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#1 of 41 Old 08-29-2010, 03:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am trying to wrap my head around this, my friend lately has been driving me nuts, ok no it's been longer than that-it's been a long time. When we talk it constantly turns into a pity party for why everything is worse for her, her son is 3.5, I have a 4 year old. My DD was a terrible 2, she was just very difficult, very verbal and a general PITA, doing the normal boundary pushing behavior associated with toddlers. Now my friend is in the same position, her son is telling her "NO", fighting with her, being mean to his little brother, IDK normal 3 year old stuff. YET for her it somehow is not the same. It is like this with anything we talk about relating to kids, when I say "yeah BTDT." She counters with "no, you don't understand." Uh yeah I DO, I also have been through this.

Anybody have any advice on how I can get her to understand that I actually DO understand, or is it time for me to just distance myself more before I go insane. I'm pretty much ready to do the latter, because frankly I am sick to death of being told I don't understand even though I am a mom of 2 kids just like she is and that all the behavior things are just developmentally normal and expected.

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#2 of 41 Old 08-29-2010, 03:56 PM
 
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frankly I am sick to death of being told I don't understand even though I am a mom of 2 kids just like she is and that all the behavior things are just developmentally normal and expected.
Why don't you just tell her this?

I know some people like that. It's annoying. They have a need to one-up everyone!

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#3 of 41 Old 08-29-2010, 04:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have basically said this and then she counters with why it's so much worse, I agree it's the one-upping for sure.

The other day when she was complaining about her son being a PITA I said, "uh yeah that sounds like a 3 year old to me." She then told me no, that he is yelling and being naughty and being very difficult. He tried to hit her too, yep that sounds nothing like 3 year old, ugh.

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#4 of 41 Old 08-29-2010, 04:06 PM
 
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Personally, I would distance myself from a friend like that. I can't stand the one-upmanship either. Not only is it annoying, but it's so self-involved that it's hard to believe a friend like that really cares about your struggles.

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#5 of 41 Old 08-29-2010, 04:09 PM
 
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You may as well just talk openly to her about it. Tell her you feel like she is always trying to one-up you and such. If she ends up not wanting to be a friend anymore, it's not really a loss since that's what you were considering doing anyway. It may help her realize what she's doing and keep more friends in the future though.

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#6 of 41 Old 08-29-2010, 04:40 PM
 
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I've got to ask - is there any reason it really could feel different to her? Is she a single mama? Is she depressed? Is she trying to manage with a lot less than you have?
I ask because when DH and I finally brought home a living child (after a full-term stillbirth and a miscarriage), whenever we'd say that we couldn't stop checking on him or that we were terried of SIDs or whatever would insist she felt exactly the same way. Um, no, you just didn't.
Otherwise, yeah, I'd be annoyed, too. I'd tell her straight and back away if nothing changes.

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#7 of 41 Old 08-29-2010, 04:44 PM
 
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I'm playing a bit of devil's advocate here but why is it so important to you that she knows you've BTDT?

I guess I'd be really hurt if I was telling a friend about me having a hard time and they kept dismissing my feelings and repeatedly telling me that what I felt were difficult problems were just "normal". Like here I am admitting to you I'm not the mother I want to be and you are just saying that if these little problems overwhelm me, I must not be as capable as everyone else. (I know those aren't your words, but how my insecure self would feel)

Maybe she's not as emotionally equipped to deal with her typical 3 YO as you are. So maybe you really don't know what it's like to be her in the same situation?

Why not just validate her feelings and pass the bean dip? "Wow it sounds like that is really difficult for you, I found Mothering.com's forum community really helpful with GD." If she insists her kid is beyond what you are taking about, maybe follow up with "They even have a place for parents of spirited kids. Pass the bean dip"
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#8 of 41 Old 08-29-2010, 04:50 PM
 
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I'm playing a bit of devil's advocate here but why is it so important to you that she knows you've BTDT?

