It’s Not OK to Pass off Nastiness as Just Being “Honest!”
My husband Kevin is very good mates with his cousin Ron. They grew up together as kids, have a lot in common and like to catch up on a regular basis. He’s known Ron’s wife Trish since before I came on the scene 27 years ago. We all meet up often at big family functions and occasionally it’s just the four of us hanging out on a camping trip or at each other’s place for dinner. I really like Ron. Trish? That’s another story.
The problem? Trish’s complete lack of a filter for her mouth. She thinks that honesty is the best policy in ALL situations but after last Friday night, I came dangerously close to knocking her out.
Kevin used to be overweight. I knew it. He knew it. Neither of us needed it pointed out but Trish liked to say to his face at every opportunity: “Wow, Kevin you are really FAT.” Why, thank you Trish, you are really a bitch, we would think inside our heads while struggling to come up with a response. Then she would throw in a few things like “aren’t you worried about your blood pressure and your health in general”?
Then in early 2016 we were away on one of these camping trips. We had all headed into town to pick up a few supplies and Trish and I were walking ahead of the guys on the way back to the car and Trish leans in close and says quietly, “You know, I used to think Ron’s stomach was disgusting (he literally is like a bean-pole) but seeing him stand next to Kevin, he looks positively skinny and I’ve changed my mind”. And then she started laughing. I was literally speechless. But fuming. And I repeated what she said to Kevin later that night. And here’s the kicker: we should probably thank her because something snapped in his brain and he went “FUCK YOU TRISH” and after unsuccessfully starting and failing 800 thousand diets, he came home, threw out every bit of unhealthy food in the house, hit the gym and lost (and has kept off) 30 kilos.
You’re probably thinking well in that case; wasn’t she helpful? You would think so.
We hadn’t seen them in a while but she was aware that I’d had to have an osteoma removed from my forehead in early May. A plastic surgeon performed the operation and in the process also gave me a bonus of tightened-up skin in the region at the same time.
We went over there Friday night for dinner and she comes up real close, squints, looks at my face and said “Well, your forehead looks good but you still have some wrinkles under your eyes”. FFS. Gee, sorry.
It gets worse….”You know what your problem is Carolyn, she says. You compare yourself to Lana [my daughter] and her friends and think that’s what you’re supposed to look like, where I’m perfectly happy to accept myself as who I am; a 49 year old woman who looks like a 49 year old woman” (whatever ‘that’s supposed to be). I spluttered out something along the lines of “ah, NO I don’t compare myself to Lana and her friends…..” but she wasn’t even listening and the subject was changed.
Then later, Kevin and Ron go out to look at something in his garage and as we are cleaning up the kitchen she says “I hope Kevin doesn’t lose any more weight because I saw him at the gym last month and, well, his face doesn’t look very good. In fact, he looks unwell”. She says this with her face screwed up in a grimace.
Are you FUCKING kidding me?! First, you say he’s fat and unhealthy and now he’s lost all this weight and you say he looks unwell. Ahh, no winning with you lady.
It’s never until hours or days later that I think up a bazillion things I could and should have said to put her in her place and defend our dignity but at the time I’m always so completely shell-shocked and stunned I am rendered mute.
Then I remain so annoyed that I will studiously avoid her for a while before eventually I get over it and it happens again. And trust me, there are PLENTY of barbs I could say to her about herself that would or could potentially hurt and upset her but I would never, ever, ever do that to another person. And if you’re wondering – it’s not just us she speaks to like this. I’ve heard her say plenty of cringe-worthy things over the years to other people too, but I’ve never seen anyone pull her up for it.
Why is it, that some people think they have the right to tell people exactly what they think to the point of hurting them and pass it off as “just being honest”?