Monthly Archives: July 2013

READER SUBMISSION: Excommunicated by a Miscommunication?

AmIBeingCatty.com reader ‘Allison’ writes in:
“Here’s the deal. At work there’s a Director lady who’s an idiot. I have to work with her on my project as she’s the business owner of one of the processes being impacted. Her and her idiot ideas are constantly causing road blocks. In our last Exec Steering meeting she started talking about how we weren’t fixing her big problem. Well, I spoke up and let everyone know that her explanation of the problem was wrong. Meow. So now she is refusing to invite me to any of her meetings to find a solution. Wondering if I should go way above her to complain or just let her keep digging her hole.”

Office Space Motive?

Dear ‘Allison’,

You have two options:
1) You can get an overpriced bag of Cheetos and a Mountain Dew from that break room vending machine and take a front row seat to watch as she spirals into a kamikaze dive with flames a-trailing.   It is childish of her to exclude you from future meetings because she got her feelings hurt.  Boo. Hoo.  Seriously, How can people fix her problem if she’s explaining it wrong?   Leave a surprise gift of a pacifier, rattle, and a good therapist’s number at her desk with a note saying, “It seems you may have some neglect issues to work through.  Here’s hoping you can forgive your mommy.  Outlook my calendar when you’re back in the game.”

OR YOU COULD GO FOR #2 WHICH IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED BY THE AIBC TEAM

2) AmIBeingCatty.com ALWAYS recommends taking the higher road with a side of perspective. Historically, the professional mentality would support letting her dig herself into that hole — a hole deeper than a tenacious brute-child’s attempt to reach China.  So let’s analyze why she may be reacting the way she is.

Regardless of how minimal the director’s problem is to everyone else, she is harping on it because it is a big deal to HER.   So a little self-centered?  Maybe.  The problem may really hinder her team and your comment may have unintentionally humiliated her in that meeting, you catty bitch.  Meow!  We don’t know the history of your professional relationship with this woman, but you call her an idiot which clues us in your patience is very thin with her.  Be sure to not let her cloud your judgment.

STILL, excluding anyone from all future meetings is highly immature and counterproductive to the company’s efforts.  So SHAME ON HER!  If you’re being excluded from meetings, document that you are.  As a matter of fact, document more than a bored scientist mid-Winter in Antarctica. If it comes out later that you weren’t in attendance, you want to be able to prove that you were excluded.  If she can’t articulate her own problem accurately, how can anyone work to correct it?

It may be paranoid to act like you’re being set-up, but it’s ALWAYS about covering your own ass because no one else will.  You could go above her, but how do your company executives feel about internal squabbles and tattle tales? (sorry, ‘Allison’, we both know that’s how it will be viewed.)  If she is at a director level, we feel confident that anyone way above her won’t care about a petty dispute between you two regardless of who is at fault.  People “way above” a director level expect their employees to handle these incidents without their involvement.

Is she right?  NO.  Were you right initially?  We know.  Looking at yourself sucks.   For future career growth, lock this knowledge down now — if you have a criticism for a peer or superior, make it in private.  All you’ll do by calling them out is open a new hornets’ nest of ass-hurt.  Swallow your pride and just get the job done.  YES, we know it is not always ideal to have to smooth feathers over and play nice, and it sucks to have to cater to someone’s insecurities when a business venture is hanging in the lurch.  BUT, diplomacy is an excellent corporate skill, and over time we’ve learned that diplomacy means catering to individuals’ needs to get what YOU need.   So stay the course and keep your career goals in mind.  Chances are your ideals will not always be the same as every person you work for or are required to collaborate with.

Much love and good luck,
The AmIBeingCatty.com Team
#amibeingcatty #corporatebullshit #hurtfeelings #bitchplease #aintnobodygottimeforthat

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Good Gossip

Usually when you hear the phrase ‘good gossip,’ you gear yourself up for truly scandalous information. And let’s face it, as humans, we all listen a bit more closely when that happens. No one wants to be the last to find out breaking news. (If that statement were false, I wouldn’t have to run spyware every other day from my maniacal refreshes of TMZ and Perez Hilton’s websites.)