I guess I'd be really hurt if I was telling a friend about me having a hard time and they kept dismissing my feelings and repeatedly telling me that what I felt were difficult problems were just "normal". Like here I am admitting to you I'm not the mother I want to be and you are just saying that if these little problems overwhelm me, I must not be as capable as everyone else. (I know those aren't your words, but how my insecure self would feel)

Maybe she's not as emotionally equipped to deal with her typical 3 YO as you are. So maybe you really don't know what it's like to be her in the same situation?

Why not just validate her feelings and pass the bean dip? "Wow it sounds like that is really difficult for you, I found Mothering.com's forum community really helpful with GD." If she insists her kid is beyond what you are taking about, maybe follow up with "They even have a place for parents of spirited kids. Pass the bean dip"

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#9 of 41 Old 08-29-2010, 04:53 PM
 
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I'm playing a bit of devil's advocate here but why is it so important to you that she knows you've BTDT?

I guess I'd be really hurt if I was telling a friend about me having a hard time and they kept dismissing my feelings and repeatedly telling me that what I felt were difficult problems were just "normal". Like here I am admitting to you I'm not the mother I want to be and you are just saying that if these little problems overwhelm me, I must not be as capable as everyone else. (I know those aren't your words, but how my insecure self would feel)

Maybe she's not as emotionally equipped to deal with her typical 3 YO as you are. So maybe you really don't know what it's like to be her in the same situation?

Why not just validate her feelings and pass the bean dip? "Wow it sounds like that is really difficult for you, I found Mothering.com's forum community really helpful with GD." If she insists her kid is beyond what you are taking about, maybe follow up with "They even have a place for parents of spirited kids. Pass the bean dip"
:Yeah
You've said exactly what I was thinking. It sounds like the OP's friend needs to be heard. Maybe her husband doesn't listen well, maybe she doesn't have other friends with whom she can commiserate, maybe she just needs to vent about her day to day trials and wants some validation. To say "yeah, BTDT" seems to dismiss her feelings altogether. Restating what she's said in your own words will let her know you've heard her and understand what she's going through.

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#10 of 41 Old 08-29-2010, 05:00 PM
 
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I completely agree with the previous 3 posts. Maybe she can't deal with it emotionally as well as you did. Maybe she wants to but is having a really hard time to.

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#11 of 41 Old 08-29-2010, 05:08 PM
 
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I guess I'd be really hurt if I was telling a friend about me having a hard time and they kept dismissing my feelings and repeatedly telling me that what I felt were difficult problems were just "normal".
A lot of times when we talk about our problems, we just want to be heard. So responding with "you sound really tired" (or frustrated or whatever) and then being allowed to talk more is often more helpful than "I understand." Rather than saying "I understand because it was just like for me," show her you understand by saying things to her that will sound like understanding to her.

It isn't about you. It's about her. Keep it about her. Once she feels really heard, she'll be able to move on in the conversation.

You might read up on non-violent communication.

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#12 of 41 Old 08-29-2010, 06:24 PM
 
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Agreeing with Helimom and LOTM.
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#13 of 41 Old 08-29-2010, 06:51 PM
 
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Agree completely with Helimom. Sounds like your friend wants to be heard and have her experience validated ("That sounds really tough,") rather than dismissed ("It's no big deal" "BTDT").

Maybe the issue isn't so much her kid's behavior, but how she's having a hard time *dealing* with it. So dismissing the child's behavior as normal and not a big deal doesn't get at how *she feels* about it.

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#14 of 41 Old 08-29-2010, 07:22 PM
 
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I'm playing a bit of devil's advocate here but why is it so important to you that she knows you've BTDT?

