Take My Advice, I Don’t Want Yours

August 8, 2008

Yesterday I went to the mailbox and saw a card from one of J’s sisters.  I knew it couldn’t be good even before I opened it.  These people don’t even send cards for birthday’s or Christmas, so I knew getting a card for no reason had to have an ulterior motive. 

I pulled out the thinking of you card, thinking for one fleeting moment that I might have been wrong about the whole thing.  Maybe, just maybe it was just that.  A card to let me know she is thinking of me right now.  With the aquisition of 2 teenagers, and sending my firstborn to kindergarten this week, heaven knows I need some cheering up. 

As soon as I opened the card and saw the inside full of handwriting, including a list, I knew it wasn’t that.  The thought crossed my mind to just pitch the thing in the trash can, but my curiosity got the best of me, and I delved in. 

It said something to the effect of, “I’ve been praying for you since this fiasco started, and I would like to give you some advice”, followed by a numbered list 1-5 of advice and an explanation of each point. 

One was to pray for the situation, and the kids.  Yeah, that’s what I’ve been doing.  Thanks.

Another was for J and I to take time for each other.  Yeah, like that’s going to happen.  One of the teenagers has the personality that always demands to be the center of attention, and in everybody’s buisness.  We can’t get a moment of peace.  They both wine and pout when we go do anything without them, so it’s just not worth it.  We’re not going to have time for each other as a couple for 1-3 years, and we’ve accepted that.  The kids are the most important thing right now. 

There are 2 other points of advice that I don’t remember, but I remember this one very well.  “You need to learn to think before you speak”.  That flew all over me for a number of reasons.  This particular SIL always comments about J’s first wife, how pretty she was, how much she loved her, yadda yadda yadda.  Does she think before she says those things in my presence?  Probably not.  Also, J and I have been having alot of fights lately about the teenagers.  According to him, I’m too hard on them, get on to them too much, etc.  Really, I don’t think asking them to pick up after themselves is too much.  Apparently, according to him, it’s not that I ask them, it’s the way I ask them.  Yeah, I get pissy sometimes.  Espically when I’ve had to ask them to pick up their socks 100 times.  Once should be suffecient, and honestly, they shouldn’t have to be told in the first place.  It’s called respect. 

Earlier in the week she called, and J went off into the other room to talk so that I couldn’t be privy to their conversation.  I’m confident that the card and advice are a direct result of this conversation.  I’m sure he vented about our difficulties, just like I do to friends and family.  The difference is, my sister isn’t sending him a card, under the ruse of caring, informing him to keep his mouth shut. 

To me, the card seemed like a, “not apology”.  You know, when you are wronged and the other person apologizes to you in a manner in which they admit no wrong.  For example, during J’s headache suffering, I went to pick up a perscription and it wasn’t there and had not been called in.  As it was 4:30 on a Friday, I called the doctor’s office to see if it had been sent in.  The doctor answered, and since all of the staff had left for the day, he asked me to give my phone to the pharmacist so that he could place the order.  The pharmacist very rudely informed me that he couldn’t take orders over my cell phone, which I completely understood.  I asked for the pharmacy phone number and he told me that “if I was really talking to a doctor, the doctor would have the number.”  After eventually getting (the wrong) perscription filled, I returned the next day and chewed that pharmacist out.  His response, “I’m sorry you took what I said that way, that’s not what I meant”.  His, “not apology” pissed me off even more, and I haven’t been back to that pharmacy since. 

Maybe I’m just jaded, but I saw my SIL’s, “Thinking Of You” card as a sort of, “not-apology”.  I don’t tell her how to raise her kid, and believe me, sometimes I would like to.  If it were really just a thoughtful card, why didn’t she say, “I’m thinking of you and you are in my prayers.”  The end. 

I haven’t picked up the card since my reading yesterday, and I don’t intend to.  I hope she doesn’t mention it, espically not soon, or I may go off on her.  Or I may just tell her that if I want advice I’ll write to Dear Abby.

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7 Responses to “Take My Advice, I Don’t Want Yours”

  1. bluesuit12 Says:

    This reminds me of a poster that used to be in my dad’s office. It had a picture of a gorilla staring down the camera with the phrase: If I want your opinion, I’ll give it to you. Sorry about the SIL!!

  2. Brian Says:

    This post makes me angry on so many levels. I would burn that card in hell.

    Okay… here’s some more unsolicited advice: Tell your SIL to mind her own damn business. I’d also make sure that none of those private phone calls are taking place in my house again. It’s disrespectful.

    You are taking care of four kids for Christ’s sake and if the past is any indicator, you are most likely doing a fantastic job.

  3. Alyson Says:

    @ bluesuit: LOL. I need that poster. It feels better just to vent about it some.

    @ Brian: I like your advice much better.

    We’ve been getting into it over the private phone calls. I’m guilty of doing it too, but 99% of the time it’s so I can hear what the other person is saying. With 4 kids, 2 tv’s, and 2 computers it’s often hard to carry on a conversation.

    That last sentence is so sweet. Thank you.

  4. ashley Says:

    oh man! I’m sorry you are dealing with so much right now. It really stinks when people give you advice when you don’t want it. That is one of my pet peeves–I tend to go off on people when they do…..

  5. Red Says:

    you have every right to be pissed, alyson.
    a simple “thinking of you” would be sufficient. if she had issues with you, she shoulda told your husband and let him handle it. (in my opinion, of course).

    I was gonna say burn it, but Brian beat me to it 🙂

  6. Alyson Says:

    @ ashley: Thank you so much. Glad to see there’s other people like me out there. I really hope she doesn’t ask me about it this weekend at the youngest’s b-day party, or I will probably let her have it.

    @ red: Thanks. I thought for a few days that I might’ve burnt it, but I just found it. The hubby wants to see it to see if I’m exagerating, but I told him hell no, it was addressed to me, not him.

  7. Allison Says:

    I would be very offended by the card (and the pharmacist as well). I don’t particularly like unsolicited advice and I can’t remember the last time I actually took it. I also don’t like non-apologies (I knew exactly what you meant before you even provided an illustration).

    Good luck with that situation.


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