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Author Topic: You are not a doctor  (Read 11622 times)

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Semperviren

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You are not a doctor
« on: September 30, 2015, 01:16:20 AM »
I need a polite but firm way to shut down a family member who has a nasty habit of pointing out others' issues and flaws in the context of a disease or disorder, and doing so in a manner that implies it is simply an accepted fact about this person:

"Oh, well that must be where your mother's alcoholism comes from!"

"I was reading a book about hoarders, and thought of you."

"Well, you know all about her daughter's problems, with your own ADHD and all."

None of this has been definitively diagnosed by a qualified individual. These armchair diagnoses come about mostly from "expertise" gleaned from looking stuff up on the internet.

I need a courteous way to handle this before I blow and say something like "Oh goody! I LOVE the Amateur Disorder Diagnosis Game! Let's do you next!" Which would be satisfying but not polite.

ETA: I would also like to shut this down in some way that doesn't open the door for this person to justify their "diagnosis" by pointing out "symptoms" that fit.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2015, 01:42:26 AM by Semperviren »

mmswm

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Re: You are not a doctor
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2015, 04:05:46 AM »
I didn't know you were related to my mother! She does that kind of stuff all the time. I was never truly effective, but the only thing I was ever able to do to at least reduce the issue was serve copious amounts of bean dip b
Some people lift weights.  I lift measures.  It's a far more esoteric workout. - (Quoted from a personal friend)

maksi

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Re: You are not a doctor
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2015, 04:22:54 AM »
What an interesting assumption. Bean dip?

EllenS

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Re: You are not a doctor
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2015, 05:45:17 AM »
What an interesting assumption. Bean dip?

This or the blank stare/silence, followed by bean dip.

tabitha

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Re: You are not a doctor
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2015, 06:28:24 AM »
"That must be where your mothers alcholism comes from" !?
"I was reading a book about hoarders and thought of you"?!

I know we're not supposed to meet rudeness with rudeness but a comment like this requires a stern correction at the very least! One just can't go around saying things like that! It's pretty horrible!

"You are entitled to your opinions, but you need to keep these types of unqualified diagnosis to yourself. I won't listen to your opinions and labels regarding very serious and hurtful conditions whether they are real or imagined. It is not o.k."
If family member argues just keep repeating, it is not o.k.!

It really, really isn't o.k  it could be that I work in social housing and am trained to deal with issues like hoarding and addictions but these are absolutely not to be taken lightly and it is extremely painful for someone with actual hoarding tendencies to be called a hoarder. Anyway, my own sensitivity to these examples aside. What this person is doing is basically making possibly unfounded and definitely personal hurtful accusations. I think they need to be told.

otterwoman

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Re: You are not a doctor
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2015, 07:20:27 AM »
Ah, my MIL. "Dr. Oz says blah blah blah, Dr. Oz says this and that."

After a few years of this, I responded, "Well, Dr. lastname says this!" "Who is that?" "My doctor, who has my medical chart."

She has cut way back on the doctor speak now.

Lorelei_Evil

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Re: You are not a doctor
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2015, 07:24:12 AM »
Do we all have the same family?

I just tell her to shut it, and avoid her whenever possible.

Chipmunky

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Re: You are not a doctor
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2015, 07:42:58 AM »
My father (an actual doctor) has a favorite line when people try the armchair diagnosis.

"Where exactly did you get your medical degree?"

That might not be the most polite response, but it certainly shuts down the rude "medical opinions" from family members who pull these kinds of stunts. >:D

Goog

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Re: You are not a doctor
« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2015, 07:52:17 AM »
I think the 'diagnosis' angle is just a cover for someone who is looking to gossip and cause drama, so start by calling it what it is.

I think you need to practice the stern, icy look....you know, the one that could freeze the burning pits of the underworld.  And then after several seconds of that stern, icy look, you can respond with one of the following in an equally icy tone:
"WHAT in the WORLD did you just say?"
"I suggest you watch what you say before you make any other slanderous comments."
"Do NOT speak about XX like that ever again.  You have no authority or training to make a statement about that, and furthermore, it's none of your business."

