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that I don't want to hear about someone being sick just as I'm about to have my dinner?

41 replies

amazingmumof6 · 07/06/2013 09:29

Background info:

Someone in our extended family is really ill with cancer.
any news about her, good or bad, is discussed promptly and prayed about. we are concerned about her and worried about her and her immediate family.

Yesterday there were some bad news that she's probably not going to last very long as she's not eaten since Sunday and can barely keep fluids down. she sleeps a lot nowadays. it is very sad indeed.

But am I being unreasonable to get annoyed that MIL, standing next to me in the kitchen, said "she was violently sick last night" just as I was about to sit down to eat my dinner?

my family was already sitting down, food on the table, when she gets off the phone and tells me that!
DH had just said that there are some bad news, having been on the phone prior to MIL, so I knew some details already and was really sad to hear them.

but I just don't need that image of anyone vomiting just as I'm about to eat! or that she's not had a poo for days!

I told her, no, sorry, I just don't want to hear it right now , can we discuss this after kids are in bed?

she (and everyone else in our family) knows that I don't want to discuss any yucky body related things at the table including gall stones, constipation, tooth extractions, puss, blood, infections etc.

so why can't she just be a little bit sensitive about it? why the dramatic describing of events?

I feel bad that I stopped her, like I don't care about a dying relative, but I really do! I just don't want graphic details...

Am I being an utter prick and selfish cow?

(I'm upset about this situation, so please be gentle with me if you think I'm indeed selfish.
I guess I'm looking for sympathy, but I may have overreacted?
oh, I just really can't stand those topics at the wrong time!)

OP posts:

TooOldForGlitter · 07/06/2013 09:35



RoooneyMara · 07/06/2013 09:40

I totally understand how you feel but I'm not sure I'd have said anything, or I'd have been careful to say, quietly, would you mind if we talked about it when the children aren't around...

there is a time and a place I think, but then, people will find it heartless if you say anything.


ArthurCucumber · 07/06/2013 09:41

Sorry to hear about your relative. I think your reaction was a bit selfish in terms of what she is suffering compared to what you were suffering - but it's also completely understandable, especially when you're so worried and it's taking up so much of your thoughts just now.

When I am worried about something, but helpless to do anything about it, my instinctive reaction is anger, because I feel so frustrated at not being able to make it better. Obviously showing that would be inappropriate. So I hide it, and remind myself that (1) it's the wider situation that I'm angry about, not the individual, and (2) I should never work in the caring professions!

In your case, saying something was probably not the best thing to do, but your MIL probably interpreted it as not wanting to discuss the details in front of the children. So please don't beat yourself up over it. Sometimes our reactions when we're upset don't come out of the Big Book of Appropriate Behaviour, but that's OK. Best wishes to your family.


Shenanagins · 07/06/2013 09:42

I can understand that you are very upset with the illness but your mil probably is too and is doing what is natural to her and discussing it with you.

i understand that you don't normally like to hear about such things but given the person is dying i think you have to make an exception, therefore yabvu.


ToffeeWhirl · 07/06/2013 09:44

It depends on your MIL's motivation. If she was distressed and told you for that reason, then YABU (although I do sympathise). However, if she is like my own MIL and actually weirdly enjoys describing other people's bodily functions in great detail, YANBU.

Also, how old are your DC? If they are very young, they shouldn't be hearing details like that.

I'm very sorry about your relative, by the way.


phantomhairpuller · 07/06/2013 09:44

I hardly think merely stating that someone has been violently sick is 'dramatic describing of events'.

Sorry but I think you are being a tad unreasonable.

Thoughts and prayers go to your family Smile


RoooneyMara · 07/06/2013 09:44

If you turn it round - I think your MIL probably didn't want to put anyone off their food but she was a bit unreasonable to go into graphic detail at that exact moment.

I still think you'd come off better by not mentioning it though.


Morgause · 07/06/2013 09:44

I think you are being unreasonable.

MiL was upset and shocked and didn't really think about your sensitivities, the family member was foremost in her mind. Only natural, I'd say.


amazingmumof6 · 07/06/2013 09:45

rooney - no- one else heard as they were already in the other room.

OP posts:

RoooneyMara · 07/06/2013 09:45

I think Toffee puts it well.


amazingmumof6 · 07/06/2013 09:51

phantom it is to me.
I'm a very visual person, so upon hearing it I can see it happening. it's just gross.

I should have added that DH just had an OP on Wednesday, so I've been looking after him.
Even when he was sick in the hospital in the evening I had to bolt and leave the nurses to deal with him. I have a terrible cold and been feeling sick since Sunday.

I was exhausted. I just wanted to sit down and enjoy dinner.

OP posts:

amazingmumof6 · 07/06/2013 09:54

toffee - there's some truth in the wanting to shock people with news, I guess.

it's the word "violently" that I had a problem with. there was no need to put it that way.

and again, kids were out of earshot.

It was me who just couldn't cope with that detail at that time.

OP posts:

amazingmumof6 · 07/06/2013 09:55

and I do appreciate your opinions - and thanks for saying it kindly!

