Relationship and Expectation Adjustments

Posted by sunnyflower @sunnyflower, Nov 10, 2020

Hello Dear Ones,
I am Sunnyflower.

I learned the following from a two day seminar to teach the church how to minister to the handicapped and suffering. The following was said and came true in my life: 1. 80% of people there were only temporarily well. 2. People tend to distance themselves from afflicted/suffering friends and loved ones b/c they feel more will be required in that relationship. 3. Being with their sick and hurting loved ones reminds them of their own mortality. They can feel very awkward and not know what to say and what to do.

At the same time, it's important for our family and friends to know they must adjust their relationship expectations around our limitations and suffering/pain. Unfortunately, often we must step up and let this need be made known and teach them how/what OUR needs are. It's hard not to build resentment having to do this, feeling they should have the insight into our circumstances and adjust themselves accordingly on their own. In a perfect world this would be the best thing but it's not a perfect world.

I've shared that my 4 kids know I'm ill. They show up every time I'm in the hospital. They know I'm at 1,2,3 and 4 doctor appointments per week including but not limited to diagnostic procedures. They know I'm mostly in bed. They can see I'm in pain when we’re together even though I try to hide it. My husband doesn’t like it that I try to hide it.
I have 18 grandkids who are anti-depressants. My kids know the joy I receive from them. And yet, they RARELY bring them to see me. This pain is indescribable.

My kids have good hearts. I raised them to serve others. And they do. But why are they available to everyone in need but me? Again, this pain is indescribable! They say and write at lengths how much they love me and what a great Grammy and Mom I am. They call and hug me when they see me (except for now b/c of Covid-19).

They know that over the years we've spent a fortune on hiring help. I believe it was last fall but could have been 2018 (my memory is really bad but it was the fall), that my younger daughter told me that she and her older sister were going to come and help me, rotating weeks w/ one another. I was so blessed and told her so!

A month or so later I hadn’t heard anything so I asked her and she alluded to the fact that her older sister had made a comment about not enabling me. I was stunned and beyond hurt so I asked the my younger daughter to come over. I showed her the list of my health conditions that I printed from my Kaiser Permanente Chart. I know that seeing something in writing reaches a different part of the brain and that she would see I wasn’t embellishing my circumstances and, how afflicted I am. Many, many if not most of my many specialists over the years have told me I either have the longest list or one of the longest lists of diseases/conditions they’ve ever seen. There is so much on this list; almost every organ and several glands are diseased. Many of these diseases and conditions are painful in nature.

I told my daughter that I felt she and her sister put me in the position to have to defend my circumstances by their not following through on their offer to help me out and especially b/c of the comment about not enabling me.

Are you sitting down? She said nothing. Not “Oh”, “Wow”, “Sorry”, nothing. That hurt even more. Some time later I addressed her lack of response/empathy/compassion and again, she said nothing.

At least a month or more after that I asked her sister to come over and the exact scenario above was repeated including the same words. This daughter did say something like a quiet “Wow” or on of those words.

To this day they have not come to help me other than my youngest daughter came once for a little while to sort one cupboard of art/crafts for my grandkids. She offered another time by saying she was going to be in my area and had about 20 minutes to come help me if I needed it but it was around dinner time and the kids were with her so I knew nothing would get done.

Let me be very clear. When/if I tell them about myself when they call and ask how I am, I do not complain and often state this is information only, not a complaint. I say this to quite a few people nowadays and then abruptly change the subject to direct the conversation from about me to about them and ask how they and their families are. I am bound and determined not to be negative and not to be a burden.

I saw a therapist for a short time years ago when my poor health demanded that I take an early retirement. She said they may be in denial b/c they don’t want me to be sick. When they see me it reminds them.

