On New Year's Eve Les challenged us to be the change we want to see. In my last blog I asked "How do I respond as an adult when my heart is reacting like that of a child?" (24 December 2015) as I dreaded spending three days with my mum and my alcoholic sister, Nicky.
I am SO grateful for the lovely, supportive, wise replies I received which really buoyed me up prior to the visit.
So, how did I respond?
1. I used the strategy "act as if..." I played the role of a friendly, caring, supportive, professional; (i.e. not daughter/sister/child).
2. I used mantras "I am an adult; I respond as an adult; I treat everyone here as an adult" which I kept repeating;
3. I told myself that the best Christmas gift I could give everyone would be to remain calm and smiling.
4. I limited the amount of time I spent in the same room to just meal times.
5. I told myself that my feelings could wait until I got back home again (hence this blog!)
How did they respond?
1. My sister was drunk when we got there; she looked dreadful, and took herself off to bed for the rest of our first day there.
2. Mum defended Nicky ("she's ill").
3. Mum was also very angry with my younger sister and my brother in their absence. (They have both dared to challenge Mum about Nicky's alcoholism and have both refused to go to stay if Nicky is there).
My younger daughter (22) commented to darling hubby that I was not getting drawn into conversations or arguments but was managing to stay detached.
I wonder whether it was as a result of my behaviour that Nicky made a huge effort the following day to join us for dinner; maybe my behaving as an adult allowed her to respond as an adult and make the necessary effort so that we all had a lovely evening together.
I have come home changed. I have a better understanding of the battle Nicky fights, probably on a daily basis. I also see how my previous childish reactions were probably making the situation worse for everyone. I have found a certain peace of mind, though not yet peace of heart as I still have a way to go in grieving for Nicky. It is as it is.
How can you be the change you want to see today?
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