cousin, where are our families going, then she answered “I don’t know, your mom told me we go to (insert amusement park)” When she said that, I assume that that cousin of mine also like to go that amusement park.

My cousin has a brother. So I have two cousins here in this house who I treat as my real life brother and sister as I grew up with them. After lunch that time, my mom asked my cousin’s brother to drive our car. Their car only got 5— seating so my mom let them use our car, which has 8-seating. Actually, our car is always used if we have important events such as birthdays, because it’s quite decent.

My mom told me to go with them to the amusement park. I asked my mom “what about you and dad?” She said, “as much as I want to go, I cannot leave your dad behind. He doesn’t want to go.” The reason why my dad didn’t want to go is because he didn’t want to be a burden. He just got hit by a stroke last September and his right body is paralyzed. Right now, he can walk and go up and down stairs slowly, but he cannot move his right arm yet. He was always our driver before, but since that stroke happened to him, we always asked my guy cousin to drive our car. My guy cousin would also asked if he can borrow that car, and we gladly let him drive it.

That Christmas, my niece started to cry. She always cry because at that age, she is already short-tempered and impatient. The reason why she cried is because, her grandmother told her “No, we will not go to amusement park, we will just stay here.” Then her grand dad also got angry by the attitude of my 4-year old niece. Her mom (my girl cousin) also got angry with her daughter.

My mom told me to go to the car now, together with my niece because my guy cousin has already parked our car outside house, a signal that we’re ready to leave.

As I was in the garage that time, waiting for the others to go down, I heard my niece’s grandmother (my aunt) scowl at me “your mom and dad wouldn’t go with and us, and yet your mom’s forcing us to go out!” I said to her “my dad could not go because his body could not handle the long walks on the amusement park” Then she said “eventhough! We don’t want to go!” In my mind, why didn’t they tell it to mom ahead of time and say it to her clearly. I know my mom would understand.

My niece and I was already in the car when I overheard my girl cousin shout at my mother ” The next time, don’t tell my daughter to go there, to go to (amusement park)! ” She said it in a manner that made me jump out of my feet. It sounds very foul, and my neighbor also overheard it. My mom didn’t want how my cousin shout those words. My cousin also pointed her fingers as she said those words. My mom got very angry. I could not stop my mom when she said ” Why are you disrespecting me?! Why do you answer back that way?!” I thought my cousin would stop and said her sorry, but no. From downstairs, she went up and confront my mom and said “When auntie, when did I answer you back harshly?! Tell me?!” Which I found funny and ironic. Why is she asking that? Didn’t she know, she’s already harsh as she asked that. She was pointing her fingers, and she shouted as well. Then she started to cry which I don’t know the reason why.

Then my dad got angry as well. As I told you, he got hit by a stroke before and it affects the way he speaks. The words stutter as he said ” get the car inside! right now! get the car inside the garage!” He was angry because he saw his wife being disrespected by my girl cousin. My girl cousin has the confidence to say “No uncle, it’s not you that I was angry,I’m angry with aunt, not you“Then she proceed to arguing with my mom. Worse is, my cousins’ mom and dad join with the arguing. My mom got nothing to do but be angry with them. They even said to her “Our situation is already okay!We don’t wanna got out and yet you force us! You give our little kid a reason to think about that amusement park!”

Actually, we never really force anyone. My mom never force anyone. We only thought about the happiness of the little kid. We wanted them to go out and have fun even if my mom and dad are not with us to that amusement park. My mom and I are always concern about others than ourselves. We wanted others to enjoy. As much as possible, we wanted the last to enjoy as long as we see other people happy. Now, I realize that sometimes, people wouldn’t appreciate that.

Up to this day, the feeling is awkward. Of course we’re living in the same house and we were not talking and bonding like before. My cousin and her family have not said their sorry, and I don’t expect her to said her sorry because her pride is very important to her.

It was the first time that my cousin directly disrespect my mother. And it was not a good sight because I for one, I never disrespect my mother. I don’t say harsh words to her. I respect her. My cousin always got issues about her anger management, but what she did to my mother, I could not deal with.

I sleep beside my mother, and she cannot always sleep, thinking about what my cousin did to her. I feel sorry for my mother. I wanted her to be happy. She will be in her 60’s in a few years and I don’t want her to live her life like this. I am very good at anger management. I can be in control of my feelings, but I am not very sure if my mother could handle this.

