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View Full Version : How do you talk to people who don't talk?



thethinker42
12-18-2008, 04:00 PM
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scarletpeaches
12-18-2008, 04:03 PM
Well. I have no solutions to the problem but coming from the same kind of family...:Hug2:

Ol' Fashioned Girl
12-18-2008, 04:17 PM
First of all... major hugs.

Second... having been there with my sister not so very long ago, and coming from a family of women with much the same communications skills, I can say with some conviction she probably really doesn't know much to tell you at this point. The fact that she's almost 60 works in her favor... my sis was 64. The older a woman is at onset the better her chances of having a slow-growing tumor (or tumors).

This doesn't make you feel any better at all, being so far away, but even being 10 miles away wouldn't help much right now.

And more hugs.

sunna
12-18-2008, 04:19 PM
((((((((((((((thinker)))))))))))))))))


My family is a little like that: we're fairly close, and we talk more than enough - as long as it's not serious stuff. I used to think I'd be the different one, but I had to have surgery last month, and it didn't even occur to me to tell any of them: and I only realized I hadn't when my husband brought it up, and that I was brushing them off when my dad, who NEVER calls, called to ask me if I'd already had the surgery or when it was. I thought I was just going to make them worry over nothing (or that I should wait until I knew more) if I told them about it, when they were worrying more because I wasn't saying anything.


Nobody ever knows what to say or to ask in these situations. Call your mom anyway. Hearing your voice will make her feel better. If she really doesn't want to discuss it she won't, and you can distract her by talking about other stuff. And she'll know you're there if she does want to talk, which is the important thing.

NeuroFizz
12-18-2008, 05:29 PM
I'm so sorry, Lori.

What to say?

1) "I love you, Mom."
2) "I'll be there in January."
3) "Is there anything I can do in the meantime?"
4) "Does Dad need any help?" (he may well be devastated as well)
5) Now, play it by ear. If it gets emotional, don't downplay it, let it flow. And just let her know you are with her, if not in person, in spirit.

You may want to contact your siblings and see if you can make sure someone is in contact every day (or multiple times a day).

Sheryl Nantus
12-18-2008, 05:35 PM
it's very possible that your mom doesn't know much more than you do at this point - if she's in the middle of tests and diagnosis and rescheduled surgery she may not even have a proper diagnois from her doctor yet.

you'd be surprised at how many older people are afraid to ask the medical experts anything other than just nod at taking more pills and signing up for surgery. She might just be so overwhelmed by the entire experience that she can't really speak about what she's thinking or going through because it's not "real" to her yet. Add in the holiday schedule for such procedures and she may not even know which way is up!

take heart in the fact that there are plenty of survivors out there and the odds are good that your mom will be among them. At least she's seeking medical advice and her doctors seem to be on the ball and by the time you arrive they'll have a much better view of the situation rather than stuttering over the phone that they don't know much.

in my thoughts and prayers...

{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{hugs}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}

cray
12-18-2008, 05:47 PM
:Hug2:

*rrrrinnng*


"mom, it's lori. i've been thinking about you."




:Hug2:

best wishes, lori.





cray

scarletpeaches
12-18-2008, 05:54 PM
That's talking.

Lori's family doesn't talk.

cray
12-18-2008, 06:03 PM
true. i guess.
but maybe it starts a conversation. maybe not.


and even if the conversation ends there, she just said a whole lot.

thethinker42
12-18-2008, 06:07 PM
true. i guess.
but maybe it starts a conversation. maybe not.


and even if the conversation ends there, she just said a whole lot.

And I've said all of it...it's just, we're not saying much else.

The problem with my family I guess isn't that we don't TALK...it's that no one SAYS anything.

:(

Shadow_Ferret
12-18-2008, 06:50 PM
You seemed to have composed a pretty lucid post there with all your thoughts, worries, and concerns.

Why not just send it to your mom?

thethinker42
12-18-2008, 07:05 PM
You seemed to have composed a pretty lucid post there with all your thoughts, worries, and concerns.

Why not just send it to your mom?

Therein lies the "we don't talk, we don't ask", etc. I can say it here, I can vent all of my frustrations and worries...but actually saying it to her, even sending what I've already written? I really don't know. It's hard to explain...it's like I don't want to make her feel bad, like she hasn't been telling me anything, because I'm not angry and she doesn't need the added stress...(that's how I was raised...by my parents, of course...which makes me that much more worried about basically saying the wrong thing, asking the wrong question, etc.)

I see what you're saying, trust me. It's just hard to explain why I can say this here and not to her.

FUCK this is hard. We really suck at this communication thing.

Shadow_Ferret
12-18-2008, 07:08 PM
I'm sorry, then I have no advice for you, I'm afraid. The only way to break down lack of communication is by trying to start communicating. Someone has to make that first move.

My dad passed away in February. We weren't talking to each other.

Now we'll NEVER talk to each other.

thethinker42
12-18-2008, 07:11 PM
To give you an idea...we're a very reserved bunch. When someone finally DOES say something, it's almost jarring. Do something wrong, you'll hear about it until the end of time. Do something right, don't expect much. if anything. Have some sort of emotional/medical crisis? It's just not discussed.