I am a very positive and extremely warm, loving person. I am deliberate about being joyful in my circumstances. This is born from the extra amount of faith God has allotted me. I am deeply humbled by the deep, sacrificial, boundless, unmerited love Jesus Christ has bestowed on me. His peace that surpasses all human understanding (Philippians 4:7) is the only thing that gets me through the many fires we all walk through here in this temporary life on earth.
There are many times my pain reaches the human endurance threshold and I am literally fighting for my sanity but I never, ever feel a victim or question God. I know Him intimately enough to trust Him in my circumstances. He has a purpose in suffering. His comfort and ever-presence are indescribable. My heart is so filled w/ gratitude to have this: “faith is the assurance of what we hope for and the certainty of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).

I pray a lot for all of you here on the Mayo blogs. I am a part of several groups. I wish you all many blessings and a lot of relief! Warmest wishes, Sunnyflower PS: Sorry for the novel! PSS: Sorry for the repeats!! PSSS: Sorry for leaving so many out here. I named some people just so others can know there is a new discussion. This is based on someone new's story. Thank you!!!!!! @johnbishop @colleenyoung @lorirenee1 @rwinney @jesfactsmon @specialty555 @jessamyn @artscaping @erikas @jenniferhunter @kathleen1314 @jimhd

@sunyflower
This story you tell is so heartbreaking there are no words, i.e. I am speechless at the behavior you have described as exhibited by your daughters. Your therapist's theory about "they may be in denial b/c they don’t want me to be sick" is just absolutely looney. What does that even mean? They don't want it to be true so if they simply choose to ignore it (and you) that somehow that will make it go away? It makes no sense. I wish I could offer you a suggestion that could help Sunny. But it sounds like you have done your best to open their eyes. But they want to keep them firmly shut to reality.

You have 4 children. You have described the behavior of these 2 daughters. What do the other two children think? Do they know about this? I'm trying to figure out if you have at least one ally in the family that could possibly intervene with your daughters and try to make them see whatever it is that they are trying to block out.

With a heavy heart for you, Hank

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@sunnyflower. I am so sorry to hear this. My sister is struggling from the same pain of her children not acknowledging her many medical issues but they ask her for money. You have given me hope and been there for me. I hope the lord intercedes and makes them appreciate you.

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Didn't like the repeat but thought the newbies who were expressing relationship problems could use the info. Thx Hankster!

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@bustrbrwn22

@sunnyflower. I am so sorry to hear this. My sister is struggling from the same pain of her children not acknowledging her many medical issues but they ask her for money. You have given me hope and been there for me. I hope the lord intercedes and makes them appreciate you.

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Hi Jen, was praying for you last night so it's really cool to get a message from you today!

How on earth have you been? I hope and pray that you are better than coping?

Thx for your kind words! I am waiting to be taken to the operating room for cervical and occipital nerve blocks under some anesthesia. Had a lumbar one about 6 (?) weeks ago.

I began a new discussion bc I was reading some posts about problems people were having with spouse and other relationships. I know I had already addressed that in my life but couldn't find it/them and, some of the info was in different posts.

The mentors are wanting discussions to stay on topic and this and other info comes up a lot in a specific discussion.

Thx for reaching out dear friend! Warmest everything, Sunny. 😊🙏🌹

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@jesfactsmon

@sunyflower
This story you tell is so heartbreaking there are no words, i.e. I am speechless at the behavior you have described as exhibited by your daughters. Your therapist's theory about "they may be in denial b/c they don’t want me to be sick" is just absolutely looney. What does that even mean? They don't want it to be true so if they simply choose to ignore it (and you) that somehow that will make it go away? It makes no sense. I wish I could offer you a suggestion that could help Sunny. But it sounds like you have done your best to open their eyes. But they want to keep them firmly shut to reality.

You have 4 children. You have described the behavior of these 2 daughters. What do the other two children think? Do they know about this? I'm trying to figure out if you have at least one ally in the family that could possibly intervene with your daughters and try to make them see whatever it is that they are trying to block out.

