Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Musings on Family Dilemmas/ Family Dynamics

Maggie Stern, furious with Jacob Denver, stood with her hand on his upper arm, staring directly into his eyes. "...I believe when you're in a family and one person is sick or weak or hurt, everyone else works for the good of that person, no matter what it takes, because if that person isn't well, no one else in the family is, either."

Yes, I know Maggie came from the deeps of my...head? heart? spirit? laptop? She's wise and sounds like the kind of mother, daughter, sister and wife I want to be. I love her - I love the idea of her and I love many of the ideas she has. But these days it feels like I'm living out her words in ways that are not very healthy.

What if the person who is sick, weak or hurt keeps hurting or damaging the others? What if that person drags everyone else into his or her illness, so that attempting to take care of or help that person only makes everyone else sick, weak and hurt? And is it right for everyone to work for the good of that one when doing what might appear to be good is really more like enabling and co-dependency?

I have to wonder what Maggie would say to this, but I'm too tired to try to figure it out. If you know her, if she resonates with you, what do you think she might say? I'd like to know. I wish I could share a cup of tea with her and ask her myself.

RE: the photo above: Here we are in the middle of winter, when blue sky and sunshine is a treat, when the sight of green grass, budding trees and blooming tulips seems light years away... Even so, I found some beauty a few weeks ago in the gray and cold.

And the hours of daylight are getting longer. The earth is turning and hope hangs on.


tpDadman said...

Maggie is exactly right! But we should not be burning the bed if the sick person in it has a chill! If what is being done for "the good of the sick person" is acually producing destructive results, then what is we are doing is actually against "the good of the sick person." So, for us to remain true to Maggie's dictum, we must change what we are doing, remove the enabling crutch we are providing, and to adjust tactics again if positive results are not forthcoming.

C. A. Peterson said...

Oh, my... this is all so complicated, but you are right, as you so often are.

Angel said...

“Tea with Maggie” What a lovely thought.
Maggie’s resilience through Melvin’s sickness is breathtaking and awe-inspiring. Her determination to protect her children from Melvin’s illness gives us a 360 perspective on Maggie. She is caring and compassionate, but determined to stop the infection of Melvin from destroying her family. Here’s what I think our friend Maggie would say over tea and fresh-from-the-oven oatmeal chocolate chip cookies:
It’s important that we care for the sick and hurting in our families. We can offer hope, encouragement and support. But it is also important that we protect those who are unable to protect themselves. We need always be aware that the disease causes the afflicted to be a Trickster/Master Manipulator. They will find their way into any situation and make it all about them if possible. We need to keep the boundaries clean, clear and strong. We cannot be a doormat because we love someone “beyond measure”. Others depend on our strength to protect them, too.
Just a thought . . .

C. A. Peterson said...
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