I guess I'd be really hurt if I was telling a friend about me having a hard time and they kept dismissing my feelings and repeatedly telling me that what I felt were difficult problems were just "normal". Like here I am admitting to you I'm not the mother I want to be and you are just saying that if these little problems overwhelm me, I must not be as capable as everyone else. (I know those aren't your words, but how my insecure self would feel)

Maybe she's not as emotionally equipped to deal with her typical 3 YO as you are. So maybe you really don't know what it's like to be her in the same situation?

Why not just validate her feelings and pass the bean dip? "Wow it sounds like that is really difficult for you, I found Mothering.com's forum community really helpful with GD." If she insists her kid is beyond what you are taking about, maybe follow up with "They even have a place for parents of spirited kids. Pass the bean dip"
I agree with this also. When I talk to my friends about how hard it is with my dd I am not trying to one up I am looking for a listening ear and sometimes advice. If you don't feel like you can be the type of friend who listens to your friends when they are going through a hard time then maybe you should be honest about that and just be acquaintances who get together to let your kids play.
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#15 of 41 Old 08-29-2010, 10:52 PM
 
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Certainly I think what the pps have said is plausible. I also want to say that it really, truly may not be the same. I have a child who is technically too young for a juve bipolar diagnosis, but most likely is. You will not see him raging & screaming, but I have/do. People often are *shocked* if we tell specific stories about him. They don't see him that way. Even saying "he tried to hit me" was something I would say, and people will say, "yeah, my kid did that, too." But when my child does it, he is serious, intense, determined. It's a far more serious experience even though it's the same action. So, really, maybe you don't understand exactly what she is saying.

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#16 of 41 Old 08-29-2010, 11:26 PM
 
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I agree with VisionaryMom. I too have a child with special needs and until he was diagnosed at around 2 I would cry my heart out at the baby group and get the same old advice and BTDT from other moms/group leader. They really had no idea and it was so isolating--and made me feel like something was wrong with ME. Now, chances are your friend's child is developmentally right on, but to her, you DON'T understand. Do you want to? I'm not the best at relationships so I really am not qualified to give advice but maybe there is a new way you two can communicate or talk it out? Is this worth it to you?
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#17 of 41 Old 08-30-2010, 11:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm playing a bit of devil's advocate here but why is it so important to you that she knows you've BTDT?

I guess I'd be really hurt if I was telling a friend about me having a hard time and they kept dismissing my feelings and repeatedly telling me that what I felt were difficult problems were just "normal". Like here I am admitting to you I'm not the mother I want to be and you are just saying that if these little problems overwhelm me, I must not be as capable as everyone else. (I know those aren't your words, but how my insecure self would feel)

Maybe she's not as emotionally equipped to deal with her typical 3 YO as you are. So maybe you really don't know what it's like to be her in the same situation?

Why not just validate her feelings and pass the bean dip? "Wow it sounds like that is really difficult for you, I found Mothering.com's forum community really helpful with GD." If she insists her kid is beyond what you are taking about, maybe follow up with "They even have a place for parents of spirited kids. Pass the bean dip"
I guess that would be the case if it wasn't every.single.thing. I mean it's not just the 3 year old's behavior, her pregnancy-worse, her son-worse, it's everything. I'm a positive person and hearing only negaivity and one-sideness is a bit much. I have said why don't you try xyz or such, but it usually falls on deaf ears. There is also the feeling I'm the last person on the list of people to talk to, like if there's nothing better to do then call me-maybe that really is why there are these feelings of resentment.

The reason I'm so annoyed is that I had a VERY hard time with my DD, she was a very spirited 2-3 year old, I cried nearly every day, she flopped, dropped, ran into the street. When I mention these same things I just get pushed off with YOU don't understand, when really I do.