When friends of mine use the phrase, I usually respond with, “oooh! oooh! Tell me! Tell me everything!” And I scoot to the edge of my chair, more alert than I’ve been in months, and with the focused attention my preacher wishes he saw in my eyes every Sunday.

I’m admitting it here. My name is Kara, and I listen to gossip too much.

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But, is it ever okay to gossip? Is it ever okay to share gossip? You may roll your eyes at my response considering my recent and moderately public admission that I enjoy hearing gossip, but I will argue that there are times when it is okay.

Example: I have a friend who experienced an incredibly messy divorce. When I asked mutual friends if they’d heard anything, it was not because I hoped to hear something juicy (I swear!). No, I asked because I genuinely cared (and still do) about her, her then-husband, and their children. When I asked, it was in the hopes that there was nothing scandalous to report.

When such situations occur, and the news is bad, it’s received with grief, worry, and an unclear idea of how to reach out and let that person know that you a.) know, and b.) want to help. If I share this kind of information, it’s for the same reason. Because the people who are in this person’s life, and who care about him or her, need to know what’s going on — how to help — what needs might exist.

Now, I will admit and acknowledge that there are people who might not have cared about my friend or her family, and who took the same information and reveled in it, rubbed their hands with glee and tried to think who to call first. It was the same information, but different recipients of the data. Here, the exact same gossip became malicious.

So, I’m thinking that healthy gossip is differentiated from malicious gossip by the intent of the gossiper. What motivates our gossip? When (if ever) is it justified in your eyes? When does information that should be shared evolve from news to something seedier?

It’s a question I don’t have an answer to. But if you figure it out, give me a shout. I’ll fix us both some coffee, and lean over the fence post to hear what you have to say.

What Not to Wear

I have a catty confession: I judge what you wear.

I’m a reluctant baseball mom in the sense that I don’t go all out to support my son’s team. I don’t do the glitter signs or have coordinated chants. I do have the visor and tank top. I don’t do the bedazzled tube top.

Yes, I said bedazzled tube top.

Apparently that is the “in” outfit now for little league baseball. Who knew? I missed the memo.

At a baseball tournament this past weekend, I saw plenty of bedazzled tube tops that were personalized to each son’s team. Apparently there is a discount if you buy them in bulk.

Maybe I’m jealous of the lack of tan line, or the fact that you have something to hold this tube top up, which I, unfortunately, lack. Maybe I’m jealous of the fact that it’s bedazzled, and it’s bringing up deep-rooted issues from my childhood in the 80s where everyone had something bedazzled but me.

Or maybe I’m just a catty bitch that shouldn’t be so worried about what everyone else is wearing.

Liz

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Are you a Catty Mama?

Motherhood is a weird, wonderful and messy journey.  It is filled with moments of awesome success and obscene failure.

Several years ago two of my very best friends (Alice and Becky) each had toddler boys very close in age.  Our story begins with Alice and her toddler both having a very bad day.  Alice’s toddler was voicing his displeasure by screaming bloody murder from his car seat and generally pitching a fit.  Alice was attempting to make a phone call to Becky but Becky did not answer.  The call went to voicemail, so Alice left a quick “hey call me back” message and hung up…or so she thought.  What happened next was the kind of verbal debauchery that can only occur when the mother of a toddler has been pushed past the absolute limits of sanity.  I am pretty sure flowers along the roadway wilted and angels lost their wings when they heard the language coming from that car on that day.  Alice ranted and raved and generally just pitched a big fit.  A fit of epic proportions.   A fit so big that when Alice realized the call was not only still connected but actually recording Alice’s entire hysterical mommy rant onto Becky’s voicemail, Alice felt she should re-call Becky and leave a second voicemail stating that both she, Alice, and Alice’s toddler were, in fact, safe and unharmed. 

