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Author Topic: Enabling detraction?  (Read 944 times)

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Änσnymσus

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Enabling detraction?
« on: May 23, 2022, 02:32:00 PM »
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  • A friend of mine is going through an ugly divorce, and other than his two young adult children and my brother, I’m the only one he can talk to about his situation (he is Novus Ordo and also talks to a conservative Novus Ordo priest, I guess).

    A lot of the things he brings up in the conversations are certainly detractionary and harmful to the reputation others.

    He has been calling me to unload for 5 months, sometimes 3-4 times/day if I don’t pick up.  But now I’m afraid to pick up, knowing that he’s only calling to get stuff off his chest and give me the day’s latest ugly developments, for fear that despite wanting to be there for him, I’m enabling his detraction (which he might not even know is sinful, thinking he can tell me whatever as long as it’s true).

    Do you guys think I’m sinning by continuing to take his calls?  He seems totally desperate and I’m a little worried that if he can’t vent, he might go off the deep end, and so the last couple weeks I only take his 45 minute calls about once/week, but even that much is sure to contain detraction.

    Am I winning by taking his calls?

    What would you do in my position?  Just explain detraction to him, and stop him when he does it?

    Änσnymσus

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    Re: Enabling detraction?
    « Reply #1 on: May 23, 2022, 02:55:06 PM »
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  • A friend of mine is going through an ugly divorce, and other than his two young adult children and my brother, I’m the only one he can talk to about his situation (he is Novus Ordo and also talks to a conservative Novus Ordo priest, I guess).

    A lot of the things he brings up in the conversations are certainly detractionary and harmful to the reputation others.

    He has been calling me to unload for 5 months, sometimes 3-4 times/day if I don’t pick up.  But now I’m afraid to pick up, knowing that he’s only calling to get stuff off his chest and give me the day’s latest ugly developments, for fear that despite wanting to be there for him, I’m enabling his detraction (which he might not even know is sinful, thinking he can tell me whatever as long as it’s true).

    Do you guys think I’m sinning by continuing to take his calls?  He seems totally desperate and I’m a little worried that if he can’t vent, he might go off the deep end, and so the last couple weeks I only take his 45 minute calls about once/week, but even that much is sure to contain detraction.

    Am I winning by taking his calls?

    What would you do in my position?  Just explain detraction to him, and stop him when he does it?

    Meant “am I sinning by taking his calls” knowing very likely he will detract.


    Änσnymσus

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    Re: Enabling detraction?
    « Reply #2 on: May 23, 2022, 03:06:46 PM »
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  • I think I’m just going to have the talk with him and explain that he needs to keep the dirty details to himself going forward or I won’t be able to take his calls, and then will speak with a priest regarding any culpability I may have incurred so far.

    Änσnymσus

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    Re: Enabling detraction?
    « Reply #3 on: May 23, 2022, 03:07:30 PM »
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  • It's important to be supportive. You can listen and take what opportunities there are to help correct his attitude and mindset. 

    The sin of detraction is committed by the person doing the detracting. It isn't necessarily sinful to receive detective information (though it might  be sinful to delight in it and actively pursue it). If your friend is going to talk to someone about it, probably better to talk a Catholic who knows him well, can parse truth from fiction, and is at smaller risk of being corrupted. 

    Änσnymσus

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    Re: Enabling detraction?
    « Reply #4 on: May 23, 2022, 03:10:17 PM »
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  • Sometimes people do just need to talk, but if it goes on for a long while it turns into a bad habit that doesn't really help anyone, including your friend, and, obviously, goes over the line into sin.
    It's not clear from your post if you live nearby. If you do live close enough, I would try finding some work for him to do: hey X, I need some help building a garage, or come help me fix the sidewalk at the Chapel, etc., etc.
    Being of help to others just might be what your friend needs in order to get out of the hole that he is in.


    Änσnymσus

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    Re: Enabling detraction?
    « Reply #5 on: May 23, 2022, 03:11:45 PM »
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  • A friend of mine is going through an ugly divorce, and other than his two young adult children and my brother, I’m the only one he can talk to about his situation (he is Novus Ordo and also talks to a conservative Novus Ordo priest, I guess).

    A lot of the things he brings up in the conversations are certainly detractionary and harmful to the reputation others.

    He has been calling me to unload for 5 months, sometimes 3-4 times/day if I don’t pick up.  But now I’m afraid to pick up, knowing that he’s only calling to get stuff off his chest and give me the day’s latest ugly developments, for fear that despite wanting to be there for him, I’m enabling his detraction (which he might not even know is sinful, thinking he can tell me whatever as long as it’s true).

    Do you guys think I’m sinning by continuing to take his calls?  He seems totally desperate and I’m a little worried that if he can’t vent, he might go off the deep end, and so the last couple weeks I only take his 45 minute calls about once/week, but even that much is sure to contain detraction.

    Am I winning by taking his calls?

