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Do you have a question about how Christianity can be applied in your daily life?  Read some questions and answers from RLC's column in the Pembroke Observer and feel free to ask your own questions!  This Blog will give you a sample of some past columns.


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Exhausted- February 13th, 2010
February 13, 2010

Dear Sam,

My mother died three years ago, and ever since, my dad has called me for every little thing. He has a problem with loneliness, transportation, appointment-making, grocery-shopping, cooking, cleaning - you get the picture. I’ve tried saying “no”, but he’s so good at making me feel guilty that it’s impossible for me to stand my ground. I’m soon going to lose my own family. How can I get him to get a life of his own?


Dear Exhausted,

    I’m tired just reading your letter. Here’s the reality - you can’t make your dad do what he doesn‘t want to do.. If saying “no” really is impossible for you, then I’m afraid nothing will change.
    However - good news! If you could determine which part of all this is your problem, that you could get hold of and alter. Be realistic. Your dad has no reason to change anything. He is getting exactly what he wants, when he wants it. He has no problem. He may not even realize what a toll this is taking on you. It sounds as if your communication to him is “You should....”, and he disagrees with you about what he should do.
    Take some time to determine, specifically, what you are willing and able to do with him, rather than for him. Let him know what his demands are doing to you and your family, and see if you can enlist him to do some things for you. Could he have your children over one night a month? Take some time for relationship rather than just being his slave. Can you both do grocery shopping together? Can some appointments coincide with your schedule, so that you can get some things accomplished and not have to sit in an office for two hours? Is there someone in his church who could come once a week to clean and maybe do some cooking for him?
    This will require you to take responsibility for what is problematic for you, and that changes the dynamic. No longer will you tell him what he should do, but you will be able to tell him what you will, and will not, do.
Be ready for the guilt-trip of your life, but either you really want to solve your problems, or you don’t. Your whole family may need to have the discussion about whether his demands are just about loneliness and lack of life-skills, or whether he is at the point of needing to move to a facility that will offer the care he requires.
    This “who takes care of elderly parents” issue is tremendously stressful, but unless it is faced realistically and with clarity, it can only create more serious problems. I hope you will not wait another minute to own this problem and begin to address it in ways that make you feel competent and compassionate.

INSIDE THE ISSUE is authored thru Resurrection Lutheran Church, 250 Quarry Rd, Pembroke.

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