How do you tell someone…

…they’re doing something wrong?

I don’t know about others with BPD, but diplomacy isn’t exactly my strong point. It’s that black&white thinking again. I’m right, they’re wrong and, to me, it’s obvious what they need to do instead and I’ll tell them straight. The lack of social skills (or refined ones anyway) means I struggle to put it across nicely.

Porglet Maximus had a problem last year with one of her sometime friends giving her stranglehold-type hugs. She got very upset over it and didn’t tell me for a while what had been going on. Once she did (in floods of tears), I wrote a letter to the school to explain the situation and the class were given a talk about appropriate boundaries. The same friend has started it up again, but thankfully Maximus told me about it this morning in a “it’s not upsetting me, it’s just a bit annoying” way. (Glad to see my efforts at teaching the Porglets appropriate levels of emotional response to situations is paying off!)

I’ve promised to speak to the parent of the friend, but I’m dreading it because of the possible ramifications. I know her daughter isn’t deliberately trying to hurt Maximus; it seems she has learning difficulties and doesn’t really understand personal boundaries. But it’s got to be done.

Similarly, I have to write a review of a book today for a group I’ve joined on Authonomy (in the vain hope it will lead to backings for Ragnar and a chance at HarperCollins seeing it). The only review group I joined before was the Brutally Honest Crit Group, which suited me down to the ground. I didn’t have to pull my punches. I could say exactly what I thought and not worry about how it would go across; brutal was best. This group, however, is “nice”. I have to turn “no agent’s ever going to take this on because of the stupid amounts of waffle” into “I liked it, but…”

I hate lying. I know those of us with BPD are labelled as “devious” but I hate that label. When I’m acutely unwell, I will lie in order to escape and hurt myself/take an overdose. I have no problems doing it then because I’m focused on hurting myself; but not other people. I HATE the thought of upsetting anyone else.

How do you balance the two? I don’t want to hurt this other author’s feelings by telling her straight what I believe the problems to be, but the thought of spinning it “nice” doesn’t sit well either because it feels dishonest to give her false hope!

In the past, I’ve ended up avoiding situations so I don’t have to make that decision and deal with the emotions it stirs up…but I can’t do that here. I want Ragnar to get published, so I have to actively review other books in a way that doesn’t piss other authors off. I don’t want Maximus getting upset, so I have to speak to the other Mum (and she’s bigger than me).

Anyone got a copy of “Diplomacy for Dummies” to hand?

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5 thoughts on “How do you tell someone…

  1. Little tip – why doesn’t your child herself tell her friend? I remember similar situation from my childhood – it really hurts the other’s feelings, when they realize that someone, who you consider to be close, used their parents telling her parents to talk her about some problem that could be fixed as easily as talking with the girl straight. When she is giving her the hurtful hug, she can say that it hurt a bit. They’ll pull back – it isn’t as if she’s hugging them deliberately to hurt them. But hearing it from mom and dad that “your friend complained (even if not said so directly)” makes them feel hurt for not being trusted enough to talk to them directly.

    • The problem is that the other child has learning difficulties and doesn’t realise she’s hurting my daughter. My daughter has told her it hurts but it doesn’t sink in. I’ve suggested that today she steps back before the girl has a chance to grab her in a headlock (not kidding) and offer to hug her instead, but the other girl may not wish to be touched/hugged unless she’s the one initiating it. It’s probably not as complicated as it feels…but I think having a wee word with the Mum is my only option 😦

      • Let’s hope hugging her first will do the trick, but if it doesn’t sink in, then indeed some longer round is needed.

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