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6 Answers

hearkat's avatar

In the situation you describe here, the real issue is between your mother and your aunt. You and your cousin did not need to get involved, but it seems that your aunt did not handle the situation maturely and address her grievances directly with your mother. There are probably emotional issues between them that go back to before you and your cousin were born. Living with a large family is a large challenge, as there are so many different personalities under one roof.

I responded to your other question about anger management, but the incident you describe here does not seem to be an anger management issue, and it is not your battle to fight. However, you may still want to look into the Al-Anon information about detaching yourself from other people’s behaviors and issues, and learning how to be personally accountable for your own emotions and how to place responsibility for other people’s problems with those people.

JLeslie's avatar

This whole mess is miscommunication from what I can tell. Your parents feel they are doi something nice, because they believe everyone will have a good time at the amusement park. Nobody seems to know what each other really wants, because everyone is so busy try to do nice things for each other. People need to be honest a little more and state what they really want.

If your aunts family did not want to go in the first place, they were doing it to please your family and then her sister and husband are not even going to go? Think about how that would feel? You must put yourself in the other persons place. However, your aunt is responsible for not saying inititally she prefer not to go. Your mom is not trying to force anyone, she is trying to please everyone, but that does not mean that in her sister’s head she feels obligated to do as her sister asks. This happens a lot in families, especially parents and children. When a parent says something we feel they are telling us what to do and what they want, but it might just be they are making a suggestion and perfectly fine if you choose something different. But, it does not feel that way to the child, they feel they need to do as directed. This also can happen in any relationship.

Also, in the case of your father, I would assume there are wheelchairs in the park? He should sit down and participate. If he truly feels he won’t enjoy himself, then your mom should still go to the park in my opinion. Your parents started the whole park idea and they are going to not be there? Your dad already had his physical difficulties when planning this outing, so why did it take them until right before the scheduled day to know they don’t want to go?

Everyone in this situation has some fault. Maybe if each person takes some responsibility has an open conversation and makes a plan so innthe future something like this is less likely to happen it will be a very good thing in the long term. Your mom can explain she never tries to force anyone and her sister should feel empoewered to voice her opinion. It is a mistake in communication and interpretation.

If your cousin was very rude then certainly it can be addressed that she should not speak as she did to your mom, but that she does have a right in my opinion to say, “we actually prefer not to go.”

I’m guessing maybe it easily felt like your mom was forcing them, because maybe your mom felt badly her husband cancelled and then she cancelled and to relieve her guilt she wanted to make sure everyone else still went and that they should know she is fine with them going.

burntbonez's avatar

Pride goeth before fall. Your mom feels disrespected and your aunt feels wronged, too. Can the two find a way to forgive each other? Well, they better. Because otherwise this will chafe and chafe and make it impossible for your two families to live together.

I think you need someone from the outside that both families trust to come in to run a ritual to reestablish the peace. Maybe you need to do something fun together that includes some kind of burying the hatchet ritual—whatever is appropriate for your community.

Pandora's avatar

Both were wrong in my opinion. Your mom was wrong to bring it up to the little girl before discussing it with her mother. Especially since she was not the one going to personally take her.And your cousin was wrong not to address this earlier in a calmer fashion.

She could’ve spoken with your mom and said, thank you for caring about my daughter but we really rather not spend our Christmas day in an amusement park. Then she could’ve spoken to her 4 year old and explained that the park was closed because all the little kids where going to be home to celebrate Christmas. She’s 4, so she wouldn’t know better.

When making plans for others to enjoy you should always check to see if they truly want to go. Forcing people to do things only causes unhappiness even if you mean well.
Both your mother and your cousin should apologize to each other.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Pandora I agree. I would never tell a child I was taking them somewhere special and then put it on someone else to do. It’s not fair, and she knew beforehand that her husband would probably not go walking around all day.

The mother could have explained to the four year old that uncle wasn’t feeling well so they’d have to go another time. Learning to accept disappointment is part of life.

I feel that the mother should apologize to the aunt and the rest of the family for making plans and not keeping them. Which required everyone else to work around the ‘promise’.

Pandora's avatar

@KNOWITALL It is one of my biggest pet peeves. I know several people in my family that were always making promises on my behalf. They learned early on that I have no problem not following through and placing the blame back on them where it belonged. Now everyone knows if they want something from me that I better be asked ahead of time.

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