OP posts:

Jan49 · 07/06/2013 10:10

Really sorry to hear about your relative, OP.Sad

I don't think I would have felt the need to describe the relative's current condition in so much detail. It sounds like s/he's going downhill and I think I'd have said "She's getting much worse" or similar, rather than mentioning vomit and poo. To me it doesn't seem necessary to discuss those details unless you are one of the family/friends/professionals involved in caring for the person and need to know. I don't much like to think that if I were dying, people might be discussing the finer details of my digestive system with each other.

But I think you just happen to be sensitive about the mention of those things and other people like your MIL are less so. I don't think her description is dramatic or graphic, just factual but more detail than need to be shared. When I've had close relatives in that situation, I don't think we'd have ever talked about vomit or poo to other people, just "he can't keep anything down" meaning vomit which I suppose is the same thing but more nicely put. You could put your MIL off discussing this at mealtimes by saying you'd rather discuss it when the children are in bed.


jenniferturkington · 07/06/2013 10:17

Sounds like you have emetephobia op? If so then you aren't really being unreasonable. However you do need to recognise that it is your issue not your MIL and so should try to develop coping strategies for when situations like that arrise.

Sympathies to you, it all sounds very distressing Sad


amazingmumof6 · 07/06/2013 10:55

thanks jennifer I googled it, I don't think that's the problem.

I would have been fine talking about it even half an hour before dinner or sometime later.
I would have listened and would have been supportive, as usual.

OP posts:

Flobbadobs · 07/06/2013 11:04

I would feel the same as you (and am pretty much the same wrt sick, being pregnant with heavy morning sickness was no fun..) but wouldn't have said anything at the time about it. However a quiet word with MIL asking her to discuss the more intimate details when the children are in bed can help you manage the situation a bit better I think.
Tbh I think it's a little disrespectful to your relative for people to be discussing her bodily fluids in such detail but if your MIL is involved in her care she may be needing to talk about it.
Sounds like an awful situation, I don't think you are being U particularly but your reaction needs managing to avoid upsetting anyone Flowers


Flobbadobs · 07/06/2013 11:05

Sorry, tat last bit should read inadvertently upsetting anyone xx


MisselthwaiteManor · 07/06/2013 11:08

If she came straight off the phone and said it she was probably distressed by it and just needed to share. It's not nice when you're about to eat but maybe it didn't even enter her mind at that moment.

DH once projectile vomited across the dinner table and it landed on my plate and the table and the floor and my clothes so you know, it could have been worse.


MolotovCocktail · 07/06/2013 11:09

Well, I think the problem goes deeper than your distaste for descriptions of bodily functions at the dinner table. The fact is that the situation your family is going through is just so sad, that there's bound to be a tipping point for you.

I think maybe its hard to know about your relative's suffering, and maybe you don't want to thinking about it when you're not prepared (maybe?)

Everyone needs to be gentle with eachother. So sorry to read about your relative.


amazingmumof6 · 07/06/2013 11:17

hoppus oh dear!

and yes, I know she was shocked and it is just awful that the person in question is deteriorating so quickly, and of course she just wanted to share. (but pleeease, not word for word MIL!)

I do feel bad.

OP posts:

amazingmumof6 · 07/06/2013 11:31

ah, it's just too much sometimes.

DH had bilateral hernia op on Wednesday, he was quite sick afterwards and got upset and really wanted me to stay with him. 2 grandmas were looking after 6 kids and I didn't get back that night until very late.
I felt guilty about leaving the kids, but he needed me more. then I felt guilty about leaving him to come home and sleep.

then yesterday our niece had an op too, one of MILs granddaughter also my god-daughter. she's fine, also a hernia op, coincidentally, but you worry..

plus it was MIL's birthday yesterday so she came over to see DH and so that we can say Happy Birthday to her.
and I felt guilty that I couldn't invite her and FIL over for dinner because I just really wanted to look after DH. also had to sort the kids with my mum's help.

(also FIL had just ticked me off an hour before - he was critical about me having a nap...why did I, was I ill? grrrr)

pfffft, sorry everyone, I just can't talk to anyone about any of this in RL today. I feel shit.

I'd call her to apologize, but she is away today.

OP posts:

quoteunquote · 07/06/2013 11:36

You want your MiL to suppress her processing of harrowing events, so you can enjoy a meal?

I would go and find someone who can give you some counselling and support while you explore why you are repressing, you do not have a grasp on bereavement process .

Sorry to be harsh, but for the sake of people around you, and yourself I would address the problem, which is entirely yours by the way.


amazingmumof6 · 07/06/2013 11:48

"quote" yes, that's harsh and untrue.

I lost a baby 4.5 years ago. I'm still grieving her loss and always will.
worst thing that ever happened to me.

I also lost my father while I was being pg with DS5, it was also very traumatic, I tell you.

if you read through you'll realize that I feel bad about his whole thing and it wouldn't have happened on another day or a slightly different time.

OP posts:

quoteunquote · 07/06/2013 12:00

I have also lost sons , and parents, which is why I think you are being rather unfair on others,

Imagine after your child had died someone had pressured you to put lid on your grief for their connivance you would not welcome that addition to mix.

If you are finding it hard to be around these situations, it would be wise to find someone to process with, because it happen with increasing frequency.

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