Me Wife to T (14 years)Mama to Princess(4) and Monster Boy(my 1 year old ):
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#18 of 41 Old 08-30-2010, 11:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Certainly I think what the pps have said is plausible. I also want to say that it really, truly may not be the same. I have a child who is technically too young for a juve bipolar diagnosis, but most likely is. You will not see him raging & screaming, but I have/do. People often are *shocked* if we tell specific stories about him. They don't see him that way. Even saying "he tried to hit me" was something I would say, and people will say, "yeah, my kid did that, too." But when my child does it, he is serious, intense, determined. It's a far more serious experience even though it's the same action. So, really, maybe you don't understand exactly what she is saying.
My DD isn't bi-polar, but I was fully prepared for a diagnoses of ADHD at one point, a year ago I was ready to throw in the towel, not be her mom and give up. She isn't but she was exhibiting all the signs that were leading us to think that something was up. My DD seriously had screaming, crazy tantrums with kicking, spitting, running away, clawing, biting. I cried nearly everyday and was honestly ready to be done, it was the crappiest time in my life, oh and I was pregnant with our son, and I almost lost him due to placental bleeding. When I've mentioned these same things, she blows me off. That's why I guess I'm annoyed.

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#19 of 41 Old 08-30-2010, 11:58 AM
 
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I guess that would be the case if it wasn't every.single.thing. I mean it's not just the 3 year old's behavior, her pregnancy-worse, her son-worse, it's everything. I'm a positive person and hearing only negaivity and one-sideness is a bit much. I have said why don't you try xyz or such, but it usually falls on deaf ears. There is also the feeling I'm the last person on the list of people to talk to, like if there's nothing better to do then call me-maybe that really is why there are these feelings of resentment.
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While I think that personality clashes and feeling "used," for lack of a better term, are VERY valid reasons for disengaging from friendships (I, too, am generally very positive and have a hard time dealing with Debbie Downers) when I *do* vent, I don't want solutions or BTDT- I want validation that it's presently hard for me, and I want a hug.

It *could* be that she tend to one-up in hopes that she'll get validation if only she can make you understand how hard it is. Or she could be a whiner; it's hard to say.

It does suck when we realize our friends aren't such great friends, though, for sure.

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#20 of 41 Old 08-30-2010, 01:23 PM
 
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My second dd was a handful. She had a lot of medical problems and I didn't sleep for more than two hours a night for over a year. It made life very difficult, especially since I had a 4 yo. I do think if any of my friends or family had told me that they understood I would have shot them with my Martian death ray (LOL, okay, so I don't have a Martian death ray!!).

I think I would just change my approach to this friend if you still want to hang out with her. The next time she says something like that, I would say, "I'm trying to understand and I'm sorry that you feel I don't. Maybe I'm not the best person to discuss this with." If she gets upset, just remind her gently that you have been there and would love to try and help her, but none of your advice seems to be what she is looking for.
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#21 of 41 Old 08-30-2010, 01:41 PM
 
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I am trying to wrap my head around this, my friend lately has been driving me nuts, ok no it's been longer than that-it's been a long time. When we talk it constantly turns into a pity party for why everything is worse for her, her son is 3.5, I have a 4 year old. My DD was a terrible 2, she was just very difficult, very verbal and a general PITA, doing the normal boundary pushing behavior associated with toddlers. Now my friend is in the same position, her son is telling her "NO", fighting with her, being mean to his little brother, IDK normal 3 year old stuff. YET for her it somehow is not the same. It is like this with anything we talk about relating to kids, when I say "yeah BTDT." She counters with "no, you don't understand." Uh yeah I DO, I also have been through this.

Anybody have any advice on how I can get her to understand that I actually DO understand, or is it time for me to just distance myself more before I go insane. I'm pretty much ready to do the latter, because frankly I am sick to death of being told I don't understand even though I am a mom of 2 kids just like she is and that all the behavior things are just developmentally normal and expected.
Maybe, and this is just a possibility, things are worse than she is describing? I was having big troubles with my 8 yr old. He screaming and falling to the ground and having over the top fits. Thing is, I already had children before him and I used to work with children for a living. This was stuff that was over the top, but was hard to describe. I finally took him in to be evaluated and he has autism spectrum disorder.

