One of the best friends of my wife and myself is a married man with an adopted son; he has been a friend of ours forever.
I admire him greatly for his intellect and personal qualities.
He has a horrible family situation … great difficulties with his adopted son, such as the son refusing to attend school a few years ago and emotional outbursts.
The worst thing is his wife … she treats him horribly … he almost never complains (to us or from what we can observe), but we observe it all the time.
I often ask my wife, how can he put up with such treatment? (the adopted son takes cues from his mother and also treats his father, our friend, abusively).
I always qualify what I say to her and add: it’s his family and marriage, he chooses to remain in it. it’s not for us to say
We are very sympathetic about his situation but would never comment further unless he should ask for feedback; he is not a complainer.
It seems that situations often arise where someone whom one knows well is in a situation which you (i.e., the observer, the other party) would not approve of whatsoever if it were your life or situation; the reality may be complicated; the other party may be conflicted over the situation themselves and unsure about how to deal with it, but meddling by others (who usually have only a nodding acquintance with the details) may increase their anxiety and make them even more uncomfortable.
Along these lines, I was thinking: Imagine a sort of inquiry board or truth commission before which all and sundry were required to appear, with everyone being subjected to the same questions:
the state of your marriage(s);
your performance in parenting;
the success or lack of it of your progeny; their adjustment and any developmental
Think a few poor souls might be squirming under such scrutiny?”
Constructive, helpful advice, originating with empathy, founded upon kindness, is one thing.
But beware meddlers posing as concerned do gooders, who are intent upon proving their own moral superiority — their OVERALL superiority to others whose lives they are critical of.
They can actually be some of the meanest people on the planet … they are usually worse morally than the people they pick on … they have zero capacity for compassion or empathy, and they don’t care in the least about other people.
Middle class morality … do gooders … meddlers … perhaps there is a place for them in the grand scheme.
Not in this case and, I would suspect, in most.
— Roger W. Smith