Author Topic: That kinda hurt my feelings...  (Read 11054 times)

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Redneck Gravy

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That kinda hurt my feelings...
« on: January 20, 2014, 10:33:14 AM »
BG: My grandson was recently referred to a learning disability specialist.  He is only 18 months old so I haven't panicked over the issue. 

He still doesn't say much and what he does say I can't really understand (other than mama).  He points a lot and uses some hand signals.  His hearing has been tested, his motor skills seem fine, he walks, runs & plays like all the other children his age.  It's his vocal ability or lack of that has the pediatrician worried. 

I'm not asking for medical advice here.

When I mentioned it to my best friend and said DD is afraid he is retarded (a word I detest by the way).  BFF said, "well it is what it is, she is just going to have to accept that he's retarded if he is."

 :o    Everyone stop saying retarded!  I expected her to ask what the problem was and say something along the lines of I haven't noticed anything wrong with him or those doctors these days panic over every opportunity to avoid a lawsuit or ANYTHING a little more supportive.   It kind of hurt my feelings a little bit that she was so dismissive.

Am I being overly sensitive or is she lacking in sensitivity?  or both?

It's been a couple of weeks and we usually talk on the phone at least weekly but I haven't called her lately - that phone works two ways.  I don't know if we are both just incredibly busy right now or if she realizes how she sounded but I'm definitely feeling rather cool right now.     

perpetua

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Re: That kinda hurt my feelings...
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2014, 10:40:41 AM »
I think this might be a case of foot in mouth rather than a deliberate dismissiveness. So often people don't know what to say in situations like this. I can see why it was hurtful though.

I agree with you on the use of retarded - it's a very hot-button word over here and fell out of favour some time ago - but from your OP it looks as if you yourself used it first, so I don't think I could get too bent out of shape about her using it back to you, if that was the case?

mspallaton

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Re: That kinda hurt my feelings...
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2014, 10:44:16 AM »
I think it somewhat depends on how old the person your BFF is.  I grew up with parents who describe it that way and honestly didn't begin hearing that it might be considered offensive until I was in college.  The shift in appropriate language to describe learning disabilities is very new - your friend may not understand that you were upset by her choice of words.  Quite frankly, other than using it as an insult which is obviously wrong, I was not under the impression that the word retarded shouldn't be used as a descriptor until the last five years or so.

So I would look to the message itself and see if that bothers you - her advice was "it is what it is - you can't change it if he has a disability".  I could see that being dismissive and I could see that being helpful.  Are you a worrier?  If you are, reminding you that some things are beyond your control is the job of a good friend, just as an example.

If it were me, I would raise an eyebrow, but wouldn't call it rude or insulting.  You might take the opportunity to politely explain that the term she used is outdated next time you talk about it - if she doesn't know, she may be embarrassing herself every time she brings it up.

TurtleDove

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Re: That kinda hurt my feelings...
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2014, 11:43:02 AM »
I am sorry you are upset and sorry your family is faced with this, OP.  It seems you used the r word first, though, and I don't think the response was dismissive at all but actually good advice.  Hugs.

JenJay

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Re: That kinda hurt my feelings...
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2014, 11:55:14 AM »
I think she was trying to be supportive but she was too blunt and it sounded insensitive. Imagine if she'd said "I hope everything is okay, but if it's not, I know YourDD will be able to accept that and get busy advocating for him so he gets the best assistance available." I can appreciate why she didn't say something like "What? That's crazy! He's fine!!" because many times when people do that they inadvertently hurt the person, who takes it as "She totally blew me off and said he's 'fine'. I needed support, not platitudes."  :-\

It sounds like your DGS has a good doc and a great Mama who are on the ball. I hope everything turns out to be okay.

Teenyweeny

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Re: That kinda hurt my feelings...
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2014, 12:02:32 PM »
I'm confused, your OP makes it sound like you were the first to use the r word. Perhaps I'm mistaken.

If you did use it first, I'm not sure that you can complain about your friend's use of the word.

I'd also say that, understandably, this is a sensitive issue for you. Word choice aside (which I agree, was poor), often there's nothing 'right' a person can say. A lot depends on tone, expression, and intent.

If somebody tells me their mother just died, I could look them dead in the eye, take their hand, and say "I'm sorry", and it could be thoughtful and supportive. Or I could just toss out "I'm sorry", in a bland tone that's actually really hurtful.

It's very possible that your friend doesn't realise what a sensitive topic this is for you, and therefore wasn't paying as much attention to her tone and phrasing as she should have done. I actually don't see what she said as being all that bad, provided it was said appropriately.

In fact, in your shoes I'd find it more comforting than "the doctor is probably wrong", which I'd regard as a platitude, and I don't do well with those. I regard at somebody not wanting to hear about the problem, and just hoping it'll go away so that they don't have to support me. Maybe your friend feels the same.



shhh its me

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Re: That kinda hurt my feelings...
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2014, 12:11:28 PM »
  I think its a little of both.   Since you said "retarded" first I would try really hard to let her use of the word go.  At first glace her response sounds dismissive but its close to "Your daughter will be able to deal with it" or "OK, your daughter is panicking tell her "It is what it is" you will deal it. Being worried about what it might be wont help.""   


