Holding steady in unsteady times

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all4peace

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Holding steady in unsteady times
« on: March 26, 2020, 07:33:05 AM »
My state is in mandatory lockdown for quite a long time, more than 2 weeks. And on day 1 I got a text from F. M is included, but silent. He doesn't initiate contact with me, ever. I hear from family member that M doesn't think the rules apply to her and is still trying to have gatherings. I'm guessing that F is struggling and wants to reach out.

We are all struggling. Every day, I look internally to see what my resources are, I consider how to spend my time and energy to maximize both, and I pay attention to if how I'm living is sustainable for the long haul, because I think this may be a long haul.

I pay attention first to my top priorities--my marriage, kids, dear friends and siblings, faith family, job. These are relationships and purposes that are precious to me. These are mutual relationships. These are mutual support networks. These are people and causes to whom I am devoted.

I care that COVID-19 is upheaving our world, including that of my parents. But I feel like it's a math problem. I have X amt of time, energy and headspace. It is finite. At a point when I'm already stretched to do good enough in the things that matter most to me, I don't want to devote time, energy and headspace to a relationship that brings me nothing but pain, anxiety and actual nightmares. I don't want to ignore my F, but I have so very little to offer him right now.

I believe in grace, love and forgiveness. I also believe in the laws of sowing and reaping. My parents have destroyed any foundation of relationship. I cannot pretend we have something we don't. Maybe it's enough grace to say that kindly. I don't know.

One thing I keep thinking about these times is that it is showing all of us very clearly the state of our systems--all systems--our own selves, our marriages, our families, schools, healthcare, government, economy, social networks. We are finding worrisome weaknesses and we are discovering incredible strengths.

The system of relationship with my parents is simply broken. COVID-19 doesn't change that.



I would love to hear from anyone who wants to share about how you're coping, if you see this as a time for repair, or a time for acknowledging losses, or other.

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overitall

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Re: Holding steady in unsteady times
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2020, 09:52:07 AM »
All4peace,

Thank you for your words...I believe at times like this there is a lot of reflecting, analyzing, etc.  In times of crisis people tend to reflect on what is and is not important in their immediate world...I, too, am on lockdown and it can be trying.  Fortunately for me, my children are all adults now...I cannot even fathom how to entertain children who are locked into their homes together with no outside stimulation!! :stars:

Within the past three years I had two very life-changing and dramatic events occur...Had a natural disaster that almost cost me everything...evacuated for almost three weeks and very disruptive and stressful...It took literally months for my life to return to normal...I will forever remember those people who were there for me and those who were not...I had some friends contact me daily to check on me and others who never contacted me until it was all done and said.

Last year I lost someone very very close to me very suddenly.  One of my best friends from childhood (who has a horrible history with no-showing and cancelling) texted me 15 minutes before the funeral to cancel....I feel as if the blinders have been removed...I mean if she could not been there for me on one of my worst days ever, what kind of relationship do we really have?

For me, it never occurred to me then, or now, to ever reach out to my parents....I have not had one positive interaction with them in years, and I would not expect this to change anything at this point.  I have friends in Italy who constantly reach out to me, despite their own desperate struggles.  During times of crisis, the moral fiber of people exposes itself...you learn a lot about people and who really cares about you and who is only looking out for themselves.

My parents are old, alone, and sick...the only person who visits them is GCsis who has been calculating her amount of inheritance for over 30 years now...she cannot wait for the payout so she plays the game...As far as I am concerned, my parents died (for me) a long time ago....They killed every feeling I ever had and they literally do not exist in my world.  I have wonderful children and friends who have redeemed my faith in humankind.

COVID-19 is a game changer...it is altering peoples worlds as we speak...however, as in any time of crisis, we remain strong and positive and reflective on what is and is not important in our lives..Take care of you and your family :yeahthat:

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SunnyMeadow

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Re: Holding steady in unsteady times
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2020, 11:16:20 AM »
I care that COVID-19 is upheaving our world, including that of my parents. But I feel like it's a math problem. I have X amt of time, energy and headspace. It is finite. At a point when I'm already stretched to do good enough in the things that matter most to me, I don't want to devote time, energy and headspace to a relationship that brings me nothing but pain, anxiety and actual nightmares. I don't want to ignore my F, but I have so very little to offer him right now.

I feel the same way. I only have so much energy and time and those will be spent on people who bring me joy, calm and goodness. I wish I could talk privately to my dad but he's behind her iron curtain. I can imagine he's dying to go out and get away from her even for an hour or two.

I'm going along giving my mother the bare amount of attention. Pretty much the same way I did before COVID-19. I'm shocked that she broke our relationship and sad that I didn't see the real her until I was way into middle age. Any feelings I had for her are gone and like you said, the virus doesn't change that.

I don't care how she's getting along. Years ago it was my mother and I, united and deeply connected. But she chipped away at that connection. It's caused me stress related health issues as I deal with her disorder. I don't recognize this version of me, I'm so bitter and angry with her. I think terrible things and wish bad things upon her. I've mentioned a few of these feelings to my husband and he's quite surprised at how I feel (don't feel) about her. It goes against who I've been for so long. I keep these things to myself for the most part but I wonder about myself now. Am I evil, how can a loving daughter think these things about her own mother? At a time of worldwide crisis, I still don't care about her. She broke those feelings. I care much more about the cashiers working at the local grocery store. Shows me how much this disorder has cost me, her and so many others.

