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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Pour Your Heart Out: A Glass of Other People's Problems

If you need more info about Pour Your Heart Out, see THIS post.

But, really, it's anything that YOU consider pouring your heart out.

Be sure to check out some of the links- you will find some amazing stories out there.
Again, just a brief reminder that everyone linking is pouring their hearts out and we should all be respectful in our comments. ;)


This post is not what I thought it would be.

You see, my mom is coming for a visit tomorrow. I planned to tell you about the problems that she and I have had. Because they go beyond normal mother-daughter problems. I get a headache just thinking about them and was worried that I would need to do a whole series to explain the insanity.

But, then, I remembered another time when she was coming for a visit and I made a comment about how stressed out I was about her coming.  And an aquaintance, who does not know any of the details of the insane and hurtful things my mother has done, immediately cut me off and told me that I wasn't allowed to complain because I still had my mom and she did not. That if she still had her mom, she would never complain.

I was left without anything to say. 

This is not the post where I say that yes, we should be thankful that we have someone in our lives no matter what they have done for us and we should try to make amends. No, that's not this post.

Because, you see, I've tried. And forgiven more than most people can believe.

But, instead, what this post is....is a reminder that we all have our struggles. We all have something in our lives that is a challenge, something rough for us to deal with.

It's not fair to tell someone that they don't have the right to complain because you think you have it so much worse than they do.

I was reading someone's blog several weeks ago and she was talking about her child's illness and felt like she needed to put a disclaimer in there saying she knows that she should feel lucky that her child is alive and that there are those who have lost their children, but that her child's illness is still something really hard for her family. 

There will always be someone who has it worse than we do.  And sometimes, that can make us thankful for our blessings.

But, other times, we need to remember when we hear someone talk about their difficulties that they are hurting, too.  That though we might not think much of their troubles, to the person who is going through the struggle, it IS a big deal. We haven't walked in their shoes, we don't have their lives, we don't really know what they are going through.

We all have our own problems. No, they might not be all that bad when we compare them to the worse case scenerio, but that doesn't make them easy to get through.



Blogger ღღღ-Mumsy said...

This is a very thoughtful post, Shell, and I completely agree. Only those that walk in other people's shoes would understand how difficult it's to deal with.

I hope you keep reminding yourself to relax when your mom is there..Mine is coming too, and that is a stress in itself. Yes, I love her very much..

December 15, 2010 at 7:08 AM  
Blogger Casey said...

wonderful post. You said so many things that I have been thinking. I hate that people judge others like you said we all have struggles.

December 15, 2010 at 7:13 AM  
Blogger Sorta Southern Single Mom said...

Once again, very well said and very true. It's all relative...Some people carry the weight of the world on their shoulders because every little thing brings them down while others have one major thing, but in each person's head, it's just as stressful.

December 15, 2010 at 7:19 AM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

I totally agree with you...no one should be able to take away your right to vent freely.

I also think that so many people in our world get "stressed out" over nonsensical issues and we've become a little tired of all the drama. So, while you probably have some really validated reasons to be stressed out, the woman who complains about her mother being too much of a neat freak really doesn't...does that make sense?

That doesn't allow the other chick to come down on you like that b/c she probably has no idea the background of your situation, but we've all become a bit dramatic at times. Does that make sense?

December 15, 2010 at 7:23 AM  
Blogger Oka said...

To the person who feels people can't complain because they still have a mother...you really need to reevaluate your thoughts.

Not all "mothers' deserve their titles. Just because they give birth to you does not mean they automatically deserve your undying love and respect. If their actions don't add up to love and respect, but instead add up to intentional hurt or selfish actions that lead to emotional or physical harm, then nothing is owed to them.

The child does not have to respect, support, or love that person who gave birth to them. Some people are much better off without their mothers (contact me if you need me to point more specifics).