With a heavy heart for you, Hank

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@jesfactsmon @sunnyflower I don't want to be repetitive, but I have much the same support, love, as Sunnyflower. My family just does not involve themselves with my being sick. If I had their love and support, I swear, I think I could handle my pain better. My husband has schizoid personality disorder, and has little affect with anyone. He does favors for me, but I feel unloved. He has little use for people in general, and his brain is wired wrong. I often feel alone, especially during Covid. I am being bluntly honest. I often wonder if I raised my son wrong in some way, to get so very little. Maybe I was unaware that I hurt him in some way. I constantly make excuses for my insensitive family. It is, what it is. I can't control other peoples' behavior. This whole subject is too hard to bear. Lori Renee

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@sunnyflower

Hi Jen, was praying for you last night so it's really cool to get a message from you today!

How on earth have you been? I hope and pray that you are better than coping?

Thx for your kind words! I am waiting to be taken to the operating room for cervical and occipital nerve blocks under some anesthesia. Had a lumbar one about 6 (?) weeks ago.

I began a new discussion bc I was reading some posts about problems people were having with spouse and other relationships. I know I had already addressed that in my life but couldn't find it/them and, some of the info was in different posts.

The mentors are wanting discussions to stay on topic and this and other info comes up a lot in a specific discussion.

Thx for reaching out dear friend! Warmest everything, Sunny. 😊🙏🌹

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@sunnyflower Oh, Sunny, best of luck with surgery!!!!! My prayers are with you, Jesus is with you. You are lovely. LoriRenee1

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@jesfactsmon

@sunyflower
This story you tell is so heartbreaking there are no words, i.e. I am speechless at the behavior you have described as exhibited by your daughters. Your therapist's theory about "they may be in denial b/c they don’t want me to be sick" is just absolutely looney. What does that even mean? They don't want it to be true so if they simply choose to ignore it (and you) that somehow that will make it go away? It makes no sense. I wish I could offer you a suggestion that could help Sunny. But it sounds like you have done your best to open their eyes. But they want to keep them firmly shut to reality.

You have 4 children. You have described the behavior of these 2 daughters. What do the other two children think? Do they know about this? I'm trying to figure out if you have at least one ally in the family that could possibly intervene with your daughters and try to make them see whatever it is that they are trying to block out.

With a heavy heart for you, Hank

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Thx Hank. It's complicated. I have two sons. I don't see them much but they too express love for me. Warm hugs when we see each other, say I love yous when we talk, just like my daughter s

All 4 of my kids would help if I really needed it aka if it was really important. I know they know how loving and helpful my husband is and they do tell him how much they appreciate him caring for me. I can do a lot for myself and try not to ask for help. I really do need it but it's mostly not urgent. It would be nice.

They have extremely busy lives and I believe are overcommitted. I am NOT excusing them, just giving info.

One son is free enough to take me to the doctor and very willing. It's nice. The other has brought disinfectant wipes, sprays, things hard to find to me as have my girls once.

I know they would be by my side if necessary. But usually by then it's too late.

Please don't feel sorry for me as I truly am one of the most blessed people I know. Genuinely.

I was in an abusive marriage for 17 years with my kid's father. There is still a lot of healing that needs to take place.

I think I have said this before, but I learned from a woman responsible for county-wide emotionally disturbed kids, that kids will always blame the parent who's love they are most secure in and will try to please the parent who's love they are trying to win. She says they think something like, oh mom, she will forgive us anything, she loves us. It's called misdirected anger.

Hope all is well with you and Linda. Take good care of yourself too!

All the best, Sunny 😊🙏

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@lorirenee1

@jesfactsmon @sunnyflower I don't want to be repetitive, but I have much the same support, love, as Sunnyflower. My family just does not involve themselves with my being sick. If I had their love and support, I swear, I think I could handle my pain better. My husband has schizoid personality disorder, and has little affect with anyone. He does favors for me, but I feel unloved. He has little use for people in general, and his brain is wired wrong. I often feel alone, especially during Covid. I am being bluntly honest. I often wonder if I raised my son wrong in some way, to get so very little. Maybe I was unaware that I hurt him in some way. I constantly make excuses for my insensitive family. It is, what it is. I can't control other peoples' behavior. This whole subject is too hard to bear. Lori Renee

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@lorirenee1, @jesfactsmon, @sunnyflower Good snowy afternoon. Relationships …. that's a good topic to explore and tap into every once in a while…….because they change. We acknowledge our own changes as we confront and contend with medical issues. We are all the result of our experiences. What I was taught by a dear, dear friend after three pretty involved orthopedic surgeries was to seek an empathetic understanding of any changes in my family and friends as they interacted with me or didn't.

