Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Strictly Hypothetical

Strictly on a hypothetical basis now, this problem may or may not come from the actual life of someone I know or not. How would you react?

Background:
You have a brother. Let's say his name is Henry. When you were kids you didn't get along well. As an adult you suspect he may have some kind of undiagnosed/untreated mental health issue(s). You try as best you can to get along, but for the past few years he has cut you from his life and refused to discuss with you the reasons or what you might do to restore the relationship even though you have made a few attempts to do so.

Current situation:
While out for dinner with your spouse, child(ren) and parents, your mom during a conversation about your brother's family (the nephews you aren't allowed to see) says, "I always did think Henry was a little weird." The conversation continues and she repeats the above statement, adding "I don't know what you ever thought" with an inflection that infers a question.

Hypothetical questions:
How do you respond to your mom? Do you respond at all? Do you respond differently given the public nature of the locale and/or the fact that your child(ren) is/are present and listening to the conversation?

5 comments:

Bunny said...

You tell Mom that yes, you do think Henry is a little "off" and that you'd be happy to discuss this in-depth when the young'un(s) isn't/aren't around. Mom spawned him, she can handle the "The boy needs some help, you know?" conversation, just not in the presence of the kiddos.

If, hypothetically, you were in such a conversation, how would you have responded?

The Silent Male said...

Definitely go with the truth. The hard part is choosing exactly what truth you tell, and how you tell that truth. Asking to discuss it later seems a really great option in this case.

Stinkypaw said...

I would answer and would go with the truth as well...

Serenity said...

Say what I say: "Fuck yeah Brother's a little odd, so why is he your favorite even after all this time?"

Oops, that just slipped right out.

It depends on the ages and stages of the children present. Little pitchers have big ears and all that, do we really want to expose them to Brother's mental health issues? It doesn't sound like the appropriate venue to be getting too deep about it all and/or dishing the dirt. Families are so complicated...

Trueself said...

Bunny - Ok, strictly hypothetically, if that happened to me I would probably be so surprised that someone in the family was actually talking about the situation that I would sit in stunned silence as though I had heard nothing. Then I would turn to someone else at the table and engage in a discussion of totally different topic.
However, I think the best thing to do would be to acknowledge that yes, I've always kind of thought that but would prefer not to discuss it around small ears.

SM - Yes, indeedy, discussing later would definitely be preferable.

SP - Truth is most often the best option and yet so difficult in some circumstances.

Serenity - Complicated? Oh yes they are, very very complicated.