As much as many of us want to believe all Love is unconditional, that is not true for all. There are many who put conditions(often totally selfish) on their love. Often, others find it stressful to meet those conditions while not compromising their own beliefs. Yet we feel the need to try because of the relationship titles, because we know others will judge us if we don't.

I also agree, everyone has hurt. Everyone has their list of events that will stress and hurt them and that hurt is no less real than any other's hurt.

December 15, 2010 at 7:49 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Great post and oh so true. It's always nice to remember other's hurt and situations, but doesn't make yours any less painful or scary, or stressful.

December 15, 2010 at 7:52 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Great post and oh so true. It's always nice to remember other's hurt and situations, but doesn't make yours any less painful or scary, or stressful.

December 15, 2010 at 7:52 AM  
Blogger Adrienne said...

I totally agree. I often feel guilty for feelings I have over situations, that when compared, are better than others have it, but I'm entitled to my feelings all the same. Thanks for this! ;)

I hope your visit is as pleasant as it can be. In fact I pray that it's the best visit you've ever had in spite of all the hurt!

December 15, 2010 at 7:57 AM  
Blogger One Christian Wife said...

Thanks for a great meme! I'm not new here, but I'm trying something new this morning. I will be praying for you and your mom for sure!

December 15, 2010 at 8:04 AM  
Blogger Joann Mannix said...

So well said. I have had the same thing said to me. As you know, we are of the same like when it comes to our mothers. And people who have a natural, loving relationship with their mother, cannot even begin to comprehend the difference. we need to open our hearts more and understand that everyone's path is different and everyone has their own burdens and it is not up to us to judge other's experiences.

December 15, 2010 at 8:33 AM  
Blogger Di said...

Here here! You are so right - we all have our problems and there is no way anyone else can know the severity of them. What may seem small to one is overwhelming to another. I hope your mom's visit goes as smoothly as possible!

December 15, 2010 at 8:40 AM  
Blogger Evonne said...

Very well said. Just because someone thinks they have it worse does not mean you don't have problems and are hurting.

I know you've been through a lot with your mom. I hope this visit goes as well as it can. Perhaps you should stock up on some wine? :)

December 15, 2010 at 8:44 AM  
Anonymous Ashley said...

Beautiful post.

Best of luck with your Mother's visit!

December 15, 2010 at 8:45 AM  
Blogger Dee said...

I lost my Mom but I'd never think to tell someone that. I've told people to treasure every moment that they have with their Mom but that doesn't mean you can't "complain!"

You're right, everyone has problems but no one knows what you're going through...they don't know how bad it can get! Hugs boo!

December 15, 2010 at 8:51 AM  
Blogger m&msmommy said...

GREAT post! I feel like any time I talk about Mia's kidney "issues" (since we aren't even really sure yet what exactly it is) or Manuel's constant health issues with this or that, I have to always preface it by saying, "I know it's not as bad as it could be..." but you are right, it's a trial for me, plain and simple. Compared to worst case scenario, is it bad? No, probably not, but to me it is! Same thing with your relationship with your mother...I'm sure you are thankful she is still alive, but your trials with her are your trials. That shouldn't be judged by others.

Thank you for sharing! :)

December 15, 2010 at 8:57 AM  
Blogger Life Without Pink said...

Well said! I agree, everyone has their own struggles, hardships, etc. and others should respect that. Until they have walked a day in your shoes they don't know what you have been through. I have complained before about being a stay-at-home mom and how hard it is at times. My one friend insisted on telling me that she had it harder because she worked FT, blah blah. It hurt! I never compare myself to others and respect everyone's opinions and have always been there to listen to others.

Great post.

December 15, 2010 at 8:58 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

Very well said Shell and I agree. That person had no right to tell you that, they don't know the struggles you have had with your mom. I hope the visit goes well.

December 15, 2010 at 9:11 AM  
Blogger Kmama said...

You've made a very good point. I hope the visit with your mom goes better than expected!!

December 15, 2010 at 9:13 AM  
Blogger For the Love of Naps - Sarah said...

