The Misplaced Shame!

This is a follow up to my post from last week, called ,The REAL Story!

Comments that I received from my post were encouraging and very appreciated. I was glad to be able to share words that spoke to peoples hearts and to open the door about something that many will not speak of. Why isn’t it spoken about when there are so many that suffer from eating disorders?

One word, Shame! In talking with a friend this past week, that word was brought up about how parents feel such shame when their children go through certain struggles. Eating disorders, alcoholism, drugs, cutting, and I am sure the list could be added to. These are things that many parents around the world endure. Instead of joining hands with other parents though, they bow their heads and quickly close the door before anyone sees in.

Shame is such a strong emotion and can hold such power over us! It is so sad how parents have to struggle with this emotion at a time  when they need the most support. Support from others, instead of feeling like they need to hide the truth as they  suffer in silence ; with heart wrenching pain!

I felt the shame when I was at my High School reunion. You do what you always do at reunions, you catch each other up about  your families. At this time we were just in the beginning of realizing that our child was struggling with an eating disorder and no its  not something we wanted to shout from the mountain top. Not something we wanted to talk about  amidst our hearing  of how Johnny is excelling in his gifted class and Sarah is a star in gymnastics.  Did you know that  Luke is  already being eyed by coaches from this well known college, due to his football skills?

Don’t get me wrong, I did have a wonderful time at my class reunion. It was only  when the subject of talking about our children came up that  it was hard, for what do you say.

Imagine the shocking quiet that would have filled the room. How you could have heard a feather fall, if I would have shouted loudly how my child was getting a A+ in Depression and struggling with an eating disorder. No one would have known what to say and they would have felt uncomfortable, because questions would begin filling their mind. You know the unasked questions. The , “Wonder what is the cause?” questions. Is something bad going on in their home?,  “What is their relationship with their kids like?,” “Why would a child do that??”

On the other hand, what about the other silent parents? My guess would be that we weren’t the only parents there that night that had hidden pain about our children.  Think about how they would have felt if I would have opened up? That is a large reason of me writing these posts, I want to be there for them. Show them they aren’t alone in their struggles!

Now imagine if my child would have just been diagnosed with cancer before our HS reunion. If we had just found out that they had a terminal illness. What would the reaction be if I had shouted that out? Would people be bowing their heads not wanting to look me in the eye, pretending they didn’t hear. No, I believe it would be exact opposite!  My husband and I would get looks of compassion. We would get hugs of sorrow and pats on the back and affirmations that we would be in peoples thoughts and prayers!

Yes, some people still might be uncomfortable with knowing , but not because of judging us, more  from feeling so badly for us. More of not knowing what to do. I think that is a lot of  reason people may shy away from hurting people. They don’t know what to do. The thing is they don’t have to DO anything. They only need to be there! To be there with compassion and grace and mercy for the hurting soul.

Compassion is a wonderful gift that a lot of people have and it is a gift that needs to be shown to the parents of children struggling with drugs and alcohol, depression,  eating disorders, children that attempt suicide,  ones that  that are promiscuous, and again the list goes on. The list goes on of topics that fill parents with shame! They have shame amidst the strongest heart shattering pain that they have ever had in their lives! For every question that goes through your mind about what may have caused it, they have a dozen!  For every finger you may point at them, they have already pointed all 10 fingers and their toes at themselves. These parents don’t need questions or accusations, they need love, they need compassion, they need the sympathetic ear.

You may not understand the “whys”, about a child struggling, but guess what? You don’t need to! All you need to do is be there for the overwhelmed parent. The parent that is trying their best to keep up with life’s demands, even as their hearts lay trampled on the floor and confusion and fear fill their minds.

I will be forever grateful to my family and  friends for being  there for me. They were there with their listening ears and shoulders to cry on. With their loving embrace and yes their laughter to make my heart smile! They accepted my tears and wept with me, but they knew the importance of laughter as well. As I have said many times,  what I would do without the gift of laughter, I don’t know!  But there were times I needed reminded of that gift.

In the beginning when my child first went to stay at the rehab my heart was so torn, that I was on the verge of tears every day. If I wasn’t crying, the lump was in my throat. It was there every time I walked past the empty bedroom, it was there when my oldest would come home from school alone. When they would walk out the door in the morning for school alone. There were reminders everywhere I looked of the absence of my precious child.

I thank God for the days that my family and friends helped me to swallow that lump by their compassion, love and laughter.

Please if you are a hurting parent reading this and feeling alone, let me know. Don’t continue to suffer in silence. The weight you have already is overwhelming enough. There are support groups around, but not always the easiest to find. You don’t have to be a hurting parent either, there could be other struggles you are dealing with and not sharing with anyone. Please speak up. Let someone be there for you!  I hope you can feel my cyberspace (((HUGS))) for you!

If you know of someone struggling, if you suspect they are holding a lot of pain inside, reach out them!! Sometimes all it takes is for that person knowing you genuinely care.  When they see that, when they feel that, they will open up. You can help be responsible for lightning someone’s heavy load, for reminding their heart to smile. What better purpose in life can there be?




24 thoughts on “The Misplaced Shame!

