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When the physical damage is done

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by North Star, Jan 11, 2014.

  1. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    I have an older family member who has acute episodes of esophageal spasms that are just horrendous. Her esophagus is so badly eroded and damaged by acid reflux that they couldn't dilate it when she had an endoscope performed a few months back.

    Last night's episode was epic. The entire house quiets and focuses on her heaving and gagging sounds coming from the bathroom…usually for a half hour or more. (It reminds me of the observation on how a TMS cough can become the expression of rage.) I suspected the night was going to be prone to this since it was a special occasion charged with a lot of emotion and disappointments. Sure's shootin'…

    She emerges from the bathroom, completely spent, unable to talk even. It's hell to watch.

    I'm so confident this is TMS. Especially given the ugliness of some family drama spread out over several years. (Which coincided with the development of her condition.)

    It is so painful to watch and I'm wondering if she has damaged her throat beyond the point of repair. I know our bodies are made to heal, but I am wondering…

    I've approached TMS ever so gently and she is very limited in her receptivity. Especially since she has the medical script verifying the dis-ease.

    It's hard sorting through your own TMS but to see someone else being tortured by the clutches of TMS is pretty tough too. *sigh*

    Thanks for listening…
  2. njoy

    njoy aka Bugsy

    North Star, I hope I am not hijacking your thread but I also just spent a horrendous evening listening to a family member torture herself with TMS. I can't help (sorry!) relating it to parts theory but it seems clear to me that she has a raging part protecting a wounded child part. The sad thing is that I tried to be SO careful not to trigger her rage but, sure enough, after an hour of listening to what a victim she is I made one suggestion she could consider to improve the situation and she yelled, "I KNEW you would say something nasty!"

    I remember so well being hair-trigger sensitive to anything that sounded like criticism. Often this was nothing more than a word I could take as: You're not perfect! Thinking about this, I wonder if this is too much EGO or if, paradoxically, it is too little. I mean obviously I knew I wasn't perfect but having the self-respect and self-confidence to live with being wrong (a lot!), well that was really hard at one time. I felt so bad about myself in so many ways that I just couldn't cope with one more bad feeling.

    A 12 step program fixed that problem for me, btw. Forums like this one helped, too. Any place people were encouraged to look into their own hearts and minds was helpful.

    All that said, I must admit that I have some cranky feelings about having zero relationship with this family member of mine except listening to her carry on about her sad case. It's attention-seeking, demanding and ultimately very unreasonable. I suppose an example of external versus internal locus of control. I know she truly feels incapable of helping herself and believes all friends and relationships "should" be helping her even though we have spent hours or weeks "helping" her only to have her turn around and say "Oh, I've changed my mind".

    Aaarrrggghhh! Stupid. I should know better, by now, not to try to rescue her.
  3. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    North Star, that's a tough one. How to help someone who doesn't want advice.
    She's got the whole house upset with her throat problem. You try to be helpful but she doesn't want it.

    The family problem is her TMS problem.

    I guess you just have to back off on trying to advise her about TMS.
    Maybe if she really hurts bad enough, she will give it a try.

    Do you think she's the cause of the family problem?
  4. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    Njoy, you didn't hijack! I really appreciate hearing your experience. And yeah, I see a lot of rage coming forth with the horking and gagging.

    For me, I'm working on releasing her from my expectations. Her denial and self destructive attitudes have fueled the situation. I have to keep my distance but every so often (like last night), I feel compassion for her. But like you said, mostly, I have cranky feelings. I get resentful of all the freakin' drama wrapped in denial and religious confession. bangheada

    And then I remember "Love they neighbor as thyself" and realize I've got a lot of work to do in the "thyself" department. ;)

    Walt, she's just one of the players in the world of problems. But truth be told, with some of the sh*t shoveled her way, I'd be hopping mad too. But dysfunction loves more dysfunction and drama. My suggestions about TMS have been very low-keyed. I know if I said anything more direct, I'd really be in the line of fire. Every once in a while, she'll lob a comment that is so vitriolic, it just stuns me. (A glimpse into what's REALLY going on inside.)

    This is just one of the reasons why we're going to move out of state. Even with boundaries, having this stuff in your back yard is so draining.
  5. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    North Star,
    This is a very difficult situation. I think you are definitely on a good track with the above statements.

    When I don't know what to do, or don't have what it takes at the moment to do what I think is right, I just try to be kind. I'm not saying that is always easy, but I'm always clear on what it entails.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2014
    North Star likes this.
  6. Lily Rose

    Lily Rose Beloved Grand Eagle

    North Star and nJoy ..... I empathize keenly with being trapped in family dysfunction. To both of you, I envision a wide spread of wings curling around into an embrace, creating a shelter. You are both safe, you are both strong.

    And ... you are both so deeply beautiful.

    with grace and gratitude,
  7. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    Ellen, That's the tactic I've been taking…just be kind. It's sort of a dance with the inner control freak that wants to set things straight with people. (Yeah, that's been an real effective strategy in relationship building. HA!) I can't remember who said it, the Dalai Lama maybe? - "Kindness is my religion." That's been my mantra lately.

    Lily Rose, as usual, your poetic thoughts grace my heart. Thank you for being you. You are a treasure.

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