Author Topic: "But it's only..." Dismissive comments - how to deal with?  (Read 7659 times)

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Jules1980

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Re: "But it's only..." Dismissive comments - how to deal with?
« Reply #15 on: November 08, 2012, 10:43:24 AM »
Every illness has the potential to turn into something more dangerous.  I would think that the people who are saying 'It's just chicken pox' don't mean, get over it, it could be worse.  They literally mean, "Oh, it's just chicken pox'  in a relieved way that he's not having complications.  That's what I would mean if I said that anyway.  And I know the complications that can come from chicken pox.  I had a severe case when I was about 2 or three.  My first memories are about having chicken pox and hating the anti-itch cream worse than the itching.  My sister got it at the same time, then got scarlett fever before she was over chicken pox.   It was bad. 

WillyNilly

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Re: "But it's only..." Dismissive comments - how to deal with?
« Reply #16 on: November 08, 2012, 10:55:03 AM »
Honestly, I don't know that when someone says "But it's just..." that they are being dismissive.   
Especially with a childhood disease, because the majority of the time it is not going to lead to those rare complications.  I guess that I would say that if I ever said something like that it is more like Hmmmmm's example of the flat tire.  The response of just chicken pox probably means something like at least you know that the kiddo is on the mend.

This exactly.  Right now it is just chicken pox.  Of course its awful to see your kid sick and uncomfortable.  And of course if it develops into a complication that's tragic.  But right now it is just chicken pox - a very common, most often non-fatal childhood illness - it is not certain death.

I think you are being quite unfair to think people without kids are being dismissive when you start as dismissive.  You dismiss the whole thing: "when people ask me how DS is, my answer is 'He's OK in himself, just a few more spots...' and then change the subject".  You're answer is essentially saying "eh its no biggie," and you are the one introducing "[its] just" into the conversation. If you are scared or you think it is a big deal or just in general not ok, say so! Don't say he's "ok" and expect people to magically know that "ok" is now code for "no where near ok and I need some support", say "well he's got a few more sports and I'm pretty stressed over it" or "well I'm hoping he gets better soon but he's still getting more spots at this point." 

« Last Edit: November 08, 2012, 10:57:01 AM by WillyNilly »

gingerzing

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Re: "But it's only..." Dismissive comments - how to deal with?
« Reply #17 on: November 08, 2012, 10:58:47 AM »
Gosh, I hope that my friends with kids don't decide that since I am childfree that I don't want to know how the kids are doing. 



I hope you didn't take my post to heart, I only mention it to the OP as the majority of her posts are childfree friends/coworkers of hers seem to have an issue with her son.  I was strictly thinking of her in her scenarios.  By all means if you are interested, ask away!  I would think that if you care, you would ask! :D

It's all good Zilla.    ;)

TootsNYC

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Re: "But it's only..." Dismissive comments - how to deal with?
« Reply #18 on: November 08, 2012, 11:45:48 AM »
Oen thing I've done, when my friends ask me about my kids, is make my answer be partly about me as well--in your situation I might say, "Oh, he's definitely getting better--which is a bit of a relief, because I've seen how dangerous chicken pox can be when it's bad."

And if they say, "Oh, it's *just* chicken pox," I think I'd answer, "yes, for DS, that's true. I've seen the fatalities, and I'm glad we got the 'just' version of chicken pox."

Hollanda

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Re: "But it's only..." Dismissive comments - how to deal with?
« Reply #19 on: November 08, 2012, 11:51:25 AM »
Toots I LOVE that response. Nailed!! It explains exactly how I feel with no confrontation. To clarify most of the scoffing is in real life with work colleagues. I think part of it is that we deal with the worst case scenarios and some people are more desensitised than others. I'm considering transferring but for now I will make the best of it.

It's not always that I feel like that. Just when I have typed a horrid report. At least I have a job!!
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Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.


Elessarion

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Re: "But it's only..." Dismissive comments - how to deal with?
« Reply #20 on: November 08, 2012, 12:08:39 PM »
I would tweak Toot' advice very slightly tbh. If these are your work colleagues then surely they know the worst case scenarios as well as you and don't need to be reminded. I would use the first part of Toots' reply:

"Oh, he's definitely getting better--which is a bit of a relief. Thanks for asking."

MerryCat

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Re: "But it's only..." Dismissive comments - how to deal with?
« Reply #21 on: November 08, 2012, 12:17:00 PM »
Are you sure their intent was to be dismissive? When my friend was a first time mom she was, understandably, very uncertain and quick to panic. There were times she when she was worked up over normal childhood illnesses when I've said things like "It's only pinkeye/a cough/ etc."

I wasn't trying to dismiss her fears but rather to reassure her that this was normal, she wasn't doing anything wrong (her big fear was that it was all "her fault") and that her child would be okay. Luckily Friend understood the spirit in which I meant it and seemed reassured by my words.

