I want to apologize for being absent for so long. I have had a really rough time of it these last year or so. It finally came to an end when I put my foot down and said, “ENOUGH!”
It Is NOT Our Responsibility To Save Them
Sometimes we come across people who could benefit from our assistance. People who just need a boost to get them past a tough spot. These are good opportunities to be of service and improve the lives of those that we come in contact with. This is something that I have learned from my parents and grandparents. Many people have been through our home on their way to healing and independence.
There is a down side to this, however. Sometimes, when it is close family we feel we must save them. This is a dangerous trap. The price we pay is often too high.
How it is supposed to (and usually does) go:
Person comes to us to with good intentions, tangible goals and a timeline. Cost of room and board is agreed upon. Good relationships are built as people work together through successes and challenges to reach the goals. Person works hard and grows as they reach their goals. All goes well and Person steps out on their own as a strong and independent individual.
Person comes to us with seeming good intentions, tangible goals and a timeline. Cost of room and board is agreed upon. At first things go well, but then they begin to change. Goals are not reached and the excuses begin. The agreement made for room and board is not honored. Person promises to do better. Person does not. Responsibilities are ignored. Person begins to lie about things done. Excuses are plentiful, but are rarely relevant to the situation and don’t make any sense. The goal date for leaving comes and goes. Frustration builds up around the situation. Stress builds as we unsuccessfully try to make things work, eventually making the whole situation intolerable.
It is my home!
We got an exception. The situation hit maximum stress and anger became a major emotion in our home. Everyone was paying a high price for Person’s selfish behavior except, of course, for Person. My parents had been emotionally worn down and retreated to their room most of the time. My mother, in an attempt to smooth things over kept asking me if there wasn’t more I could do. Could I please be more patient and tolerant. I was so stressed and angry that food made me sick, I couldn’t sleep and I had constant vertigo. I was so overwhelmed that any request brought me to tears. The stress became too much for us and the whole situation exploded.
My therapist was upset that things had gotten this far. She actually grounded me. I was not attend parties, host parties or have parties. I was not help out at school. I was not help at church. I was told to tell anyone who asked me for anything, “NO!” I went to my parents and told them what my therapist had said and that I could not handle this any more. I was ready to move out or check myself into the hospital. I was also seriously concerned about the effect this was having on Daughter who is only 11. This being the holiday season, I felt bad having to cancel Daughters annual party. I missed her class parties and field trips. We cancelled all family gatherings.
The appropriate family members were notified and Person was told. Two weeks notice was given to find a place and get out. My mother tried several times to find ways for Person to stay. I stood my ground for my parents sake as well as my own. Appropriate family members were given the responsibility of taking care of the situation. I moved into my bedroom and did not come out. The only persons allowed to talk to me were my children and my parents. The only one allowed into my room was Daughter. Person found an apartment. I came out of my room. Person moved out.
Within two days of Person leaving our home, the atmosphere changed significantly. The anger, frustration and stress was gone. My mother was grateful that I had stood my ground as she was feeling greatly relieved to have given the responsibility back to where it belonged. As I let go of all the emotions and peace pervaded our home I began feeling better. I am sleeping. I can eat (most of the time) without feeling sick. I am not angry and crying all the time. Daughter is doing better. My parents now come out of their room and spend time with Daughter and I. We all have more energy and things are getting done.
My sister, who lives in our apartment, took a sabbatical to California to stay with a friend. She is doing better too. She got a temporary job transfer and her best friend is taking good care of her. She was as stressed out as I was over the situation and I am glad she is able to get away. We miss her though.
We can assist people to help themselves, but we cannot save them from themselves.