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Dealing with Mom

Anyone have any experience on how to find patience with someone who really needs it? I find myself getting more and more annoyed at my mother during her grieving process, not because she hasn't "moved on" (I know everyone goes through this at a different pace and in different ways), but that I'm getting so frustrated because she keeps focusing on the same things, things that had nothing to do with my father's death, and it seems like we keep having the same conversation over and over again no matter what I say or how I say it.

I find myself getting short with her. That's not good. She needs me, and I want to be there for her, but I'm finding myself in a place where my own frustrations are interfering.

Anyone? Argh.


( 6 comments — Comment )
Feb. 21st, 2004 07:26 pm (UTC)
Anyone have any experience on how to find patience with someone who really needs it?

Many people have this kind of experience. This is the kind of patience that parents are required to have with their children, for example. :-)

Without more detail I can't say for sure of course, but if you want to help her, I can tell you this much:

She's struggling to come to terms with a major loss and life change. She's digging away, trying to understand herself, trying to find a way to integrate it all and move on. She's getting stuck on something and it seems to me that she's asking for your help this way because she thinks, or knows, or hopes that you're capable of giving it.

(Just a WAG: The first thing that comes to mind is guilt. Could she be in any way feeling guilty over the death of your father? Is she being told she's being "silly" about it...? Perhaps she's seeking but not finding absolution from you or your siblings in some way, hence the repetition. Whatever it is, she's still on about it because it's not resolved for her.)

I really have no idea what it is, but whatever it is will only be resolved when it's fully understood by at least herself. I think you have to let her continue talk to you about it. The best way to do this is to really listen. This means not interupting, changing the subject, talking over her. Not just waiting for her to finish in order to rebut her, or offer your opinion, etc. True listening involves the imagination, wherein you experience the events from the other persons perspective as fully as possible. It's like reading a book, or listening to a story. Your mother's story, or one of them anyhow. Maybe you already know this, I don't know. I'm just saying.

I don't know how patient you normally are with your mother. If this is unusual for you, then maybe it indicates that you have your own issues with the subject matter. It might help if you take the time to examine and sort yourself out first. Likely it's painful for you too. I mean, these are your parents.

Pain is pain, emotional or physical. Wounds hurt when they're being cleaned out, but this is exactly the attention they need in order to heal.

we keep having the same conversation over and over again no matter what I say or how I say it.

Well, then, it's time to try something new, isn't it.

Hey, you asked. ;-)
Feb. 21st, 2004 07:31 pm (UTC)
I meant to add that you're a dear for caring of course and not to be too hard on yourself, either.
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 21st, 2004 10:55 pm (UTC)
Are your sisters having the same problem?
I did drop a hint to Kim, your mom should be hearing from her sometime this week.
As soon as Pam's baby is born and I have pics, I'm going to head over w/Tommy and show them to her. I am going to try and get Lee etc.. to come also..

Feb. 24th, 2004 01:26 am (UTC)
Having personal experience with lending emotional support in a similar situation, I think you should really encourage your mom to see a therapist to deal with her grieving process. It doesn't have to be a psychologist, it could be a clergy person or grief counselor, just someone impartial she has a weekly (or twice weekly) set meeting time with to talk. Being the primary emotional support for a person will exhaust you eventually, and could jeopordize your parent/child relationship. It's not your job to take care of someone else emotionally, as much as you may want. It's also not the job of other family or friends - coping with grief is extremely difficult, and really a situation where an experienced professional should be guiding your mom, for her sake especially.
Feb. 24th, 2004 03:50 am (UTC)
I'm sorry but it IS our "job" to take care of other people emotionally. That's what family and friends are for. Experienced professionals have their place, it's not a bad idea. However as you pointed out, it's 50 mins. once or twice per week.

The rest of the time, we have each other. Shirking our responsibility towards one another never helped anyone, the shirker or the shirkee.

( 6 comments — Comment )

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