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How do you cope with a difficult relative?
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  1. #1
    100% sure I'm going vegan!
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    Default How do you cope with a difficult relative?

    There are times when the best thing to do is just shut up and not respond.

    With my dad, that's all the time. He is the most stubborn man I've ever met, certain that every thought that comes out of his mind and every word that comes out of his mouth are golden.

    I've never been preachy with my veganism (it's only been a little while since I became vegan), but my dad takes every chance to speak out against it. I used to offer counterpoints and try to show him why, but he doesn't listen at all, which can be extremely frustrating at time. For example, we were out having dinner once and I ordered a vegan meal while he ordered a steak with a side of cheesy potatoes, and then criticized me for not eating "real food" (I had a plate full of veggies and a salad).

    Since he is convinced he can never be wrong, arguments are futile, even when he has no logical contributions and I have irrefutable evidence to cite. Not wanting to cause a drift in my family, I've given up trying to respond to his jabs at my lifestyle. A new problem seems to have arisen from this strategy, though- he sees my silence as an admission of being wrong. I don't want to continuously defend myself to no avail against someone who won't listen anyway, but I don't want him to tell others that I'm wrong because I don't speak up. My goal is to show by example, leading my cruelty-free and healthy life in peace and letting it speak for itself, but he's chosen to ignore it. I've given up on the idea that he would ever be open to change, but I don't want him to discourage others from seeing the benefits of a healthy and cruelty-free lifestyle just because he doesn't agree with it.

    Any suggestions on how to deal with someone like this?

  2. #2

    Default Re: How do you cope with a difficult relative?

    I think you kind of already have your answer, even if it's not an ideal one. It's likely that his attachment to animal products is, like most other people's, emotional. That means that logic won't reach him (he's almost literally not listening). It won't help to argue (that seems to be what he wants, so that he can argue back). And him taking your silence as an "admission of being wrong" is most likely him goading you into another argument. That's what my dad used to do with me (not about veganism, but other things).

    Honestly, the BEST thing to do is not engage. That's his goal. Just ignore it, walk away, or calmly explain that your 'talks' never go anywhere, and if he really wants to know something maybe you can discuss it later. Don't accuse him of arguing - he'll say he's not. But really, it's best to just back away. I know it seems too passive, and I know it seems like giving up, but it's not - it's disengaging from the arguments. If he's like my father, he'll try to poke at you, goad you, say things to get a rise out of you, and repeat it often until he gets that you won't go there with him.

    It's up to you, but believe me when I say arguing and protesting won't help. It's unfortunate, but true. If others want to know about your lifestyle, they'll ask. If they don't really want to know, your dad's comments probably didn't make them that way (they just agree with him already).

    Good luck! It sounds like you are still living at home with your parents, and it might get easier once you don't live with them anymore (it did for me). That puts just a bit of helpful distance there.

  3. #3
    Abe Froman Risker's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you cope with a difficult relative?

    Sadly, often in situations like this, the only kind thing to do is have them put to sleep.
    "I don't want to live on this planet any more" - Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth

  4. #4
    Bad Buddhist Clueless Git's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you cope with a difficult relative?

    Quote DancingVegan View Post
    Any suggestions on how to deal with someone like this?
    Any examples of the type of meatardary you want to be able to deal with, DV?
    All done in the best possible taste ...

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    Default Re: How do you cope with a difficult relative?

    Of course, it would help to know more about your circumstances - e.g. are yu still living with your parents, do you own your own money etc.
    But I agree that ignoring would be the best option.

    Best regards,
    Andy

  6. #6
    Pea-utiful... Peabrain's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you cope with a difficult relative?

    I'd second what Lyla said, but I'd also add, the very best argument you can make is the one you already are making, simply being vegan. After all, if you were really admitting it was wrong, you'd stop wouldn't you? But you haven't, so no more needs to be said. When everybody sees that you didn't drop dead, or go psycho, they'll realise who actually does have the upper hand in this battle of wills.

  7. #7
    Bad Buddhist Clueless Git's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you cope with a difficult relative?