Very true. Our own reality is just that, our reality. It might not always compare to others reality but it is ours and it is what we deal with on day to day basis. And if crabby kids is the struggle for the day, or an ear infection, or a big phone bill or a job that you would rather not be working at that day...it might not compare to the people going through much bigger life struggles but each person has to get through their own daily reality.

I feel like I just babbled on and repeated the word reality like 100 times. Good post Shell!

December 15, 2010 at 9:15 AM  
Blogger The Random Blogette said...

Everyone does have their own struggles and no one should take away your right to vent about them. Would they rather you keep everything bottled up and then either explode or have a stroke??!!

I hope that everything goes well with your mom. *HUGS*

December 15, 2010 at 9:25 AM  
Blogger Mama Zen said...

Well said!

December 15, 2010 at 9:29 AM  
Blogger That One Mom said...

Wow! I can't believe someone cut you off like that. I know the things we've discussed about your mom are only the tip of the iceberg, but that is enough to make me want to shake the woman.

I know it's hard to deal with and you want to do what is best for your boys, but if she gets out of line, make her leave.

I'm just a phone call or text message away! Love you, mama!

December 15, 2010 at 9:36 AM  
Blogger cornflakegirl74 said...

Very well said, Shell. I couldn't agree more. No one should dismiss your problems because they think theirs trump yours. Our experiences are all very difficult, but we can't even begin to understand a person's struggles without having first walked in their shoes.

I'm sorry someone said these things to you; but you know you always have an audience here if you need to vent any frustrations, feelings of hurt, sadness, etc. Sending great big *HUGS* your way, girl.

December 15, 2010 at 9:42 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

Very well said.
There is always someone worse off, but that doesn't mean one can't have stress/pain in their life.

I wish you the best of luck with your mom's visit.

December 15, 2010 at 9:55 AM  
Blogger natalee said...

AMEN!!!! very true my friend very true

December 15, 2010 at 10:14 AM  
Blogger Jenn said...

This is a great post! I'm a big proponent of the notion that everyone is entitled to their own experience of their own situation (as long as they don't act entitled about it!). If we spent every waking second comparing our situations to others, we'd never actually live/experience our own lives.

P.S. I'm sorry about your situation with your mom. I have similar relationships in my life. It's hard ... I hope you can still find a way to enjoy her visit and the holidays. :)

December 15, 2010 at 10:17 AM  
Blogger The Double Dipped Life said...

This wonderful post inspired me to write my own! Thanks for this awesome link-up!

December 15, 2010 at 10:32 AM  
Blogger Go Mommy said...

That wass a great post, you do not know what others are truly going through.

December 15, 2010 at 10:33 AM  
Anonymous Making It Work Mom said...

Very True. Everyone has the right to complain. I think it is in the Bill of Rights. I hate when people tell me not to complain and then tell me those "worse off" stories. My MIL is fond of doing this. Whatever.
I complain about what I want to. I can't worry about what other people think and what their story is. We complain to get it off our chest, so we can discuss, and move on. That is what people do.

Thanks for reminding everyone.

December 15, 2010 at 10:43 AM  
Blogger Christy said...

Great post Shell. Sometimes it feels like people are playing a card game with whose life is worse. It really helps to stop and realize that it doesn't matter whose problem sounds worse, but we are all struggling. I often keep some struggles inside b/c I'm afraid of someone coming back with that kind of answer.

December 15, 2010 at 10:49 AM  
Blogger Joey @ Big Teeth and Clouds said...

I really like this post Shell. I've often felt guilty being sad about Julia's hearing loss because on the scale of problems a child could have, it is a little one. But that doesn't help at all with grief. Knowing that someone else has more loss doesn't make the pain easier to bear. We need to remember that about each other.

December 15, 2010 at 10:53 AM  
Blogger Julie said...