Her not knowing the"right" thing  to say was "IT's fine they are overreacting". It's not fair to blame her for not saying that.

TootsNYC

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Re: That kinda hurt my feelings...
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2014, 12:26:19 PM »
I think it was dismissive. She didn't want to spend time talking about it.

It may be because she didn't know what she could possibly say that would actaually be helpful, and she was afraid this was going to turn into a "wallowing in it" sort of conversation. I know I have moods where I can't *stand* speculative worrying. I try to get out of those sorts of conversations as fast as I can, but I hope I do it more sensitively (ie, "I'm sure it's really worrying! But since you don't really have any info at all, and everything is so up in the air, it won't help much to panic now.")

But it was still a dismissive way to say whatever she was trying to say.

I'd take the lesson from this: It's possible this woman is not skilled at providing support. So, as with any sort of thing like this, I think it's a cue to observe more closely, with an eye toward "skill sets" and underlying attitudes, etc.
   And then decide, once you feel you've built an accurate picture of who she is, what you want out of this friendship. This may not be the person to lament to or worry with.

Hmmmmm

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Re: That kinda hurt my feelings...
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2014, 12:33:37 PM »
I am sorry you are upset and sorry your family is faced with this, OP.  It seems you used the r word first, though, and I don't think the response was dismissive at all but actually good advice.  Hugs.

I feel like this.

I also wondered based on her response is she has some sensitivity to the the issue. Maybe a family member who had learning challenges and when she heard "DD is so upset and scared she might have a retarded child" she took it a little personally. I admit that your DD using the term in relation to her own child has colored my opinion of her.

Tea Drinker

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Re: That kinda hurt my feelings...
« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2014, 12:35:11 PM »
Try to let it go this time, and then don't use the words that you don't want to hear.

If you tell another friend "my daughter-in-law is worried that my grandson's disability is more than just a speech problem" and that person uses "retarded" in talking about him, you can tell them that you don't like that word, or that many people these days find it offensive. But if you've used it in a conversation, that signals other people that you think it's an acceptable word, in general and/or about your grandchild.

Toots may be right that your friend was trying to change the subject. But that's a separate issue: "you aren't being supportive when I need it" versus "you called my grandson a bad name." If you would have been equally unhappy if your friend had said "well, it is what it is, she's just going to have to accept whatever the doctors say," think about whether and how you want to deal with that. Do you want to call her up and tell her that you're hurt that she dismissed your worries, or do you want to wait and see if you hear from her?

If the main issue is that she didn't want to listen, telling her that you were offended that she called your grandson "retarded" is probably not going to get you anywhere useful. It doesn't sound like you'd be happy with "I'm sorry, I forgot that's not a good word anymore" followed by a subject change, or by a lengthy discussion of how the words we use change, and how odd it is that a word that basically means "delayed" became an insult, or the like.
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shhh its me

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Re: That kinda hurt my feelings...
« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2014, 12:41:01 PM »
   I want to add if she heard " I am upset( that my daughter is worried her son may be retarded"  which is a little of whats going on , right?  She might have  been being supportive of that frustration with daughter and just missed the mark.

Teenyweeny

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Re: That kinda hurt my feelings...
« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2014, 12:42:51 PM »
On a more positive note, I've had many young relatives whose speech stayed relatively poor (about what you're describing) until they were a little older. A lot of times, it does mean nothing. My brother didn't talk coherently until he was about 3, and he's one of the cleverest people I know.

We think he just plain didn't feel like making the effort. He got what he wanted anyway, why try harder? This attitude is very much in line with his personality now.  ;) He had teachers tearing their hair out because he played the fool all through school, never did any homework, and rocked up to the exam still able to get an A. Yes, I know there are problems with this attitude. No, he wouldn't listen. ::)



TurtleDove

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Re: That kinda hurt my feelings...
« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2014, 12:45:15 PM »
What I got from what the friend said was that, no matter what, DD and OP will love the child, and being retarded (since that is the word used in the OP) isn't something shameful. I see the OP did not hear it that way, but that is the way it came across to me.  I see that as a very positive and supportive comment.

Teenyweeny

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Re: That kinda hurt my feelings...
« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2014, 12:47:14 PM »
What I got from what the friend said was that, no matter what, DD and OP will love the child, and being retarded (since that is the word used in the OP) isn't something shameful. I see the OP did not hear it that way, but that is the way it came across to me.  I see that as a very positive and supportive comment.

Me too. I feel like this could easily have been the friend's intent, although her word choice was definitely not optimal.



SamiHami

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Re: That kinda hurt my feelings...
« Reply #14 on: January 20, 2014, 01:30:03 PM »
I guess I don't quite understand why using the word is so awful. I understand that peopled find it offensive and out of respect don't use it. But, I don't get why it's an insult. I looked up the actual definition and it is:

"characterized by a slowness or limitation in intellectual understanding and awareness, emotional development, academic progress, etc."

So if it is not meant as an insult and it accurately describes someones' condition, why is it offensive? Or am I just a dolt for not getting it?


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