Sunday, January 3, 2010

Do You Keep Your Mouth Shut?

Back when I was newly pregnant with Nick, one of my dad's younger cousin's died. She was in her thirties, she had two young, beautiful children. No matter how many times I saw her, she always came up to me and said, "Hi! I'm your cousin Carol!" She was adorable! She died due to an eating disorder.

I'll be honest with you, I was young and didn't see her that much in my life but I never, NEVER knew that she had this problem. Her mother (my Nana's sister) was always a little vain - always had her hair, make-up and clothing perfect - and I guess this side of her came out in Carol's need to be perfect, to be thin. I'll never forget her because she was so vivacious, always smiling and beautiful.

I am struggling right now with some friends who have a child with an eating disorder. It's mild, but a disorder nonetheless. No one wants to talk about it - like it's a big secret. Is she getting help? Some. Is it working? Not completely. Have they been dealing with this long? Yes, years. There is one factor that seems to trigger their child more than anything, and it is a family member. This person makes this child feel fat, unacceptable and constantly critiques her. This ADULT does not live with them but does come to visit and when she does, things get bad.

So tell me, parents, would you ALLOW this person to torment your child? Would you sit back and graciously welcome them in to your home when you know that they are going to disrupt the fine balance that you've achieved and damage your child's already delicate psyche? Well, this child's parents are. They are allowing this person to come around and wreak havoc and personally, I am furious.

I was told to shut up, just accept it and just let it be; it's none of my business. A mutual friend told me this. So I snapped. I said "Well, when this girl is dead YOU can sit back and take comfort in your acceptance but I can't!" You know, maybe if someone took a stand, my cousin would still be alive today, seeing her children grown.

When do you speak up? When do you step in and risk the consequences? Isn't someone's life worth that? How can you say that you love someone and then watch them hurt themselves and be hurt by others? I'm stumped...I'm honestly and truly stumped.

Any suggestions?


tashabud said...

So sorry to hear about your cousin.

Here's my response to your question. If the person being critiqued is one of your loved ones and that you are present during that time, I believe that you should speak up in defense of your loved one. Of course, do it respectfully.

And, if it's a friend, then you may want to relate a story of your cousin's.

I'm not an advice guru. These are just my opinions.

Happy 2010!

Lola said...

Sorry to hear about your cousin. I tend to agree with tashabud. Relay the story of your cousin and your feelings about the situation.

I'm kind of surprised this family isn't doing anything. This is kind of similar to the situation with our daughter and my ex, her father. She doesn't have an eating disorder, she is schizophrenic and her father is constantly trying to manipulate her and is constantly doing/saying things that affect her adversely. Consequently I had visitation extremely modified, which he hates, so he's basically avoided visitation with her for the most part. She's actually been the most stable now than she has been since she became ill. I would do anything for my kids, as I'm sure you would and I agree with you that I would have a hard time accepting that another parent wouldn't do whatever is in their power to help their child.

Unknown said...

my opinion is to speak up. i don't understand how the parents can let this go on. it is insane! you aren't probably going to change anything but not trying definitely won't change anything. i really don't understand these parents.


jenn said...

I would definitely say something, but that is my personality. And I think it is horrible parenting to let someone near you kids who is anything but supportive.

Shelly said...

Oh crap. I, like you, could not and would not keep my mouth shut. How can a family be so oblivious? I'm not sure what steps you can/should take, but I know I could not just sit and watch. How close are you to the mother? Would she listen? Is the girl old enough for you to talk to?

Good luck. I'm sure you'll do what you can.

Karen said...

I would not be able to stay quiet in this situation. I am always in trouble but I don't care.

Unknown said...

I would say something.... that's not to say that I haven't gotten in trouble with my big mouth before, but it can come in handy sometimes.

shubhangi said...

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Unknown said...

I would probably say something, but would tiptoe gently into the subject matter. I've found that a lot of times when you do say something, you're the one who ends up getting in trouble.

Whiney Momma said...

That's terrible. No, I think speaking up is the best thing to do. Why do we all stand around and watch while these things happen. Sometimes people need sense talked into them. They are blinded by idiocy! By all means, speak up woman!