My dad was diagnosed with Diabetes, Type II, a few years before my mom committed suicide. After years of multiple attempts in changing someone else, everything fell apart.
The challenge of taking care of my father was overwhelming for her. She struggled with depression her whole life. They loved each other, but daily life became burdensome.
Years of Friday nights, filled with Beggars Pizza and Stroh’s beer, partnered with his lack of physical activity, led to frequent trips to the hospital for dialysis.
Coping Mechanisms – everyone has them
My mom coped with depression by smoking.
Chastised into quitting from my father, the habit became hidden, done in the dark. She would retreat to the basement to do laundry and avoid the stress her smoking, caused him. Her distaste for his habits existed as well.
Instead of showing it outwardly, she stifled her comments and released that stress while the smoke was exhaled from her lungs.
Don’t get me wrong, I know they loved each other.
I know, in the end, they truly wanted the best for each other. The way they went about asking for what they wanted – for the other person – wasn’t working.
In the end, their focus on “Changing Someone Else” probably contributed to both of them passing way too soon.
Grace and Love vs Anger and Frustration
Years of anger and frustration vs a lifetime of sympathy and understanding, grace and love. Could it have made a difference? No one knows. But I can’t imagine it wouldn’t have been a little more pleasant for both of them.
A little less necessary for the constant coping mechanisms they both resorted to.
We understand that you want additional time with your loved ones on this Earth. Make the time you have left with your wife/husband, mom/dad, sisters/brothers, friends, quality time filled with sympathy and understanding & grace and love.
Instead of trying to force them into change, be the change you want to see in them. Focus on what you can do in your life and just maybe they will follow.
Imagine you making the change first, hitting the gym, changing your eating habits, going back to school, quitting smoking, whatever it is.
Start today, with yourself. You make the first move.
Others will see and maybe they even follow.
It probably won’t be tomorrow that they show an interest in you helping them, but we have seen it happen. We have multiple couples in our gym, where one started and the other followed after seeing the change in the other person.
Changing small things, one thing at a time, is the answer. Do not take on too much.
We’ll tell you more tomorrow about how to kick-start a simple, lifelong change.
Ready to chat? Come see us.