Upset Because of a Stranger


Something happened the other day that really upset me.

My brother Terence was not doing to good lately, so I thought it might be a good idea just to get him out of the house for a bit. I asked him if he wanted to eat out for dinner with a friend of mine, and he agreed to going. He does not usually like to go out to restaurants because they are too loud, so I was pretty happy that he would be joining us.

We all went over to the restaurant together, and he seemed pretty happy to be out of the neighbourhood for a while. We ordered dinner and he was very talkative. He is not very coherent, but even if you cannot understand him, he is very interesting to listen to.

Throughout the dinner, he would occasionally talk really loud unintentionally. He does that when he is excited, and I am not sure that he realizes how loud he is. People seated at tables around him would stare, and I would try to politely tell him to quite down. As soon as he was reminded of his volume he would. It really was not that big of a deal.

By the time we were near finished with dinner, he had begun to speak loudly again and before I could say anything to him, some man who was sitting behind him turned around. I had not even noticed him the entire meal, but he had noticed us.

He looked me in the eye annoyed and said something along the lines of 'I don’t want him yelling in my ear every five minutes, can’t you keep him quiet."

I was shocked. Usually people just sort of mind their own business. I felt angry and sad all at once. I leaned across the table and said ‘Well, he obviously isn’t right in the head, just turn around!’

He turned around and we all just sort of sat there. Terry was obviously upset. He did not say a word for the rest of the night. I asked if he wanted dessert, which I am sure is the reason he came along in the first place and he shook his head. I asked if he wanted to leave and he nodded.

We went home shortly after and he went straight to bed without even a change of clothes. I could hardly sleep at all, I was wondering whether he was upset over the stranger behind him, or me, for saying that he ‘wasn’t right in the head’. He is very sensitive about that sort of thing. I felt terrible.

This morning, he hasn’t spoken to me. I know how he reacts to criticism and that. When someone says something about him he doesn’t like, he just thinks about it over and over again. He can stay upset over a little thing for days. All he wants to do is watch TV and listen to music (at the same time).

Now, I am not quite sure what to do. Terry is usually a very talkative person, so it is obvious he is upset. I am upset myself, and I am not quite sure how to approach the situation. Shall we just pretend it never happened?

Anyway, I just wanted to get that out there. Has anyone ever had any similar experiences? Am I making this into something bigger than it really is?


I get loud when I’m out and excited too. This exact sort of incident has happened to me. I was getting loud and I was disturbing the other table and my sis did try to defend, but how she did it really hurt my feelings. I admit, I was really upset for almost two weeks. It wasn’t so much the stranger I was upsetting as much as I was really ashamed that my sis thought I was crazy.

I love my kid sis, but she has hurt my feelings in the past when she’s tried to sort of fend off other people. I get really embarrassed and self conscious about my public behavior. But we’ve gotten better and she doesn’t care so much what others think any more. She says… We will never see that person again. She lets me know that she still sees me as a friend and she not embarrassed by me.

I bet he does feel awful. I bet you do to. My sis does apologize pretty quickly these days and she does admit that she messed up on that one and it wasn’t my fault. It does help to hear that it’s not always me at fault. I’d say maybe try an apology or talking to him to see how hurt he is. Let him know that you will try to handle things differently next time, like ignoring the rude guy at the next table. Let him know that you’re willing to try to do things differently.

Hope it helps. Good luck.


For awhile I saw this counselor who did know something about schizophrenia. I asked him why schizophrenics are so hurt by criticism. He said, “It sticks in their craw.”



Okay, here is how you fix this, no more “library” restaraunts, go to the noisy ones only, boom, everyone is happy.

You know the ones im talking about, every five seconds some guy lets out a huge and harsh “ah ha ha ha ha ha!” kind of laugh in the background.

But poor terence, the depression for us is already large, things like this only make it worse, just heal him with kindness and no more saying “he isn’t right in the head”, you should say something more like “he is sick/ill”, you wouldn’t say that about somebody with diabetes or worse, you just wouldn’t use language like that about them.

You took a chunk out of him by saying that, just give it back.


This post makes me very sad. You were wrong to say that because if you would have hesitated for a second you could have said something more tactful. But hey, you are otherwise probably a good brother. But I can totally understand your brother getting upset. And I feel REALLY, REALLY, bad for your brother. I would have been horribly embarrassed by what you said. You know what the solution is? Apologize to Terry and NEVER, EVER do that again. Now, maybe us schizophrenics are too sensitive. But wouldn’t you be too in our position? I’m not condemning you as a person, it was nice of you to invite Terry out in the first place. But your poor brother who suffers from this hellish disease only to be embarrassed and humiliated by a person he trusts when all he wanted to do is do something normal like going out to eat. But hey, I’m prejudice,right? I have paranoid schizophrenia myself.
In AA they taught me that words aren’t enough of an apology. It’s ACTIONS that mean something. Poor guy.
Maybe because it’s late at night and I’m tired, but I must say that if I was the type of person who cries ( which I’m not) then I would certainly cry over this post.
Please don’t
take this as a personal attack. Just saying.


Hi, I read what surprised wrote and I should certainly acknowledge that you felt bad about the incident. And I should also say that I’m glad you were happy that he accepted your invitation.


Try not to feel too guilty about this. We all make mistakes and say things that we should not have without thinking. Sometimes going to noisy, crowded restaurants can be hard so maybe next time try going at a slow time and ask to be seated in an area without a lot of people. In hindsight there are different responses that you could have used. Maybe one to keep in mind could be partial truth which is sorry he talks louder when he gets excited. I would say apologize, acknowledge that it could have been handled better, give him time to deal with his own feelings and try to move past it. You could even try asking him if this happens in the future how would he like you to respond.


Dismissing someone because of an unfortunate label is demeaning, de-humanizing, and dismisses that persons humanity. OK, I’ve probably said too much. Don’t beat yourself up over the incident but famiy members are supposed to take care of each other. I think you have the right idea, it’s just that you made an error in judgement. Good luck to both of you.