Handling family member's insensitive comment
I am needing some feedback about a recent comment my mother-in-law made in my presence. I am a 39-year-old man who struggles with inattentive ADD. I was diagnosed 4 years ago and treat it with Adderall (40 mg/day) and cognitive behavioral therapy (though I need to see my therapist more often!). My mother-in-law is one of the most preternaturally organized people I know and has little patience with those who aren’t. You can see where I fit in so well with her (!).
Anyway, my wife, kids and I were at her house recently. My six-year-old daughter had wandered into la-la-land, as 6 year olds often do. My mother-in-law was trying to get her attention and, in a moment of frustration, she said (I’m not joking): “We don’t need another person in this family with ADD.” Considering her personality, I didn’t think it was out of character for her. It merely confirmed what I suspected she already thought. However, I was too stunned and hurt to confront her about it. I don’t think she realized how insulting and demeaning her comment was. Yet, at the same time, I expect a family member who has known for 4 years I’ve been battling this to be more sensitive and understanding. Frankly, if I had already been diagnosed with ADD when my wife and I were engaged and my (now) mother-in-law had made a similar ADD-related comment, I would have called the engagement off.
I have yet to talk to my mother-in-law about her comment, but I need to soon- certainly before Christmas. She didn’t apologize, and she isn’t someone who would. Do you have any tips/suggestions for bringing this to her attention? How have you dealt with insensitive comments from family members?
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