by Lisa Hein
Claudette Asks: How Can I Move Out of My Household’s Negative Energy?
I have been living with my adult son, his wife, and my 2 grandchildren for 2 years now. I finally set boundaries regarding the expectation that I cook and do the laundry for a family of six in addition to providing babysitting and childcare help for my two granddaughters, ages 5 and 6. I am a 58-year-old woman, divorced with two grown sons.
Since I have set the limits, I am getting the silent treatment from my daughter in law. If I try to communicate, I get curt, short one word answers. I have overheard her yelling at my granddaughters when they come to me, “I told you to leave her alone”. When others are present, she will talk to or share with others cards or pictures or anything relative to what is happening, and she completely bypasses me.
Usually, on Fridays we order out, she now never asks me if I want anything and does not order anything for me, so when they order out, there is never food for me — which in the past I have always paid for. Now that she cooks, on most nights there is not enough food made to go around for three adults, a 12 yr old and the two girls, so I don’t eat. I pay my son and her $800.00 a month for rent and food. Most months when I was doing all the cooking I would need to spend hundreds of additional dollars as there would often be a lack of anything healthy to make for dinner.
I have a history of trauma. Living in this kind of environment is causing symptoms of PTSD to manifest. I have many coping skills: meditation, prayer, go to a Buddhist temple meditation and teaching group 2 times a week, read literature daily: daily readings, inspiration, listen to hemisync cd’s on relaxation, meditation, reclaiming self, synchronicity — all kinds of spiritual explorations, I journal, self-explore… I have no clarity, however.
I believe I need to move out of this environment. I have tried talking with my daughter in law and my son but everything gets flipped back on me somehow. How does one break through all the toxic negative energy of another when in the same household?” ~ Claudette
Lisa Answers: Hello Claudette,
First and foremost, I want you to know now that your story is a hurtful one and I am sad that it has turned out to be so negative.
Secondly, please understand that this entire ‘drama center’ may not even be about you. These types of behavior tend to come out when people are unhappy with themselves and are unable to express what they really want. So instead of sitting down, like a family should, they slash out and ignore without thinking how confusing this must be for their children.
When people are unwilling to communicate, there is nothing you can do. They have shut themselves down and no matter how hard you try, it will fall on deaf ears. It’s unfortunate that they don’t feel they can express what their expectations are and then communicate and negotiate what’s best for all involved.
As a mother myself, I can’t help but remember all the things I did for my son over the 19 years he lived in our home, and then when I go to visit him, he doesn’t even offer me a glass of water. We do tend to get the lesser deal, don’t we?
One of the good things you said, was that you set boundaries. That’s pretty awesome because as a parent, we continue to take all that they give us and keep our mouths shut. So with that being said, I say hats off to you for being honest about your feelings and setting boundaries! Hey, it’s better late than never!
Claudette, you may be right. It may be time to take yourself out of that environment, especially because you are becoming ill over it. It’s not a bad thing; it’s just something that may be a ‘relational saver.’ If they choose to let go of you and your feelings, that’s their decision. As for you, then you must have more respect for yourself and pull yourself out of the toxicity.
You sound like a great mother/mother-in-law; yet, if they can’t accept what it is you bring to the table, it’s time to go. Don’t go too far, just get a place close by and allow the relationship to mend. Who knows, maybe then they will realize that you were giving all you could.
Continue to walk in love, peace, harmony and forgiveness. Remember if you didn’t create the drama, you don’t have to own it. It’s not your story, so let it go and trust that God will restore this relationship.
Who knows, you may find out that your personal space may be exactly what you needed after all. Please make it a positive separation and then let go of the thoughts that may chatter in your head. Not everyone gets along with my friend, even family members.
Enjoy every day. We never know how much more time we will be given, so count it all joy in everything you do. Be good to yourself and continue your life journey, always knowing what an amazing being you are.
by Lisa Hein
Run, they’re coming – those holidays that make our blood pressure go up and cause us to spend large amounts of money that we may not have, in order to make EVERYONE else feel special and happy.
Must we put ourselves through this another year? Isn’t it time to stop and reflect on what these holidays really mean?
Can we be brutally honest with ourselves and understand that Thanksgiving is all that it says – being thankful for all we have. Christmas, doesn’t mean to spend money we may not have, nor does it mean we must fill up our baskets at our favorite stores, on things our children really don’t need. It’s about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ and giving to those who may not have anything. Hanukkah is the time of celebrating and remembrance.
