Mine isn’t a high-traffic blog, but I’ve gotten some interesting exchanges anyway.
Now I’ve received a very harsh comment from someone who, I first thought, might even know the writer and her family personally, but who became totally incensed by what he read here.
The gist of his angry comment is that the mother was blatantly self-serving and self-justifying, not really trying to do right by her son. He made specific criticisms – putting kids with problems on psychiatric meds for one – but his tone was excessively harsh. (That harshness means I won’t “approve” his comment, but I’d like to respond to some of it anyway.)
My first instinct is to be protective of the mother who commented on my post and shared her concerns about her son. I appreciate that she was looking for something, clicked around, found my blog, and shared with her heart.
It’s very hard – virtually impossible, actually – to be totally honest about ourselves and our families. It takes practice, and it does sound self-justifying at first. That’s not really news, and in my line of work I’m very used to beginning with a slightly distorted, one-sided narrative whenever I start listening and trying to be helpful.
Having a child who struggles is total anguish to any parent, but, yes, it’s also true that some parents don’t respond as effectively as they might, and it’s usually because they’re invested in seeing reality through “lenses” that are more about the person doing the looking than the person or situation being looked at.
I thought we all knew that.
Since my work usually starts when people are already up to their necks in their very ripe problems, with no real chance of backtracking to a Mulligan, my focus is always on how we can best move forward from here, starting now.
My angry commenter only saw my exchange with “Alpha” as her, the Mom, sanitizing her piece, avoiding responsibility – and me providing her with the cover to do it.
I don’t see it that way, but in my next post I do want to take up some of what got touched upon in his comment: specifically, giving way too much credibility to professional expertise, and – even more specifically – diagnosing kids with mental illness in order to put them on psychiatric meds.
To be continued …..