What do you tell people?

Tanya M

Living with an attitude of gratitude
Staff member
I like the way Brene' Brown addresses this issue, she says,
“Our stories are not meant for everyone. Hearing them is a privilege, and we should always ask ourselves this before we share: "Who has earned the right to hear my story?" If we have one or two people in our lives who can sit with us and hold space for our shame stories, and love us for our strengths and struggles, we are incredibly lucky. If we have a friend, or small group of friends, or family who embraces our imperfections, vulnerabilities, and power, and fills us with a sense of belonging, we are incredibly lucky.”
Love this!!! Thanks RE
 

toughlovin

Well-Known Member
I guess we all handle this differently. For me it has been important to find ways to enjoy my life in spite of my sons issues. In the process I have made some new friends. I am no longer a young mother with young kids where the kids are the center of my life..... so I dont focus on my kids as much as when they were young and that is true of my friends as well. And yet the issues with my son are real, present and aer a part of my life and have also shaped who I have become. So if I cant share that piece of me then people will not know me well. I am generally pretty open anyways.
What I have found is that many many people are very empathetic, sympathetic and understand a lot from some of their own experiences. I get a lot of support from those people. And there are some whom I quickly learn do not understand, and those are people who I realize I will never be close to.

I also go to alanon pretty regularly which has been a huge huge help to me.

I do urge those of you who are more private or dont want to share with most people, to find some live support for you in your lfe. It can make such a difference.
 

Nomad

Well-Known Member
PLEASE tell me...if you had a good friend do/ask this, how would you feel/react?

Friend: So, tell me...how is Difficult Child doing? Anything new?
Me: Oh, there are some things. But, I don’t really wish to talk about it right now. Besides, you have a lot on your plate at the moment and I’m sure you don’t want to hear about my troubles right now.
Friend: oh noooo. I want to hear all about it!!! When I hear about your troubles with your Difficult Child , it actually relaxes me and I figure I don’t have it so bad. Please, tell me all about what’s going on!


Still don’t know what to make of that.
I guess because the &$#^ I go through with my Difficult Child is very painful and personal, this reaction felt terrible. She is (was) one of the few people I was honest with. She seem to cheer up and get excited when she realized there was something I was holding back. It felt creepy.
 

toughlovin

Well-Known Member
Hmmmm I have a mixed reaction. On the one hand I get where she is coming from in that someone always has something worse to deal with than you do and there is strange comfort in that. Its like when there was a lot in the news about ISIS and american kids joining and things with my son were bad I would laugh and say well at least he hasnt joined ISIS. Of course I didnt know anyone whose kid had done that and I dont think I would have said that if I did.

On the other hand her saying your troubles relax me and make me feel better so tell me all about it...feels icky. I mean where is the empathy for you?
After she said that I think I would clam up and not tell her a thing.

TL
 

Nomad

Well-Known Member
Yes. I too had a mixed reaction. It is somewhat understandable. The example you gave was a good one.
I still speak with her, but have definitely pulled back.
It was very confusing for me.
It felt bad. It felt creepy. Sigh.

Thank you for your input.
 

JayPee

Sending good vibes...
I think I would hold back a bit when talking with her about Adult Child Issues with your friend. If she asks I would just say something like “things are the same” then throw the ball back at her and ask how her life is going. I don’t know for sure but maybe she used the wrong word “relax” to express herself. Maybe she just meant it took her mind off her own troubles for a minute. You’re her friend so you will figure out if her compassion is genuine or if you are her entertainment. I know I’ve said stupid things I didn’t mean that came out the wrong way.
 

RN0441

100% better than I was but not at 100% yet
My husband always said "misery loves company" when we were dealing with our son's issues.

I agree that she should not have said that or it could have come out the wrong way. I also think sometimes about my problems and how they compare to other people's but I think of other parts of the world where there is really bad stuff happening. I've never gone hungry, homeless etc. I go to the extreme with my thoughts because my pain was so deep that I use that as my gauge of "worse".

I would not like it if someone took pleasure in my pain but I think a small part of that is maybe human nature? I don't think pleasure is the right word here really either. I think we all sigh in relief as "whew glad that's not me" in regard to some things. I know that I do.
 

Tanya M

Living with an attitude of gratitude
Staff member
Friend: So, tell me...how is Difficult Child doing? Anything new?
Me: Oh, there are some things. But, I don’t really wish to talk about it right now. Besides, you have a lot on your plate at the moment and I’m sure you don’t want to hear about my troubles right now.
Friend: oh noooo. I want to hear all about it!!! When I hear about your troubles with your Difficult Child , it actually relaxes me and I figure I don’t have it so bad. Please, tell me all about what’s going on!

WOW!! I find the friends response rather disturbing and sad. To have to "not feel so bad" because of some one else's discomfort say's quite a bit about that person.
The saying "misery loves company" is one thing but to want someone else's misery to be worse than your own is unsettling.

I can only speak for myself but I would never share anything personal with this person again. I would tell this friend that the comment was demeaning and does not show any empathy or support.
 

