Mark: Friend and Work Connections
Mark chose not talk about his father with friends.
I think people judge and even friends [judge]. I need all the friends I have so I don’t want to alienate anybody anyway. Even the friends I had from when I was young, I don’t think they ever understood what mental illness is. They’d always have an excuse—my uncle or someone’s got that. They would know what it’s all about—I don’t think they do.
At work, Mark found he did not have any reason to share about his father. However, because he lived in a small town, there were occasions when coworkers asked questions about a business Mark’s father had when he lived in town.
In a small town, everyone knows you by who your father is or your family name or you’re related to so and so. There’s also this constantly stirring the pot, even though they don’t intentionally mean to. Just asking for their own personal needs or their farm needs. Everybody knows everybody so they know all your business and stuff you don’t want them to know.
Mark explained his choice not to talk to others about his father—“My biggest fear was talking to people because they’d judge me then for sharing that with them. I wanted them to judge me on my character and who I was.” He did not want sympathy and he did not want to lose friends who might shut him off.