You may come to understand that what you perceive as distancing by your spouse/partner, friends, family members, is actually disappointment because they can't fix you. Those who promised to love, honor and cherish you, those who you know admire and respect you, and those who have had your back for years……..are feeling inadequate and helpless.

Are you able to take a moment to look at yourself through their eyes? How do you appear different to them? How do you think they react to your obvious pain?
Are you comfortable being transparent about your diagnosis?
Do you share your expectations about the outcome of medications and treatments honestly?
Do you let them know how much you appreciate the relationship?

May you be safe and protected from inner and outer harm.
Chris

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@lorirenee1

@jesfactsmon @sunnyflower I don't want to be repetitive, but I have much the same support, love, as Sunnyflower. My family just does not involve themselves with my being sick. If I had their love and support, I swear, I think I could handle my pain better. My husband has schizoid personality disorder, and has little affect with anyone. He does favors for me, but I feel unloved. He has little use for people in general, and his brain is wired wrong. I often feel alone, especially during Covid. I am being bluntly honest. I often wonder if I raised my son wrong in some way, to get so very little. Maybe I was unaware that I hurt him in some way. I constantly make excuses for my insensitive family. It is, what it is. I can't control other peoples' behavior. This whole subject is too hard to bear. Lori Renee

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@lorirenee1 Please do not even go down the path that this is your fault. I have a pretty good bs-meter and you are a kind loving soul.

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@bustrbrwn22

@lorirenee1 Please do not even go down the path that this is your fault. I have a pretty good bs-meter and you are a kind loving soul.

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@bustrbrwn22 @lorirenee1

Yep, I second that emotion. Lori, you do not now and could not ever, have had it in your heart to be less than warm and loving to a fault. I just won't believe it. Trust that meter that Jen's got, it's right on. Hank

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@artscaping

@lorirenee1, @jesfactsmon, @sunnyflower Good snowy afternoon. Relationships …. that's a good topic to explore and tap into every once in a while…….because they change. We acknowledge our own changes as we confront and contend with medical issues. We are all the result of our experiences. What I was taught by a dear, dear friend after three pretty involved orthopedic surgeries was to seek an empathetic understanding of any changes in my family and friends as they interacted with me or didn't.

You may come to understand that what you perceive as distancing by your spouse/partner, friends, family members, is actually disappointment because they can't fix you. Those who promised to love, honor and cherish you, those who you know admire and respect you, and those who have had your back for years……..are feeling inadequate and helpless.

Are you able to take a moment to look at yourself through their eyes? How do you appear different to them? How do you think they react to your obvious pain?
Are you comfortable being transparent about your diagnosis?
Do you share your expectations about the outcome of medications and treatments honestly?
Do you let them know how much you appreciate the relationship?

May you be safe and protected from inner and outer harm.
Chris

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I'd like to build on @artscaping's post. Great point about how illness can make others feel: helpless, disappointment, a sense of loss, anger, resentment that established roles have to change.

Not being able to depend on family members in times of illness or even when you might be the main caregiver, where does one find the support they need? Where have you found compassion, kindness and practical help to manage chronic conditions that have changed life as it once was? What tips do you have for fellow members?

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I go to Al-anon and have for 11 plus years. 12 step programs are very helpful for me. They are a place where I can hear about other people's struggles and being powerless over other people places and things. ACA Adult Children of Alcoholics is for people raised in an alcoholic home or other dysfunctional environment and it is very helpful for me to see the relational part of what is going on between my mother and I. But this is very helpful for me to hear. I am so sorry for all of your suffering and pain. Do any of you have experience with diagnostic centers? or is this more for emotions and not pragmatic questions and answers? Thank you!

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