Now this story on its own is fabulous, we can all relate to that frazzled, twitchy look we get when our kids utter the same obnoxious phrase for what feels like the billionth time.  Seriously, 2 and 3 year olds should be used for hostage negotiations.  I assure you, toddlers can and will use every weapon in their arsenal to get whatever their heart desires.  But I digress, back to my friends and what makes this story the sparkly purple unicorn of motherhood stories.  After Alice’s second voicemail where she calmly vouches for the physical safety of herself and her child (who is no longer pitching a fit because he has been outdone by the master) Alice cries.  My dear friend who is such a loving and nurturing mother cried for her moment of weakness, she cried because she lost her patience, and most of all she cried because she lost her temper on such a massive scale and left a voice recording for all of posterity.  But then something utterly amazing happened, Becky listened to both of those voicemails and she called back with this statement for Alice: OMG I’m so glad I’m not the only one who loses it like that!

What I absolutely adore about this story (other than the pure comedic elements of cursing on such a monumental level) is the validation given so freely from one mom to another mom.  It would have been easy to dismiss Alice’s meltdown as something crazy and irrational.  It would have been easy to judge Alice’s behavior, to condescend to her, to preach to her but instead Becky skipped the drama, sidetracked the cattiness and offered the Alice the gift of empathy.

Of course the above story did happen between two close friends which probably made it much easier for Becky to respond the way she did but imagine if we just gave all moms (or all women for that matter) the benefit of the doubt when we are witnessing their worst moments.  The social worker in me would like to think I am open minded and approach others with the dignity and respect that all people are entitled to.  BUT in all honesty I have been the smug, superior “I’m so glad that’s not my kid pitching a fit in the middle of the grocery store” catty mama.  I have been that mama.  I have been that catty mama this week.

I have been the mama who rolled her eyes and questioned your parenting ability because your child is losing their mind in the mall.

I have been the mama who listens to you talk about your parenting ideas only to make fun of you behind your back because I thought your ideas weren’t as good as mine.  Just keeping it real.

I have been the mama who thought “well at least I’m not as bad as ____”

I have been the mama who cringes because your child is walking bare foot in Wal-Mart (although, for the record that is absolutely disgusting).

I think on some level we moms all want to feel we are doing the right thing for our children.  Motherhood is tough and just as with every aspect of our lives, some days go smoother than others.  Sometimes pointing out what we perceive as the “wrongness” of others is just our way of making ourselves feel better after we’ve had our own “Alice” moment.

Think about all the things we moms do in the course of one day: we compromise and discipline, arrange complex sporting schedules, volunteer our time to charity, homeschool our children, and balance our work outside the home with our work in the home.  So how unfortunate is it that our entire parenting philosophy is so often ridiculed and the object of judgment based on these tiny snippets of what could be the worst possible moment of the worst possible day.  And yes, even the mother of that bare-footed kid in Wal-Mart may just be picking the battles she can win today.

Imagine how powerful moms could be as a force of good if we offered each other the gift of understanding and empathy.  What if we met each other with compassion and humor rather than judgment and condescension?  So maybe next time I see a mom at Wal-Mart walking with barefoot children,  I’ll offer her a friendly smile and avoid being that catty mom.

Ashley

AIBC Team Member

Navigating Catty Behavior in the Workplace: What to Expect and How to Avoid the Mean Girls

There are very few things that occur in the workplace that destroy an individual’s sense of belonging and general harmony more than catty behavior.  In general terms, Catty behavior may be defined  as mean-spirited nastiness intended to hurt or harm another individual’s professional or emotional well-being. While I recognize that men may very well be involved in similar behaviors, it has been my own personal experience to believe that women are more versed and better equipped to evoke these behaviors on a regular basis.

As if my intuition weren’t enough, according to a nationwide poll by the Employment Law Alliance, 45 percent of American workers say they have experienced workplace abuse. Under closer review, 40 percent of the tormentors that are women tend to prey on other women 70 percent of the time. I think this speaks to the overwhelming number of women in the workplace that have experienced or even taken part in catty behavior.