Like you all4peace, I'm giving much thought about the state of our systems. Many weaknesses are showing through but this worldwide event has shown me what's truly important in my life.

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GettingOOTF

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Re: Holding steady in unsteady times
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2020, 12:09:12 PM »
I see this as a time for strengthening my self and my life. A time for surrounding myself with things that are important to me and things that make me feel safe.

This period has really highlighted how terribly my parents treated us growing up. How we lived with very little and it was unnecessary.

Itís really highlighted the issues I have around food. My parents shopped once a month. We went without a lot but they were always off to the bottle store for alcohol and cigarettes. My father goes on about he loved cooking for everyone and made different meals for each person. This is true and he is a good cook but he only cooked dinner. We were left to fend for ourselves for lunch and breakfast.  We werenít allowed in the kitchen while he was cooking so we never learned to make anything.  I ate a lot of bread and jam growing up.

This is such a small thing but I see how poorly they prepared us for life and how even now I live with such a scarcity mindset.

This is the first time Iíve ever had a fully stocked pantry. Iíve always told myself I have money and can get what I need. But Iíve never had it in my home like this. I cannot tell you how calming it is.

Iím in my 40s, these are not revelations I should only now be having.

If my family knew Iíd stocked up and was avoiding going out theyíd mock me. Fear of this mockery would have kept me from doing it and Iíd be even more worried than I am now.  I have a couple of risk factors and they are a direct result of not having proper medical care as a child. This has really been a time of reflecting on the truth about my family.

I have occasional twinges of guilt and worry about one fo my siblings as her husband is in a field that will put him in contact with sick people but stress rarely brings out the best in anyone so I feel now is not a time to be reaching out.

I am telling my team at work to just do what they can. We are all under pressure and now is not the time for anyone to shine, itís a time to take care of ourselves and focus on simply keeping things running.

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Blueberry Pancakes

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Re: Holding steady in unsteady times
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2020, 12:53:59 PM »
All4Peace - This post rings so true for me with what I have been mulling over these past few weeks. My state is on lockdown for one week, but there has been a drastic social with drawl for 2-3 weeks. Despite the empty streets and dark office buildings, the number of cases keeps drastically rising each day. Then it hits you. I wonder what type of world are we going to emerge in when we can leave our shelters? I think of the economic impacts and which companies and systems will be unable to rebound. It is daunting.       
     
You state "it is showing all of us very clearly the state of our systems--all systems--our own selves, our marriages, our families, schools, healthcare, government, economy, social networks."  So true.  I know under my own roof, things are strong. If not for what my husband and I have, I would not be able to live through this. Personally I am holding onto that. I have learned how healing walks in nature can be, I appreciate my darling pets, I let my mind go still and watch the sun rise and am in awe of the brilliant colors across the sky. Right now, those things are my therapy. 
 
While this is revealing the state of things, I am not convinced anyone who actually needs to reflect and adjust will actually do so. I wonder what will be learned.

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Spring Butterfly

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Re: Holding steady in unsteady times
« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2020, 10:23:12 AM »
Amazingly profound All4Peace and so we'll said. love love love. Yes its a math problem. Absolutely need to consider how to spend time and energy to maximized both. Systems that are strong will be made stronger and systems that are weak will naturally crumble. I believe we will be left with the best of the best if and only if we have and maintain a healthy approach.

A few weeks ago during the first week of shutdown it was odd like I was an outside observer and baffled by the various responses. There were those who were acting like this is some minor blip, just a two-week pause. Honestly it left me scratching my head. Others were in full-on panic mode. It was so surreal.

Personally I'm more of a realist, I acknowledge the seriousness of the situation and prepare as best I possibly could and having done my best there's nothing more I can do. One can only do one's personal best - you can't do more than your best if it's truly your best.

DH and I are part of a strong faith community plus have many good friends we've kept in touch with over the years, some for over 30 years. That network has been strengthened.

The things that have proved to be healing for me the past few years are there to provide a strong foundation and I can stand solid and feel good, know how to practice food self care that truly restores. It feels like my whole journey Out of the FOG has prepared me for this moment on so many levels.

Over the past few years coming Out of the FOG and developing good boundaries the relationships that are unhealthy, toxic or damaging have naturally fallen to the wayside. We're left with people who are essentially healthy emotionally and mentally and an excellent support Network.

If I reach out to family they respond. Otherwise none of them initiate contact except one sibling only when something is needed except I have nothing left inside to give outside of words via text. I've yet to speak to any of them on the phone and send an occasional thinking of you text. This is something I do for me, for my own individual moral code. I'm one of those people who reaches out to everyone, it's just being my true authentic self. The relationships are for all intents and purposes dead as SunnyMeadow and overitall said they killed it... and I might add quite violently. 

For me there's an odd sort of peaceful love in the way Karla McLaren outlines love but only a tiny glimmer or nod of love, sort of a peaceful acknowledgement the same as I love any other human, creature or living thing. The only emotion that arises anymore is anger over new drama which is rare these days. Fear and obligation are gone. I'm at peace. Finally I'm at peace.
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all4peace

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Re: Holding steady in unsteady times
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2020, 02:32:45 PM »
Thank you for what each of you shared. I imagine there are many of us right now, getting unwanted contact from parents who haven't built the foundations of relationship. I gave a kind/polite response, back and forth a couple times, and then he didn't respond again. I feel very content with this. I offered what I was able to offer, and I'm thankful it didn't go on endlessly. It's sad to have this state of relationship, but it's also my current reality.