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Hi, I am new to veggie board and I am not sure if a post like this has been posted or not. But, I am finding it very hard having an meat eating family and friends. I try and make them see the horrible ways of farming and the cruel torture that animals are put through in order for them to have meat or dairy on their plate, but I get told that I am making them feel guilty or forcing my opinions on them. However, they all make jokes about me being vegan which I get very offended about and I am not allowed to share my opinion or answer back. For example, I was explaining how I might be going to a vegan meet up this summer and a member of my family said "I know a mate who could bring their burger van" this upset me so much and I got into a huge argument with my family, which all of them stuck up for the person who made this joke. Also, I volunteer at animal rescue centre, and one day we were working with pigs and talking about the cruel ways which they are treated in factory farming, I then came home and my family were eating pork. I had to go upstairs and cry and I feel like I really need to move house away from my family.


I hope someone can help me, I don't have people which I can talk to about these things.
 

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I think you need to stop talking about the animals to them. I think because you do that they will make weird jokes. I mean they can not think of legit reasons to eat meat to tell you so they just make stupid jokes. Not that it is bad to talk about animals like that. It is good. But in this case it could be in your disadvantage. I don't know how to explain it but think you understand. Talk to people about the animals who like to talk about them and won't make stupid jokes.

And the reason you need to quit doing this first for a while is so they can't say "We are getting tired of your animal talk." See where I am going? I mean if they stop after you do, you do not have to talk to them about it. It will be okay then and you will be happy I guess. I mean you and your family do not really always get along so talking could be uncomfy. But if you stopped for a while and they didn't stop it is time to talk to them. It depends if your family are people you can sit down with and (want to) talk to. I would just raise my voice and tell they to shut up about my choices since I shut up about theirs too. But that depends on how they are and how you are or feel. I don't know if this is the best advise but this is what I would give my friends. (Omg my first long message :D, I am so bad in long messags.)
 

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Hi, I am new to veggie board and I am not sure if a post like this has been posted or not. But, I am finding it very hard having an meat eating family and friends. I try and make them see the horrible ways of farming and the cruel torture that animals are put through in order for them to have meat or dairy on their plate, but I get told that I am making them feel guilty or forcing my opinions on them. However, they all make jokes about me being vegan which I get very offended about and I am not allowed to share my opinion or answer back. For example, I was explaining how I might be going to a vegan meet up this summer and a member of my family said "I know a mate who could bring their burger van" this upset me so much and I got into a huge argument with my family, which all of them stuck up for the person who made this joke. Also, I volunteer at animal rescue centre, and one day we were working with pigs and talking about the cruel ways which they are treated in factory farming, I then came home and my family were eating pork. I had to go upstairs and cry and I feel like I really need to move house away from my family.


I hope someone can help me, I don't have people which I can talk to about these things.
There are LOADS of posts like yours on these boards, so don't worry....At least you're not alone in your situation! We've all had varied experiences (and some success) with omni family, friends and partners. So there's going to be loads of information and advice coming your way soon, I'm sure!

How do you bring up your veganism? How do you broach the subject of Animal Rights and the way animals are treated?

I'm not saying there's anything wrong with what you're doing. But sometimes, when something isn't working, it's good to look at whether there's a better way to do it.

The other thing to remember, is that you could keep quiet about veganism and someone would still have a problem as long as you they know you're a vegan. My family has been pretty much okay with what I do. Until this last Christmas where one of my relatives kept acting as though I was shoving it down his throat. I didn't. I made my food, I ate my food, everyone else was allowed to try my food. I didn't make any comments about the amount of animal bits that were on the table, I merely asked that my spoons be kept in the bowls I'd put them in. That was it.

There's not a lot you can do about those people, though I find looking them straight in the eye and saying "I don't discuss food politics while people are eating, I find it rude to the guests. If you would like to ask me questions afterwards, I'm happy to discuss it. Not fight over it". But then, I'm talking to someone who's on my 'level', y'know? If I was younger or they were older, we might have an issue.

Sometimes with interactions it comes down to not showing how angry you are, but showing how much something hurt you. I'll have perfectly lovely people, who wouldn't dream of hurting my feelings make insensitive jokes.... And instead of getting angry, I ask "Why would you say that?" or "Why is that funny to you?". Then they have to explain it. Everyone knows a joke that you have to explain isn't necessarily a funny joke. I don't ask the joke angrily, I let them see how sad it's made me. Then they have to think about that.