The day I left to come to Okinawa, my dad told me - for the first time in maybe 20 years (I'm 28) - that he was proud of me, especially of my writing (shit, it's choking me up just thinking about it). My mom was driving when he said it, and damn near ran off the road. I know it was hard for him to put it into words, and I honestly didn't know how to respond. I really didn't. Because it just doesn't happen. Ever.

So...when stuff like this happens...when it's something bad...we're all completely lost.

smoothseas
12-18-2008, 07:19 PM
Nobody ever knows what to say or to ask in these situations. Call your mom anyway. Hearing your voice will make her feel better. If she really doesn't want to discuss it she won't, and you can distract her by talking about other stuff. And she'll know you're there if she does want to talk, which is the important thing.

Sage advice.



You seemed to have composed a pretty lucid post there with all your thoughts, worries, and concerns.

Why not just send it to your mom?

Ed's idea is good.


*sending cyber hugs and encouragement to all of your family*

Yeshanu
12-18-2008, 07:21 PM
(((Lori)))

I'm not sure stellar communication skills are any help in a situation like this, if that's any help. And I think OFG and Neuro and cray and Shadow Ferret have pretty much said what I would say.

I'd just say one more thing on the matter, to all the women (and men) out there: I saw my doctor recently, and she told me that recent studies have shown that women who take 1000 IU of Vitamin D every day halve their risks of certain cancer, including breast cancer. Men who take it decrease risk of prostate cancer. The other cancers she mentioned were colon and lung cancer. Altogether, a stunning decrease for the cost of two inexpensive vitamin pills per day.

She did a blood test before she actually gave me the go-ahead to take that much, and it took me a bit of looking to find a multi-vitamin that had that much as part of the daily dose (so I wouldn't accidentally end up overdosing on other vitamins by taking more than the recommended dose).

It's something that you could do now. It won't make your mom any better, and it probably won't make you feel better, but it might save your kids from going through the same thing a few years down the road.

More hugs. Really don't have much else to say at this point, other than if you need to vent, we're here. :Hug2:

scarletpeaches
12-18-2008, 07:24 PM
...it probably won't make you feel better, but it might save your kids from going through the same thing a few years down the road...

Uh, no.

Really.

thethinker42
12-18-2008, 07:25 PM
Uh, no.

Really.

LOL True. Kids aren't an issue.

But I will certainly take the advice...my acupuncturist gave me the same heads up.

Mr Flibble
12-18-2008, 07:26 PM
To give you an idea...we're a very reserved bunch. When someone finally DOES say something, it's almost jarring. Do something wrong, you'll hear about it until the end of time. Do something right, don't expect much. if anything. Have some sort of emotional/medical crisis? It's just not discussed.

I had precisely this a couple of years ago - my mum had had a stroke and my Dad only rang to mention he couldn't pick up the kids from school as we'd arranged. Why's that Dad? Oh, well your mother's had a stroke...I wasn't going to mention it because I didn't want to worry you. *facepalm* Then he looked kind of surprised when I turned up at the hospital.

Same again when he had to have a bypass - no info from him or mum. She didn't talk about it AT ALL. Even though she was worried witless, she refused to talk about it. My Dad was only interested in talking about the rugby as a way of avoiding questions about the op / prognosis

Sunna was right - ring your Mum and talk about anything, the weather, a program on the telly you both watch, that time when you were a kid and you got your head stuck in the dog, anything at all. Maybe she'll let little bits out peicemeal - This is how I got my Mum to talk eventually.

Good Luck

thethinker42
12-18-2008, 07:31 PM
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scarletpeaches
12-18-2008, 07:39 PM
Okay I have to say something here, and no, it's not a derail. And because I speak to Lori daily off-site, I like to think I know her well enough to be able to say this, but...

1) If it was as easy as 'hey, just call' don't you think she would have done that by now?

2) They. Are. Not. Fighting. They just don't talk. It's not a cold war or an armed truce. It's more like...a big fat nothing when it comes to 'sharing feelings'. This is not the presence of anything negative. We're talking the lack of anything positive here.

3) The last thing Lori needs is a fucking guilt trip. "Call your mother, you'll regret it if you don't?" Uh...no. Speaking personally, if I never spoke to my mother again and got word she'd croaked, I'd throw a party. Regret? Hell no.

Now in Lori's case it's different. She has a positive relationship with her mother. They. Just. Do. Not. Discuss. Emotional. Matters.

There's more than one reason to not 'share' with someone. Anger is not the only one. And Lori doesn't need to hear "I lost so-and-so; don't go through the same pain I am."

Well, no. She won't. Because she is not you.

/rant off.

Yeshanu
12-18-2008, 07:49 PM
Okay I have to say something here, and no, it's not a derail. And because I speak to Lori daily off-site, I like to think I know her well enough to be able to say this, but...

1) If it was as easy as 'hey, just call' don't you think she would have done that by now?

2) They. Are. Not. Fighting. They just don't talk. It's not a cold war or an armed truce. It's more like...a big fat nothing when it comes to 'sharing feelings'. This is not the presence of anything negative. We're talking the lack of anything positive here.

