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Is it a sin to talk badly about parents who are mistreating me?


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Rabbi Shlomo Chein: Welcome. I'll be with you in a moment...what's on your mind?

Adele: I have a question about Lashon Hara and parents?

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: ok

Adele: So, since its a serious sin, its not something i want to go around doing, chas v'shalom

Adele: but i often find myself speaking with my friends

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: go on

Adele: Ok, so, i end up speaking wiht my friends and telling them stuff about my parents that isnt so becoming of them, and most of the time i dont really realize it. Im 100% positive that this is lashon hara, but i was wondering if its ok because in speaking with my friends (im only talking about 2 or 3 friends here.. not the whole world), i really feel like i am calming myself down and relieving stress. is it possible that this kind of talk could be healthy lashon hara?

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: absolutely not. If it falls into the category of Loshon Hara it applies to one friend or a million friends. Plus here you are crossing another line, the line of honoring your parents

Adele: i just find my parents to cause a lot of stress in my life and sometimes my friends will ask "why are you crying" or "why are you upset" and i cant help but explain why.

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: how old are you

Adele: 17

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: and what type of stress do your parents cause you

Adele: well im not a therapist so i wouldnt really know what type of stress... im not even sure if stress is the right word

Adele: im sorry, that came out a little rude, i didnt mean to be so obnoxious.

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: not at all... but you say they cause you stress, so what do YOU mean by that

Adele: their way of dealing with me really emotionally stresses me out.

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: what do you mean

Adele: which part needs clarification?

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: all I am asking is very simple, give me an example of how they stress you out

Adele: oh ok. so after shabbos i was in the computer room and i locked the door. my dad was screaming at me and said "if you lock that door again you're never allowed in the room again and im going to knock you in the head" so of course, its just a habbit, and i lock the door. he didnt "knock me in the head" but he smacked me. and thats a terrible example, but i was just thinking about it. stress isnt really the appropriate word

Adele: My mother stresses me out because im the oldest and she expects me to play mother, just silly things like that, but they all add up.

All names, places, and identifying information have been changed or deleted in order to protect the privacy of the questioners. In order to preserve authenticity, the chat sessions have been posted with a minimum of editing. Please excuse typographical errors, missing punctuation, and/or grammatical mistakes which naturally occur in the course of informal chat sessions.


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lashon hara and parents

Posted by: Anonymous, NY on Dec 02, 2005

when im upset and i talk about my parents to my friends i always feel better in the end just because i got to talk to someone. until recently i was extremely closed with talking about my parents and everything about them embarrased me and i had more issues because i was so closed. but now i talk to my friends and it helps me deal with it just to know that my friends are there for me even if my parents arent although their still good at causing stress and now that i talk to my friends my parents cant upset me so much anymore

speaking about parents

Posted by: Anonymous, Toronto, Canada on Apr 16, 2006

The Rabbi's comments are very upsetting, and I am Chassidic. Not only was I told that it is OK to speak to friends about parents when necessary, but without dear friends, my own mental health might have been compromised. If one speaks "LeToeles" - for the constructive purpose of seeking future guidance and immediate relief from distress, then is not such discussion is permissable? What would the Rabbi say about speaking to a therapist, is that also forbidden? Not everyone can afford therapy and finding the right one takes time. Would he expect a teenager to find her own therapist? Real friends, will be there for her when she needs them, and most reserve judgement while trying to help. This is not an "article" as you call it, but an excerpted fragment of a condescending exchange. In fact there was no room for Adele to say anything after the Rabbi's pronouncement! And he didn't seem to be too troubled about her being screamed at and "smacked" by her father! Where is compassion? Reality?

Editor's Comment

Rabbi Chein responds: As far as Lashon Hara: whether or not it is Lashon Hara to tell your friends would really depend on each specific case, the type of friends, the benefits they can bring by hearing what you have to say, and the rabbi you ask. It is therefore possible that in your situation a Rabbi did allow it. Generally speaking, however, telling someone something when they can do nothing about it (even if it makes you feel good) is Lashon Hara. As far as friends: Friends are a great thing to have. As a matter of fact, according to our holy Sages friends are a necessity. But everything has its time and place and everything has its limits. It was my impression that this 17 year old could not get the help she needed from her friends, and sharing this information with her friends posed some risks such as gossip and future negative feedback. This girl needed help. Real help. Not the type of crutch or band aid her friends would provide by saying we feel bad or even offering a hug. She needed help that would stop the abuse. By forbidding her to tell her friends I was also taking away her crutch thus forcing her to deal with the real problem. Now she would have to find someone else to whom she could express her feelings. And it was my intent to guide her to that someone. Someone who is professionally trained to comfort her, someone who doesn’t pose the risk of gossip and other negative feedback, and most importantly, someone who can fix the problem by correcting this abusive situation. Finally, what led me to take the time to look for an organization that can truly help this total stranger was because I was sincerely troubled by the situation, and having her continue to be abused (even if she can pour her heart out to her friends afterwards) did not sit well with my compassion.


Life Cycle » Marriage » Family Life

Lashon Hara
Lit.: Evil tongue. Harmful gossip. Lashon Hara is forbidden no matter if the gossip is true or false.