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need advice on dealing with family

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by blake, Sep 20, 2014.

  1. blake

    blake Well known member

    Hi Anita,

    I've had a lot of time to think about the issue lately and to figure what is right for me. And I think you are absolutely correct in reminding me that this about being pain free. What I came up with is a compromise: I will speak (gently) when my family members say two specific things that hurt me most (that the past wasn't that bad and that I need to get over it). As for the rest and the fact that they do not show me any empathy, I will work on just accepting that this is how they are. I will not, however, be investing as much time and energy as I have been doing in the last 5 years (when I started visiting more and developed tms). I am finding that my relationship with them is directly related to my neck pain. I need some distance and I'm finally giving myself permission to take it. I don't feel the need to discuss this decision with them. It would only cause hard feelings.

    Your comment about speaking with your husband made me realise something as well. I too spoke to my husband to resolve issues that were bothering me. The funny thing is that this was not difficult for me to do at all. The difference is that my husband has always been loving and supportive. I was not worried about him criticizing me, rejecting me, saying hurtful things to me if I shared things with him. I do not feel that way about my family and have ample evidence as to why I should, in fact, be careful around them.

    Hi Walt, I really appreciate your comment. I love my family in my own way. But do I really have to sacrifice myself in the process just because they are asking me to do this? Your decision is proof that we can give ourselves permission to be who we are and trust that people will adapt. Respecting myself and living in a way that will keep me pain free is a choice I am allowed to make. It has been a difficult choice for me because of my goodist personality trait, but this is something I need to change in myself. The fact that you were successful is really encouraging!

    Thanks as always!
  2. blake

    blake Well known member

    Hi guys,

    Well I did it! In the last week I have spoken with two of my aunts about my experience as a child and my tms journey. It was amazing with the first aunt. She listened without judgement and instinctively understood that I just needed to be heard and listened to. I felt a bit of discomfort after, just from opening up, but found the experience quite healing.

    Things did not go as well with the second aunt. She was really happy that I had become pain free and was very supportive of and open to my approach. However, she did judge me a lot. Her main message was that I am holding a grudge about the past and that I am simply just unable to let go of the past, even though that is exactly what I was telling her my process was all about. It really hurt.

    The great news is that I am still pain free. Judging by how awful I feel emotionally right now, it is safe to say I am not repressing my feelings. I guess I did expect more empathy from her. Just listening to me would have cost her absolutely nothing. I was not accusing or blaming anyone. I was really just talking about what I had gone through since June. Oh well, she doesn't get it, but her opinion of me does not have to be my opinion of me.

    I have absolutely no regrets about the conversation. I have always been reluctant to open up to my family because I feared they would judge me. Well, I was right. Now I know for sure and I can adjust my expectations and actions accordingly.

    I do feel bad now, but I know it will pass.
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2014
    Forest likes this.
  3. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle


    I am inspired by your story and your courage. Sounds like a major breakthrough for you. So happy to hear that you are pain free and feeling your emotions--this is life without TMS. Congratulations!
    Forest and blake like this.
  4. Colly

    Colly Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Blake

    What you did was very courageous, so pat yourself on the back - that takes guts!

    What will help you now is simply forgiveness… forgiveness and more forgiveness.

    Forgive your aunts and uncles for not being there for you during your childhood. Caring for your Mum now they are more likely to fully appreciate what you went through yourself, and while it's a burden for them now, they would understand why you need a break.

    Your aunt may be resentful, but you need to forgive her for that too. If she's resentful and judgemental she's just hurting too.

    And most of all forgive your Mum for being the way she is... Forgiveness will give way to compassion and acceptance, and hopefully will make those visits less painful for you.

    Forgiveness was a huge part of my TMS recovery, and continues to be. I often have to forgive myself and doing this accelerates healing.

    Wishing you all the best.

    blake likes this.
  5. blake

    blake Well known member

    Thank you, Ellen for your kind words. I need to keep reminding myself of why I'm doing this, and your words reinforce that for me. To be pain free, I need to give myself permission to be who I am without so much fear of other people's opinions.

    Thank you, as well, Colly, for reminding me that forgiveness is part of the solution. I'm definitely still working on that. I'll be honest, forgiving my aunt right this moment feels impossible, but I suspect that once I've processed my anger and hurt, it will be possible for me to let go. And now that I've opened the door to more authentic communication with her, who knows what positive things can happen. Life has a way of figuring things out for us when we are willing to do our part, the best we can. At least that's one of the lessons my tms is teaching me.
  6. Walt Oleksy

    Walt Oleksy Beloved Grand Eagle

    The best way I dealt with family members and issues was to see them only infrequently.
    I still don't understand why family members feel they can be difficult, when friends are just friends to us.
    I love my family but often don't like them, and find them to be boring.

    For you, Blake, it's good that you've opened a more "authenticate communication" with your aunt.
    I had wonderful aunts, but none gave me any problems.
  7. blake

    blake Well known member

    Thank you, Walt. Your post helped me lighten up about what happened. You're absolutely right, I can decide how much or how little I see them. Now that I know about tms, I have to live my life in a way that keeps me happy and at peace. Still working on it, but getting close.
  8. hoolie

    hoolie Peer Supporter

    Blake, this is a great thread and it is helpful that it resurfaced right before the holidays. It can be a wonderful but challenging time relationally. I was joking with my therapist on Friday that we will need a "TMS holiday special" ;)
  9. blake

    blake Well known member

    Hi Hoolie,

    So funny that you should mention the holidays. I was just joking with my husband, who is training for his black belt in karate, that if I can manage to go visit my family this Christmas without getting a neck ache, it will be like getting my black belt in TMS!

    I am dreading the holidays though. But then I hear Walt's words in one ear, reminding me to live in the present, and then Alan Gordon's in the other ear, saying not to scare myself for nothing. So maybe, I'll be ok :)
    hoolie likes this.

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