Friday, October 9, 2009

You can pick your friends.......


...but you can't pick your family. For the most part, that is okay with me. I love my family and most of the time I even like them. They are on my mind alot right now and I keep examining them and my relationships with them. And, their relationships with each other....Hi my name is Shannon and I'm a codependent.....not only are we all grieving, but, some of us are feeling guilt. I understand that guilt plays a part in some processes of grieving...."I could have saved her"....."if I'd have just listened better"....."If only I had been there on the day...."......."If I had been a better, Son, Dad, Brother, Mother, Sister, Aunt, Daughter..."...."His life might have been better if I had DONE something".....these are all things we say to ourselves when someone we love dies. Even when my Grandmother died, I knew that I did all that I could, given my relationship to her and my 'skill' level (as a home care provider), yet, some days, I still think, "I could have done blah, blah, blah for her" and yet, intellectually, I know I did the best that I could have.

There is only so much one can do. And, there is only so much responsibility we have to one another and there is a point where we have to accept that each person is and should be responsible for themselves. However, what is the boundary? At what point is it that we can let ourselves off the hook for our perceived responsibility for another person? (Children accepted and I guess at that point the definition of 'child' needs to be spelled out). I have a hard time defining these boundaries within my own family unit, we are a family of codependents, seriously. I spend alot of time examining my actions, thoughts and verbiage to determine whether or not I'm overstepping a boundary or I'm allowing someone else to cross my boundaries. This makes for a crowded head. It also makes for a large bag of guilt....not to mention I was raised Catholic.

Because I've spent alot of time examining the dynamic of my family and learning to detach myself, I sometimes find that I am an outsider observing. This is a good thing for me, as it allows me the opportunity to gain some perspective. it is when I am able to step back that I can unwind my attachment to a situation or person and let go. This is not actually allowed in my family, letting go. We are all made to feel like we should sacrifice for the greater good, even if that means compromising our own sanity. And, the greater good is always for the better of someone who just can't get their shit together......yeah, I said it, "can't get their shit together."

You know of what I speak, right? The one person in your family who always seems to be in crisis mode. Who always has to make waves in order to get attention. Now, because I am a keen observer, as I am always watching out for ways to avoid getting sucked into the vortex of that one person in my family who is nearly always in crisis mode and yet, certain other members of my family are NOT in a place where they can see the act for what it is, lays it at my feet to "just be there for her/him", because......? He/She is your "sister, brother, neice, uncle, cousin, mother, etc"......because, why? I AM RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS PERSON? (seriously).

So, these are the things I've been turning over in my head lately. Nothing like a week with your family during a crisis to stir up old wounds, bad behaviors and guilt. I love my family, apparently to the point of insanity, but, I keep asking myself these questions, "when is an adult responsible for themselves and their own happiness?"....."when am I NOT responsible TO them for their own well being?"....."and, WHY, am I the one who has to pick up the slack when they can't FUNCTION?" .....and the big one, "why do I have to take over handicapping them because you left this world and have laid that responsibility at my feet?" AND, "why do I feel guilty for NOT wanting to be responsible for this person?"
(other members of my family could also ask themselves these questions).

Not exactly a fun post, as I was hoping to find my way back to the fun this week....a form of grief is still with me, grief for my family, along with the guilt for not being completely bereft over my Uncle's passing. I keep examining this particular emotional cocktail, wondering why I am so detached from the loss and worrying a little that I can be that detached.....

Go on, now, hug your people....tell them you love them....

Peace

8 comments:

otin said...

Although I love my family members, it is always a traumatic experience when we are all together.

Brian Miller said...

hmm...they are family and forme i am there for them...there are those that don't understand the meaning of boundaries and just want to moan over this and that...i have had to tell them at times to back down...i will help but only if they want it...i will listen, but will respond...thought provoking post today. feel for you in your loss...mayhaps this will bring you all closer together. tragedy has a way of doing that.

McGillicutty said...

Just because you're related doesn't mean you have to be responsible for these people. Once you can find a way to cut the baggage you'll be a ton happier... you can still be supportive just not responsible. Be happy young lady, be happy!

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

Sometimes it is easier to feel guilt than to feel our anger at our family members. Sounds like you may be justified to feel angry. Maybe you are angry at yourself for not being able to say "no", or set reasonable limits, or clear boundaries.

We may help with this situation or that situation, but in the end we have just taught the person to rely on us and have not allowed them to learn how to be response-able for themself.

You can't force them to change. The only power you have is the changes you can implement with yourself - how you handle the situation - how you learn to say a kind, but firm 'no'.

rxBambi said...

Are we related? You just described one of my sisters. Seriously. Not Barb. But really, let me know when you figure out how much we need to be responsible for another adult.

rxBambi said...

Oh, I know what I was gonna say.
You can pick your friends
You can pick your nose
But you probably shouldn't pick your friends nose... heeeheehee

marinik said...

believe me all this makes perfect sense to me... our family always goes above and beyond too even if the other person doesn't want that attention... what can we do.. we don't choose our family but we're stuck with them... but you know what.. they're ok most of the time huh? :)) enjoyed the post

Dayne Gingrich said...

Great post. Family issues... where do I start?

With my family, it's all about emotion and energy~ we all feed off each other, both negative and positive.

You may be interested in something I wrote on this, if you have a second.

-Dayne