Friday, January 27, 2012

A brand new day

Over the last 24 hours, I have come to a much better place in my head--a place of forgiveness for me and for my father-in-law.  I talked to my sponsor,  I talked to my Higher Power, I read your comments and emails.  TAAAF over at Through an Al-Anon Filter wrote the following to me:

"I've been in that place of being appalled at my own "reptilian reaction" and it was excruciating; I'd really thought I was getting somewhere in my recovery.
I'm grateful for my first sponsor, who reiterated enough times for me to hear her, that I was only human, and the reason we have Step 10 is because we are going to continue to be wrong. No way around it. We may have only a few years in 12-Step, we may have 25, but we are going to screw up. Regularly. At times, spectacularly.
When we lose control, we may feel shame, or unworthy, embarrassed, humiliated, depressed. Perhaps we begin to wonder whether our perceived recovery is all a smoke screen we're hiding behind, and we haven't really changed at all - all perfectly normal responses to that rush of rage, and however we acted while in its grip.
You're a good man who loves his mate, and she was being threatened - that bypasses all the civilized veneers, and taps into the primal self.
Examine it, take your own inventory, make an amend however you choose to do so, and after discussion with your sponsor, then move on. You are not one scrap less of a wonderful loving and good-hearted man now, than you were the second before your response. You're the very same man, who has learned something new about himself."
Yes, I have learned something about myself, although I knew the survival and self-defense mechanisms were there already.  Another comment led me to read about elder rage (thank you, Lena, for suggesting the book--it has been ordered).  I have a much better understanding of the Jekyll and Hyde personality changes that we have been seeing.  Hopefully, more will be revealed from evaluations by geriatric psychiatrists and the internal medicine doctors.

I do have flashbacks of what happened.  I am forcing the images out of my head, but they aren't gone. And I am grieving the change in, and perhaps loss of,  a relationship that I have had for a long time.  But I am not blaming myself.  My wife feels better as well, after reading your comments and information about elder rage.  Neither of us has experience in dealing with a situation like this.  We are learning, have the legal system backing us, have talked with DSS, and know that we are doing the best that we can to protect both of the parents and keep them comfortable.

The best thing is that my mother-in-law was playing cards and listening to jazz yesterday.  She was happy and having a good day in her little world.  No one was yelling at her.  We each deserve peace in our lives no matter how it is achieved.


  1. Hi Syd,

    It's good that you keep 'us followers' informed of what's happening for you and you spouse.

    That 'God Box' thing has worked for me for years; I'm glad you use it, also.

    Much love and hugs to you both, as well as to all those who follow your bloggig with such devotion.

    Anonymous #1

  2. glad you are in a better place...and that the MIL was having a good day as well...sounds like you are making some good steps to become informed..

  3. There's so much I could say here but all I'll say is this- life sure does keep on throwing us curveballs, doesn't it?

  4. Yes, learning to deal with elder issues is an ongoing process, no matter what the issues are. You have the self-awareness and compassion needed to do the job. At times, that's what it is - a job. If we're lucky, at other times we get the gift of seeing what our care can do for our loved ones. Seeing your MIL happy and secure must have lifted your heart after the heartache of the past few days.

  5. I am so glad you have a supportive and loving community in your life - both "live" and here online! So glad you had so much wisdom and love poured out on you!

  6. Sometimes a step back helps us to see clearer. We always have higher expectations of our own behavior.

    Judging myself so harshly is what got me to the program. I thought I could fix anything or anybody and when it didn't work I had a breakdown or now I would say a breakthrough.

    Dealing with the elderly is never easy. One day it will be us.

  7. Yes we do desreve peace in our lives.and sometimes that peace comes with a heavy price.I know I paid that price with my sisters.

  8. God is merciful, for us all. I'm glad you're in a more peaceful place. And yes, as Mike said, peace does come at a price sometimes.

  9. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. It gives me strength and hope. Such a gigantic relief, no matter how many times I struggle and no matter how many times I hear stories that remind me I am not alone, to hear - I am not alone. I need it every time!

    Sincere best wishes dealing with this. Life just happens pretty darn hard and relentlessly sometimes.

    Major kudos on being able to get away and share pictures of your time, and to have such a strong bond with C. where you are working together and "have each other's backs" - what a miracle to see when the tendency for so many is the opposite. Life is good. Not easy, but good - and really, easier when the elephants are acknowledged.

    Thank you again. You do a humongous service with this blog :).

  10. We sure never know what lies ahead. I know this has upset you, and both you and C are together in doing the best you can. Isn't that all anyone can do?

  11. Aren't we all lucky to have each other (AA or Al-Anon's)to rely on? You received some great advice and from those who had been there.
    I keep feeling sad for those (like your father-in-law) who go it all alone and think it's the only way.
    Hang in there, both you and C.

  12. I am so glad you and C. are feeling better.

  13. Hi Syd! I'm glad you and C have felt like you can come up for air a bit from the heaviness of the past few days.

  14. I appreciate your willingness
    to be honest with yourself and us.
    You are only as sick as your secrets.
    This is only MOFG
    More opportunities for growth.

    Most of us dread bad or uncomfortable situations, wondering what we can do to make them less unpleasant. But as far as the [Dharma] practice is concerned, that isn't the point. Surrendering to a situation might indeed make us feel better, but that is not the purpose of the exercise. Surrendering allows us to feel the qualities of a situation and to see things clearly. If we turn away or respond with aggression, we never get the chance to do that.
    So even if you feel the situation that's about to unfold might be so embarrassing, frightening, or difficult you would never recover from it, just open to it. It may appear like a high wall that you can't see beyond, but you will pass through it and come out the other side. It's going to happen anyway, and one way or another you will deal with it. So take the attitude "Even if this situation destroys me..." Logically, you know this won't happen. You will live through the experience. But by entering into the situation with openness, you have a chance to see its nature. You get to taste the whole situation, just as you would in formless meditation. You get to treat it as a guest rather than an adversary.
    Rigdzin Shikpo, Never Turn Away: The Buddhist Path Beyond Hope and Fear

  15. I was pleased to find out that reading up on elder rage was helpful to you! As always, it is good to find other people who have gone through similar situations and have a story we can relate to.

    It was good to see that you are feeling better and that you and C. even got away for the conference.

    It must have been so uplifting to be there after such a stressful time.

    Thank you for the link to my blog, that was much appreciated!

    I will keep you and C. and in-laws in my thoughts and prayers.

  16. Syd...have you ever had or experienced complete and absolute silence in your head. No thought, no nagging voices, no dreams, no desperation? Work on the silence and EVERYTHING becomes easier when you can be confronted with anything and you can be completely quiet in your mid as it is in your face.

  17. As i read your story this moring, I am relieved that things are improving and that your Al-Anon support group is kicking to help you.

    I cannot imagine having to deal with this stuff, but I am amazed at how you handle things. I hope I can retain this and learn right along with you Syd.

    Thank you for sharing.

  18. Thank you for sharing the message from TAAAF; great message. I trip and fall quite a bit, but I'm very grateful I can move forward to step 1, 2, and 3 again, no matter where I am in the steps. Those first three help me stay grounded.

    Grateful you and C are feeling better.


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