Post # 1
Let me preface this by saying that my grandma is a wonderful woman and I love her dearly.
But man, has she become “outspoken” with age. Not that she had much of a filter to begin with, but these past few years she sure seems to think that she’s doing people a favour when she tells them exactly what she thinks!
Whenever I’ve gained weight (it’s only 10 lbs, not like I’ve doubled in size) my grandma tells me that I’ve gotten fat and I eat too much. Yes, she LITERALLY said those words last night. Words such as “spare tire” also make it into the conversation. She just can’t just shut up about it and drop it.
But the kicker is this:
1) Last year when i lost this same 10 lbs she told me that I was too skinny.
2) Also last year when I lost this same 10 lbs she told me that I’d obviously gain it back again (to her credit she was right, but I still don’t see how this was helpful. And just in case anyone was wondering, no I didn’t do any sort of fad diet to lose the weight.)
3) In the same breath that she tells me that I’m fat because I eat too much she gets upset that I don’t get a second serving of dinner. Then she puts cookies on the table.
It’s really just insane. My feelings aren’t hurt exactly, I’m not especially sensitive about my weight. She’s like this on many issues, essentially giving her negative opinion as if it’s some incredibly helpful revelation that will magically change things.
I just don’t understand what drives a person to be like this. Does anyone have a psych theory that can help me put this in perspective?
Also, anyone that wants to commiserate about going back and forth on the same 10 lbs or so is welcome to chime in! Doesn’t it suck? Especially being up the weight in the summer, boo! I don’t feel bikini ready.
Post # 3
Haha, I just took Social Psych (I’m a 3rd year Psych major) but we didn’t talk about this. However, I work at a nursing home and I feel that uniquely qualifies me to comment. 😉
I think it’s 1 part boredom/loneliness (saying rude things gets attention), 1 part that they’re grumpy because they’re usually in pain, can’t get around as much, and miss independence, 1 part “might as well” philosophy, since they’re older and aren’t so worried about social mores, and 1 part that they’ve gotten so far behind the times that they just can’t believe the state of the world. Seriously, we have a small home and the main home, and one of the residents at the small home asked me “if (black people) had ever tried to get in at the bigger home.” After I was done stuttering at both his blatant racism and apparent belief that segregation still exists, I told him that, of course, we have people of many races, African Americans included.
Honestly, as much as it drives me INSANE (nothing I cook for them is ever.right.) it’s a lonely life. Most of our residents, at least, are either divorced or widowed. Their kids rarely come to see them and they can’t get out much. Many of them are depressed and have been on anti d’s for years, but don’t get any kind of therapy.
Post # 4
psych was my major (well psychology and govt double major and my thesis was social psychology based) – and thats not a “theory” thats just “old”
once you reach a certain age (for some people its 80, and for a few happy ones, its like 18….) you dont really care what other people think anymore. so call it not having a filter,b ut its really not giving two hoots whether or not the person you are talking to has feelings. they figure if they have lived this long its their right to say whats on their mind – because really at that age, what are you gonna do? quit talking to them? they do it because folks let them get away with it 🙂
i usually ignore comments from my “elders” that are hateful or just plain mean. that includes my mother and both grandmothers.
sometimes though i have to speak up and tell them that being old doesnt mean that the rules of politeness goes out the window !!!!
Post # 5
What you’re saying does make a lot of sense lilyfaith. We lost my grandpa a few years ago now and that’s really had a terrible effect on her. Between that and the physical problems that come with aging and I believe that she’s becoming depressed.
But you’d think she’d have the sense in her head to not be mean to the people who love her and spend time with her! Sheesh! I guess the mind is not always rational.
Probably if I call her more often she’ll lay off.
Post # 6
They’ve got nothing to lose, I suppose. 🙂
Post # 7
@ spaganya – ha! No kidding about older people feeling very entitled to their opinions.
She litterally seems to think that her opinion is the gold standard and that her comments are helpful. When she said I was fat last night my sister told her that wasn’t nice to say and my grandma said, “It’s good for her to hear it.”
I know that sounds so hateful when I write it out, but really she’s just outspoken (and maybe a little nutty). We really do love each other tons and I do honestly think she (misguidedly) thinks she’s doing me a favour as if I don’t own a mirror or something.
Post # 8
I have been with many elderly people, many of them family, and I can tell you they are not all so outspoken. I think @lilyfaith has a good point that it is a call for attention. They don’t have much going on in their life and they are looking for some action. If they tended to be “too honest” in their younger years, they are even more so as they get older. All we can do is have a sense of humor about it.
Post # 9
I’m Health Science Major and in my Aging and Health class we learned the term “gatekeeper”. All people have these thoughts they just have a “gatekeeper” that stops them from saying it aloud. Older adults tend to lose their “gatekeeper” so they say whatever crosses their minds. In many cases I doubt they are doing it to be hurtful or malicious.
Post # 10
Old people can be so mean. Working in customer service and serving them can be challenging. Someone once said that when you get old, you know who you are, but that doesn’t mean you are right. I think they just assume they are and feel entitled and let the flood gates open. I ususally just ignore them, but sometimes my Gramps can get so out of hand, yelling when everyone else is calm. We usually sort of laugh to keep sane when he isn’t looking. It is good to be open minded and aware of others. I do not prefer tactless diarrhea mouth people.
I think many of you are spot on with your points- I bet a lot of it is for attention. They are bored, and they also tend to think they know because they have lived through it all. And I think they do just stop caring what others think. But not all old people act like that. I love the sweet ones!
Post # 11
I didn’t major in psych, but I think it’s because they have gotten so old, and finally feel they can say what they want. They held their tongue when they were young I guess.
I ignore them, sometimes I say mean stuff back.
Post # 12
I’ve worked at a nursing home for several years so I have MANY a story about older people being straight mean lol. I feel bad but some of it is funny, cause it’s things that most people would probably LIKE to say but won’t.
When I got engaged last year the residents were asking about it, and this other girl mentioned that she just got engaged and this little old lady leaned towards me basically yelling “who the hell would marry her? has she ever looked in a mirror!?” It was awful cause the girl heard all of it and she started crying 🙁
Post # 13
Although I am not quite elderly YET, I have become incresingly outspoken — although I have yet to tell anyone they are fat. I was outspoken to begin with, or what other people call “blunt”. I tell it like it is, although I rarely bother to say anything to people I know don’t give a flying frisbee what I think. However many older people get the feeling like they are invisible, or that their opinion no longer counts and they think they have to speak up in order to be heard.
Post # 14
I read an article awhile ago that said something similar to what AisforAmanda mentioned–the part of their brain that acts as a social “filter” changes.
Post # 15
@missfireslayer: I feel like working at a nursing home has given me a much stronger spine. I try to cook really good food from scratch for the residents, and they’ll still say awful things about it. It stings, but you really learn to stand strong.
Post # 16
@lilyfaith: oh yeah seriously. This one little old lady told me to “Fuc* off” when I asked what her tattoo initials meant lol. I was like GEEEEEEEEEEEEZE.