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View Diary: My family is turning into a nightmare (27 comments)

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  •  Hang in there (5+ / 0-)

    Hi.  I am very sorry that you are going through a hard time.

    There was alcoholism and mental illness in my family, and I've lost my father, mother and sister to cancer.  I hope you don't mind if I offer a bit of advice.  

    Your parents are adults.    You cannot make their decisions for them.  If you try to do that, you will cause yourself to be very stressed and unhappy, and nothing will have changed, because you cannot live another person's life for them.  

    Sometimes, when someone is ill, or alcoholic, we desperately try to control the situation, thinking that will make them well.   You can't control everything.  There is peace in finding humility, and recognizing that each person knows what their own necessities are, and even when their decisions don't make sense to us, they do have reasons for the decisions that they make.   The universe is very large, and we are very small, and we really cannot control all the things that we often try to control.

    When a parent is seriously ill, you go through stages of grieving, denial, bargaining, anger and acceptance -- unless you are Red Forman from That Seventies Show, who says his stages are anger and drinking.   This model really helped me understand what I was feeling, and how others were reacting.   Denial will cause you to focus on the peripheral issues like insurance, rather than the core issue, like the illness itself.   Bargaining comes out in your attempts to change your parent's minds about their decisions, and your anger comes through pretty clear, as well as your grief.   So, instead of aiming your grieving process at your parents, it is sometimes useful to aim that energy in a different direction.   Recognize that you are reacting, grieving, and disengage while you work through those feelings by talking to friends, writing, art, listening to music, talking to yourself, whatever works.

    Other members of your family are grieving, too, so when you all get together, it will be uncomfortable, with various stages of denial, bargaining, anger and grieving all going on at once.

    You need some balance in your life  It is natural that you will have a need to spend time with your parents, and in helping your parents.  But, you also need time alone or with friends to work through your feelings about their illness, and you need to devote some time and energy on setting your own goals and achieving them.  

    I found it helpful to give myself a few minutes now and then to just sit down and cry.   Your parents are worth your tears.  It's like being in a sauna, and sweating out the toxins.  It feels satisfying in some way, like I did something important that I needed to do, and now I'm  free to move forward again for a little while.

    I know it seems impossible to focus on other things in your life when all this is going on with your parents, but you need to be strong for your parents, and if you allow yourself to get overwhelmed, if you ignore your own needs as your father is doing, then you will not be strong for them when they need you most.   To stay strong, focus first on the physical -- you have to eat, sleep and exercise, and then on the emotional -- maintain some emotional boundaries, keep some balance in your life, and don't stop looking until you find something to laugh about every single day, even if it's just something on youtube.

    I hope you don't mind my offering my perspective.   I am sorry you are going through this.  

    My best wishes to you and your family.  Sorry you are going through a rough time.

    Sorry for the extra long comment.  I've been through something similar and wanted to share my experience, for what it is worth.


    •  Wow. It's the advice or maybe it's better to say (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sharon Wraight

      pathfinding skills that come from folks who are dealing with this stuff that is so valuable. Thank you for taking the time to write this. I'm wandering through my own grief and it never occurred to me that denial will cause you to focus on the peripheral issues.

      And saying your parents are worth your tears is so beautiful and true.

      Poverty = politics.

      by Renee on Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 09:32:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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