Holidays are lessons, not requirements. When we celebrate them, with the pureness of what each of these holidays represent, we are not putting ourselves in ‘crazyville mode.’ Baking, preparing of the food, and decorating the home should be a time when our family comes together and feels ‘happy’ about what they’re doing. Yet, we may force things on them, expecting them to jump on board and when they don’t, we end up feeling resentful and sad.
What if we sat down and had a family discussion about the upcoming holidays and expressed what each individual wants to see unfold (not a gift list but ideas of how they want to spend the day with the family, within reason!!!). Have someone write down everyone’s opinion and then when the meeting is over, let each person know what they’re responsible for in making this holiday exactly what they want it to be.
It’s not about decorating the house as if we were going to be on the cover of a magazine or even having hundreds of gifts under the tree. It’s about sharing, feeling and allowing everyone to participate.
We have given our children a world of entitlement, and it may be the right time to help them understand that there are children who may receive nothing because they are homeless or their parents may be incarcerated. Let’s inspire them to look beyond their nose and see that they could inspire another child. Have them save up their allowance and purchase a gift for a special child from a local church or other organization.
Holidays were meant for peace, kindness and generosity. They weren’t designed for us to stress out, spend money we don’t have, or to feel the pressure of performance. Relax, laugh, and enjoy every second of this amazing time of the year. After all, isn't it really all about celebrating family?
by Lisa Hein
Consciousness – Balance – Peaceful living. These are the three amazing spiritual plains of life. When we make a concerted effort to experience them, we allow harmony to be felt within the family and peace to fall into place.
Our families require a balance in the way we speak, treat and communicate with each other. When we build a strong foundation of spirituality, we will see our family begin making choices to get along with each other rather than being on the attack.
When we have faith, I mean a deep faith, one that we honor twenty four hours a day; we will eventually raise our consciousness to be all that God wants us to be. We can’t be kind and gentle one moment and over-reacting and chaotic the other.
Human beings love being peaceful. When we give ourselves selflessly to show how much others matter, we not only let them feel validated and loved, we too feel comfort. No one enjoys being in a home filled with chaos, so we should want to empower ourselves through meditation, reading scripture, or even taking a nice quiet walk to keep our mood peaceful.
When speaking at conferences, the most asked question people want an answer to is, ‘How can I change from being a control freak to allowing things to just unfold the way they are supposed to?’ The answer is to learn balance in every aspect of our lives.
If we have too much alpha in our personality, we tend to put people on edge because they know you will always have an answer. Others may be so passive they bring nothing to the table. If we are balanced in our thoughts, without judgment, we tend to allow our spirit to be open and accept those things we cannot change and communicate in a way that brings people to us rather than pushing them from us.
We may even come to an understanding of acceptance of others. When we release and see one another for what we really are rather than what we expect them to be, we are more accepting. We allow the pureness of each other’s spirit to be set free; to be alive.
If there is ever a time to learn positive and inspiring personality skills, it’s now. The world around us is going a hundred miles an hour with little goodness coming out of it. If we surround ourselves with loving, kind and gentle people, we are more apt to allow the negativity to bounce off us, leaving us feeling peaceful no matter what.
Who wants to be with a ‘Negative Ned’
Our children, spouse and friends count on us to bring something kind to the table. Who wants to be with a ‘Negative Ned’ who looks at life with such discontent they make others around them cranky? We should want to bring our best to them no matter what.
Making good decisions are crucial when we decide to raise a family or be in a long term relationship. If we go forward with all the past baggage we’ve collected throughout the years, we will, more than likely, destroy any chance of having a balanced and happy relationship.
To put forth the effort to forgive and forget those past stepping stones will allow us to step forth in our pureness. We don’t have to be afraid to be vulnerable. If we trust ourselves and know that we should honor ourselves first, then, we will honor others with dignity.
No one can steal our joy if we don’t let them. They will try, and if you let them, they will bring you down faster than a rock thrown into a lake. When we make good choices, then being responsible for keeping our joy is all we are to do. Feeling at peace allows other spirits to jump with excitement when they see you.
When we are balanced and decide to live an excellent life, we will enjoy whatever is in front of us. If we don’t give ourselves permission to feel joyful, happy, or excited about life, then we will not be able to share that joy with those we have been blessed to be with, such as family, friends, and lovers.