AppleCori

Well-Known Member
Nomad,

This woman isn’t a “good friend”.

Good friends don’t want to hear about your misfortunes so that they can feel better about themselves or their lives.

This isn’t someone that I would want to confide in.
 

Nomad

Well-Known Member
My husband is upset with this person due to that comment as well as some other oddities over recent years.

I don’t tend to compare my situation with others, good or bad. I understand it’s human nature to do this. I had another friend tell me that she secretly hesitated to speak with me about silliness her son engaged in, because when she compared it with what I was going through, it indeed seemed silly. But, over the many years I started to think her son was perfect , she thought he was perfect, or didn’t think she was close enough to me to share her concerns. It was eye opening. It was actually, rather touching.

What sort of “gets,” to me is with another friend I once blurted out something inappropriate. I could of kicked myself. It was unkind, peculiar and I suppose revealing. I immediately asked for her forgiveness. Yes, our relationship has been ever so slightly “off” since then. It’s embarrassing and shameful. And totally unlike me. And reminds me that we are all fallible.

These are age old questions. If you have a good friend, a very close relationship for decades...I suppose there is a fairly good chance they might mess up royally one day.

My only hope was to apologize profusely when I messed up (different friend) which seemed to help.

The friend that said that weird thing to ME casually said something like “oh you know what I mean...” Unfortunately, there has been some other oddities with this friend that makes me painfully confused. PAINFULLY. So, I’ve pulled back a fair amount.

It felt crummy. I do believe there is a good chance she took or takes pleasure in my discomfort. This feels very crummy. I will re read these posts. They are appreciated.
 

toughlovin

Well-Known Member
Its funny how people are. I admit sometimes problems people have with their kids seem small compared to mine but I wouldnt want someone to not talk to me about them because my problems are bigger.

I have also had people be afraid to ask how my son is doing because they dont want to upset me. When this comes up I tell them I appreciate them asking because they care. Sometimes I have felt people are sick of hearing about the problems so I hold back.
 

Nomad

Well-Known Member
TL..yes...I’ve experienced all those things. In retrospect, having a child with these type of issues seems to influence all sorts of relationships.
We sometimes received enormous (unsolicited) respect from friends and acquaintances. One keeps on keeping on. A few seem to avoid our family. A few might of been confused. Then there is the oddity I spoke of. “At least our kids aren’t like Nomad’s kid! Geez! We look great by comparison!” Or something like this.:(
 

200Meters

A real bustard
[ChickPea]I'm just curious how candid everyone is with their situation?[/quote]

We are very careful who we tell about Youngest's predicament and how much we tell them. Some of Youngest's friends in the neighborhood know what he has done & where he is now. How much their parents & our neighbors know, I'm not sure. Hopefully nothing because we are still very embarrassed and ashamed of what he did. We have one friend who also has...challenging...adult children. Mrs. 200Meters & her talk about once a week. The rabbi at our synagogue knows. A few other people in the community know bits & pieces. I have two friends who I talk / kvetch to. People at my office know & a few people at Mrs. 200 Meters' work know, because we've had to take days off to be in court.

JPG said:
I think we need to grieve the loss of which we always hoped we'd have.

Ooo...this a tough one. Ouch. I look at how well my brother's kids are doing and at what our kids' peers are doing and it's hard not to be jealous or envious.
 

Crayola13

Well-Known Member
[ChickPea]I'm just curious how candid everyone is with their situation?

We are very careful who we tell about Youngest's predicament and how much we tell them. Some of Youngest's friends in the neighborhood know what he has done & where he is now. How much their parents & our neighbors know, I'm not sure. Hopefully nothing because we are still very embarrassed and ashamed of what he did. We have one friend who also has...challenging...adult children. Mrs. 200Meters & her talk about once a week. The rabbi at our synagogue knows. A few other people in the community know bits & pieces. I have two friends who I talk / kvetch to. People at my office know & a few people at Mrs. 200 Meters' work know, because we've had to take days off to be in court.



Ooo...this a tough one. Ouch. I look at how well my brother's kids are doing and at what our kids' peers are doing and it's hard not to be jealous or envious.[/QUOTE]

I would imagine these types of problems are considered worse in your culture than here in the U.S. How often do these situations happen in Israel? Is it widespread like it is here?
 

200Meters

A real bustard
The culture here in Israel is no so different than it is in the US, I imagine. Israel is the de facto 51st state. We are not ultra-orthodox, just plain modern orthodox. We live in a nearly all modern orthodox neighborhood in the Jerusalem 'burbs. Sometimes I think that our neighborhood is like an orthodox Jewish version of Peyton Place, i.e. lots of stuff that that people here try to sweep under the rug keeps managing to bubble up.

Juvenile delinquency is as common here as it is elsewhere I suppose.
 