    Quote Peabrain View Post
    I'd second what Lyla said, but I'd also add, the very best argument you can make is the one you already are making, simply being vegan.
    Unlikely, unfortunately.

    In my experience those who are willfully deaf to inconvenient truths, they may hear, are usualy equaly willfully blind to any inconvenient truths they may see.
    All done in the best possible taste ...

  8. #8
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    Default Re: How do you cope with a difficult relative?

    My Dad is exactly the same. He is very often saying my diet is 'appalling' and that I am making myself ill and missing out on lots of essential nutrients and stuff.
    No advice unfortunately is some people you just can't reach. Don't waste your energy on them, don't argue or talk about it just smile and say 'okay'. And continue with the positive influences, share new recipes, and experiences ,bake cakes for other family members (and tell him he can't have any cause he won't like it, it's vegan lol).
    That's my way.
    That's m
    The greatest mistake is to do nothing because you can only do a little.

  9. #9
    Pea-utiful... Peabrain's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you cope with a difficult relative?

    Quote Cupid Stunt View Post
    In my experience those who are willfully deaf to inconvenient truths, they may hear, are usualy equaly willfully blind to any inconvenient truths they may see.
    If that's true it'd be a shame, but I think some of them at least may still see it (although those types would probably never admit that, and almost certainly wouldn't become vegan themselves)...

    But again DancingVegan, at least if you just continue with your veganism regardless, it'll be the best example you could give, that you're your own person.

    Quote Festered View Post
    And continue with the positive influences, share new recipes, and experiences ,bake cakes for other family members (and tell him he can't have any cause he won't like it, it's vegan lol).
    Hehe... Good one!!!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: How do you cope with a difficult relative?

    If that's true it'd be a shame, but I think some of them at least may still see it (although those types would probably never admit that, and almost certainly wouldn't become vegan themselves)...

    Yes, from experience I'd say that just getting on with being vegan wins people over to the extent that they stop moaning about the inconvenience and warning you that you're going to get ill (at least after the first few years ).

    It probably won't make them go vegan but then they wouldn't anyway. Having said that, some may cut back on animal products when you show them that there are alternatives.

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    Default Re: How do you cope with a difficult relative?

    Quote Festered View Post
    My Dad is exactly the same. He is very often saying my diet is 'appalling' and that I am making myself ill and missing out on lots of essential nutrients and stuff.
    No advice unfortunately is some people you just can't reach. Don't waste your energy on them, don't argue or talk about it just smile and say 'okay'. And continue with the positive influences, share new recipes, and experiences ,bake cakes for other family members (and tell him he can't have any cause he won't like it, it's vegan lol).
    That's my way.
    That's m
    In reply to your dad I would just go "So...what nutrients is it that I'm missing?"

    I doubt he can come up with anything you can't get from plants.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: How do you cope with a difficult relative?

    Quote Festered View Post
    ... bake cakes for other family members (and tell him he can't have any cause he won't like it, it's vegan lol).
    That's my way.
    Hehehe!

    I like the idea, Festered

    Minds me of the ambush I had planned for Eileen Dover's oafish "I ain't eatin' NO vegan sh*t" son in law at the Christmas dinner that never happened.

    Plan being to support him in his determination to "eat NO vegan sh*t" by removing anything suitable for vegans (roast tatties, brussels, other veg, stuffing, cranberry sauce, et-al) from his plate and see how much he really enjoyed a totaly "vegan sh*t" free xmas dinner
    All done in the best possible taste ...

  13. #13
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    Default Re: How do you cope with a difficult relative?

    Quote Cupid Stunt View Post
    Plan being to support him in his determination to "eat NO vegan sh*t" by removing anything suitable for vegans (roast tatties, brussels, other veg, stuffing, cranberry sauce, et-al) from his plate and see how much he really enjoyed a totaly "vegan sh*t" free xmas dinner
    Hahaha! I can just see it now... "Here's your plate of dry meat (the gravy probably having been "degraded" to be vegan too). Enjoy!"

  14. #14
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    Default Re: How do you cope with a difficult relative?