Or maybe my favorite, but not necessarily eHell approved: make the look on your face go from icy to pitiful, like a 'well bless her heart' type of look.  Then, ignoring the slander/diagnosis, say something like this (with an authoritative tone), "You know, early signs of dementia are making up really wild, untrue stories, and having no brain-to-mouth filter, so people end up saying all kinds of very hurtful and gossipy things to other people/about other people.  (pause for effect)  I think you should probably be checked for early-onset dementia."  Of course, when the person protests, you can then say, "Well, after you said such a horrible thing about me/XX, I was trying to give you the benefit of the doubt by thinking it had to be something out of your control, because the alternative is that you are actually TRYING to malign someone's character by making those gossipy, slanderous comments."

I'm assuming that busybody is making statements about other people who are not there at the moment.  I think it can be effective to also try to put the comments into the open, with the person whose character is being bashed.  "Oh, you think my mother is an alcoholic?  Hmmm...she's not here right now but yet you think it's okay to repeat slanderous gossip about her?  Hey, I think she's at home, let's call her on the phone and you can tell her what you just said."  or "Cousin's ADHD?  WHAT??  I think that if cousin did have ADHD, he wouldn't want people gossiping about disorder like that, and if he didn't, he wouldn't want to be slandered like that.  Cousin is in the back yard right now....give me a minute and I can go get him and you can tell him what you said."

If about someone else, I think that the busybody would either start backtracking or would deny what he/she said pretty fast. 

nayberry

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Re: You are not a doctor
« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2015, 08:50:26 AM »
My father (an actual doctor) has a favorite line when people try the armchair diagnosis.

"Where exactly did you get your medical degree?"

That might not be the most polite response, but it certainly shuts down the rude "medical opinions" from family members who pull these kinds of stunts. >:D

 i have used that very line when someone started prattling on suggesting a diagnosis on my cousin, whom they hadnt met!
baby berry arrived june 2016

sweetonsno

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Re: You are not a doctor
« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2015, 09:54:07 AM »
I do rather love the dementia idea, but I agree that it's probably not especially polite. Pity.

I think everyone has had good ideas about how to tell her to knock it off.

I have one more: call her out on what she's doing.

Are you trying to say that you think I have too much stuff/am messy?
Are you trying to say that you disapprove of Mom's drinking?
Are you trying to say that you think I'm not a good listener?

Basically, reframe her statement as the insult/bovine excrement that it is. She'll either say "no" (in which case you say, "Then stop implying it" or "Do you see how a person might take your comment that way?") or "yes" (in which case you can ask, "Why do you think that's okay to say?").
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Take2

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Re: You are not a doctor
« Reply #11 on: September 30, 2015, 01:33:38 PM »
Be prepared for the fact that there may be nothing you can say or do to fix this behavior.

My own mother, who does this all the time, seems fairly incurable. She will argue that she IS qualified to make these determinations based on her (unrelated) professional training and her time spent working with doctors in her non-medical profession. She once lost her job in part because of one of these diagnoses. Even that did not curb her behavior.

Bean-dipping is only marginally effective. The only truly successful approach I have discovered is telling her "I won't have this kind of discussion, I will hang up the phone/leave if you can't control yourself." And then do it. And prepare to warn and follow through over and over as she slides back into the behavior over the years.

Frog24

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Re: You are not a doctor
« Reply #12 on: September 30, 2015, 01:46:48 PM »
Would this be an appropriate place for a "Bless your heart" and then heavily bean dip?  I agree with previous posters that addressing directly would be preferable, however if that doesn't work, would "bless your heart" be an option?

m2kbug

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Re: You are not a doctor
« Reply #13 on: September 30, 2015, 01:53:05 PM »
I need a polite but firm way to shut down a family member who has a nasty habit of pointing out others' issues and flaws in the context of a disease or disorder, and doing so in a manner that implies it is simply an accepted fact about this person:

"Oh, well that must be where your mother's alcoholism comes from!"