ChickPea

Well-Known Member
I guess we all handle this differently. For me it has been important to find ways to enjoy my life in spite of my sons issues. In the process I have made some new friends. I am no longer a young mother with young kids where the kids are the center of my life..... so I dont focus on my kids as much as when they were young and that is true of my friends as well. And yet the issues with my son are real, present and aer a part of my life and have also shaped who I have become. So if I cant share that piece of me then people will not know me well. I am generally pretty open anyways.
What I have found is that many many people are very empathetic, sympathetic and understand a lot from some of their own experiences. I get a lot of support from those people. And there are some whom I quickly learn do not understand, and those are people who I realize I will never be close to.

I also go to alanon pretty regularly which has been a huge huge help to me.

I do urge those of you who are more private or dont want to share with most people, to find some live support for you in your lfe. It can make such a difference.

This makes some sense. Glad you have people in real life that are supportive.

PLEASE tell me...if you had a good friend do/ask this, how would you feel/react?

Friend: So, tell me...how is Difficult Child doing? Anything new?
Me: Oh, there are some things. But, I don’t really wish to talk about it right now. Besides, you have a lot on your plate at the moment and I’m sure you don’t want to hear about my troubles right now.
Friend: oh noooo. I want to hear all about it!!! When I hear about your troubles with your Difficult Child , it actually relaxes me and I figure I don’t have it so bad. Please, tell me all about what’s going on!

So this reminds me of my "friend" who had struggles with her daughter - in fact, our daughters are friends (UGH). We are different, however, in ways like - she said she would NEVER take on a grandchild, where I'm doing exactly that. I'm not saying either one of us is right or wrong, we just aren't the same person.

But this made me think of something from our last group gathering (just social fun with some moms of grown kids). She kept asking me pointed questions in front of everyone about my grandbaby situation, and then asked if my daughter was a good mom. I said "yes and no" - then she proceeded to tell me a story that made her impressed with her own daughter and how she was actually turning out to be a good mom.

Now, I happen to have first-hand experience with her daughter and having to literally force her to not drive home with her baby while she was so inebriated that she threw up in the bathroom moments before attempting to get behind the wheel with the baby in the back seat.

So as much as it made me want to jump across the table at this person, it also made me wonder what kind of denial she was in. I'm sure that's just how she copes, but I'm not really thrilled to have her comparing our daughter's idiocy to make herself feel better.
 

ckay87

Member
PLEASE tell me...if you had a good friend do/ask this, how would you feel/react?

Friend: So, tell me...how is Difficult Child doing? Anything new?
Me: Oh, there are some things. But, I don’t really wish to talk about it right now. Besides, you have a lot on your plate at the moment and I’m sure you don’t want to hear about my troubles right now.
Friend: oh noooo. I want to hear all about it!!! When I hear about your troubles with your Difficult Child , it actually relaxes me and I figure I don’t have it so bad. Please, tell me all about what’s going on!


Still don’t know what to make of that.
I guess because the &$#^ I go through with my Difficult Child is very painful and personal, this reaction felt terrible. She is (was) one of the few people I was honest with. She seem to cheer up and get excited when she realized there was something I was holding back. It felt creepy.

True story: I just love to visit homes that are messier than mine. I can relax and can feel better about my own organization skills. This is true, but holy heck, I would N-E-V-E-R say this out loud to the homeowner!!! Can you imagine??

Anyway.... your scenario is exactly like that. That wasn't a cool thing to say, in my opinion.
 

beebz

Member
I'm just curious how candid everyone is with their situation?

Ya know, there was this one time, when it was 100% truth, I would reply, "one son sells drugs legally and the other sells drugs illegally" believe that? It was true, I had a son who dabbled in pharmacy and worked in pharmacies, but changed his career. So, that was my answer. FF 15 years and its, "B is living life like a novel/dream/success/movie" climbing mountains from the US to Italy and everything in between and "M" is homeless. period.
Their mouths drop. Others, I wouldn't give the time of day to about myself let alone my family. You know, those fake "hi how ya doin" hello's you get when you know they really don't give a damn.
Basically, I've told the truth all my life. I can't lie. I've fibbed before, tiny fibs, lol, whats a "fib". Oh, thats funny, I just looked up "fib" - its still a lie, an "unimportant" lie - how funny is that.
 

Chasejazz

“No story is a straight line... ".
I'm just curious how candid everyone is with their situation?

I think a few years ago I held things closer to the hip and didn't want to disclose the tomfoolery that encompassed me every waking day. But, as I get older, as my kids get older, I feel a stronger draw to be more honest with people. In that, I'm surprised at what other will share with me regarding their own situations.

Full disclosure - it's generally not nearly as deep as what I wallow in. Honestly, that makes me a bit sad. The closest I have to someone who has been where I've been is a friend who lost her son a couple years back to a senseless act of violence - nonetheless, his lifestyle fed into the predicament that ended his life.

I try to be as matter-of-fact about things and not bash my kid for what's going on, but I also feel like I can't have meaningful friendships if I am constantly holding back on my situation.
I know this is an old thread, bit I'm the same way, Chick.
I don't talk about my kids to 'new' friends, because that's too deep of a subject and I really don't want to be judged by people who have no experience with what I'm dealing with.
Even people I've known for some time, who are close with their children don't understand, so I more or less leave it alone.
It's hard.
 
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