Another thing I think you need to think about, is that not a lot of people 'get' it, so they make jokes. It doesn't necessarily mean they're bad people. I used to make jokes about vegans and vegetarians, I thought they were idiots....And here I am.

I'm sure your family weren't like "Oh, they have a pig at the sanctuary, we'd better have pork to annoy and upset her!"

In saying ALL of that, it's awesome to not live with meat eaters. It's just easier and having a few vego friends to talk to about things, to swap recipes with, it really does help.

I hope things improve!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you! Yeah that's great advise. I wish it was more easier than that though. I have sat down with them before to talk about it but because there are 3 meat eaters and one vegan, I feel as if my point never gets through to them. My mum is very supportive but she will always stick up for the meat eaters. I have stopped trying to talk about how animals are treated but I still have a lot of jokes and nasty comments made to me, and I have to sit and take it every time. I understand that I cant change their diet as that is not what they want but when I see the horrible things that happen to animals, I feel that I must do something/talk about it people. I feel ignorant if I don't say anything. Thank you so much for replying!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
There are LOADS of posts like yours on these boards, so don't worry....At least you're not alone in your situation! We've all had varied experiences (and some success) with omni family, friends and partners. So there's going to be loads of information and advice coming your way soon, I'm sure!

How do you bring up your veganism? How do you broach the subject of Animal Rights and the way animals are treated?

I'm not saying there's anything wrong with what you're doing. But sometimes, when something isn't working, it's good to look at whether there's a better way to do it.

The other thing to remember, is that you could keep quiet about veganism and someone would still have a problem as long as you they know you're a vegan. My family has been pretty much okay with what I do. Until this last Christmas where one of my relatives kept acting as though I was shoving it down his throat. I didn't. I made my food, I ate my food, everyone else was allowed to try my food. I didn't make any comments about the amount of animal bits that were on the table, I merely asked that my spoons be kept in the bowls I'd put them in. That was it.

There's not a lot you can do about those people, though I find looking them straight in the eye and saying "I don't discuss food politics while people are eating, I find it rude to the guests. If you would like to ask me questions afterwards, I'm happy to discuss it. Not fight over it". But then, I'm talking to someone who's on my 'level', y'know? If I was younger or they were older, we might have an issue.

Sometimes with interactions it comes down to not showing how angry you are, but showing how much something hurt you. I'll have perfectly lovely people, who wouldn't dream of hurting my feelings make insensitive jokes.... And instead of getting angry, I ask "Why would you say that?" or "Why is that funny to you?". Then they have to explain it. Everyone knows a joke that you have to explain isn't necessarily a funny joke. I don't ask the joke angrily, I let them see how sad it's made me. Then they have to think about that.


Another thing I think you need to think about, is that not a lot of people 'get' it, so they make jokes. It doesn't necessarily mean they're bad people. I used to make jokes about vegans and vegetarians, I thought they were idiots....And here I am.

I'm sure your family weren't like "Oh, they have a pig at the sanctuary, we'd better have pork to annoy and upset her!"

In saying ALL of that, it's awesome to not live with meat eaters. It's just easier and having a few vego friends to talk to about things, to swap recipes with, it really does help.

I hope things improve!
That's great advise thank you:) When I bring up the animal rights conversation its usually because at college I have had to watch a video in welfare (I am doing an animal management course) which is about animals being slaughtered and what happens behind the close doors. Usually I would speak about this, without being forceful, just discussing what I did at college, but this is when they accuse me of forcing my opinions or making them guilty. Sometimes I get really angry because I feel that I should speak up for animals because they haven't got a voice, but over the past week I have saw that I am going the wrong way about it.


At the moment, I feel very lonely and that I have no one who understands me and it's really getting to me. I also have bad anxiety so it over plays in my head a lot, and I make it into a worse deal than it already is.
 