    What would you do in my position?  Just explain detraction to him, and stop him when he does it?
    I have been in your EXACT position.  This is what I did:
    - every time he would begin detraction, I would stop him and tell him it was detraction.  He didn't stop.
    - I finally had to lay it on the line for him, that I was not a counselor and he needs to see a counselor.
    - i found a good christian counselor for him and he is doing much better. 

    It is no sin on your part to listen out of charity for a friend, unless you gain pleasure in doing so.

    Änσnymσus

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    Re: Enabling detraction?
    « Reply #6 on: May 23, 2022, 03:12:41 PM »
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  • Sometimes people do just need to talk, but if it goes on for a long while it turns into a bad habit that doesn't really help anyone, including your friend, and, obviously, goes over the line into sin.
    It's not clear from your post if you live nearby. If you do live close enough, I would try finding some work for him to do: hey X, I need some help building a garage, or come help me fix the sidewalk at the Chapel, etc., etc.
    Being of help to others just might be what your friend needs in order to get out of the hole that he is in.

    This, absolutely!

    Änσnymσus

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    Re: Enabling detraction?
    « Reply #7 on: May 23, 2022, 11:24:24 PM »
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  • It sounds as if he needs professional help.  It also makes a difference if you know the people he is detracting, and does he know he is detracting?  Are you taking any pleasure in hearing the next juicy bit of news?  If someone continually detracts a person I know, I just tell them outright to refrain from telling me things I need not know because when I see that person, I’m put in a very awkward position knowing, for example, his private sins!  If it’s someone I don’t know and 99.9% will never meet him, I can listen to a point, but if it’s a matter on which I can give no advice, then refer him to someone who can help.  Assure him we’re still friends, but sometimes friends can’t personally be of assistance.  If my friend is attacked by an enemy who breaks his leg, he can moan and groan about the pain, curse out the enemy who did it, but I’m not an EMT, a nurse, or a doctor.  The best I can do is call 911 for the ambulance or take him myself to the emergency room.  


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    Re: Enabling detraction?
    « Reply #8 on: May 27, 2022, 09:06:34 PM »
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  • Call him down and remind him to go to confession and pray his rosary.  Tell him to pray for his wife and try to save the marriage.  He has to let go of anger and detraction.  He needs to seek Jesus.  Invite him to your church. 

    (Many times lawyers are not peace keepers. ) 






    Änσnymσus

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    Re: Enabling detraction?
    « Reply #9 on: May 27, 2022, 09:14:55 PM »
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  • Call him down and remind him to go to confession and pray his rosary.  Tell him to pray for his wife and try to save the marriage.  He has to let go of anger and detraction.  He needs to seek Jesus.  Invite him to your church.

    (Many times lawyers are not peace keepers. )
    Good advice. Remind him of what Our Lord said: "But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall render an account for it in the day of judgment." [Matthew 12:36]

    Änσnymσus

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    Re: Enabling detraction?
    « Reply #10 on: June 14, 2022, 03:30:37 PM »
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  • A friend of mine is going through an ugly divorce, and other than his two young adult children and my brother, I’m the only one he can talk to about his situation (he is Novus Ordo and also talks to a conservative Novus Ordo priest, I guess).

    A lot of the things he brings up in the conversations are certainly detractionary and harmful to the reputation others.

    He has been calling me to unload for 5 months, sometimes 3-4 times/day if I don’t pick up.  But now I’m afraid to pick up, knowing that he’s only calling to get stuff off his chest and give me the day’s latest ugly developments, for fear that despite wanting to be there for him, I’m enabling his detraction (which he might not even know is sinful, thinking he can tell me whatever as long as it’s true).

    Do you guys think I’m sinning by continuing to take his calls?  He seems totally desperate and I’m a little worried that if he can’t vent, he might go off the deep end, and so the last couple weeks I only take his 45 minute calls about once/week, but even that much is sure to contain detraction.

    Am I winning by taking his calls?

    What would you do in my position?  Just explain detraction to him, and stop him when he does it?

    Just to update, I told my friend he has to stop detracting, because merely picking up the phone when he calls makes me feel like I need to go to confession for enabling him.  I know in advance that nearly every time he calls, it’s to give me the latest updates, which always end in lowering my esteem for his wife and family.  He still calls me three times a day in the hopes I will pick up, so he can unload, even though I told him flatly I don’t want to hear it, and why.

    A few moments ago he texted me and asked for prayers because things are worse than he could ever imagine.  I responded by saying I know, and that’s why I’m not picking up the phone: You need to be telling this stuff to a priest, lawyer, and Catholic therapist, and that telling me isn’t doing him, me, or them any good, and that there’s nothing I can do to help him.

    Intellectually, I believe I answered correctly, but I’m sure in his confused mind, his best friend is turning his back on him when he needs support most.  I feel guilty about that, but feel trapped because it is certain that any call I take will result in detraction, so what else can I do?  He’s not really leaving me any other option.


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    Re: Enabling detraction?
    « Reply #11 on: June 14, 2022, 03:47:06 PM »
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  • Good advice. Remind him of what Our Lord said: "But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall render an account for it in the day of judgment." [Matthew 12:36]
    Maybe should take our advice..