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In your opinion should I feel guilty because of this?

Community Member
I just had a bit of an argument with my Grandmother in law. She was saying that retail workers and cafe staff etc should never be able to have an off moment. Eg have a slight tone, seem flustered or unhappy. No matter how customers are behaving towards them. This had me very upset. And I tried to just ignore it. But then the next topic of conversation came up and she said something along the lines about how if someone is being arrogant to you that you shouldn’t stand for it. (I can’t remember exact words and there was a lot more detail in the conversations but I’m trying to be brief). So I said, “you just said retail workers should just put up with it” and mentioned a story about me being in the situation of someone abusing me when I was very young working retail and witnessing people being treated badly in retail on other occasions. She just tried to brush it off saying. I worked as a waitress and I just took it etc.

I got quite upset and left the room. I got as upset as I did for a few reasons. One - that topic upset me, because I don’t like how people think they can treat retail staff like garbage. Two - she can be not very nice to retail and cafe workers herself. Three - she was being hypercritical in my opinion. Four - she kept saying I worked as a waitress for years and I was always nice no matter how I was treated etc.

I’m worried I seemed too crazy about it. I have severe anxiety problems (which she and other family members who were there know). They had been talking about topic after topic of things that were really stressful to me the whole time we were together so I was already on edge. I tried to stay calm. But I just had to voice my opinion. And I think I came across like a crazy person with how upset I got.

There are also some past issues my husband and I have had with his grandparents that had nothing to do with today. And we have been trying to keep piece for his mums sake. So I was on edge about my feelings about that stuff as well. I feel like I just kind of exploded a little. I didn’t yell. But I was obviously cranky. My husband agrees with me. His mum understand why I was upset. But I just feel guilty that I upset his Grandmother and feel like everyone else thinks I’m crazy
13 Replies 13

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi, welcome

An uncomfortable situation.

I think you have over reacted because it was her opinion and she is entitled to it. Whether she delivered her opinion tactfully or not I'd have to be there. She might also have a little dislike for you or be the type that is over critical.

I must also mention, that the better way to handle such open comments is to use with to ask questions. E.g. "and when did you work in hospitality"? Effectively you are getting her to admit her judgement is flawed.

In the following thread it outlines how to use with and questions as a tool.


Beyondblue topic with, the only answer to torment

Ps try not storming out if a room, use with instead or just say "I disagree"


I do think I over reacted to the topic. As I mentioned there is more to me being upset then the actual topic. But I’m not willing to go into those things here.

Ive been feeling bad for getting upset about it. (Which is why I made this post). Mostly because it’s not the real issue I guess. If I’d made my opinion known on some of the bigger things going on. I don’t think I’d feel bad. It’s just that this seemed to be the last straw. As silly as it seems.

I get that it’s her opinion but I’m not going to ignore someone saying that retail workers should just take abuse. I don’t think that is an opinion you should be allowed to have. I think it’s mean. I’m not someone who lets unfairness go.

I’m also not going to stay in a room when my well known triggers are being poked at. I already stayed too long. Which is why I got so worked up. Leaving the room was best. Or I really would have lost it. I start to worry that people think that my anxiety means I’m crazy. I’m usually a good actor. Not letting anyone see how bad I am. But every now and then there’s a crack and it gets out. Especially when I’ve been forced into a social setting by surprise (didn’t mention that in original post). And today was a big crack.

I wrote this post. As my anxiety makes me feel really guilty about things. Even when I think I should speak up when things aren’t right. I feel bad.

I’ll look into what you said. Thank you.

Resolve your feelings by apologising for your reaction (not your beliefs) and offer to revisit the subject for a more in-depth discussion.
If you are brave enough, and to restore your credibility within the family dynamic, see if you can make your apology in the group setting. It's not about admitting defeat or acceptance of opinion, but taking the higher ground to acknowledge what is respectful regardless of any incongruous statements dealt out in family conversations.
I feel that granny-in-law is well aware of your triggers and derives some pleasure from pushing your buttons (based on past encounters also). Your magnanimous gesture will have more of an impact than any combative/defensive approach.
You realise it is not about being right or wrong and I am sure you will feel empowered once your feelings of guilt are addressed.