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That's great advise thank you:) When I bring up the animal rights conversation its usually because at college I have had to watch a video in welfare (I am doing an animal management course) which is about animals being slaughtered and what happens behind the close doors. Usually I would speak about this, without being forceful, just discussing what I did at college, but this is when they accuse me of forcing my opinions or making them guilty. Sometimes I get really angry because I feel that I should speak up for animals because they haven't got a voice, but over the past week I have saw that I am going the wrong way about it.


At the moment, I feel very lonely and that I have no one who understands me and it's really getting to me. I also have bad anxiety so it over plays in my head a lot, and I make it into a worse deal than it already is.
Oh wow, that's.... actually awesome!

I don't mean the anxiety, or the reactions, but I LOVE that you have the opportunity to talk about animals in that way from that unique perspective. Not many people get to do that, we have to wait till someone's tried our vegan cookies and then we say "Yeah, it was vegan, vegan you guys! So how about swapping out the dairy for soy, HUH HUH?!" :p (Okay I don't exactly do that, but sometimes it gets pretty close to that, ha ha!).

The other great thing about this, is that (I think) when someone feels guilty it says more about them than it does about you. It means on some level, they're feeling uncomfortable. Sometimes that's the first step. Being vegan and vegetarian, we make people uncomfortable and that's good. When they're uncomfortable, even though they'll lash out it also means they're thinking more deeply about the subject. The anger is sometimes as far as a lot of people get, but not always.

I know what you mean by anxiety though, quite a few of us on this board have dealt with it (we had a thread on anxiety at one point). I've woken up screaming and crying from dreams. With general anxiety, if you can see a counsellor then I recommend it. Honestly, it doesn't even have to be a vegan thing, it's just a being a human thing and needing the right tools to deal with it.

If you don't want to or can't, then maybe look into what's called 'conscious meditation'. It helps remind your brain that you're no longer in that situation any more. It takes a bit of practise and it doesn't work all the time, but I've found it really helpful in reducing the amount and severity of panic attacks. There's probably a few guides online.


And start reading. I'm not sure how far along you are in your journey, but "Why We Eat Pigs, Wear Cows And Love Dogs" by Dr Melanie Joy, saved my SANITY when I had to deal with my omni family. It also helped me have more compassion for them.


The best news of all? You do have people who understand you, us! This board is full of lots of people with different opinions, but we all agree we don't want to eat animals and we all have family/friends who don't understand why and say stupid things. It happens so often there's a thread compiling a LIST of the stupid things they say :p

I know it's lonely. But if you can find some A.R groups at your Uni, you might feel a bit better! And remember you have the people at the rescue centre where you work, that's amazing!

I don't know what kind of family you have, but don't rule them out as being there for you too even if they eat animals. My family give me a hard time, but when I let my mum know the teasing was really getting to me, she was the first to defend me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Oh wow, that's.... actually awesome!

I don't mean the anxiety, or the reactions, but I LOVE that you have the opportunity to talk about animals in that way from that unique perspective. Not many people get to do that, we have to wait till someone's tried our vegan cookies and then we say "Yeah, it was vegan, vegan you guys! So how about swapping out the dairy for soy, HUH HUH?!" :p (Okay I don't exactly do that, but sometimes it gets pretty close to that, ha ha!).

The other great thing about this, is that (I think) when someone feels guilty it says more about them than it does about you. It means on some level, they're feeling uncomfortable. Sometimes that's the first step. Being vegan and vegetarian, we make people uncomfortable and that's good. When they're uncomfortable, even though they'll lash out it also means they're thinking more deeply about the subject. The anger is sometimes as far as a lot of people get, but not always.

I know what you mean by anxiety though, quite a few of us on this board have dealt with it (we had a thread on anxiety at one point). I've woken up screaming and crying from dreams. With general anxiety, if you can see a counsellor then I recommend it. Honestly, it doesn't even have to be a vegan thing, it's just a being a human thing and needing the right tools to deal with it.

If you don't want to or can't, then maybe look into what's called 'conscious meditation'. It helps remind your brain that you're no longer in that situation any more. It takes a bit of practise and it doesn't work all the time, but I've found it really helpful in reducing the amount and severity of panic attacks. There's probably a few guides online.


And start reading. I'm not sure how far along you are in your journey, but "Why We Eat Pigs, Wear Cows And Love Dogs" by Dr Melanie Joy, saved my SANITY when I had to deal with my omni family. It also helped me have more compassion for them.