    Quote Cacique View Post
    In reply to your dad I would just go "So...what nutrients is it that I'm missing?"

    I doubt he can come up with anything you can't get from plants.
    He says things like trace minerals and metals and stuff like that. I have only ever said such as how easier it is to absorb such things from plant sources and how healthy the majority of food I eat is, compared to his diet which often seems to be full of junk food.
    Quote Cupid Stunt View Post
    Hehehe!

    I like the idea, Festered

    Minds me of the ambush I had planned for Eileen Dover's oafish "I ain't eatin' NO vegan sh*t" son in law at the Christmas dinner that never happened.

    Plan being to support him in his determination to "eat NO vegan sh*t" by removing anything suitable for vegans (roast tatties, brussels, other veg, stuffing, cranberry sauce, et-al) from his plate and see how much he really enjoyed a totaly "vegan sh*t" free xmas dinner
    Haha this is so true-I often try to get it across to people that a lot of the foods they eat ARE vegan anyway, they seem to think we can't eat anything or we eat totally different stuff to them.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Cacique View Post
    In reply to your dad I would just go "So...what nutrients is it that I'm missing?"

    I doubt he can come up with anything you can't get from plants.
    He says things like trace minerals and metals and stuff like that. I have only ever said such as how easier it is to absorb such things from plant sources and how healthy the majority of food I eat is, compared to his diet which often seems to be full of junk food.
    Quote Cupid Stunt View Post
    Hehehe!

    I like the idea, Festered

    Minds me of the ambush I had planned for Eileen Dover's oafish "I ain't eatin' NO vegan sh*t" son in law at the Christmas dinner that never happened.

    Plan being to support him in his determination to "eat NO vegan sh*t" by removing anything suitable for vegans (roast tatties, brussels, other veg, stuffing, cranberry sauce, et-al) from his plate and see how much he really enjoyed a totaly "vegan sh*t" free xmas dinner
    Haha this is so true-I often try to get it across to people that a lot of the foods they eat ARE vegan anyway, they seem to think we can't eat anything or we eat totally different stuff to them.
    The greatest mistake is to do nothing because you can only do a little.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: How do you cope with a difficult relative?

    Quote Festered View Post
    He says things like trace minerals and metals and stuff like that. I have only ever said such as how easier it is to absorb such things from plant sources and how healthy the majority of food I eat is, compared to his diet which often seems to be full of junk food.
    I would simply ask him for sources on what he's talking about. It all seems quite weird to me because of how meat centered the Puertorican culture is, yet my family didn't really bat an eye when I said I was going vegan. So, since I wouldn't know what else to say/ask I would ask for his sources and what minerals and metals he's worried about, then if you want you can tell him where you can get them all.

  16. #16

    Default Re: How do you cope with a difficult relative?

    Quote Festered View Post
    bake cakes for other family members (and tell him he can't have any cause he won't like it, it's vegan lol).
    LOL! Brilliant!

  17. #17

    Default Re: How do you cope with a difficult relative?

    I'm finding it a bit hard at the moment as well.. the incessant need some family members have to keep going on and on like it's actually going to make you one day go back to eating animals!! You can't un-know what you know!! Sadly some people will never get it! I was veggie for 25years now vegan for 3 so been dealing with the usual stupid comments people can come out with! Most times I can handle it but sometimes when I'm having a bad day or something and all I wanna do is eat my food in peace without the constant running commentary and remarks!! So maybe just annoy him back! .. what the hell is that your eating now? That looks like cooked sh*t, are you really gonna eat that? Where do you get your minerals from? That looks gross! EWWW! and so on! See how he likes it?! : D But I like Festered's one the most about making really delicious vegan cakes and not allowing him have any!! Make sure everyone else makes extra loud "hmmm" noises!

