Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Clarifying a past entry

Susan left me a good comment and instead of droning on in a reply, I thought I would make a new entry. This is in response to the one about "the ones left standing."

Drawing the line is definitely the key here. There are some people that really stepped up but  put their feet in their mouth on occasion. I take that with a grain of salt. Mostly. :-) I complain about it, of course, but I keep seeing them. I'm sure that oftentimes they, like I probably would in that situation, look back on what they said and think, "What the hell was I thinking?"

I guess what I was talking about in this entry are the people who really, REALLY overstep their boundaries and make you feel worse  and continue to do so.

The ones who hung around and kept in touch but proceeded to tell you that keeping your child's things, visiting the cemetery, and hanging on to the sympathy cards was "stupid." (Two weeks after the death.)

The ones who hung around yet, when you told them that you still didn't have a cause of death yet, took it upon themselves to call the coroner to see if you were actually lying about it.

The ones who hung around and talked to you about your feelings and how you were coping and then posted about those private things in Facebook, telling people in their status updates that you were "feeling suicidal."

The ones who probed for details about the death and made you relive that day over and over, just to satisfy their curiosity.

(These, by the way, are all real life examples.)

These are the people, in my life at least, that might have been good for the body count but were NOT good for my mental health.

In response to Susan's comment about decorating for Christmas...I am very defensive about this. Time and time again, in SIDS groups, I have been criticized for doing this. I have actually had people tell me that I must not be really grieving if I was able to decorate. (Let me note, this was NOT what Susan was referring to.)

Yes, we decorated after Toby died. We decorated a LOT. We were actually on our town's Holiday Home Tour and half the county came out and viewed our house. There were two reasons for this...

1. We had Sam.
2. We needed something to do. 


Susan said...

I can't understand why people care whether you decorated for Christmas or not. It was your baby that died and if that was the way you wanted to handle your grief, what is it to anyone else?

Wish I could pop over to talk this through over a glass of wine. Some of the examples you talk about are just weird - abusive, stalkerish... I'm really sorry you've had to deal with these. At the other end of the spectrum, there are the pretty-much-great folk - you know - the ones who have been there and been supportive, but occassionally drop a clanger. I think that we can mostly forgive that.

The thing is, out of the people who didn't run for the hills (say 20% of everyone you know), that top category of people are mostly-good with the odd bad moment is alarmingly small. A handful. So what do you do with the middle ground?

The lady from church who invited us for dinner, for example? I am pretty certain she thinks she is helping me and is sympathetic. Yet she doesn't make the odd stupid comment I could forgive her for - she actually is really difficult for me. She organises the local mums and tots group, and her continual suggestions that I shoudl be grateful for the life C had, that she lived longer than all the babies that die at birth or in the womb etc., or that I should trust in God and so on have a really negative impact on me.

I know she means well - but I get tired of hearing people mean well. Then on the other hand, at least she didn't do nothing....

It's hard to say because we're not together chatting, but I could imagine similar issues around your friends who posted you were suicidal on facebook. Yes, their behaviour is entirely inappropriate and unhelpful and distressing. My observation though, is that when people make an attempt to support someone who has suffered an extreme trauma, they feel they are going through "something" awful simply by supporting you, ie. it is terrible for them... and unable to bear the burden alone, they start to blab to each other to share the responsibility.

I think the difficult thing for me is that whislt it is defintely bad behaviour, they have possibly only arrived in this position because they are trying - whilst other people have buggered off entirely.

I don't know - it should be like a school report card - and everyone can have a mark for effort and one for attainment :)

Anyway... whittering again!

Rebecca said...

I think we should drink more. That might help. :-P

Maxie's Mommy said...

I have a couple of people like the ones Rebecca describes. They soak up your pain, make it their own and then almost expect you to support them through their handling of your nightmare. They need to constantly look for your blessings and then they want lots of feedback ( positive AND negative, it seems). Pretty crappy. You know they "care" but they are so much emotional work it seems better to dump them than appreciate their "empathy".

Katie (Luke GrantsMom) said...

Luke died November 22nd and come the frist of December we decorated for Christmas. Mostly because of Junell and like you said because you need to do something. When one is deep in grief sometimes going through the "normal" motions is all you have. Also, when you have another child who is dealing with all the tears and grief surrounding them, you need them to have the joy. There are some people who just want to look how what you are doing is not the "proper way to grieve". It makes me sad to think that some of the people are coming from a similar loss. I expect more understanding from them. I am glad you continue to look at the relationships that do you harm and do not offer you support, love, and understanding. You deserve to have all these from those in your life.