Done Being Polite

Everyone has an opinion. I always knew this was true but am amazed at how this becomes even more of an issue when your Mom is diagnosed with MS. Everyone has an opinion about Mom’s MS- they have an opinion about to handle the disease, how we should act, how Mom should be treated, what we are doing right and what we are doing wrong.

I was told this weekend via someone else that a comment had been made referring to how we are handling Mom’s MS. Yes this would classify as gossip on their end and gossip on my end. I also don’t care. The comment: “Their Mom is just really not doing well and I don’t think any of them are taking it seriously.”

My initial reaction: Are you kidding me?

But as I write this, I have let it settle and I’ve given it some thought. There are a number of issues I have with this that I have been thinking about. First of all, why do people feel like they have a right to tell us how to handle our Mom? Is it because of our age? Yes Sister K and I are 25 and 28 but that doesn’t mean we are children. I personally think we have done a great job considering the circumstances we have been given and how all of this has happened. We have also been given a big choice in all of this. A choice I am not sure everyone would make the same way we are- We could choose to ignore this situation entirely and let it rip our family apart, or we could fight it. We fight it. But no one commeds us for that. They just look at whatever it is we aren’t doing.

Which brings me to another issue. What aren’t we doing and how exactly are we ignoring this? We have gotten Mom a physical therapist, she is improving little by little everyday, we are trying to keep her attitude as positive as possible but we cannot force her to do anything. I think people forget Mom is 60, not 85 with a disease like Alzheimer’s. She is still cognitively very aware of what is going on and we do not control her life. This is not a situation where you are dealing with an elderly grandparent. I am dealing with my middle aged Mom. The circumstances are completely different.

Mom and Dad are working through this together. We are all working through this together. We are doing our best. There is no manual yet everyone seems to think they have one. There is also no cure for MS. This isn’t going to magically disappear. While I am incredibly frustrated by this one comment it is really just representative of other comments that people mention to us wherever we go. I don’t understand what gives people the right to tell us what we should be doing that we aren’t already doing and why they seem to know all the answers when they haven’t even dealt with a situation like this. For the millionth time and I mean this as kindly as possible- your Mom having Alzheimer’s is in no way the same as my Mom having MS. Your 85 year old Mom is not the same as my 60 year old Mom.

I need to be more assertive when these comments are made to me. I have made a promise to myself that from now on as comments like this are made to me I am not going to just politely listen and pretend to appreciate their concern. I am going to respond in a manner explaining we are doing the best we can. I am going to respond in a manner that is not rude but also not nice. Implying I don’t want anymore advice that I never asked for in the first place.

Why do you think people offer opinions when you didn’t even ask for them? Do you think this is a lack of social skills or something greater? How would you respond? Would you be bothered by this or do you think I need to blow these comments off? Have people ever done this to you regarding issues in your own life?

6 thoughts on “Done Being Polite

  1. I love your posts!
    I tagged you in a game called Leap Frog with a few random questions for you to answer and share! I chose some of the most interesting people I have “met” here in this virtual world, and you are one of them!

    On another note, I understand your frustration… People just do not understand what you are going through unless they go through it.. It is so frustrating and can even be painful! You just have to continue doing what you are doing, realizing that people give their opinions even when you don’t ask. Try to brush it off. Don’t let negativity fester in you bc you cannot control anyone else, just yourself! I love how I always give you advice that is easier said than done;)

  2. I think some people cannot resist being rude.
    There, I’ve said it. Controversial, but true.
    While most people are lovely, kind-hearted, caring and helpful, there is always going to be a tiny proportion of the population of the world that will kick others when they are down, poke their nose where it isn’t required and generally act in an unkind way.
    My advice, for what it’s worth?
    Ignore them. And if you can’t?
    Poke your tongue out, if you like, if it makes you feel better. They don’t think much of you anyway, so give them something to moan about.
    Picture them first thing in the morning, with bed-hair, no make up, sitting on the loo with their trousers round their ankles. Don’t look so clever now do they?
    And if all else fails and they STILL want to comment, ask them: Do you have to practise being so nasty or has it always come naturally to you?
    Say it with a smile and walk away.
    ‘To thine own self be true’ is all you have to remember.
    Everything else is dust.

    • Hi Pat, Thank you so much for your thoughtful words. You are exactly right and I ahve wondered that exact same thought many times…could people just be rude and just can’t resist being rude? I think you are right. It is hard to believe when you aren’t naturally like that yourself. I love your advice though and I think you are right- ignore them. I also laughed when you said “poke your tongue out if it makes you feel better”- it’s so simple but so effective. It is also something fun to visualize myself doing in those moments where you just can’t say something for various reasons. But the real kicker, I need to memorize your response if it continues. That is the point I am at with certain people and that’s a great way to sum it up. Thank you for your comment and for stopping by! I will be thinking of you the next time I am in one of these difficult encounters!

  3. You are doing great! You’re right. There is no manual for this, not on your side, not on your mother’s side. Repeat: you’re doing great!

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