Are you willing to dive into some of the things that are coming up for you in order to be the support person that your loved one needs?
Welcome back to the unbreakable boundaries podcast with your host, myself, Jennifer Maneely. In today's episode, we're actually going to start doing something a little bit different with this podcast. One of the things that I noticed is like a lot of people will post and they'll write in, in various different platforms, they'll ask questions, they'll ask advice, they'll give the situation, asking for support and help. So I thought I would kind of maybe pool some of these things that people write in publicly, and asking for a little bit of support and advice. And I am going to kind of give, I don't want to say the answer, but kind of some thoughts and my two cents, I will never say whether or not I am right or wrong. It's just kind of my perspective, coming from my experience, both as a recovering person, and then also my experience of having worked with hundreds of parents and family members and stuff. And some of the things they experienced some things that have been helpful for them. So I'm kind of basing all of this on a lot of my, what I have seen in the community, so there's going to be times where I'm going to read the posts verbatim. And then there's gonna be times where I may keep some of the things a little bit more vague, like, I don't want to attribute certain characteristics about that person. And I mean, like, maybe their age, or just if, if I don't think that it's completely irrelevant, I may kind of just give a little bit of context and not talk necessarily verbatim so. So for my first post, I pulled something that I found find to be a very common situation that a lot of people are dealing with. And so I I'm just going to read, so this person says, so my homeless son, addicted son called last night, from not hearing from him from a while. He wanted some cigarettes, and some snacks. And course I asked him what he's been eating. And he said, he buys food from panhandling money. This is not a very uncommon thing, right? You see pain handlers all over the place. And the thing about that is is is that always someone's son or daughter out there panhandling. He said he was hungry, he paid handles in my area. And he, this person is full of shame from this idea that her son panhandles in the area in which she knows people, so neighbors, co workers. This person has isolated themselves, she seems like she's a little bit scared that people will start associating her son with her. And he even asked why he was embarrassed when she took him to go get food, and it was not in the part of town. And she basically said, because I'm embarrassed. And sounds like he has a lonely life. And it sounds like because she has decided to isolate herself, that she also has a very lonely life and would love to move but can't afford to move. And would love for him to move. But obviously, he can't afford to move either. And she mentions that her health is declining. Now, this is such a common situation that I run into with so many people and I know that when family members look at this, they think that they're the only ones that could possibly be experiencing the things that she's saying like all the shame that goes into having a loved one, whether it's a son or a daughter, going out and doing things like like this, especially so publicly because panhandling is very public. So what does happen if you know this, this person's son or daughter is pan handling and one of their co workers or one of their friends or one of their neighbors put goes up and sees them and is like, what the heck are the first thought, and this sometimes happens is is something went wrong in the family unit, right. So this is where all of the shame comes in, from the parents side of things. And so a lot of times like what I tell family members and one of the things that we first work on if someone's in this situation where they're finding themselves, just full of shame about their situation, is really diving into what is that shame coming from. Because if you're attaching your self worth to how your your kid comes out, one of the things that I remind people is a we have no control over the external factors in in the world, there's so much that goes into someone becoming a person that has what I'll just call addiction for the sake of time. If you don't like that Burbage you can call it substance use disorder, call it whatever you want, right. But for the sake of this, I'm going to say addiction. When someone turns into it's not ever about the family unit, in the external way. It's something that's going on very much internally with that person, it's how they are receiving information about the world and processing that information about the world, right. So I had a really good upbringing, I had a good family, I had all of these really wonderful things. I've been very grateful for everything I grew up in. You know, in a church, I've never seen my parents, like completely wasted or any substance abuse at all. And I think this is where a lot of people find themselves in deep shame is they say to themselves, I didn't raise my son or daughter to act like this. And they're worried that other people will think that that's how somehow they were raised, right? Well, people can think whatever they want to think it doesn't make it the truth, first of all, so when we're looking at shame, this is where the family, the parents, can really use some support and help for themselves. Because as this person is saying, this shame that they're holding on to is isolating them from the rest of the world. And it feels like that's the only place that that person can be is at home isolating so that they don't have to feel embarrassed. Is it any wonder that when someone starts isolating themselves, that their health will start to decline? Because they're not getting the things emotionally and mentally that they need and it takes the stress takes a large physical toll on a person. And it's really hard for someone to live their life in that way. It's like a constant survival mode of just trying to cope and deal with what's going on. And it's it can start becoming very unhealthy for the family. Right. All the stresses is just, it's just not good for a person I think we can I think we can all get behind that. When we feel very emotionally stressed. That that there is a physical toll. I don't think I have to go into too much detail about how that can play out. So I think it's really important when someone is holding on to shame and they're worried about connecting and talking, and maybe in the reality is is that maybe they have been talking about it with other family members because that's usually where we turn to right. Not necessarily she didn't say anything about this situation, but this is very normal, where we have a tendency to turn to our other family and maybe our family because they have no idea What to do or what to say they don't have the skills or knowledge or experience to support that person. So they get some not so great feedback from their own family that seems to also be blaming them or