How do you handle a close relative who keeps putting you down for no reason?

Jump to Last Post 1-22 of 22 discussions (23 posts)
  1. brakel2 profile image73
    brakel2posted 12 years ago

    How do you handle a close relative who keeps putting you down for no reason?

  2. sj_workman79 profile image61
    sj_workman79posted 12 years ago

    My older sister has a way of using a tone that makes me feel like she is putting me down sometimes. I try to ignore it because I have yet to find a way to handle it.

  3. Winsome profile image82
    Winsomeposted 12 years ago

    I have two principles of relationships--there will be more, but this is how far I've gotten. 1. What others think of me is none of my business. (That means, what their problem is with me is really their problem and I have no business appropriating it as my own.) 2. What others say to me or do to me does not relieve me of the responsibility to be myself. (That means I treat them according to my own principles of character and integrity and civility instead of responding in kind.)
    You get defensive because you let the relative's criticism become personal to you when it is really a symptom of their issues.  Too often we abandon who we are and sink to the level of those who are mean without cause. Keep the high ground and say to yourself: "I will hear these words without making it personal and maybe even learn from them, and I will treat this person with respect, not because they deserve it, but because of who I am."
    Hope this helps. =smile

  4. KMattox profile image60
    KMattoxposted 12 years ago

    Family is a very sensitive area. People treat the ones they love very badly sometimes. I have never really understood the entire dynamic either and have also had that very experience. The best way I think is either 1. remove yourself from the situation (this can be isolating), or 2. try talking it over and see if your loved one will consider going to family counseling with you. This will require your honesty and patience. Tell him/her you how you feel and explain that you are worried. Explain that if you both don't get counseling it could be devastating for your relationship.

  5. Carolyn2008 profile image41
    Carolyn2008posted 12 years ago

    There is always a reason whenever any person puts you down. The best way is to confront the person when the statement is made. "Why did you say that?" You may be surprised at the answer. Be aware of how the person looks at you when you ask the question. Their face may reveal things to you.

    It's difficult when it is a close relative. Still, if you don't confront the statement, the person will keep doing it. Ask him or her not to do it again, as it hurts your feelings. Some people have their own issues that will make them attack others. But everyone deserves respect. You have to demand it.

  6. alphagirl profile image76
    alphagirlposted 12 years ago

    There could be things brewing that she is not aware of. 1. Some are entirely clueless they do this 2. She is insecure and can only function if she puts people down 3. You mirror something that she hates about herself.
    I would take her aside and tell her her comments are hurtful then ask her why she has a need to say the things she does to you. Then let her speak. She will either deny or admit, but at the very least you will clear the air. Perhaps she will be more aware of her words. And you will not feel bad for letting her do this.

  7. Nancy B. profile image68
    Nancy B.posted 12 years ago

    This is tricky and long standing. The roots of this behavior can go all the way back to the way your parents treated you individually as children.

    Winsome has it correct with the statement 'What others think of me is none of my business.' The sister that is trying to demean you is doing so for her own motivations and since you have a long standing relationship with her, you are expected to react in a certain way. Any reaction on your part even when you try to ignore it, like a change in attitude or a clenching of a jaw or a fist shows that the barb struck home. When you do not fulfill the established and expected reactions this can escalate the situation.

    Now you're asking yourself, 'Is this a no win situation then?' Of course not. The relationship that you have with your sister has been established over a long period of time. Any time that you make changes or react unexpectedly interferes with her comfort zone. Again, that's her problem. But it will take time for changes to become the new norm, don't expect acceptance immediately.

    All too often in society, if you step out of 'your place' or are more successful than expected, the people around you feel threatened by what you're doing. They don't want to be reminded that they have 'settled', if someone else succeeds it forces them to look at themselves and why they didn't succeed. So they attack and denigrate and try to force you back into their world view so they can feel better about themselves. Some will even go so far as to tell you, 'it's for your own good. We don't want you to be disappointed if you try and fail.'

    Be true to yourself and keep reminding yourself that 'What others think of me is none of my business.'

  8. profile image0
    september girlposted 12 years ago

    My older sister always made fun of me growing up.  She was and is very outgoing, where I am not. I use to take it, but now if it gets too much for me, I just walk away, or quit spending time with her. It's how I handle it, because it does hurt to have a close family member make you feel less than who they think you are. I was always's when they feel threatened somehow, they feel the need to put you down, in trying to build their own self-esteem. Perhaps jealousy plays a part in it, as weird as that may sound?

  9. Discover2020 profile image60
    Discover2020posted 12 years ago

    How about telling them how they make you feel? Sometimes people treat you a certain way because that's just the way they truly are with everyone. Probably not even doing it on purpose. Nevertheless, you should always try talking to them even if you have to repeat yourself a few times and tell them how they make you feel. After 2-3 times .. If they continue you should tell them if you continue putting me down and ignoring what I've told you, i will cut all communications with you until you can treat me with the same respect i treat you, that's it. You shouldn't have to put up with anyone no matter who they are putting you down period.

  10. profile image0
    jami l. pereiraposted 12 years ago

    Honesty IS the best policy and you need to tell her what you feel like she is doing.Until you tell her of her unwelcomed behavior , she will continuously behave that way,and whether you agree or not , it is appalling on every level . You should always display yourself as a book upon a shelf , with pride and dignity , and with respect for others , and she should pay you that respect as long as you pay it in return smile

  11. Rastamermaid profile image66
    Rastamermaidposted 12 years ago

    I stay away from Debbie Downers,it's their problem if they have a problem with how you do you.I avoid them like the plague!

    You could just bluntly tell then they're a kill joy,that's why I rarely take your calls,everything you say is negative or downing me or someone else. It's not a good look and very soon you may find yourself friendless.

