Tone police

By Firstborn - 16/05/2017 19:00 - Canada - Halifax

Today, I got into a major fight with my parents over my younger brother stealing from me. Their response was to get angry at me for my "tone" with them. My brother is 18 with an obvious drug problem, but my tone is the problem. FML
I agree, your life sucks 5 258
You deserved it 272

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Top comments

Maybe they try to protect themselves from the real problem. It is easier to be mad at you than to acknowledge something that might shatter their world.

gary8082 14

Classic enablers.


Maybe they try to protect themselves from the real problem. It is easier to be mad at you than to acknowledge something that might shatter their world.

besani 4

I agree

Jennifer Hardy 11

tell them

I can say Hi, and every one is "what's with the attitude?? " I'm sorry, but there's no winning.

Maybe you ought to steal some of your brother's drugs, and then you can relax and gain a better "tone."

gary8082 14

Classic enablers.

lukcy_basartd 11

Lock your room. Save. Move out. Win for yourself, not them.

Kiticakes 4

They're gonna end up with him worse off or dead if they keep that up.

A lot of parents that have children with addictions or risk taking behavior become overly strict towards the other child(even) in the house in an unhealthy attempt to feel like they have control. It's "safer" to yell at a largely rule-abiding child than once that displays erratic behavior and has no morals, ethics, or respect for their parents. Unfortunately, chances are that they will never outgrow their selective punishing and that you will be better off saving up to move out. If you can a bank account or lockbox to put your money in, in order to keep your brother out of it, do that. Ask if there's a way to prevent your parents from accessing it, and if there is, do that too.

I am sorry to burst your bubble, but while the stealing is a major problem for sure, the tone is also a problem, and it is not serving your purposes. The tone changes the message. We humans only rely on the actual dictionary meaning of words for only 7% of the message; the rest is the tone and body language. A poor tone can change your message from, for example, "I have this problem of having my money stolen and would like your help and collaboration because it does not work for me; it makes me very upset" to a judgmental one, of, for example "I think you are incompetent and are irresponsible, and are bad at your skills of parenting, and I look down on you". The former can hopefully elicit a collaborative finding of a solution, and the latter can make the listeners feel threatened, defensive, and uncooperative. This sample difference in the message received can often be about HOW one speaks as opposed to WHAT one says/is trying to say. Try talking to them calmly, when you are calm. And express what you are feeling in kinder words, and get them to see your issue.

Winchesterbride 9

that's not how it goes though. the parents of OP seem ignorant and that's why toning down won't help.

I mean, if you want to be particular about it then just mentioning tone, body language and the actual meaning of the words aren't the only things that matter. For example, the parents frame of reference to the words spoken changes the meaning for them individually and their mood when confronted matters as well. The problem with applying psychology to individuals is that there are so many factors that are impossible to know that you're never going to be certain of how a person is going to react. If OP spoke calmly and reasonably stated what she meant to her parents they might as well feel that she was patronizing them like they didn't even understand what the problem was which would also lead to a fight.

CrazyTrainWreck 19

Seems to be a common thing with us firstborn's. My youngest sister is 21 still lives with our parents. When I turned 18 I had to move out ASAP. I am the only one of their kids married and with a successful career yet I'm treated as a failure.

Marriage is a sign of success now? Someone sounds arrogant and judgemental.

CrazyTrainWreck 19

Read your own post carefully, you are the one being judgemental and arrogant. Let me phrase this in a way even you can understand: A happy Marriage and a successful career generally means you are doing well and don't need to mooch off others in your family all the time. I'm sorry if your life sucks so much you have to take it out on some random person on the internet.

onceuponatime456 16

There is nothing in his post saying that marriage is a sign of success. Perhaps you should learn to read BEFORE you post a snarky reply!? From his message "I am the only one of their kids married and with a successful career yet I'm treated as a failure. "

readingrachel 9

They probably know and are really upset by his drug problem but at the same time they might think that you're the child who's good so you deserve all of their attention and "lessons" since you are the most reasonable.