3) The last thing Lori needs is a fucking guilt trip. "Call your mother, you'll regret it if you don't?" Uh...no. Speaking personally, if I never spoke to my mother again and got word she'd croaked, I'd throw a party. Regret? Hell no.

Now in Lori's case it's different. She has a positive relationship with her mother. They. Just. Do. Not. Discuss. Emotional. Matters.

There's more than one reason to not 'share' with someone. Anger is not the only one. And Lori doesn't need to hear "I lost so-and-so; don't go through the same pain I am."

Well, no. She won't. Because she is not you.

/rant off.

sp, I never got that Lori did not have a good relationship with her mom, and I don't think that others thought that either.

But it's obviously hurting her that she can't talk to her family about this, and we're honestly trying to help.

One of the reasons we say, "Call anyway. Ask anyway. Tell your mom how you feel," is because sometimes, when we're open and honest about how the lack of communication hurts us, things change for the better.

Speaking to Lori, now:

Please take this as coming from someone who knows, from the inside, how hard it is to change family patterns, but who also knows, from the inside, that it can be done.

You're not going to change your parents' style of communication. You can only change what you do. You can send them an email telling them what you've told us. It's entirely your choice here.

Remember when you send it that your parents love you, and the world isn't going to end because you spoke out about your feelings.

And when your parents find out how you really feel about the lack of communication, they may decide to very slowly change how they communicate. Or they may not.

Again, no condemnation here. Only hugs. You're in a hard place, and I'm praying for you and yours.

scarletpeaches
12-18-2008, 07:54 PM
Dammit woman. How dare you be nice when I'm trying to rant?!

Yeshanu
12-18-2008, 07:59 PM
:)

I am nice.

Shadow_Ferret
12-18-2008, 08:01 PM
Anyway, I really do understand the lack of communication thing. My grandfather was dead and buried 6 months before anyone thought to tell me about it.

maestrowork
12-18-2008, 08:07 PM
Lori, I spent 6 years in the States away from my family in Asia. I understand the distance, but it's all in the mindset. The phone is right there. Call. Even if you don't know what to say, call anyway. It means a lot just to hear your voice. Seriously -- that's ALL my parents wanted, to hear my voice, to know I was okay.

When my mom had a major operation, they didn't tell me. I found out after the fact because my mom didn't want to worry me while I was all here by myself and she felt there was nothing I could do anyway. But it upset me so much -- I told her what if something happened to her? I wouldn't even have had the chance to say "I love you." After that, she knew she couldn't hide things from me anymore. We still don't talk much on the phone, but it's always good to hear their voices.

And if you really don't like talking on the phone, e-mail is perfectly fine. I don't like to talk on the phone and I only call my folks once a week and we probably only talk for 5 minutes. But we email each other all the time, so it's not like we're out of touch.

Yeshanu
12-18-2008, 08:10 PM
Anyway, I really do understand the lack of communication thing. My grandfather was dead and buried 6 months before anyone thought to tell me about it.

I actually have pretty good communication with my parents, and they still forget to tell me about certain things, like my uncle dying (I would have liked to attend his funeral), or getting in car accidents. Usually it's because they're sure that they've already told me, when in fact my mom has forgotten that she phoned everyone on her phone list except me.

But when I know that something's going on, and I phone, I do get fairly complete updates.

emandem
12-18-2008, 08:38 PM
I'm prob the weirdo opposite one here. When I have something medically wrong I don't like to discuss it with ANYone, least of all my kids, at least not until I have all the facts in front of me. Talking about the situation has the opposite effect on me-- it makes me even more frazzled/neurotic--maybe that's what goes on w/ Lori's parents.

I was undergoing testing at one time-- back then it was best for me to totally minimize the situation until everything came back (and I just wanted everyone to leave me the hell alone)--I prayed a lot and this helped most. I understand that this kind of thing may drive the kids crazy, but it's my body and my life...

thethinker42
01-03-2009, 07:04 PM
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Susie
01-03-2009, 07:26 PM
So sorry, thethinker. Prayers for your mom and your family. Hopin' all will be well. ((((((HUGS)))))).

scarletpeaches
01-03-2009, 10:11 PM
Christ. :(

William Haskins
01-03-2009, 10:19 PM
I'm so sorry, Lori.

What to say?

1) "I love you, Mom."
2) "I'll be there in January."
3) "Is there anything I can do in the meantime?"
4) "Does Dad need any help?" (he may well be devastated as well)
5) Now, play it by ear. If it gets emotional, don't downplay it, let it flow. And just let her know you are with her, if not in person, in spirit.

You may want to contact your siblings and see if you can make sure someone is in contact every day (or multiple times a day).

yep. great advice.

Samantha's_Song
01-03-2009, 10:25 PM
Lori, I know this is very hard for you, and because of the time difference and the cost, just ring her up and say the three words that are the most important to her. I love you. That will say much more than you being on the phone for an hour or so.

:Hug2: To you.

maestrowork
01-03-2009, 11:08 PM
It's hard enough, but it's even harder when you can't be physically there for her, when you're so far away. But I think taking the effort to connect is really good. I'm sorry about your mother, and I hope everything will turn out okay.