What are the reasons for many women to engage in catty behaviors? I believe there are many variables that play a part and sometimes it can be a combination of several factors, both psychological and sociological. I have listed a few characteristics that may describe why women become catty.

1. Insecurity  Insecurity is usually ignited more so when a person lacks self- confidence and their feelings of self-worth have been threatened.

2. Jealousy Women are raised to pay attention to other women in a judgmental way. Women are more prone to be judgmental of each other.

3. Extreme Competition – I believe women have a natural instinct to be competitive, but are for the most part uncomfortable with the feeling of wanting something and their desire to compete to get it. At an early age women are taught that competitive behaviors are unattractive and less desired, so women are never taught to deal with these feelings in an open manner.

4. Envy – The desire to have what others have in terms of perceived success. Some women will stop at nothing in order to get what others have, even if it means taking it from them.

Many women engage in indirect aggression. Rather than be forthcoming, they choose a cowardly power play tactic. Catty women are afraid to confront people in a respectful, open and direct manner. Instead, they wage an attack in a passive manner that can directly diminish someone’s emotional well-being, causing hurt and emotional pain. They are inclined to build themselves up and feel more powerful by knocking someone else down; thus, giving them justification for their bad behaviors.

In order for us to better understand what catty behavior looks like, it may be best to understand the players involved or what they may look like in your workplace. Keep in mind some women may fit into a variety/combination of these characteristics.

Here are a few examples to consider:

1. The Leader of the Pack – (aka, The Queen Bee) Alpha female; weakens ties between others for the sake of strengthening her own power base; she reigns over her catty followers. Quite simply, it makes her feel more powerful and charged to control other’s emotions.

2. The Sidekick – Second in command and takes directive from the Leader of the Pack. Her behaviors are similar to the Leader of the Pack but she has no true power on her own.

3. The Conniving Backstabber – She is spiteful and cunning in her approach. She trash-talks, betrays and manipulates with ease.

4. The Gossip – She delights in spreading false rumors and malicious lies about others.

5. The Black Widow Spider – She smiles and befriends you only to rip apart her prey in front of co-workers. She sees all women as adversaries.

6. The Politician – She is well connected in the office environment and shrewdly sabotages the work of her female counterparts.

7. The Passive Aggressor – (aka the timid intimidator) This individual is a friend to your face, and foe to your back. The passive aggressor operates from fear, but is sneaky in her approach by showing a façade of calm control of emotion. She often gives backhanded compliments; attacks in a subtle way, using deceitful tactics. She fears competition and any perceived roadblock; operates best under the guise of secret sabotage.

8. The Bystander – She is the innocent person involved in the attack. She is not involved in sabotage or much else in the way of catty behavior. All the same, she is aware of the situation, but does nothing to report or re-direct their behaviors.

What makes women more prone to catty behavior? Women by nature tend to have a strong desire to belong and connect. Because of this, women tend to place a higher level of importance on workplace friendships and relationships. It is also true that women seek out other women for support, both personally and professionally. And sometimes, the desire for support is implied rather than clearly communicated, making the expectation misunderstood. If one woman feels that support is not reciprocated as expected by her female counterpart, she may feel slighted and hurt, causing her to lash out at others. Another reason for women to be catty in the workplace, may be due to a power struggle. In order for women to have a positive working relationship, both women must have the perception that their level of power is even. If one of the women perceives there to be a shift in the balance of power, it may cause her to use indirect or passive aggressive behavior to re-establish herself and gain her self-worth and self-esteem.

