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Thread: Family Communication Breakdown

  1. #11
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Pickering Ontario Canada

    Hi OJ

    Were you ever able to get your attendant help straightened out, and feel more comfortable with them? Is your family still having to pick up a lot of their slack?

    Exhaustion can make any sane person behave in crazy ways. We all say and do things we would not do under the best of circumstances, and then want to smack ourselves silly afterwards.

    I'm sure they are worn out, as you also must be.

    I have no answers for you. Just that it all gets to the best of us.

    It does sound like you have a wonderful family. I'm sure you are feeling terrible pressure and guilt that they have to do so many things for you. Just as they are feeling guilt that they can do things you can't. They also want to make life as good for you as possible, but trying to juggle their own can make for feeling very overwhelmed.

    I hope you can find some resolution, and that your family remains as close as it sounds that you all have been.

  2. #12
    Last edited by orangejello; 04-22-2007 at 10:20 AM.

  3. #13
    I have been in a funk and posting then deleting what I write all morning. I wrote something last night here and in case the people I was addressing it to did not read it, I am going to re-post what I remember of it.

    Teena, Richard, Shelly, and Obie thanks for your insights from the family side of things. It is always very helpful for me to hear from the other prespective.

    Foolish Old and Timura I will take your advice about the importance of opening up and maintaining a dialog with my family. I am going to try harder this week to talk rather than avoid. Thank you both.

    Quadvet thank you for articulating some of the problem I am having. It can be difficult to begin solving a problem when you can't find the words to describe it to yourself or your family. Your post did that very well and you hit the nail on the head. Thank you for that.

    Unfortunately Shelley the caregiving situation continues to be an issue and a large burden of it is still falling on my family. This is not helping matters any. Hopefully there will be some relief in sight with an anticipated funding increase from the provincial government that will allow for higher salaries and help the care agencies recruit and keep good people.

    In general although everybody is worn out and things are feeling very bleak we have gone through worse times with this injury than this. I guess the most worry some thing is just the level of fatigue that has seemed to set in among everybody and the effect it is having on relationships. But they are still there unconditionally for me so finding a solution to the tension is important. I will reisist any urges to later delete this.

  4. #14
    Amanda, it's kay to write what you write, to write what you think and feel. You aren't being disloyal to anyone to write those things here.

    It's also okay to delete, but with us, it's not necessary.

    It seems you've been offered good advice in this thread. While maintaining communication and keeping it open can be difficult, it really is worth it.

    When everyone's tired and stressed and worried it just amps up what's happening, especially when we feel we're the cause of that fatigue and stress and worry.

    Just know we're here for you, for each other. I think that's what we do best here. Through this site, we know someone somewhere understands exactly what we're saying, and often what we're not.

    I hope the coming week is less stressful for you.

  5. #15
    To add to what LaMemChose said so well - not are you not being disloyal (how can a triple negative be a positive?!), but you are being helpful to everyone by writing - to yourself, the people with you, and the people "out here." Without the expression of your problems, they remain bottled up within you. By describing your problems, others can at least discuss them with you, tell you about theirs, and tell you about ways they've tried to solve them.
    Our attempts to help may often seem feeble, as these problems are never easy to solve. It's much easier to tell someone to "open up" than to do it yourself, although this is a very individual matter, easier for some than others. When I suggest to "lighten up" I'm being somewhat hypocritical - although I know how important that is, that's one of my problems, too - both on myself and on my family.
    All we can do is try, hope for the best, and be here for and with you.
    - Richard

  6. #16
    rbdorf and mem I somehow missed your last replies until now. You both are right, I have not said anything terrible or been disloyal to my family. I know at least two of my siblings do read the boards from time to time and neither seemed upset by this thread. I had this concern once before and somebody told me that not talking about it does not make something like a family problem go away, although I think it is true that avoiding can be the easy way out. That is probably one reason why I have been so avoidant lately because it is easier.

    I don't know. I am still feeling really tired about everything and along with it being easier, I have not been all that motivated to address the issues that are creating tension and stress within my family. It's like I am worried about it and don't want it to get worse. But by the same token, I just can't find the energy or desire to actually go about solving things. I don't even know if that makes sense.

    I am just thinking out loud here.
    Last edited by orangejello; 04-24-2007 at 01:47 PM.

  7. #17
    Senior Member BeeBee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Washington, D.C.
    OJ: Perhaps you can turn the really bad meltdown incident into good. Broach the subject of the really bad day with that family member and talk to them about it. One on one, without other family members around. Explain to them that you're sorry you said some of the things you did, but also explain why. That you are overwhelmed and know they are, too. Since it was a mutual meltdown, they are probably feeling additional strain from it, too. Maybe sit down (okay, I know you already are, LOL) with that person and laugh and cry over that day. Take the opportunity to address specific issues and why they real issues versus the one-off instance. Just start with them: "I really want to talk about what happened the other day. It really bothers me that we no longer have the same relationship and I'd like clear the air and move on...." I would never take your situation and feelings of depence and helplessness away from you, you really got the short end of the stick, but SCI does happen to the whole family. Tell them you understand this, and that while they can never know what you are going through, you can never know what they're going through. Just acknowledge to them (and maybe to yourself, I don't know) that you understand this isn't easy for them, either. A little empathy can go a long way. I would have this conversation in your home or hospital (if that's where you are now) so that they are not in a stressful/caregiving situation. Not in a public place where your chair has to be moved, or your repirator worked with, etc. Maybe yell, maybe kiss, maybe cry, have a snack. But take some blame, you admit its partly you, but force that they take some, too. Let them have their say, they may have valid points and good ideas, and you have your say and what's really bothering you. I guess, in this long ramble, I'm suggesting a "meet in the middle" thing where you both get to finish the thing and the appologize. THEN, like Teena said, watch a movie or play a game or something that families just do.

  8. #18
    Thanks BeeBee. Your reply gave me a lot to think about and you idea of how and where to have a conversation about the issue was very helpful.

  9. #19
    Amanda, thinking outloud can be good, especially here. You know you're heard and not judged for what you say.

    I doubt anything you write here will be upsetting to your siblings. Even if they were to get upset, that's on them, not you.

    Sending **hugs** as you work through the dynamics in your family.

  10. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by LaMemChose
    Amanda, thinking outloud can be good, especially here. You know you're heard and not judged for what you say.

    I doubt anything you write here will be upsetting to your siblings. Even if they were to get upset, that's on them, not you.

    Sending **hugs** as you work through the dynamics in your family.
    thanks mem

    I am not so sure about the not judged thing here at care cure lol but you are very right that nobody in this thread has judged me. All the posts have been constructive advice and encouragement, which I appreciate since advice was what I was hoping for. But I am learning not to worry about being judged. It used to be a big problem in my life in general. I think I am very slowly learning to let that go. Which is a good thing.

    I agree with you that nothing I wrote here would probably upset my family. We all have different ways of trying to solve the problem and mine was to get feedback here, I think they would understand least I hope. Maybe not some. But that is okay.

    Probably in any family you have a complex mix of personalities and once you throw in a lot of stress (my injury isn't the only large family stessor at the moment) communication break downs will happen. Anyways I am going to try bee bee's suggestion with the family members who I seem to be having the most difficulty with one at a time and see how that goes.
    Last edited by orangejello; 04-26-2007 at 02:37 PM.

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