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What'd You Do If An Elderly Relative Insults You?


Well-known member
Until now, I used to take pride in my quick-wit & sarcasm which is quite an awesome way of insulting people back if they insult you. I've decided to change and be a nicer guy. However, recently, I was insulted by an elderly relative. While I chained my wit and sarcasm from giving them a 'once in a lifetime' experience which would make them sleepless for several days; I decided to play it cool.

I wish to hear your experiences and how'd you deal with insult from and elder person who's related to you. :)


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Was it an insult meant to be taken negatively or just something that they are at the age that they just speak what they are thinking? I can also say from from first-hand experience that older relatives may not always be aware of how something they are saying would be perceived.


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when i was twelve years old i was insulted once by my uncle. 10 years later and i still remember that day. So I decided to let him know what happened. He didn't even remember that day:mad: its truly hurtful especially from relative


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I often have a problem with holding my tongue. But I'm the type that's all about equality - so if you want to dish an insult to me, you better be able to equally handle one coming your way. I really am not a fan of the whole "they're older thus wiser" saying...because that's not always true. We live in a new day and age and sometimes people just need to be put in their place, family or not.


Well-known member
We live in a new day and age and sometimes people just need to be put in their place, family or not.
We also live in an age where sometimes people wouldn't know their place if you put them in it and said hey this is home.

I learned to present them my side of the situation and ask them how this should look any different than it looks from where I am standing. If they can supply a reasonable explanation then I saved looking like an ass myself...if they can't there is no need to rub it in...I already made my point to myself, them and anyone smart enough that is listening. Doing anything as offensive as what led to this conversation in the first place is just perpetuating a cycle.


Well-known member
I'm of the opinion that age actually doesn't grant anyone more respect or politeness, especially not if that person would insult you. Sarcasm can be a great way of handling people who attack you ad hominem. But sometimes you just have to take it serious and tell them right away what you think about them, if you don't, it may haunt you.


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Generally answer with something like this: "what people say is quite telling about about themselves, don't you agree?"


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Well technically speaking this is about someone insulting (you)...I guess everyone assumes that someone must say something to you to insult you? There is plenty of underhanded actions that can offend one with not a soul speaking a word to them. Say something like spreading a rumor...the person could be going around and spreading rumors about you and since you are not aware you can't defend yourself even if you wanted to...and by the time you figure it out...much damage can be done.

At least a verbal insult directly to you shows the person isn't a coward (though it does not make them any better).

Not everything is black and white.

To be honest if the person is elderly...there is many complications that can effect humans over time. Memory is one of them, some elderly people lose a bunch of it and it can cause domino effects for everyone not prepared to deal with it. Pride, well you may not know they have a condition even if they are family because of it. Also maybe they were raised a specific way and they waited their whole lives to be the old respected person. Point is I am more patient with people who have earned it and if that means I have to bite my tongue and ask them politely WHY they feel that way...I will. Their response to that will determine my response to their insult if neccesary. Maybe their age has given them the years to see something I cannot at this point, maybe not...but I would certainly not shut them out for being cranky. Wouldn't you be cranky if you knew death was looming in the near future as an inevitability. I am just trying to point out that there is too many variables to answer this question seriously if your not seriously asking for an answer that fits your specific situation.

Realistically there is no unified answer to this question. It comes down to how much do you respect the person insulting you, and is it worth it for you or them to come to terms on what you see as a problem.


Well-known member
Interesting issue.

Having grown up quite idealistic and gentle I learned to stand up for myself as an adult via assertiveness training which I found absolutely invaluable.
But I then found that Assertiveness Stage 1 was about flashing into ninja mode.
Assertiveness Stage 2 is about deciding yeah well I could flash into ninja mode on that - but hey I'm deciding not to because I really feel like a peaceful drink ...
Assertiveness Stage 3 was discovering some systems theory stuff about initial move auto + (nice) then if - (nasty) response hit hard with - negative BUT switch instantly to + (nice). This is a rich strategy because it says don't mess with me boy/ but if you're nice to me you can have a much nicer version of me.

I found all three very useful with elders in my family.
Assertiveness Stage 1 (simple ninja) is good because it says don't take advantage of being my elder.
Assertiveness Stage 2 (choosing whether) says I ain't that simple! so don't make assumptions!
Assertiveness Stage 3 (strategy _ then depends on response) is in the family, training mode. I actually care about this person and I want them to learn to treat me better so we can get on better.

However it gets very complicated in the really elderly period when you have the crunch stuff of not knowing if they're going to be here next month/ or week. Training in my needs (or vice versa) at this stage is inappropriate. They're in review now, looking backwards, living in a very present moment. Their life is almost finished, not training for a future.
Although there is a whole new arena of mutual training about their care needs, physical limits ... how much can I cope, how much can they?
There are these huge physical struggles they live with that eat up their available energy and effort so social skills don't get so much of the energy budget. If pain is a constant companion and morphine isn't working as well as it did last year it's gets a bit basic.
In this stage I have struggled to maintain compassion but it's hard work if their personal modes are sarcasm (they think it's normal and witty), putdowns (they think this is not nearly as hurtful as it is and never grasped the point) ... previous training just never got far enough!

But if we're not in that last bit I generally try to respect them by giving them the straight treatment I'd give those of my age or younger. To do anything else is condescending - oh you have to let her say/ do as s/he wants because s/he is old. To me that's infantilising them.
Paradoxically perhaps I do believe in giving elders a little bit of extra respect - I find their experiences interesting and that extra respect brings out the best in them.

But now it gets interesting for me. My last elder relative died 9 months ago. I stand at the head of my family as its elder.
So far everyone has been very nice to me - in the family I mean. We'll see how it works out.


Well-known member
Disown them, heh, at least, if they keep doing it for no reason other than to be vindictive/cruel, they aren't worth your time or concern.