Girl in DespairImage by Alyssa L. Miller

Sometimes your best intentions fail to produce the effects you imagined at the outset. You’ll plan and anticipate, you’ll prepare and imagine. You carefully set the context, finding the right words and right actions to “enroll” everyone in the event or experience.

Then some loose branch in the tall tree outside your window is jogged free by the wind and, Crash! Your plans are knocked flat, gutted by the unexpected intrusion—of whatever variety “tree” flattens plans in your life.

I call this experience the “ripped bandage syndrome.” Just as you heal, as the wound scabs and the red tissue lightens to your skin tone, along comes someone or something to rip off the bandage, yanking the scab from your flesh, reopening the wound.

You are knocked off balance.

You regroup.

You scramble to find your footing, to take another chance to put forward your best self and your best efforts on behalf of your loved ones.

The cycle repeats. Bam, out of nowhere, the results don’t match your fantasy. You can’t figure out the puzzle—why what you want to have happen does not happen the way you want it to; why others trample your kindhearted energy. You can’t account for the moods, the attitudes, the behaviors, and the reactions that are off-key, undermining your sincerity and goodwill.

If this scenario recycles itself multiple times, you’ll find yourself spent—running out of energy for your own life.

It’s important to pay attention to what your life is telling you. The temptation is to keep adjusting your attitudes and actions to accommodate everyone else. But you have a vote and a say in how your life goes, too.

Discover how your energy is sapped. Triangle in outside feedback to help you evaluate what parts of the dynamic are yours (that you can change) and what parts are not (what needs to be confronted and changed, or, conversely, tolerated in new, healthier ways).

Weariness is not the same as exhaustion.

Exhaustion comes from a reasonable extension of self for the sake of a demanding task (childbirth, running 6 miles, finishing a semester of graduate school, entertaining out of town company in your home for a week, completing a set of physical therapies with your disabled child, returning from a two-week vacation to Italy).

Weariness is the experience of futility combined with defeat. We are weary when our efforts (particularly repeated efforts) seem pointless, or are ridiculed, or when they fail.

Pay good attention to weariness. Take it seriously. If you ignore it or go into a “martyr’s” posture, you may set yourself up for a dramatic exit (where you surprise yourself, even, and do what you would never have thought you’d do to escape). People do “snap” if they don’t recognize the symptoms of growing weariness.

I hope today you take time to journal or talk to a friend, or to consider the value of therapy or a support group. If your family dynamic repeatedly results in anger, stand-offs, cruelty, or flippancy, those dynamics do matter, and you deserve to have the tools available to you to help heal it.

Be good to you. ♥

Cross-posted on facebook.

Comments are closed.