Could it be that people are just trying to be reassuring and you are misreading it as dismissive?

Susiqzer

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Re: "But it's only..." Dismissive comments - how to deal with?
« Reply #22 on: November 08, 2012, 12:21:30 PM »
As a survivor of one of those nasty secondary illnesses that can happen with chickenpox, my head also gets a little 'splodey when people talk about childhood illnesses like they're nothing. I made it, but it was a very close call!

I agree that the best response is "Yes, I'm so glad it's just chickenpox. Sometimes I think I know too much about what can happen!"

And geez, even just chickenpox is miserable... 

HonorH

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Re: "But it's only..." Dismissive comments - how to deal with?
« Reply #23 on: November 08, 2012, 12:28:42 PM »
Odd. I have no children, yet my reaction, upon hearing of a child with an illness, is, "Oh, poor little guy/girl! I hope he/she feels better soon." Doesn't matter how minor the illness is.
William wondered why he always disliked people who said "no offense meant." Maybe it was because they found it easier to say "no offense meant" than actually to refrain from giving offense.

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mj

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Re: "But it's only..." Dismissive comments - how to deal with?
« Reply #24 on: November 08, 2012, 12:36:45 PM »
Is it possible that these co-workers and you just don't mesh?  That's the impression I'm getting from your posts.  I think that your career field is already emotionally charged and just as you are affected by it, so are your co-workers -- but in a different way.  It sounds like they may already be at their limit emotionally with their patients/job so they communicate with you differently than what you expect/need.  In that case, I do think it's better to not tell them these kinds of things about your DS, for your own sake and theirs.

MommyPenguin

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Re: "But it's only..." Dismissive comments - how to deal with?
« Reply #25 on: November 08, 2012, 12:55:07 PM »
You know, with chickenpox, I'd be annoyed at the dismissive thing, because it isn't *all* about whether the illness can turn serious.  It's also about how annoying it is while you have it!  Kids always wanting to scratch at spots, medicine to put on it, kids scratching themselves by trying to itch, kids who can't sleep because they itch so much, so it means *you* can't sleep... it's not all about whether it's going to be that 1/1000th chance or whatever that it turns serious and leads to brain damage, it's also just not fun, even when it's "just" chickenpox.  So I'd be a little annoyed with it on that aspect.

However, I do think the fact that you sound just a bit dismissive of it yourself, *and* that they work with the really serious cases so they're probably thinking, "Whew, it's *just* a regular illness and he's obviously not a serious case or she'd say so, and given all the really terrible cases we have, she should be relieved and not fretting about it," or something like that.  I do think it's odd that they ask if they really don't care, though.

fountainof

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Re: "But it's only..." Dismissive comments - how to deal with?
« Reply #26 on: November 08, 2012, 05:39:02 PM »
Quote
"It's only pinkeye/a cough/ etc."
What is it with Pinkeye that gets people so worried?  At my DDs daycare parents freak out when that sign goes up for a case of pink eye.  My DD had it once, doctor prescribed drops I could get over the counter without even needing to see her and within 24 hours she was clear to go back to preschool.  Sure I had to hold her down screaming to get the drops in but so much better than the stomach issue stuff that goes around.  Now someone saying a gastro virus, now that gets me scared as my DH gets them so bad he pretty much needs to be hospitalized.

MerryCat

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Re: "But it's only..." Dismissive comments - how to deal with?
« Reply #27 on: November 08, 2012, 05:46:32 PM »
Foutainof, in my friend's case I think it was because she was so incredibly unsure of herself as a new mom. Pretty much every time there was some little bump she was afraid that it was proof of her inadequacy as a parent. Two kids later she's a lot more confident and laid back.

AuntyEm

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Re: "But it's only..." Dismissive comments - how to deal with?
« Reply #28 on: November 08, 2012, 08:37:03 PM »
Just because someone doesn't have children doesn't mean that they don't know what it is like to be around children with "childhood diseases" or haven't gone through them themselves.  My siblings and I went through petty much the gamut of those things and though they aren't fun, it would be hard for me to muster a lot of distress over hearing a child has chickenpox.  I realize that there can be serious secondary infections related to these illnesses but I don't think they are that common and wouldn't assume you were experiencing those unless told.

DistantStar

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Re: "But it's only..." Dismissive comments - how to deal with?
« Reply #29 on: November 08, 2012, 08:44:26 PM »
Pinkeye is crazy contagious is why people flip about it.  It's easy enough to treat but spreads like wildfire.

I don't have kids but my response to somebody having a sick kid is along the lines of "Oh dear, they must be really unhappy, poor kiddo!"  Even if it's "just" something, it's never any fun to be sick.