‘Did you lose weight?’ feels like backhanded compliment
Q. Recently, a couple of service guys from my husband’s company came to fix something in our home.
One fellow, whom I’ve met very infrequently, looked at me and said, “You look fabulous, did you lose weight?”
I didn’t thank him as I felt it was more a back-handed compliment. I actually said, “No, I’ve gained.”
I’m not a heavy woman (5’5, 138 pounds and even if I had been, I didn’t think it appropriate for comment. Perhaps it was a nervous remark as he was in his boss’s house.
I didn’t mention this episode to my husband as he’d ream the guy out and I didn’t want to cause trouble.
I think the men are returning as work still needs to be finished. Any suggestions if he comes out with another inappropriate observation?
You’re already good at knowing what to do — deflecting his ill-chosen “flattery” while kindly not causing him trouble.
If he makes another remark, just say, “It’s not something I discuss.”
We put our son in detox after his seventh overdose. We did everything we could to keep him alive until the emergency medical team arrived.
I’d never before seen my husband of 32 years scream, cry, and pray for help.
Our son went from detox into a longterm recovery program, all far from here, as we’d exhausted every program around us. He was dismissed four weeks short of graduating, because he tested dirty. He did some terrible things to us. We’ve forgiven him, but cannot forget.
It’s a familiar story — top of his class, the football captain, the honour society, college scholarship recipient, etc. Then . . . overdoses on heroin.
I’m still finding things missing from our home. But all the doctors and case workers say not to bring anything up from the past, which leaves nothing much to say but, “How are you, son?”
He’s our only child. We now know the drug use started at 17, but we had no clue till he was 21. Two weeks ago he briefly said he’s living with some girl he met online but is clean and sober this week and still working.
Letting go has been most difficult after spending so much money, time and love to help him beat this. We know he has to want to stay clean. He’s a grown man. No one among us was abused, neglected or beaten; there was total support throughout his school years. Maybe we gave too much.
I’m glad he’s no longer here. No more drug dealers looking for him because he owes them money. But the feeling of loss is like death.
We’ve let our family know, except Granma, because it’d kill her. We want everyone to be prepared should he show up unannounced . . . as you cannot turn your back for even a second. What can I say to him if we talk again?
Dear Readers: I’m reaching out as there’s no single, sure answer. Some of you have experienced similarly heartbreaking circumstances with an addicted child. If you’ve found any effective approaches to offer this couple, I’ll publish a selection of them.
Feedback regarding the divorced husband’s ex who forbids him from having his kids meet his new wife (Jan. 19):
Reader: “I’m a family law lawyer and have never heard of any North American jurisdiction that allows a parent to dictate who a separated/divorced spouse can introduce their children to.
“If a parent has visitation or custody, unless it’s supervised, they can generally spend it with their children as they wish and with whom they wish.
“Generally, judges have no patience for a custodial parent who tries to control their ex’s personal life.
“The offended ex can rant and rave and try to make life difficult, but nothing can be done legally to prevent the other from moving on (other than trying to delay divorce proceedings to prevent the person from getting remarried).”