"I was reading a book about hoarders, and thought of you."

"Well, you know all about her daughter's problems, with your own ADHD and all."

None of this has been definitively diagnosed by a qualified individual. These armchair diagnoses come about mostly from "expertise" gleaned from looking stuff up on the internet.

I need a courteous way to handle this before I blow and say something like "Oh goody! I LOVE the Amateur Disorder Diagnosis Game! Let's do you next!" Which would be satisfying but not polite.

ETA: I would also like to shut this down in some way that doesn't open the door for this person to justify their "diagnosis" by pointing out "symptoms" that fit.

What do you mean mom's drinking?  What are you talking about?

You think I hoard?  What makes you think I hoard?

Put the ball back in their court and make them explain.  "What does that have to do with having a glass of wine in the evening and how is that alcoholism?  Would you be this equally judgmental of the crap-food-fest that happens when watching The Big Bang Theory?" -- as an aside, I can't tell you the amount of liquor and crap-food and candy that went out the door on the first night of fall season TV shows.  It was hilarious! :)  And I was working. :(  Yay, DVR!  ;D

What's up with the ADHD?  Are you ADHD with a formal diagnosis?  Is this known to everyone?  I can see this type of commentary if you had a formal diagnosis that the family knows, but even then, "you would know" is very insulting when complaining about someone else, and worse when it's an armchair diagnosis and a negative judgment on someone else.  Whether intended or not, it becomes a personal insult.  To say something about someone's behavior as a means of gathering knowledge from someone who has BTDT and tools to work with it is completely different.   Something like, "I think Jenny has ADHD.  I was wondering if you noticed it, since you have ADHD, and I thought you might be able to relate or offer some advice on how to work with her...<expand on the problem area>"  I see no problems asking advice or opinions from someone who has walked the walk, and this should not be taken as insulting, but there's a lot to be said on the context or how it is worded.  "She's crazy and disrespectful but you have ADHD, so you can relate," is definitely an insult.

Nice armchair diagnosis.  Where'd you get your medical degree? 

Sounds interesting.  I have a bridge (ocean-front property) in Arizona I can sell you if you believe everything you read on the internet.  Seriously, look it up on Craigslist. 

I think the internet is awesome in so many ways.  It leads to a lot of misguided self-diagnoses, but it opens up communications on better alternatives and other sides of the story.  I think if someone gets online because they want to research a problematic area, this can be a good thing in discovering something that was maybe not recognized.  I have seen good and bad on both ends.  Everything has to be taken with a grain of salt, but a lot of this information is valid and useful.  We have a wealth of information at our fingertips and a greater ability to research and manage our lives in a way we couldn't before. 

The next option is always to walk away or bean dip.  Don't entertain anything they have to say about anything.  "That's nice.  So did you see the supermoon eclipse last week?"   I also agree with "I will not have this discussion with you." 

laughtermed

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Re: You are not a doctor
« Reply #14 on: September 30, 2015, 02:11:19 PM »
"That must be where your mothers alcholism comes from" !?
"I was reading a book about hoarders and thought of you"?!

I know we're not supposed to meet rudeness with rudeness but a comment like this requires a stern correction at the very least! One just can't go around saying things like that! It's pretty horrible!

"You are entitled to your opinions, but you need to keep these types of unqualified diagnosis to yourself. I won't listen to your opinions and labels regarding very serious and hurtful conditions whether they are real or imagined. It is not o.k."
If family member argues just keep repeating, it is not o.k.!

It really, really isn't o.k  it could be that I work in social housing and am trained to deal with issues like hoarding and addictions but these are absolutely not to be taken lightly and it is extremely painful for someone with actual hoarding tendencies to be called a hoarder. Anyway, my own sensitivity to these examples aside. What this person is doing is basically making possibly unfounded and definitely personal hurtful accusations. I think they need to be told.

So far, Tabitha has given the best reply. If the family member persists, you should walk away or tell them to leave immediately. If possible refrain from inviting this person to your home until their manners improve if they don't get it.