So, Why do women feel more comfortable taking on other women? Part of the reason is that most women tend to be less confrontational after an attack and sometimes more willing to turn a blind eye on bad behavior. Men, on the other hand, are more likely to address the situation head-on and tend to address confrontation openly. The other part, I believe, would be that women still see themselves and their gender to be weaker in nature. In turn, I believe that this makes it easier to visualize and conceptualize an adversary as a “non-threat”, invoking a feeling of comfort and ease while taking on the role of “bully/catty bitch.” Women are also better at reading emotion, which in turn makes it easier for them to interpret another woman’s insecurity. They can easily exclude another woman or make her feel alienated or unwelcome with body language such as avoiding, ostracizing or making derogatory gestures toward her in social settings.

How might we be able to decipher that these bad behaviors are of the catty variety? Women tend to be more subtle in their abuse tactics, reminiscent of undercover covert operations. (Think along the lines of silent sabotage. For example: The co-worker who blind cc’s your boss on email exchanges and tries to set you up to fail.) Women are also great at subtly insulting another woman either in a gossiping manner or by belittling and undermining their women counter-parts. These behaviors are very difficult not to take personally.

So when does this catty behavior get toxic? The seriousness of catty behavior, especially in the work environment, takes a new light when the remarks and actions become so intense and vicious that it directly affects their women counterparts’ productivity, their ability to complete tasks that impact their job performance or that affect their comfort and safety in the work environment. (Think in terms of personal attacks or someone sabotaging or taking credit for another person’s work.) Mean women take advantage of other women’s vulnerabilities and insecurities. They will stop at nothing to get what they want, including backstabbing, undermining, and bullying.

What is the best way to disengage or protect yourself from catty behavior in the workplace?

1. Focus in on your job – In order to avoid catty behavior, busy yourself with what you were hired to do in the first place. Hunker down and focus on sharpening your skill set.

2. When Confronted, Don’t Respond – Stand firm in your conviction with controlled behavior and emotion. Never affirm catty bitch behavior.

3. Seek Out Positive People to Engage – Find people to connect to that do not engage in the behavior you are trying to avoid.

4. Kindly Express Your Desire to Remove Yourself from the Drama Politely convey to her that you are not at all interested in participating in gossip or negative talk.

5. Conquer the Witch Within – Your internal voice may be telling you to let her have it. Remember it is never a good idea to provoke and encourage more bad behavior with your own brand of bad behavior. Simply put, resist the urge.

6. Build Trust Carefully – We all have a desire to connect with others, but remember to be cautious and get to know your co-worker(s) before exchanging personal information.

7. Eliminate Drama – Apologize when it is needed. Own your behaviors and know people will respect you more when you admit to your faults.

8. Minimize Confrontation – Control your impulse to confront others who may have offended you. There is no need to keep a scoreboard tally of offenses.

9. Remain Pleasant and Poised – Just because others behave doesn’t in turn give you permission to reciprocate the same behavior. Be polite and remove yourself from the situation.

10. Show Support – Help each other. Always look for the best in your coworkers. You, after all, have no choice but to continue working with them.

If you are now feeling the guilt of previous catty behavior, the good news is this: catty behavior is curable! You can simply choose to dig in and look introspectively and honestly about who you are and who you would like to be. By doing so, you just may consider a paradigm shift in thinking. There is still time to learn to be confident in who you are. Part of that may be accepting that you are open to learning more. After all, it may be a good time to ditch the competitiveness and accept this time as an opportunity for personal reflection and growth. That female for whom you have secretly wished would choke on her morning muffin and die a sudden death, could be someone who may offer you insight into a new skill set.

To take my point  a step further, I believe it is high time women start respecting each other. We as women have worked 100+ years to gain opportunity for gender equality, yet by our own hand we are diminishing our efforts to succeed by engaging in these destructive and catty behaviors. We can step up now and promote each others’ professional and personal growth with a smile and positive attitude. Wouldn’t it be a better use of our energy if we chose to refrain from  judging and undermining our fellow women, and instead engaged in supporting and encouraging our female colleagues? Keep in mind, none of us would have been afforded the opportunities we have today if it weren’t for another woman paving the way.

Share your experiences with workplace cattiness?  Have you ever been the victim in a Workplace Power Play?  Maybe you were the one instigating the workplace turmoil? Either way, we want to hear your experiences.