The best news of all? You do have people who understand you, us! This board is full of lots of people with different opinions, but we all agree we don't want to eat animals and we all have family/friends who don't understand why and say stupid things. It happens so often there's a thread compiling a LIST of the stupid things they say :p

I know it's lonely. But if you can find some A.R groups at your Uni, you might feel a bit better! And remember you have the people at the rescue centre where you work, that's amazing!

I don't know what kind of family you have, but don't rule them out as being there for you too even if they eat animals. My family give me a hard time, but when I let my mum know the teasing was really getting to me, she was the first to defend me.
I used to have counselling for my anxiety a couple of years ago and it has made me a lot better. I still have moments though and the odd panic attack but I am dealing with it a lot better. I think it has became more of issue since becoming vegan because people decide to make an opinion on you just because you're vegan, and it over plays in my mind that no body likes me and it makes me get very defensive with people when my veganism gets brought into conversation. And YES! I started mindful meditation and I love it! It's really helped me!


Although its great that I get to bring up the conversation because of the course I do, it also has it's disadvantages. Another thing that I find extremely hard to keep my calm on and to keep my mouth shut, is when we watch these horrible videos on animals being slaughtered and all the meat eaters in the room won't watch it or they say how horrible it is, and then eat meat for their dinner, whilst classing themselves as "animal lovers". Some days I have so much anger towards meat eaters and it becomes extra sensitive to me than it does on other days. I want to be able to not get so angry about it, but at the moment I am finding it very hard.


Some of my friends say to me that they have loads of respect for me for being vegan, but then make offensive and disrespectful comments, whether it is intentional or not it really bothers me. I understand that many people don't 'get' veganism but it annoys me when I go to college with people, who know what happens in the farming industry and they can still class themselves as "animal lovers" and can make nasty comments at me, but if I mention anything, then I am a terrible friend and I am forcing all my opinions on them.


I understand that I need to stop being so angry towards these things but I find it so hard, and I feel like I need to talk to other vegans to help me.
 

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I have been a vegetarian for a long time, and more recently became totally vegan (within the past year). I personally take a more 'lead by example' approach and have given up on expecting 'miracles' by being argumentative or particularly vocal. As my grandmother always said "you catch more flies with honey than you do vinegar". I also base my reaction by the 'type' of person. I don't mind having a constructive/respectful discussion any more than I mind being the bigger person and moving a potential argument along to a more neutral topic.

My husband, while still an omni, eats mostly vegetarian now and on rare occasions has meat when we eat out or he'll occasionally buy a pepperoni pizza or something. When we first moved in together I told him straight up "you can cook meat, but I won't cook it for you and you'll need to clean any dishes it creates". He hates cooking, so he typically just eats what I make :D I don't harass him about it if he wants to make a meat dish, so long as he makes it and cleans up after it (which he is very respectful about doing). This arrangement has been working fine for us for almost 8 years, and in that time he has gradually eaten less and less meat because he now sees veg food is not just twigs and berries and is in fact nutritious, delicious and filling. Being the type of person he is, if I were to be pushy with him, he would just get his back up and eat twice as much meat just to prove a point (as a lot of omnis will). When we have guests, I don't even bother to bring up I'll only be making vegan food. I just make it, serve it and I've yet to have someone ask when I prep a delicious 3 course meal and bake a dessert "wheres the meat?". I find if I don't make a big deal about it, other people won't either (unless they are truly rude argumentative you know whats). In fact, I don't think most people even "realize" or care that it's veg/vegan because it's filling and tastes good. My family make fun of me mercilessly and have for 16 years since I went veg. I just take the "be the bigger person" stance with them and when they want to start an argument (which is almost any time I'm around them for more than an hour or 2 lol), I just say flat out "I'm not rehashing this" and move onto a different subject altogether. I know very we'll they will never go veg or vegan and I will never go back to being omni, so why argue about it with them? Unnecessary drama IMO. My in laws and friends are more open minded and have asked questions and had respectful discussions with me about it over the years. Several have done similar to my husband, cut back drastically on meat consumption or adopted "vegetarian until 4" or "meatless mondays" type diets. I say, any step in the right direction is better than nothing! I know not everyone agrees with taking a peaceful approach to vegetarianism/veganism, but I *personally* have found over the years it is the best way to get stubborn people to make big changes (even if they aren't total converts) or to simply avoid needless arguments.
 

