A Problem Shared is a Problem Doubled.
After much thinking, I've decided to use the words she herself used. You don't know the players, and the incident concerned is not, sadly, isolated. The woman under discussion, let's call her Jane, whom I have met a few times, is small and pretty and engaging and funny and generally charming. She has a feckless husband, three problem children and is prone to quite serious accidents. She is a friend of MiL's DD (Dear Daughter).
The scene: our dinner table, over cheese and biscuits.
MiL: DD told me that years ago Jane was assaulted and buggered with a bottle. No wait - it may have been the other end, but there . . .
My jaw still drops when I replay that conversation in my head. How could she do that?
Isn't it a wonderful thing to have friends? People with whom you feel safe enough to expose your frailties, who will love you anyway, and with whom the sharing of a problem is indeed a burden lifted. It is also a wonderful thing to have a mother with whom you can discuss pretty much anything, without fear of betrayal. No wait . . .
See? Right there. That's the problem with saying anything to anyone. They pass it on to someone they trust, who passes it on to someone else, who doesn't know you well, if at all, and suddenly The Thing that rules the dark corners of your life is the subject of after-dinner conversation among your slight acquaintance.
Hey, did you hear that Isabel had eight miscarriages? Eight! No, but I heard Joe was impotent. Hasn't been able to get it up in two years. Oh, and Steve still wets the bed! And he's twenty-nine! And Barbara can't stand her own daughter, who let's face it is a bit of a slut. Oh, and Jane got buggered by a bottle. Wow, that's really bad luck. Coffee, anyone?