Enjoy life to its fullest and know that by raising our consciousness and being balanced in all we do will allow us to live a more peaceful life.
by Lisa Hein
"Our children are our future." This statement has been written about in songs as well as said by many adults. The thought that one day our children will be ruling the world makes me a little afraid.
The world is not what it was back in the 1950's. That can be a blessing or not. I rather think it is a blessing. It was the time when mothers were home when their children arrived from school. There were very little distractions, i.e., computers, cell phones, televisions and financial problems. We lived within our means and most of us received hand-me-down clothes and were very grateful. Teachers, parents, and strangers were given respect, and if you chose not to respect them, everyone knew your parents and they didn't think twice about sharing your little 'attitude' with them.
Parents very seldom argued in front of the children and you never knew much about people dying. Teen pregnancies were not to be known about and you were forbidden to hang around anyone that wasn't just like you. It was a wholesome time. It was a time of calm and we were able to be children. My friends and I were in and out of each other's homes, from 3 blocks away. We played dodge ball in the streets and we used our father's old lawnmower to build a go cart. We had imagination.
Fast forward fifty years. We are in such a hurry to get from one place to another, that we have such bad road rage that today, we actually shoot someone if they are not going fast enough, or show you with their finger how angry they are because you were tail gating or driving erratic.
Our children are demanding and expect things no matter what. When we try to tell them we don't have the money right now to buy something, they don't want to hear it and tell us to 'just charge it!' With their feeling of entitlement, they refuse to comprehend the philosophy that 'if you want something, go to work, make your own money, and BUY IT YOURSELF!' Are you kidding me?
Children as young as two demand all the new gadgets they see on television, and parent's fall into it. I mean, come on, how can Betsy not have this or that - when everyone else has it? We want our children to fit in at any price. We have put ourselves in such credit card debt to keep our children happy. And in return we receive what?
When we see the chaos that is in the world we, at times, are not sure how it seeped into our home. Many households have anywhere from 3 to 8 people living in them and they can go for weeks without sitting down and having dinner together. Parents are both working to stay on top of paying the bills, which leaves our young children home alone and feeling entitled to have their friends over, eating your food, talking on your phone, and watching your television.
Have we had enough? Let's stop for a moment and take a really long look at where we are and where we want to be. I know as a parent, I got tired of meeting all of my child's needs and at times, I allowed the boundaries to be pushed. I regret thinking how neat it was to have all the children in my home after school and on the weekends and sitting back while they ran my home. It made me feel 'good' to know they were in my home rather than running the streets. I tried hard to keep my eyes and ears open, but these children today are very cleaver.
Parents, today is the day of reckoning. It is not fair that you are running and running to keep a roof over your head and food in your family's bellies. It is time for the family to be a family. It is time to start holding weekly meetings and allowing each person in the family to be responsible with doing chores. If your children are young, they may need to keep their toys picked up. If they are in middle school, they can begin helping in a more useful way, such as mowing the lawn, helping do the laundry, keeping the kitchen cleaned up, vacuuming. The older siblings should be at work. There is no more free lunches. We cannot afford that luxury anymore. Everyone needs to pull their weight.
The only way this will work, is to start setting boundaries. Make them heard and very precise! If your children have cell phones or computers, there is no usage until the chores are done. No television or playing with their friends until they have finished. If you find out they have abused their privileges, they lose them. Period, amen! We must begin taking back what we have supplied them with, if they are unwilling to work for it. It is time for each of us to build character and to feel important in the family. Children may act like they disapprove of 'having to be responsible' but trust me, I have heard it several years later that they really wished their parents had been more strict.
Our world shows our children that wrong is right and right is wrong. We read it constantly in the Bible that this is the lie of the devil. It is our responsibility to get back to the basics of parenting and know that we are the parent, they are the child. It is really not that important that we be their friends. Do that when they are 30, but for now, be strong, powerful, and direct, because you see, that's what makes strong, empowered, clear-minded young adults.
There is nothing more important than being a good example to your children. Remember, you are the best mentor your child will ever have. Good parenting doesn't take a PHD, it does take a good attitude, patience, straight forward discussions, boundaries and being consistent. With those ingredients we may be able to get back to the "good ole day" approach of having control over the family while enjoying harmony versus chaos.