~Krissi

AIBC Team Member

‘1wittykitty’

It’s Her Party — she can cry if she wants to

Elle writes:

This might not be catty and more of a “post secret” type thing, but here goes. We always have a little ceremony when people reach certain employment milestones with my company. My 5-year work anniversary was July 16th and no one has said anything to me, despite my dropping hints to 3 people. My feelings are hurt and sometimes I feel like the red-headed stepchild (sorry, no offense) up in this place.

Elle-

Having gone through something very similar myself, I totally feel your pain! You are absolutely not being catty. Unless your hints have been more like, “Hey Robin, remember that time I threw you a party when you finally got your GED after 5 years of going to school online?” I feel like your feelings of what about me are absolutely normal and completely founded, and even though non-catty, I wanted to respond.

My first instinct is to ask you who is in charge of planning these anniversary parties? Do you normally organize them for your department, or is it someone else? Maybe the team has dropped the ball because they are each expecting someone else to take care of it?

I’ve been in a similar situation myself where I kept up with birthday and milestone celebrations for my group at work. When it came time to celebrate our supervisor’s impending grad school graduation, a fellow co-worker asked to take the lead. Always overly busy, I was more than happy to let her plan everything. However, she seemed to forget that I had completed my degree the month before. I felt completely invisible. I should have been one of the honored guests and not one of the ones donating to the boss’s graduation gift, but I couldn’t bring myself to say anything. And since I didn’t have the guts to speak up, I felt like my only option was to let it go. And maybe pout a little. Okay, a lot – but only to my parents and friends outside of work.

If someone in management is responsible for throwing these celebrations, perhaps you could ask your supervisor if the company has changed their policy on celebrating anniversaries. At the organization level, my job recognizes milestone employees once annually with a large reception and a gift based on tenure. Maybe your company started planning them quarterly rather than individually to conserve funds? Hopefully just posing the question this way will make your supervisor realize your party was overlooked and that will fix everything.

But if the lightbulb doesn’t go off and you find there’s been no change, and it is that important to you to have a recognition of your company and coworkers, flat out ask if you can coordinate your own party. If there is anyone else with a milestone, mention celebrating them as well. Maybe this action will be the eye-opener and someone will say, “Dont be silly! I will take care of it.”

If neither of these options seem viable – similar to my situation – just let it be. You can bury it inside to occassionally remember that time so-and-so really made you feel snubbed, but quickly move your focus to something more positive. Be sad, be annoyed, be angry – then move on.

Invite your closest friends over after work for some wine and cupcakes. Be around people who appreciate you, and want to celebrate your successes and achievements. Try not to let the disregard of your work colleagues get you down too much. Life is too short to focus on the negative, and wine tastes so much better when consumed with friends.

photo credit: http://delacasa.wordpress.com/2012/01/20/red-wine-cupcakes/

To be honest, I let my experience get to me so much that I started looking for a different group of co-workers. Much easier said than done, we should truly only focus our energies on the things we can control. I realized I couldn’t control what happened with the graduation party, but I could control how I responded to the situation and (to an extent) where I worked within my company. I actually requested a transfer and ended up in a department where things aren’t celebrated and we aren’t as close. While not my original preference, it has turned out to be a trade off that has actually made me happier. No parties for me to coordinate and no feelings to get hurt when someone didn’t take over to celebrate my birthday, promotion, etc.

Sometimes all we need is a good venting to get it out of our system. Cry, scream, throw things – whatever you need. But I think celebrating yourself in your own way sounds like a better way to spend a weekend. Let me know if you want to invite me to the wine and cupcake thing – I will celebrate you like nobody’s business!

Good luck!

