ON THE COUCH
fast becoming an impossible situation.
I don’t want to cut my parents out of my life, but they live more than 160km away, so I can’t just pop in on my own.
They seem to drag everyone down with anger and bitterness and I feel sad we can’t just have a normal family life. They are the only relatives we have, but it’s so difficult. Should I just see them alone – or not at all? ANNA Recently, I have received more than the usual quota of letters about miserable family situations, and it’s always my hope that readers can learn from the stress and pain of others.
As a 21-year-old Australian girl just wrote: “I have learned so much from you – especially about the mind and positivity in stressful situations.
“All we can do is try to help each other, learn from each other.”
So the first lesson I take away from your email is that, in spite of an unhappy childhood, a woman can learn to forgive her parents.
That is what you did a long time ago, in establishing the “peace” – and now you’re called on to give forgiveness once again.
The sentence that jumps out from the start of your email is: “I do care for him and my mother deeply”.
Despite what you have gone through, in childhood and adulthood, at your parents’ hands, that powerful statement is the beginning and end of what you are – and therefore what you will do in this situation.
You have been brave all the way through this – in coming to terms with an unhappy past, creating the lovely, happy family life you lacked in childhood and coping with serious illness.
Your parents took care of their granddaughters when needed and then, in the emergency, refused to do more.
Presumably, they were back at home by then, which