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi RedRose123,

You have acknowledged that you perhaps didn’t react as calmly as you would have liked. But I don’t think you need to beat yourself up about it. She was voicing her opinion on things, some of which you found offensive given your past history in those areas and you had an opposing view. It’s always best to act calmly in those situations as people then don’t disregard what you say but sometimes tensions can become flared on certain topics. If you feel you should apologize, then feel free to explain to her the reason that you did react that way - ie that you work in retail and thinks it’s very disrespectful and classist for people to think they can treat retail staff as less than etc (perhaps just leave out that you think she treats them badly!). Otherwise I’m sure tensions will simmer down with time, these things happen.

Thanks for your reply. However I’m not going to apologise. I’ve spoken to the other family members who were there. And they don’t think what happened was my fault and think that she should apologise to me.

I know you only have my brief description of what happened to go on. So I understand if you think it was just me being upset in the conversation Etc. And I guess me saying I felt guilty made it seem that way. But my anxiety makes me feel guilt even when I shouldn’t. That’s why I wrote my post to get outside perspective (also written before I spoke to family). My anxiety also plays havoc with my perception sometimes. So I was taking it as more my fault then I should have.

I guess I shouldn’t have worried about posting. I just really needed to vent just after. And I didn’t know where else to go.

Thank you for your thoughts.

Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear RedRose123~

Reading your account of thing I do not think you have anything to reproach yourself about, neither your views nor your reaction. I know it can be very easy to doubt yourself in the face of opposition but here I'm pretty sure it is not warranted.

If you look at this with perspective there are several important points, the first being that this person has been a disruptive influence in the past and you had tried to go along for the sake of family harmony. There are however limits.

For anyone to condone abuse of staff - or anyone else for that matter - is really rather reprehensible and unfeeling. From your own experience as a waitress you know how bad it can be, so to take an opposite view is quite OK, particularly if you know your own past and efforts are being belittled, as was the case here.

Both your MIL and husband agree with you, which is further confirmation you acted reasonably.

If you then remember you do have an anxiety condition, and there will be topics or situations or interactions with people you will find make your anxiety worse, then this has simply been one of them

It looks like it has started your anxiety over your own behavior, something many feel - myself included - even though it is not something you need to worry about (yes I know, pointing out the logic of all this is only a small help).

May I ask if you have sought medical resistance for your anxiety, the reason I'm asking is I simply got worse until I had competent medical support.

Can I suggest that you try to put the incident out of your mind? Many people have strategies for dealing wiht excessive anxiety, and one becomes more adept with it over time.

Why not have a look at


It is awful long but I've found may treasures in it I've adopted and they have helped. I use exercise, books, movies, pets, talking with my partner and other things too. I'd expect you will have a grab-bag of ideas to help you.

Please do come back and talk more


Thanks for your reply. I do wish I’d been calmer. But my anxiety does manifest in agitation a lot. Which is why I left the room. I didn’t want it to get more heated.

I won’t be apologising. As I have spoken to other family that was there and my perspective on things was swayed by how anxious and worked up I was in the moment. I wrote my post not long after the incident. But have been reassured that I wasn’t as bad as I thought.

I always feel excessively guilty about things. I probably should have asked the others before posting. But I felt I needed to vent I guess.

If it’s brought up again. I have thought through a response that I should be able to explain why I was upset a lot better. She’s someone who is likely to just pretend it didn’t happen. But I work better with pre planned responses. So I’ve been going through my thoughts all afternoon so my point is calmer.

Thank you for your thoughts.

Community Member

Thank you. I think you are right. After talking to other family. I just hate upsetting anyone. Even if it’s ‘justified’ I guess.

I feel guilty about everything. I’m a chronic apologiser. Someone could say “oh the bus is late” and I’d say I was sorry.

I have had help on and off. Nothing that I’ve find very effective.

I’ll look at that link though thank you.

And thanks for your kind response.

Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear RedRose123~

No, you were exactly right in posting here without consulting others. I don't know if you can understand but I am saying you need your own life ans well as your interactions with others and posting here was part of it.

It was your decision, it let you know others have similar problems, let you vent (an OK human need) and if you read my post you see that in time with the right help (it has to fit and that is not necessarily the first one) things do get better

That bus will be late and you will have no impulse to do anything but swear at the bus company!

Croix (who takes a dim view of tardy buses too:)