We all have our private peccadilloes we don’t share with people no matter how open we may seem. I am no different. For a few months now I’ve been doing DBT, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. I won’t go in to all the reasons this came about. This is just the ground work for the story to come.
We’re doing a module on Interpersonal Effectiveness.
Yes, everything has snazzy name. This module could have been called “how not to be a dick and how to not accept dickish behavior from others.”
When I am talking to someone 75-80% of my brain is fully focused on them and the remainder is stringently editing all the things that come to mind to say. I agreed, as part of Interpersonal Effectiveness, to stop doing that for a week. To listen 100% in the moment to what the other person was saying and then to use the standard 3 seconds social pause to plan my reply.
Twice this week I was told I was mean.
This leads me to consider other ways in which my brain works. Sure I can write 48K words in 6 days. My brain is that fast. All I have to do is put in the hours.
Then it needs to be stringently edited for a year before it’s ready for human consumption. LOL
Why should I treat talking any differently?
I have this friend. Good friend. If I were being cheesy I might even say she is one of my people. Not my person, because hello, that’s my hubs. But one of my people, part of the tribe. We often end up in conversations where she says “I just don’t know what to do with him anymore.” Meaning her child. And I am always hesitant to say anything. Not because I don’t think I have suggestions but because I am aware of the one thing every human on the planet should consider before giving advice = I don’t know where she has been with him.
Let me dive into this a bit. As a mother (generally – I know dad’s stay at home too) you are with your child, day in, day out. You know them better than anyone on the planet. And if you live where I do and have a tech hubs, you’re doing it alone, 90% of the time, maybe even 95 or 100% when the hubs is trying to ship. So while I might think, she should try x. Maybe she’s already tried that. Maybe it made things worse. I don’t know. I wasn’t there for all that with her. She was alone, struggling through it on her own. Fighting with doctors and therapists to get them to give her a diagnosis so she could get help for her kid.
Yes, her child is not neuro-typical. Mine is not neuro-typical. Guess what, they are not neuro-typical in different ways. It would be like me giving all the knowledge I learned about surviving in the jungle to someone living on a tundra and expecting them to follow it. Two totally different worlds and little applies to both, except the most bland. Find a shelter. Oh really, you think I don’t know that? Seriously? A shelter? Bleep you and the horse you rode in on. Who probably broke a leg because of the ice, since this is a tundra.
Raising a child is your own individual experience. People with multiple children will tell you each is different. Different things work on different kids. Raising a non neuro-typical child is your own private battle. The parent of a non neuro- typical child is constantly trying to improve the situation. Weighing whether coming down hard about how loud your child is singing in Costco is the right move or likely to set off a battle of epic proportions leading you to have to abandon your cart of desperately needed groceries as your child hits you, kicks you, and the people around you make comments that you really should be a better parent and teach your child some discipline. Really? Would you tell the parent of a child in a wheel chair, that they should be a better parent and teach their child to walk?
So again I say, you don’t know where that parent has been with their child. Hell, let’s just broaden that. You don’t know where that person you are judging has been. And giving advice is essentially judgment, the belief that you know better how to handle someone else’s life, than they do. We are all the sum of our experiences, positive and negative. You are judging through the filter of your experiences.
Which may be as far from the tundra as the jungle is.