    Also, I watched this video (see below) and found it really helpful and reassuring. She has some great ways of looking at veganism and dealing with omnivores excuses. If your Dad is pulling you up on the whole nutrient thing... She talks about how omnivore humans just use animals to get minerals and nutrients from the plants that the animals eat in the first place so why not cut out the middle man (animal) and just go straight to the source!! She also talks about not letting people get to you, just follow your own ethics and morals and your truth. (easier said than done if your living with a know-it-all who won't ever understand ethical veganism let alone veganism for health.) It takes great strength to be able to deal with someone like this especially when it's a relative! I feel your pain! Hang in there : )

    Well worth a watch :Colleen Patrick-Goudreau: From Excuse-itarian to Vegan https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xWD1Zze5Qo4

  18. #18
    Bad Buddhist Clueless Git's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you cope with a difficult relative?

    Quote Turtle.. thatisall View Post
    I'm finding it a bit hard at the moment as well.. the incessant need some family members have to keep going on and on like it's actually going to make you one day go back to eating animals!!
    Aye,

    Omni-brain cannot cope with linking simple sequences of facts together.

    1. We used to do it their way.

    2. We experienced a different way that they have never experienced.

    3. We found, out of the two ways, that the way they have no experience of is better.


    Omni-brain goes into seizure and reasons thusly;

    1. Experience of only one of two things is better than experience of two of two things in determining which of the two things is better.

    2. The best way of determining the better of two things is to have absolutely no experience of one of those two things whatsoever.

    3. Trying two of two things can cause 'delusion' as to which of two things is actualy superior.

    4. Delusion induced by experience of two of two things is entirely due to lack of experience as to which of the two of two things you have actualy experienced is better.
    All done in the best possible taste ...

  19. #19

    Default Re: How do you cope with a difficult relative?

    LOL! Brilliantly composed!

    I usually ask them have they heard of 'critical thinking' and either way to look it up again!

    If only closed minds meant closed mouths! Some people just don't possess the ability to open their minds to an alternative view/way/opinion or anything new. They eat a formula passed down the line, just another claws in the omni-sheople doctrine!

  20. #20
    Bad Buddhist Clueless Git's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you cope with a difficult relative?

    Quote Turtle.. thatisall View Post
    LOL! Brilliantly composed!
    Ty for the kind words there Turtle

    I usually ask them have they heard of 'critical thinking' and either way to look it up again!

    If only closed minds meant closed mouths! Some people just don't possess the ability to open their minds to an alternative view/way/opinion or anything new. They eat a formula passed down the line, just another claws in the omni-sheople doctrine!
    Oh aye,

    A long time back I gave up explaining any of the usual 'should-be-perfectly-understandables' to any omni who asks the dreaded "why?" question. Reason being that that only seemed to expose some form of meat induced brain damage in them.

    Anyone asks the "why?" now I cut out all the usual palaver and go straight to "because meat damages the brain".

    May not be literaly accurate but it has 2 main advantages;

    1. It's a guaranteed convo starter.

    2. You can use any of the usual 'should-be-perfectly-understandables' to prove it entirely accurate whether it is accurate or not.
    All done in the best possible taste ...

  21. #21
    100% sure I'm going vegan! nathanjh13's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you cope with a difficult relative?

    I joke with people all the time that when I was a kid my parents spent every lunchtime trying to get me to eat my greens. Now I eat nothing but and it's still not good enough.

    One tactic is to do the same, simply mock everything he orders. I don't recommend this though as it's humourless and trying to make someone else feel negative rarely makes yourself feel positive, especially a parent. Cook amazing restaurant grade food or, as I do, eat with them less.

    If people ask why I tell them the truth, we've all got our own reasons:

    "Vegetarianism wasn't strict enough for me, there's too much junk food allowed which I couldn't avoid with such a sweet tooth, I used to binge on cream cakes and milk chocolate and I felt fat and lousy so something had to change really. Now I binge on high quality chocolate and the finest ice cream I've ever eaten [enthusiastically explain the Booja Booja ingredients to them]. About that time the Nasa mission to mars article came out and all of the (over 100) meals were vegan as they didn't want the astronaughts being ill and i thought hang on a minute, I don't want to be ill! so i looked into it and saw the lack of heart disease, diabetes cancer etc and what do you know NASA knew what they were talking about, who knew? I feel much better and love the fact that it's completely cruelty free but as soon as I start to feel bad then I'm packing it in and I'm right back on your side [do a high five]".