  1. Heh Carolyn it’s Melanie…….I want to comment but not sure what to say other then having cancer the awkwardness is no different and people also feel just as uncomfortable. You cannot compare the 2 at all, I only sat this to let you know that regardless of the problems we face within ourselves or our children if they are not visible I think, in my opinion, people don’t know how to react or what to say. This why people with mental health issues are given such a hard time. Great post me friend:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • HI my dear friend! Thanks so much for your comment. You are right about people not knowing how to react to either situation. I probably shouldn’t have tried to compare them. What I was thinking is the thing with cancer is that blame and judgment is not cast on the parent, compared to a mental health disorder. But yes the awkwardness is still there. Thanks again for your comments, nice surprise to see you on here. Love you my friend! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • You know Carolyn I wrote a comment and just deleted it because on second thought I don’t think its just parents that judge other parents because I’m sure you like myself have told people without kids what has happened in your family and have been judged and they haven’t had any experience raising children. The unfortunate reality is Everybody judges everybody at some point!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Another great Post! It is so easy to feel totally isolated when confronted with these types of issues, and yet I would guess that there more parents dealing with these kinds of issues than there with “perfect” children”. Again…….. great job! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Yes, parents have so much shame about not measuring up to whatever they think others expect. It’s all so sad and unnecessary.

    Two weeks ago, my mom and stepfather came to town for a visit, and we went out to lunch. I asked how his sons from his first marriage were doing. All I meant by it was that I hoped they were well; but he got defensive and replied that they’d had a tough childhood. Then he went on to tell me about various things that happened after his divorce and that he couldn’t have done any more to prevent, as a noncustodial parent who had to move to another state to find a good job to support them.

    As far as I know, they do not have any major problems. His fear of judgment seems to come from nothing more than that his sons didn’t go to college. That was 30 years ago, and they both have respectable blue-collar jobs, but apparently he never got over the disappointment. Sad.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. This is such a heartfelt post. Kudos Joy for sharing such an intimate part of you and giving others the strength to speak up and know they are not alone. You inspire me.
    Being a medical student, it breaks my heart when other medical students say things downgrading towards mental illness, some don’t still don’t want to believe it exist (yup, and they are supposed to be future doctors).
    Thank you Joy, you have no idea how many lives you’ve inspired by this.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Indeed, it was a difficult time. Thankfully we pulled through it and things are much better now. As far as fear of judgment from other parents, I would think there would be a greater risk of judgment from people without children. Have you ever noticed that those who think they know everything about raising children are usually people without any children of their own?

    Liked by 2 people

  6. That was a heartfelt share. I cannot imagine what you are going through, but I am quite close to two anorexia ladies, especially one who I have mentored for about 5 years. Her weight is no longer an issue but her sensitivity and thoughts take her to the pit, literally back to rehab. The younger lady has been song well for over a year which is outstanding. She just shared her testimony. It takes a lot of hard work and diligence to control negative thinking, but it is so worth it.

    As a parent of my 38 year old daughter, I struggle our estrangement. This is what she wants, not me. I no longer get to see my granddaughters who are 23 months and 8 months. She and her husband need their hearts to soften. I’m praying diligently that God will work things out. I imagine this is another unspoken parents’ club. Life is not easy but through my faith I can live in peace anyway. I focus on all that I do have and not what I’m missing.

    Praying for you and your family.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Awww Sue, thanks for your kind words and for sharing your heart! It is great that you can mentor those 2 ladies. I can feel your pain about your daughter and grandkids and will keep you in my prayers!! ❤


  7. Thank you for sharing. Having been there with my own child’s different issues, I understand that feeling of shame and so much more. It took time for me to realize that I wasn’t the only one. So many people work hard to uphold a certain image- for a lot of different reasons. The truth is they have their own things that they are not sharing too- kind of like Monica’s locked closet on Friends. (If you didn’t watch Friends, I can explain.) Hugs!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. It is truly unfortunate that mental health still has such a stigma attached. In so many instances it can no more be controlled by outside forces than any other illness and yet we still feel there must be someone to blame. Things seem to be improving and I can only hope that trend continues.
    Thank you for sharing your experiences and opening up a safe space for discussion! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your comments and for caring. I do hope things continue to improve as well. Another thing I realized was how we really need more facilities around to help those suffering. You would not believe the hard time I had trying to find a therapist in the very beginning of all of this. I kept getting told 3 month waiting list or longer. I was getting so frustrated, for I knew they needed help.
      I lost it in one phone call after having called so many. The secretary actually hung up on me because of me getting a little snippy. That is sooo unlike me, but when my buttons get pushed, watch out! Mama Bear comes out!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Sadly 3 months seems to be the standard turnaround time for most mental health professionals unless it’s a referral or emergency. Of course in my opinion if you’re calling them then it’s really automatically an emergency. You don’t wait 3 months to see a doctor about the flu! I’m not sure what the answer is, but I suspect it starts with being more open about our experiences and having a conversation just like these here in this post.
        Your daughter is so lucky to have you! It’s great that you fought to help her and have been so supportive. I know that it probably seems like what any parent would do, but it’s not necessarily. I know family support doesn’t automatically fix a problem, but it no doubt helps the recovery process.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Exactly right about it being an emergency and not waiting 3 months for the flu, that was my frustration. You don’t tell people that they have to wait 6 months when facing these kinds of serious issues! And yes that is what the secretary had told me, which is why I may have given a “smart” reply.
        Thank you for your kind words! Trust me, there has been more times than not, that I have questioned myself, what could I have done better, if only I would have …..all those things that parents do when faced with troubling issues with their kids. Thankfully I have friends who are more than happy to “slap” me when I start going down that path!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: The Silent Heartache | Nuggets of Gold

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