Wednesday, August 8, 2012

An Ugly Disease

Estrangement with a child is never easy. Years of feeling guilt for her problems. Years of trying to find solutions. Years of saying, "I'm sorry" and never hearing them echoed back. Yet, I hung in there. It was what I was supposed to do, right? Hm. Maybe not.

Some people thrive on being dramatic. They live in such turmoil inside of themselves that they find it the norm. If there is no crisis, then life feels awkward. I came to realize that many people thrive in such conditions afraid to find help. What are they afraid of? I think perhaps they are afraid that they have no identity without the chaos their lives possess.

I'm a pretty flexible person. This was not always true. The older I have gotten, the more I find pieces of myself to either keep or toss aside. I find I can still grow and learn at any age. I want to grow and learn. I want to be a better person, a happy person, a person who makes a difference. In trying to always be there for my child, I hindered her. I lost myself.

Example of another family:

She came home from college with an illness that confined her to her bed. She could not move from her bed. For years she remained helpless. She could not leave the house. She could not sit at her computer or read. Doctors had no name for her illness, only speculation. A counselor had suggested that she needed therapy. The parents immediately disregarded the information. What is it that makes people hold on to things that are harmful to them? As parents, why do we assist in this slaughter of independence? These parents have given up everything to enable a child who would not step up to the challenge and make her life useful. A child not willing to respect the life of her parents. Children with physical handicaps have done more than this healthy young woman who embraced her condition long ago.

I thought tough love would be an option with my child. Neither unconditional love nor tough love seemed to matter. Whatever I did, it was wrong in her eyes. I have learned though. I have learned to say to her that her happiness is dependent on her, not me. She can move forward in any way she wishes, but I am off that train of self pity. I think perhaps along the way, she forgot to respect me. It took me a long time to get past the pain and to announce that yes, indeed, I do deserve respect.

My daughter may never come around. She loves to punish me and will where it hurts through my granddaughters. Maybe, just maybe, by my strength and love, my granddaughters will learn and be healthy thinking young women. They will understand what it is to be a healthy person. I truly pray it be so.

We take away our children's struggles. We shouldn't. Struggles teach us strength. A family is made up of those wanting the best for one another and to help each other achieve their own goals. A family is made up of those who will help when called and stand aside as needed. A family is not angry words, it is conversation and resolution. A family should be a peaceful unit that learns to function through the difficult times together....and maybe even going to a counselor for help.

Enabling.....it's and ugly disease.

2 comments:

  1. Pamela, Thank you for sharing this. I have also dealt with a similar 'estrangement' from my daughter. It is often hard to distinguish what is right or wrong when it comes to our children. Are we enabling or encouraging? Are we helping or hindering? It is a struggle that can tear at a mother's heart. I have written about it on my blog as well. I am saying a prayer for you, and for your daughter tonight.

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  2. Willows Grammie,

    Nice to hear from you. Interesting that you wrote today. I woke this morning missing my granddaughters. It has been two weeks now since I've seen them and usually see them weekly. It is a difficult situation trying to stay strong in what I believe and giving over to a demanding 'child'. I want my granddaughters to know what healthy looks like so know I need to be true to what I believe is best. My heart goes out to you as well. Thank you for sharing. A camaraderie of grandparents playing it forward.

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