I would suggest telling your friend next time to have her son evaluated. This will accomplish one of three things 1) she really is just trying to one up you and will be offended that you suggest her child be evaluated and she will stop complaining or 2) she will get her child evaluated and find out he has something like ASD or 3) she will get her child evaluated and be told her child is fine, all other kids are like this.

So just say "I think this all sounds normal, but if you do not think it is normal, then take him to a psychologist and get him evaluated." Plus, once you put the term "not normal" on it, if she is just exaggerating, then she might stop. But then again, maybe he really is over the top. I know that no one who spent short periods of time with my son had a clue he had a problem. It was only when you were with him a lot that it came out (i.e. art classes, gym classes, school, never happened at playgroups or play dates).
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#22 of 41 Old 08-30-2010, 02:15 PM
 
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Is it possible that you are one upping the one upper? Could there be more going on than what you see? Sometimes things look terrible when you are in the middle of it.

I have a coworker who had a child a year before I had DS. I listened paitently to all the complaints, worries, and harships. I listened and sympathised when their kiddo wasn't gaining weight, when he was nearly in tears because she cried so much, when they were worried that she wasn't verbal enough. I could tell that he needed to talk and vent, and didn't much want to listen.

Fast forward, when I had my kiddo, my complaints and worries were all trivialized as normal, and not worth discussing. Oh, btdt, not worth listening to-- did you try x, y, z? Worse than that, around the time time I got pregnant with my second child (ds was 7 mos), they started sending their DC to preschool from 8-4. If I would just mention that I was tired, he would talk about how his wife is so exhausted and sick, that she would just sleep all day. How that used to enrage me!!!

The reality is, I don't know what she's going through, and he doesn't know my whole story.
Also, know that her expereince is unique and new *to her*. The nb period seems like cake to me now, but at the time it was the hardest thing I'd ever been through. And I think all people go through that.

All this to say, perhaps your friend just needs you to be a different kind of friend? Does she actually ask you for advice? Or does she just need support? It sounds like she needs some validation that what she is going through is hard and challenging, not just that it's normal, and she needs to suck it up.

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#23 of 41 Old 08-30-2010, 02:20 PM
 
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FWIW, I make a point to almost never use the phrase, "I understand." I believe strongly that, for the most part, no one else really "understands." Maybe we can relate, maybe we can empathize, but it's darn near impossible to understand.

I guess I also don't see why it's so important to make your friend realize that you "understand." Let her gripe if she wants to. If there's something constructive you can offer, do it! But otherwise, maybe she just needs to sound off here and there.
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#24 of 41 Old 08-30-2010, 02:23 PM
 
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So just say "I think this all sounds normal, but if you do not think it is normal, then take him to a psychologist and get him evaluated."

this is the kind of thing my coworker would say, that would make my head explode. Basically, to me that sounds like saying, hmm, I'm done talking about you and your problems. Want to hear more about me?

Whereas the response I would give him if the tables were turned would be more like. "Oh, that does sound really difficult. I know with my DS, things got a bit easier after a while. What does your Dr say? That it's normal? Well, that's something to cling to! How is your other DC doing lately?"

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#25 of 41 Old 08-30-2010, 02:26 PM
 
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... when I *do* vent, I don't want solutions or BTDT- I want validation that it's presently hard for me, and I want a hug.
I think this sums it up perfectly.
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How about "I'm sorry you are having such a rough time. Parenting can be so overwhelming. I promise that you aren't doing anything wrong, and that there is light at the end of the tunnel. In the meantime what can I do to help?"

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#27 of 41 Old 08-30-2010, 02:37 PM
 
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I have a high-needs toddler & every time I vent about something & someone laughs & says "oh, terrble twos!" or "yup, sounds like mine at that age!" I just want to scream. Plus things like that make me doubt myself. I *know* DS is high-needs & that the typical toddler behaviors are way more extreme & amplified for my DS. Sometimes I just need that validation... not someone to tell me, "I understand, BTDT." I have no idea if this is the case for your friend or if she really is trying to 'one-up' you... but why not try to validate her feelings? I guess I don't really understand why you want her to accept that YOU understand. I don't mean that in a mean way -- I just honestly don't really understand why it upsets you? And I would like to understand, because if any of my friends feel similarly to you, I'd hate to upset them too!