And keep us posted,

~Rebecca
AIBC Team Member
‘ZenKitty2’

Reader Submission – Torn Between Two Mothers

Jennifer writes:

“I’m not sure if I’m the cat or the mouse. Long story short…..My parents were divorced when I was a child and it was NASTY!  They haven’t seen each other since the divorce. Well, this weekend I’m having a bridal shower and didn’t want to exclude anyone. So, both my mom and step mom are invited to the shower. My mother is not the most mature and normal mother. She is going to feel that I am choosing my step-mother over her or feel that I’ve invited the step mom to hurt her feelings or to take away some of her “mother of the bride” duties. I have yet to tell my mother the step mom is coming, but know there will be a blow up. I did not invite the step mother to irritate my mother (although it sounds kinda nice :)).

I told my mother months ago that I was no longer going to exclude them from my life and this is one of the first events that I wanted to include the step mom and the mom. My dilemma. When I tell my mother the step mom is coming. she is going to do one of a few things…Back out and not come; be catty to the step mom (who is extremely sweet and docile); or feel hurt and pout all day at the shower.  So, I have 3 questions…How and when should I tell my catty mom the step mom is coming? and How do I tell her? and how do I stop her from being catty to the step mom? Help!!”

Kara responds:

Jennifer, let me first express to you how sorry I am that you find yourself in this situation. Divorce is never easy, and as you prove, the children are always the victims — even long after they’re not children anymore.

With that having been said, allow me to interject that feeling threatened or like you’re choosing the step-mother over her is, in fact, a very normal reaction. I know you are telling me that your mother is not very mature or normal, but I’ll need more evidence to support that claim. While it may not be a rational response (from the outside looking in), I can certainly sympathize with Mom and have a bit of compassion. I’ve felt threatened before, myself. As the mother of teen girls, any time one of them calls a friends’ parent “Mom,” even though I know they don’t mean it the same way, I become defensive and hurt. Insecurity is an ugly characteristic, my friend, and one we all exhibit.

So, to answer your actual question — How do you tell her — my response must be to encourage you to tell her quickly and honestly. Tell her today! She needs time to digest this new information. I know that dealing with that kind of stress and anxiety while planning a wedding is enough of a reason to procrastinate, but it will be way worse if she finds out at the shower. Tell her now. I know you dread it, and I know it sucks, but rip that Band-Aid off, Girl. Rip it off the hairiest part of your body, like a gorilla wearing Velcro underwear.

But How? Openly, Jennifer. Tell her that you invited your step-mother, but that your mom is the one that you need there. Thank her for being the kind of mother you can come to and know that she’ll put your wants before her own. (*wink wink* Smooth, right?) And tell her how much you love her and appreciate what she does for you. Make sure she understands that you need her to help you make this a smooth transition into a blended family situation, and that her role as the matriarch is not under review.

You mentioned that she may boycott the bridal shower. If she chooses this route her absence could provide a lonely, but meditative time for her to weigh her options of involvement in your life. I’d wager you’d accept that as a viable trade-off. If she has an outburst and moves on, I’d do the same.  Follow her lead there by letting the outburst go and moving forward with a greater understanding of each other and your relationship.  If she’s catty to your step-mother, or pouts and sulks at the shower, I’d modify my behavior to deal with it. I’m not telling you to pout or sulk back!  But, if your mother is going to act like a toddler, treat her like one (all the way down to grasping her arm and whispering threats below your breath)!   But, my greatest hope is that your honesty, sincerity, and love come through when you talk to her and she gives you the best possible response, alleviating some of the tension you’re bound to be feeling.

She may not react the way we all hope she does, but that’s okay, too. She still has time before the wedding to think over your words, spoken with reason and compassionate love, and modify her behavior. And, if she doesn’t, perhaps ask your step-dad (if there is one in the picture?) to intervene on your behalf. Sometimes it takes a village to raise a parent.

Regardless of the route you take, know that your situation is one which will be in my heart. I hope to hear an update from you about how the conversation went. You’re in my prayers and I hope your Come-to-Jesus moment only happens in the chapel.

Love,

Kara
On Behalf Of
The AmIBeingCatty Team
#amibeingcatty #level1 #lapkitty