A guest at an awkward party: a service user observes the acrimony psychologists and psychiatrists


Last year I went to a barbeque with some friends, taking my partner and kids. It was a warm, golden evening. We sat out on the patio sipping wine and chatting while the children milled around, shooting each other with Nerf guns and water pistols (for which it turned out my teenagers were by no means too old after all), gravitating back to the table occasionally when they wanted more burgers.

Yet the evening wasn’t a pleasant one. I was aware the couple had been having problems, but I hadn’t appreciated how bad things were. As the wine flowed, so did the increasingly barbed comments, with no regard for the fact that the children could hear every word. At one point things degenerated into the adults addressing one other through the children (“Well, if your father had fixed the trampoline, you’d be able to play on it, wouldn’t you?”). The…

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