I would have to say to the person who complained about not having their mother that other people struggle with things that you may not always agree with but if you're their friend you'll support whatever it is they write about. In reality I've had many curveballs thrown my way and I don't complain about others writings.

Its your blog, you write what you want and if they are devoted readers and friends they will support whatever you write!

December 15, 2010 at 10:56 AM  
Blogger Stasha said...

There are times that you just need to vent.

The person who cut you off? Has no clue. Who was she to judge you and your relationship with your Mom?

Gotta say that I agree with everything that Oka said too!

Love ya Mama and hope that the visit with your Mom goes better than you expect!

December 15, 2010 at 11:03 AM  
Anonymous Kimberly said...

I can't agree with you more. I loathe my job for many reasons. One being that they singlehandedly made me give up my entire nursing career by not having any wheelchairs. I have a life of chronic pain bc of injury and they still screw me around.
I have the right to complain. I understand thT in this economy, I should be thankful I have a job bit at the same time I have the right to complain.
My dad was verbally abusive so I can get where you are coming from. He visited yesterday and even at 30, he still treats me like worthless dirt.

December 15, 2010 at 11:13 AM  
Blogger Bella @ If This is Motherhood said...

I can relate completely to the strained relationship with your mom. I don't even talk to mine and haven't in years. I'm sorry someone thought to cut you off so rudely. We all have our problems and that was very unkind. Hugs to you and Merry Christmas!

December 15, 2010 at 11:33 AM  
Blogger Adrienne said...

Amen to that ...each person has a unique life with struggles known only to them and each set of human emotions handles each situation differently .. Compasion is kindness, understanding is listening and judging is wrong

December 15, 2010 at 11:46 AM  
Blogger Terrie said...

well said!!

December 15, 2010 at 11:48 AM  
Blogger We 2 Bees said...

Thanks as always for sharing your heart! It's so true!
Good Luck with your company!

December 15, 2010 at 11:54 AM  
Blogger Helene said...

Preach it, sista friend!! I couldn't have said that any better myself.

A very good friend of mine lost her mother awhile ago to cancer and she misses her mom so much. One day I was in the midst of complaining about my mother and for a minute I stopped and said, "I'm so sorry. I realize I should appreciate the fact that my mother is at least still alive" and she told me that was nonsense, I had nothing to be sorry for. She and her mother had an amazing relationship and that's what she misses the most...that unconditional love and friendship she shared with her mother. Then she said, "You can't appreciate what you've never had. Don't be sorry for a minute about anything!"

We all need friends like that...who can understand other people's pain even though they have suffered far worse than we have.

December 15, 2010 at 11:56 AM  
Anonymous Craig said...

Shell, I was one who for too many years never listened, I mean really listened, when someone poured their heart out.

Things are different now, and the empty nodding has been replaced with compassion. I hear so much more pain than I used to. It hurts.


Anyway, I agree with you – the listening is not about ME – it’s about the one with the wounded heart. It has nothing at all to do with me, unless I have a similar experience I can share, or special empathy that flows from that experience – those parts of me are allowed to surface. The other parts, they all need smushing down. Amen Shell.

Thank You

December 15, 2010 at 12:17 PM  
Blogger MiMi said...

SO true. What a good post, I hate when people do that, "I don't have a mother/father/etc" card on you. They try to make you feel bad and the DON'T know the situation!

December 15, 2010 at 12:44 PM  
Blogger Brie said...

Good words Shell. I know that as a milspouse, when I talk about how my husband and I fight or call him an asshole, I've had others email me and tell me I'm grateful to have him home and not a deployment, or even have him alive. As if we're not allowed to have marital problems too. And I just shake my head at them.

December 15, 2010 at 12:54 PM  
Blogger The Mommyologist said...

Very true!!! How on earth are you managing Babble and still posting everyday? I am lucky if I post 1-2 times per week!

December 15, 2010 at 12:57 PM  
Blogger Meredith said...

