Incontinence and Nosey Family Members

Jasmine Schmidt Health Guide
  • Do you have one of those know-it-alls in your family? Spending Thanksgiving with my family members got me thinking about this (not that any of them are know-it-alls: wink-wink). Let's face it: we all have that certain family member who knows more than us on every single topic of discussion: and if you don't have that person in your family, then you may want to take a look in the mirror!


    I'm going to take a step back for the moment from one of my usual mantras of "don't be so afraid to tell your family about your incontinence - chances are that they'll understand". I very much still stand by this belief, but in many cases the problem goes from thinking they won't understand at all, to realizing that they think they understand far too much. You know what I'm talking about here: that person to whom you finally reveal your leakage, only to hear them go on and on (and on) about their second aunt's best friend's daughter-in-law, Judy. You get to hear all about Judy's experiences with incontinence (by the way, a completely different type of leakage than you yourself are experiencing), and what "cured" her. The conversation ends with the sense that you're expected to seek out the same treatment, and there - problem solved! If only it were that easy!

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    The people with whom we choose to entrust the most intimate details of our lives too often leave us feeling a bit, well, abandoned. Our personal challenge becomes nothing more than a platform on which they preach to us about their own experiences, or, worse yet, agenda.


    While these interactions can irritate or enrage us, we of course remember that these family members are generally well-intentioned. And it's important to keep the perspective that not everyone will react in this way - I still stand by my statement that most people you tell about your incontinence will be understanding (in the "let me hold your hand" kind of way, not the "I already understand everything about this problem" kind of way). So don't let that one know-it-all in the group deter you from sharing what you need to with whom you need to. You live and you learn, so once you learn who isn't as supportive as you'd like, simply move on and in the future, filter what you share with that one person - not everyone. Hopefully this will come in handy with the family interactions that are likely to arise in the upcoming holiday season!

Published On: December 05, 2007