Thursday, May 26, 2011

Trying to force solutions

I came home yesterday to find that the phone lines had been cut, probably by the workers who are grading the dirt road and digging out the drainage ditches leading to the house. That is the way things are out in the country. Losing power and phone service happen fairly frequently.

I had been down on the boat doing some line splicing when I received a call from C's mother that her dad was going to go back in the hospital immediately. He was bleeding internally again and was being taken by ambulance. I tried to get in touch with C. at home, but the phone just kept ringing with no answering machine picking up.

I suspected that the phone was dead. Cell phone service is minimal at the house. So I finished up what I was working on and went home. Sure enough the phones were dead. I told C. about her dad. She was upset and at the point of utter frustration over not being able to get in touch. We walked around the property and eventually got enough of a signal for C. to call her mother and check on her and her dad in the hospital.

During all of this, I could feel that I was trying to force solutions: With the phone service, with my mother-in-law, and with C. I know that as soon as I start making suggestions for another, I am trying to control the situation. And that is when my own dis-ease comes front and center.

One of the concerns that I expressed last night to C. was about her father continuing to drive. He is 90 years old and has health issues. I think about what could happen should he get in an accident. What if he kills someone?

Neither of us wants to address this with him because he is stubborn and unyielding. I decided last night that it will be up to his doctors to make the decision. His driving is really a legal matter and not a solution that I can force.

So after I thought about that, it was time for us to have a simple evening with no internet. We read, exercised and had a good dinner. Not obsessing over what is not my business is real progress in recovery. I see that I don't have the solution for another.

I will catch up on blogs when internet is restored. I hope you are doing well.

"Our thinking becomes distorted when we try to force solutions and we become irritable and unreasonable without knowing it." Al-Anon preamble


  1. i hear you on forcing solutions...a pit is fall into...being a sucker for control...hope her dad is well today..and enjoy the offline world...

  2. "Not obsessing over what is not my business..."

    That's a real gem of wisdom. I'll have to recall that more often.

    Here's to not forcing solutions!

  3. The driving is such an issue. We had to make my mother quit driving this year. She is 81 with stage 1-2 alzheimers. It was a matter of her safety and the safety of others. I didn't see it as a legal issue but a moral one for us kids. My brother relates to her much better so he took on that task and did very well, she quit driving in January abut we are actually selling the car this weekend.

    With my grandma she was in her mid eighties. She was completely lucid and sharp as a tack but she had diabetes and it had severly affected her sight. She already had hit the closed garage door a couple times and a small fender bender on a parked car. My uncle her son had been trying forever to get her to quit driving but she was stubborn and set in her old ways, an independent farmer all her life.

    One Sunday we were up at her house and our oldest daughter was about 4 years old, so that made our daughter her great granddaughter. Grandma had retired from the farm and moved into town, Holton a small town in northeast KS. In the neighborhood were other small children. I simply ask grandma how long was she going to drive. "You don't see well and what if one of those little kids ran out and you didn't see them. You know those kids are the same age as Erica." She sat in her chair the rest of the afternoon just visiting. Before we left for home she said, "Ronnie, put my car in the garage please and shut the door." It was one of those real old garages with a sliding door that no way she could push open, I could barely open the door on that garage.

    We both knew what she meant when she ask me to put her car away.

    Sometimes it is just a matter of reaching right moment with the right thing, and a little bit of luck.

    Good Luck Syd

  4. I am getting pretty darn good at letting go and letting solutions be found by those who need to find them. It's such a relief!

  5. Sounds interesting, living in the country. Had the same problem with my parents when they became too old to drive. It's a challenge. Sometimes the doctor can call the DMV, but I"m sure it's different everywhere. Hard to give up that last bit of freedom when you are older.

  6. I thought you might like this quote of Einstein's Syd. It seems appropriate tonight.

    When the solutions are simple, God is answering....

    Best, Smitty

  7. Thanks for this post, Syd. It really gives me something to think about when I am around my mom talking about my 85 year old grandmother who isn't doing as well as we would like (of course), but isn't doing poorly enough for anyone to take action.

  8. Thanks, I definitely needed reminding of that right now. One of my most destructive defects - forcing solutions.

  9. someone could force their solution on me but I would have to be in cuffs and leg restraints for it to ever happen. Ergo there is no point, people must come by their solutions that are right for them honestly.

  10. Yes, it's the dis-ease that always gets me. Feeling that way will usually find me wanting to make it all better, no matter what the cost, and I have to step away from it before my distorted thinking takes over.

  11. Syd,
    I hope C.'s dad will be okay.

    Much love,


  12. I'm sorry to hear about C's mom. God be with your family and keep C and her parents. It's so hard not to force under pressure... God keep you and C and her parents as you ride through this.

  13. Such a sticky one ~ the driving. You know, our parents, grandparents, etc., really do need us to intervene at times. It's kind of like how they intervened when we were too young to know better. If we ventured into a dangerous place, they did not call the police. If they hadn't rescued us, the police, or child welfare services, may have been called. And, what a mess that would turn into!

    So, I totally understand your NOT wanting to intervene in a codependent way. I think at times it's hard for us to admit we know what's best for the greater good, especially when it involves becoming a change agent.

    Look at it this way: This person needs an intervention. You (and your spouse, etc.) are the loving family members. You could call in a social worker or someone from a senior citizen's agency to help you, too. You are not alone. Look at all of us who are here to support you!

    I have personally struggled with this issue. My father is an amputee who had insisted he could drive with his prosthesis. It made me crazy with worry! And, I did share my concerns with him. Luckily he stopped of his own accord after a couple of near-tragedies.

    Thanks for sharing.

  14. I like Smitty's comment. Thanks for sharing Syd.

  15. wow, i needed that. thanks syd. i find myself trying to force solutions on another and it keeps me from blogging. i am trying to find the right words to write, trying to force the outcome my way. it is not working. no matter what i say she will hate me.

    i just need to let the past go and be myself today. i have to let her live in her past if that is where she chooses to stay.

    thanks for this, hope all is well with 'C's' dad

  16. Sorry to hear about C's dad returning to the hospital. Ninety is getting up there in age, so if he is still driving I certainly hope he has good instincts and reflexes. It is not your responsibility though so some day his wife and daughter will have the NMD talk with him. (No More Driving).


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