I really enjoyed this post. I feel guilty for complaining about or struggling with things sometimes because I know I am blessed in so many ways. I hope it goes OK with your mom. Good luck!

December 15, 2010 at 1:05 PM  
Blogger Hutch said...

Thank you for putting this out there, it's a nice reminder that everything is relative! I'm guilty of disclaimers as well since I hate the idea of offending anyone, but it's true we all hurt.

December 15, 2010 at 1:44 PM  
Blogger blueviolet said...

It's completely relative. Your shoes might not fit you, but they fit someone else...it's just the way it is.

My mom isn't too bad for me, but my brother, good Lord...

December 15, 2010 at 2:05 PM  
Blogger Rhiannon said...

AMEN to that! I totally understand and agree!

December 15, 2010 at 2:34 PM  
Blogger Mary said...

A lot of times someone will share their struggles with me and then immediately apologize because they feel like they are being petty and/or that they should be grateful, etc. I always remind them that there is no comparison shopping when it comes to problems and hurts. Thank you for a great post. It was perfect.

December 15, 2010 at 3:00 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Shell--I'm thinking of you & hoping things go well for you with this visit. I wish I had some words of wisdom for you...but I don't. I just hope that this struggle gets easier for you and that people will let you vent as you need to!

December 15, 2010 at 3:26 PM  
Blogger Kat said...

Hear hear!! You are Oh So Right. Just don't know how you are juggling it all. Well done!!

ps...check out a necklace giveaway at www.katsplaybook.com

December 15, 2010 at 3:30 PM  
Blogger MrsJenB said...


Every person's pain is just as painful as the next, for THAT PERSON. No one knows what the other is going through.

You feel how you feel, and I hope this visit isn't as stressful.

December 15, 2010 at 3:49 PM  
Blogger Ginger said...

beautifully written! I"ve had something similar said to me, completely discounting the pain I was going through, by someone I thought I could trust. I stood there, slackjawed and never confided in her or her acquantices again, for fear of having that slap in the face again.

Everyone has struggles, which is a big part of how we relate to each other. We all know pain, and some of us are gifted to see the hope that shines through all that, and share it with others!

December 15, 2010 at 3:49 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

I hope you survive your visit with her, Shell! I hate visits like that.

December 15, 2010 at 4:14 PM  
Blogger mintifresh said...

Truer words were never spoken! Our feelings of frustration, issues or sadness should never be diminished by anyone. No matter how 'big' or 'small'. They always seem big to the person dealing with them!

Good luck with your mom ;)

December 15, 2010 at 4:37 PM  
Blogger Venassa said...

Perfectly said! Sometimes we just need to talk and vent, without the reminder that things could be worse.

December 15, 2010 at 5:46 PM  
Blogger Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend said...

An excellent post that I so realte to....in many ways...i too have a difficult relationship with a sister...I would not even try to explain it .....it would be a book

December 15, 2010 at 7:43 PM  
Blogger Melinda said...

Very well said, Shell. As usual. :) We should count our blessings. But just because our predicament isn't as bad as someone else's, it doesn't mean it isn't painful and difficult. Remembering that helps me to have more compassion for other people. I'm always amazed how you can come up with such great meaningful posts every single day.

December 15, 2010 at 7:48 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

Right on! ;-) I wish I realized so many things 10 and 15 years ago. Can we please relive our youth??

Sorry your stressing about you mom visiting. I have a similar relationship with my parents... only they live 20 minutes away.

December 15, 2010 at 8:00 PM  
Blogger Joy said...

you need to be able to vent your frustrations without fear of what others will say. while it does suck she has lost her mom she needs to respect your feeling that you have of your situation.

I have had a similar run in with a girl who had lost her mom and she had some things to say about the way I feel about my mom and our lack of relationship.

it does suck that someone would make you feel bad about something they don't know the entire back story. My mom has does some pretty crappy thins that have led to her being cut out of my life.

December 15, 2010 at 10:42 PM  
Blogger Mommy Needs a Vacation said...