    Other common conversations:

    I hate cruelty to animals.
    "So do I".
    Yeah but, I really mean it, you're kidding yourself.
    "Yeah but they're bred for it".
    That's like a child being born in an airport not being allowed out of the airport, this is an airport baby people, keep her in here. They aren't bred for it idiot they're forced into it.
    "I only eat free range though".
    Well that doesn't involve any killing does it? Hey, you're doing them a favour.
    (just continue to mock it and run rings around them).

    Another response I use:
    "I came from your side remember, it's like listening to a smoker trying to tell an ex-smoker what they're missing, you're a f***ing idiot"

    I did have a funny conversation with a mate once who figured out "look how many cows there are as a result of eating them, think how many less there'd be if we didn't eat them". And we both concluded the surest way to protect any species was to start eating it. (Vegan topics are always best discussed with humour, just take the p*ss and be yourself).

    The main things in life; family, health, job satisfaction, travel, fun, enjoyment and learning should stull be the priorities. I never bring the vegan thing up (other people do it for me).

  22. #22

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    Default Re: How do you cope with a difficult relative?

    I agree and can empathize. My husband is an omnivore - a red blooded Texan too. When I first started changing my diet he was genuinely concerned. He used to sit at the dinner table and tell me how outlandish it is, how malnourished I'm going to become, how "science says" people need meat and dairy, how this change is going to make everything difficult & how I'll be excluded from everything normal. Blah blah blah. Protein, protein. Milk does the body good. Thanksgiving turkey. This is what cows are born to do. Sure sure sure. So I'd just sit and eat my bean chili and watch him eat his meat chili and let him get it all out.

    After a couple of weeks of being lectured every single day at dinner for hours I had enough. We had a frank conversation that ended all conversations. On my end it went something like this, "Back off. I'm a grown woman. I can decide how I want to eat. I have never asked you to change how you eat to suit my preferences. All I'm asking is that you return the favor. I suggest you make peace with it in your own mind because I'm happier than I've ever been and I'm not going to change. Now pass the potatoes, please." He paused for a minute. Passed the potatoes. Then after a few minutes of complete silence he apologized and said he was just worried about me becoming malnourished. I agreed to go to the doctor for a full physical if I started showing signs of malnourishment. We shook hands and ever since then we've been okay. Actually, we've been great. He's never asked me to go to the doctor for a physical. Probably because the more acclimated I got to a vegan diet the healthier I looked

    On the plus side... I became a better cook when I became vegan. The dishes became more complex. There was very little room for meat by the time I was finished & people didn't even seem to notice. I love when guests say "Oh my god, you're right! There wasn't any meat! That's crazy, how did I not notice?" Especially country boys. Every time I make pot pies I have to make at least a dozen to feed everyone. I tried adding chicken to suit certain people's preferences once, but all but one individual said that the "regular (vegan) kind" are way better and have better flavor. When I make chocolate chip cookies I barely get to taste them because the dough is safe to eat raw & I can't keep everyone out of the kitchen long enough to get a batch into the oven. I still prepare meat on request but it doesn't happen very often. Sometimes when I tell my husband I'm making tacos he'll say, "I'm good with just beans on mine tonight. My jeans are getting tight."

    ... All this to say that some people just take a little longer than others to get used to new ideas. Fighting is generally useless but it doesn't mean you can't stand your ground. Don't feel like you have to go to great lengths to defend yourself, either. People come around and if they don't, okay. So they don't. Whoopdy doo. It's a good thing getting every last person's approval isn't required to live a full life. Live for you.

  23. #23
    Bad Buddhist Clueless Git's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you cope with a difficult relative?

    Quote nathanjh13 View Post

    Another response I use:
    "I came from your side remember, it's like listening to a smoker trying to tell an ex-smoker what they're missing, you're a f***ing idiot"
    I'm voting that to be the best single response i've heard, ever!
    All done in the best possible taste ...

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