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I have been a vegetarian for a long time, and more recently became totally vegan (within the past year). I personally take a more 'lead by example' approach and have given up on expecting 'miracles' by being argumentative or particularly vocal. As my grandmother always said "you catch more flies with honey than you do vinegar". I also base my reaction by the 'type' of person. I don't mind having a constructive/respectful discussion any more than I mind being the bigger person and moving a potential argument along to a more neutral topic.

My husband, while still an omni, eats mostly vegetarian now and on rare occasions has meat when we eat out or he'll occasionally buy a pepperoni pizza or something. When we first moved in together I told him straight up "you can cook meat, but I won't cook it for you and you'll need to clean any dishes it creates". He hates cooking, so he typically just eats what I make :D I don't harass him about it if he wants to make a meat dish, so long as he makes it and cleans up after it (which he is very respectful about doing). This arrangement has been working fine for us for almost 8 years, and in that time he has gradually eaten less and less meat because he now sees veg food is not just twigs and berries and is in fact nutritious, delicious and filling. Being the type of person he is, if I were to be pushy with him, he would just get his back up and eat twice as much meat just to prove a point (as a lot of omnis will). When we have guests, I don't even bother to bring up I'll only be making vegan food. I just make it, serve it and I've yet to have someone ask when I prep a delicious 3 course meal and bake a dessert "wheres the meat?". I find if I don't make a big deal about it, other people won't either (unless they are truly rude argumentative you know whats). In fact, I don't think most people even "realize" or care that it's veg/vegan because it's filling and tastes good. My family make fun of me mercilessly and have for 16 years since I went veg. I just take the "be the bigger person" stance with them and when they want to start an argument (which is almost any time I'm around them for more than an hour or 2 lol), I just say flat out "I'm not rehashing this" and move onto a different subject altogether. I know very we'll they will never go veg or vegan and I will never go back to being omni, so why argue about it with them? Unnecessary drama IMO. My in laws and friends are more open minded and have asked questions and had respectful discussions with me about it over the years. Several have done similar to my husband, cut back drastically on meat consumption or adopted "vegetarian until 4" or "meatless mondays" type diets. I say, any step in the right direction is better than nothing! I know not everyone agrees with taking a peaceful approach to vegetarianism/veganism, but I *personally* have found over the years it is the best way to get stubborn people to make big changes (even if they aren't total converts) or to simply avoid needless arguments.
Thank you for leaving a reply! I know, this is the approach I need to take. I find it quite hard though with the silly and nasty things that come out of meat eaters mouths. But I do understand that if I take a more peaceful approach then it wouldn't be seen as a big deal, as half the time I am the one making a big deal out of it.
 

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Hi, I am new to veggie board and I am not sure if a post like this has been posted or not. But, I am finding it very hard having an meat eating family and friends. I try and make them see the horrible ways of farming and the cruel torture that animals are put through in order for them to have meat or dairy on their plate, but I get told that I am making them feel guilty or forcing my opinions on them. However, they all make jokes about me being vegan which I get very offended about and I am not allowed to share my opinion or answer back. For example, I was explaining how I might be going to a vegan meet up this summer and a member of my family said "I know a mate who could bring their burger van" this upset me so much and I got into a huge argument with my family, which all of them stuck up for the person who made this joke. Also, I volunteer at animal rescue centre, and one day we were working with pigs and talking about the cruel ways which they are treated in factory farming, I then came home and my family were eating pork. I had to go upstairs and cry and I feel like I really need to move house away from my family.


I hope someone can help me, I don't have people which I can talk to about these things.
The relationship between a vegan and their family can be difficult, you are not alone!

A famous AR activist once said that getting your family to understand the vegan message is 1,000 times harder than getting the average stranger to understand. I would suggest that you just try to ignore your family's comments. In this case you are right and they are wrong so just keep that in the back of your mind. This can feel odd as you have been raised by your parents and might view them as the benchmark for right/ wrong. Unfortunately this is not the case so just remember that your awareness has evolved to a state beyond theirs. Don't say that to them obviously, but this fact might help you...
 
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