WELL said. We do all have our own problems. I hope that your visit/holiday with your mom goes as smoothly as it can.

December 15, 2010 at 11:07 PM  
Blogger shortmama said...

I honestly never thought of it that way. Because I am probably the person that tells myself when times are bad that others have it worse than me. I think for me it helps me keep things in perspective in my own life. However I completely get what you are saying...because it may be really bad for me at that time and I shouldnt take that away from myself in the moment

December 15, 2010 at 11:11 PM  
Blogger Jill said...

So true. Good luck with you mom.

December 16, 2010 at 1:04 AM  
Blogger Emmy said...

Amen! Very well said. We all have different challenges and they are all hard while we are in them. And besides sometimes it is nice just to be able to vent. I know as soon as I do I usually feel a lot better and then can remember the good things in my life. I just want to release it.

December 16, 2010 at 1:04 AM  
Blogger Tammy said...

No one knows what it's like about anything in our lives unless they live in your shoes! It's just hard to remember that!

December 16, 2010 at 2:06 AM  
Blogger Putting the FUN in DysFUNctional said...

I agree with you completely. You can't put a degree on someone's problems or pain. I have a strained relationship with my mother too, and it's very, very difficult.

December 16, 2010 at 2:20 AM  
Blogger Joy said...

Your right that everyone has difficulties and their own struggles. Sometimes people just need someone to listen without judging. I hope everything goes well with your mom's visit.

December 16, 2010 at 6:32 AM  
Blogger Bloggy Blog Designz said...

I have been a closet reader for a while now. I love your new design, since I haven't mentioned it yet. Also I am linking up this week and pouring my heart out about all the things that bring me joy. I hope it's okay that I am a day late.
The Neuff

December 16, 2010 at 10:40 AM  
Blogger TheBabyMammaChronicles said...

Shell, this is VERY true and speaks exactly to my heart right now with what I am struggling with. Any difficulties with parents are hard! I am sorry that woman lost her mother, that is - I imagine, indescribable pain. However, she had no right to minimize your very real pain either - which may, arguably, have been worse.

December 16, 2010 at 12:37 PM  
Blogger The No Wonder Mom said...

Very well said. I lost my mom 3 years ago, and I'd give anything for just one more day with her. That being said, I don't EVER judge other women and their relationships with their moms. That is just wrong. From one woman who had a great relationship with her mom and misses her terribly, I would like to apologize for what that woman said. You are COMPLETELY entitled to your feelings! Good luck this week with her visit.

December 16, 2010 at 2:01 PM  
Blogger Lady Jennie said...

Shell, I really love your blog. I just have to say.

Anyway, YES we need to validate people. Let them feel what they feel. I learned that lesson really slowly, but I think I've learned it well.

Or if there is something to say, know them very well before you say it because you might just be putting your foot in your mouth.

I have a friend who is a single mom and her life is hard because of it. I think I need to have a talk with her about her lack of gratitude, however. But this will be the first time I mention it after being a good friend to her for two years. I've been nothing but encouraging and now I feel like I know her well enough to say something. (Her lack of gratitude for what she has makes her truly miserable).

Anyway, I'm rambling a bit, but it can be very hard to have a tense relationship with a parent. I've been there but in my case we both were able to change and forgive. I remember those dark years though.

December 16, 2010 at 4:49 PM  
Blogger JDaniel4's Mom said...

You are so right! Everyone deserves a listening ear.

December 16, 2010 at 6:44 PM  
Blogger Angie said...

You have every right to complain. Every Right.


December 16, 2010 at 6:55 PM  
Blogger Lindsay Blogs said...

I hold NONE of this against you. It sounds amazing being able to work from home, but when you include the MOM part, it becomes more than just a job. Everything you do is made harder because you are also watching after your boys. I understand and I am totally impressed that you're able to do it.

March 23, 2011 at 2:49 PM  

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