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#28 of 41 Old 08-30-2010, 02:41 PM
 
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I agree wtih those who think she just wants to be heard and be able to vent, rather than hearing suggestions or what you've been through. Just, "That sounds hard" might be the best response.
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#29 of 41 Old 08-30-2010, 02:58 PM
 
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I am trying to imagine how these conversations go down...

Friend: I am sooo frustrated that my dc does XYZ! I am really overwhelmed right now.
OP: Oh ya. My kid that. It's nothing/ normal/ no big deal.
Friend: It seems really extreme to me. I have tried ZYX and ABC and it doesn't work. It does not seem normal.
OP: Well my kid was just as bad. It's normal.

Now I could see where your friend would keep trying to go at it if it was this way- she wants someone to let her vent, to validate that it's hard etc.

I have special needs child who is of above normal intelligence. People don't get it. People think he is normal. People think he can't be that smart and have difficulties. People don't get when I say he isn't sleeping that I have read every book, tried every method, herb etc and he is just not able to sleep like a "normal" kid. When I mention that I am exhausted, I don't want someone to say "Ya, I have had a few bad nights/ weeks of sleep here and there." I just want someone to say "I am sorry it's so rough for you."

When my son was born he had a brain bleed and many seizures. He was transported to the highest level NICU for our reigion. They were talking about operating on his brain. My MIL said "Oh I know just how that is, they had to take (my husband) to the nursery for a day because of jaundice." I wanted to kill her.

And I agree with whoever said there may be more going on than she's letting on. It's hard to admit when something is up with your kid. Especially in the midst of exhaustion, frustration and people telling you how normal it is. If it For a long time I felt like my son's issues were my fault. When everyone told me it was normal, I wondered what was wrong with me then... why was it so hard for me if it was normal?.It took his neurologist recognizing what we were dealing with and telling me clearly that it was not my fault for me to believe it.

Even if what she is dealing with is normal. it is still hard and it is still different- everyone experiences life through their own lens. You didn't go through it- you went through your dd's hard stage, which however difficult, is still different.

Next time, try acknowledging how hard it must be for her and see how that goes. Your own story does not need to come up here. Let her vent and maybe it will be less frustrating for you both.

Stephenie, Wife to Nick partners.gif 9/3/05 Mama to Keagan treehugger.gif autismribbon.gif 4/12/07, Eden dust.gifhomebirth.jpg3/29/09  3rdtri.gif Someone new coming in July and two angels 6/06 and 10/10. Check out my blog! blogging.jpg

 
 
 
  

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#30 of 41 Old 08-30-2010, 03:01 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post
I have a high-needs toddler & every time I vent about something & someone laughs & says "oh, terrble twos!" or "yup, sounds like mine at that age!" I just want to scream. Plus things like that make me doubt myself. I *know* DS is high-needs & that the typical toddler behaviors are way more extreme & amplified for my DS. Sometimes I just need that validation... not someone to tell me, "I understand, BTDT." I have no idea if this is the case for your friend or if she really is trying to 'one-up' you... but why not try to validate her feelings? I guess I don't really understand why you want her to accept that YOU understand. I don't mean that in a mean way -- I just honestly don't really understand why it upsets you? And I would like to understand, because if any of my friends feel similarly to you, I'd hate to upset them too!
I know! this thread is making me look at my whining in a whole new light!

Texmati-- Knitter, Hindu, vegetarian, WOHM. Wife to superdadsuperhero.gif and mom to DS babyf.gif24 months, and DD boc.gif 8 months! .

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