  12. Maralexa profile image84
    Maralexaposted 12 years ago

    I would say:  "You know, relative, I appreciate your comments.  I will really think about what you have said.  Thank you."  When I have said that a couple of times, with as much sincerity as I can muster, the other person starts making more meaningful comments (less hurtful) and actually tries to provide "words of wisdom".  I suspect this person in your life is lonely, feels not listened to, or is envious of you.  This is the only way I know how to relieve myself of the sting of their comments and not hurt them.

  13. Seeker7 profile image80
    Seeker7posted 12 years ago

    Some people talk like that without realising that they are in fact being rude or off hand. I would have a word with them and ask them if they realise how hurtful their attitude is? I would also ask the reason for it?

    If they do know and their actions are deliberate for no good reason, then I would basically tell them that their crap attitude is out of order. And either it improves or you will seriously consider ending any contact with them until they start to treat you like the decent human being you are.

    This can be difficult I know. But very often family members will use the fact that you are 'family' to get away with behaviour they know, no one else would put up with. Well at the end of the day you are a person with feelings and rights as well - family or not, they need to start treating you with some respect and to know that their behaviour is totally unacceptable.

  14. profile image0
    RTalloniposted 12 years ago

    As you think through the options here are some to add to what's already here:

    1) Give her the benefit of the doubt that something else is going on in her life that has nothing to do with you, but that you just happened to be in the way of her bad behavior, and rise above it by letting it roll off your back. 

    2) Ask her why she is speaking to you that way, and/or if you have done something to offend her.  Ask in such a way that it's clear that her behavior confuses you and that you would like to figure it out because you love her, but be aware that you may never be able to help her or have the relationship with her that you would like if she refuses to respond reasonably to your question(s). 

    3) Realize that she has problems, love her anyway by letting her know you are there for her if there's anything you can do to help her (but be careful about manipulation and think through what real help looks like and what it doesn't look like), all the time realizing that her behavior puts limits on the relationship.

  15. jjackson786 profile image81
    jjackson786posted 12 years ago

    My father does this to my sisters and I, and has been for a while. It was hurtful at one point, and sometimes still is, but for the most part I just try to ignore him and think better things of myself.

    1. profile image48
      Annetta Bennettposted 6 years agoin reply to this

      Don't take it, even from your dad. You teach people how to treat you!! Tell him very calmly that what he says hurts your feelings, and you be don't deserve this treatment from him or anybody.

  16. Deborah-Diane profile image83
    Deborah-Dianeposted 12 years ago

    I know that it can be difficult to avoid a sister, or other family member, who says hurtful things.  However, you should strive to minimize your contact.  There is no reason why an adult should have to expose themselves to that kind of treatment any more than absolutely necessary.  Then, the next time you have to be around her and she says something rude, tell her it was rude or mean.  If she is unkind, say "that wasn't very kind (or nice)."  If she continues, say "wow, that was mean."  Don't get mad.  Just point out her rude behavior.  She may minimize it, because she doesn't want her rudeness constantly pointed out to her.  However, whether she changes or not, you can change the amount of time you spend with her.

  17. profile image0
    Arlene V. Pomaposted 12 years ago

    Yes, there is a reason why this relative is putting you down.  Take your pick.  You know him better than we do.  When you mean close, does it mean he is close by blood?  Because it certainly doesn't seem like the person is close to you if put-downs are coming out of his mouth.  If you want to waste your time, keep feeling the way you do and accept his abuse.  I can tell you right now that this person is a toxic personality who is insecure and lashing out at you because of a number of things he only knows.  Is he jealous?  Have you accomplished things that he will never do?  Or is he just one of those people who has a need to make the people around him miserable?  Whatever the reason, you either confront this person and tell him that he is being hurtful and you don't like it.  Or, you repeat the same phrase over and over to him.  It's called the broken record technique to get your message across.  You think of something.  It is up to you to show people how you want to be treated.  Each time this person puts you down, show him you aren't willing to be his whipping post.  Say that you don't like what he's saying, give him a dirty look or leave the room.  Or ignore him.  He is being abusive.  And those type of people deserve to be left alone.  If he is one of those constant fixtures in your family gatherings, spend the least amount of time with him.  Whenever you see him, simply nod and move onto those family members you really care about.

  18. selfdefenselesson profile image61
    selfdefenselessonposted 12 years ago


    Stop spending too much with that relative.
    If it's only within a certain area he/she puts you down. Then avoid engaging him/her in that topic. Steer clear of things.

  19. arksys profile image85
    arksysposted 12 years ago

    from the replies seems like most people who are going through it, avoid the person. I'm exactly the same... i avoid them as much as i possibly can, with my family, it's just a waste of time to talk things through ... they are old enough to know what they are doing and i know they do it on purpose because they wait anxiously for an answer from me filled with anger; yet i remain silent. i'm the youngest so have to remain respectful too (cultural issues).
    I just listen, try to shake it off and keep moving forward.

  20. nabeelplus profile image61
    nabeelplusposted 12 years ago

    if its unbearable thn try to communicate in a polite manner .... or simply IGNORE..and make other realize that its not making a difference to you

  21. profile image0
    Ali-Mostofizadehposted 12 years ago

    This kind of person is everywhere! If they really put us down "without any reason" as you said, the best solution is to ignore them as they do about us!

  22. profile image48
    Annetta Bennettposted 6 years ago

    Tell that person to stop putting you down that you've put up with it as long as our going to and they can't stop, you will stop talking to them. Than do it!! Stop talking  to them for a period of time, a year if necessary, until they appogize. If they don't a appogize or stop, than stay away from them, because they don't care about you or your feelings!!


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)