being like, oh, you should do this, or Oh, you got to do that, Oh, you got and it all sounds very, not loving, not compassionate, not the way that we want to handle the situation as it relates to our loved one. Now, in some for instances, their family may be right in the way that they are approaching is saying, hey, maybe you got to let them go or whatever. But until we're ready, or until we understand the importance, or until we have built our own foundation of our own, understanding our skills and making sure that what we're doing is loving, and the reasons behind why maybe it's in the best interest of our loved ones that are out there. Suffering, why allowing them the opportunity to maybe go down, hey, I want to say the the harder road but we will always take and this is coming from a recovery person. And I just want to reiterate this, we will always take the path of least resistance. So whatever that path is, we're going to take whatever we think, is the easiest way of doing things. Even if what we're doing is really, really hard, is the easiest path that we can see in front of us. Sometimes families can offer us an easier path, such as, hey, I'm here to support you, if you can go into sober living or rehab or something like that. And they don't feel at the time that that may be the easiest path to go down. It feels really hard. Because the truth is, is it is really hard recovery is hard. But until we can start seeing recovery as the path of least resistance, we're not going to change anything. Now back to the families, right? How can we create a way of supporting them and seeing that this is the path of least resistance, the ideas that we're coming up with the support that we're we're having? How do we start? I guess planting seeds enough for them to have an opportunity to choose something different because what they're doing is becoming too difficult. And it's not what they want for their lives. How do we support them in that now, what I'll say is all of this stuff is very challenging. And it's it's difficult, it's hard to figure out what's going on, I can't even necessarily tackle all of the dynamics in this podcast, I could try. And I do try. But there's no way to get from point A to point B without a third party intervention on support, and how to get where you are meeting the goals that you want to see for your, for yourself as well. And so this is where it's so crucial that when we're faced with these things to understand that there's not going to be a single person including me, that can have a one and done conversation. Not a therapist, not an addiction support counselor, whatever, that can have a one and done conversation, to really start honing in on how you can best support your loved one in this and most importantly how you can best support yourself than this. Especially when you start finding yourself in these really stressful situations that you have no freaking idea what to do, how to handle it and your loss, right. It's not a one and done conversation. These are several conversations over time, that can really start making some different moves and changes in your life. To better support yourself in in in your loved one. It takes a while it we don't like things that take a while. We also don't like things that force us to look at things that we are uncomfortable looking with At. And so it's like starting to kind of become willing of going, I am willing to start making some shifts and changes in myself. Because I need to because it's time because I don't want to keep living the way that I want to that I'm living right now, again, I don't care who you're talking to, whether it's that person with the substance abuse issues, or ourselves or whatever. As human beings, we're generally going to want to take the path of least resistance. And unfortunately, when we start diving into our own shame, stuff that comes up through our loved ones, that doesn't feel like the path of least resistance. But our feelings aren't facts. Over time, we start discovering that when we do start looking at ourselves, we start looking at the shame, we start looking about what's getting in our way, why do we keep stepping in and all of the things that we really find ourselves struggling with? That overtime, when we start doing something different, that becomes our lives become better our lives become easier. The way that we start forming the boundaries is remember, this podcast is called the unbreakable boundaries when we start creating unbreakable boundaries, which simply means that we are starting to live in alignment with what we want for ourselves in our lives, when we really own that for ourselves. We become the person that we can look in the mirror, and have no matter what the external world is doing, or whoever we're looking at, we don't find ourselves in shame, because that's not our journey. Our journey is not another person's journey. Although we have our journey through another person, I'm not entirely sure that that makes sense. But we have to separate ourselves. And this is part of the boundaries, we have to separate ourselves from what someone else is doing and really own, that that is not ours to own. And we can own the things that we need to own. But we can also let go of holding on to the things that are not ours to own. And there's a wealth of things, when it comes to having loved ones with substance abuse issues that you may find yourself holding on to things that are not yours to hold on to. And this is part of a it's a it's a it's a good part of what does it mean, to let go. And let go doesn't just necessarily mean turning your back on your loved one. In part, it means to let go of the things that's not yours to hold on to. But that, again, is not a one and done conversation. So these are just some of the things that I really work with families on is how to start separating themselves from their loved ones. And when I say separating, I don't literally mean let go and turn your back on. I mean, how do you start emotionally, learning what's yours and what's theirs, and then how to honor the difference, right? How to start separating yourself how to start really looking at how to live your life so that you're not having a lonely life and having your health decline because you're not getting what you need. We have to live our lives despite what's going on with our loved ones. And the more that we live our lives and I know this sounds very counterintuitive, but the more that we can find ourselves living a happy and healthy life, the less likely they are to start being able to manipulate us to really attach themselves to us to really have I guess subconsciously punish us for whatever they think because they're just so used to like being able to pull On your heartstrings a little bit through manipulation structures to get what they want, right? Like, all of this is just to get what they want, which is just money and drugs. And so they may blame you for all of these things that is not yours to own, it's theirs. But how do we start facing some of those things, not an overnight process, I hate to say it, this is just not There's no quick fix, there's no silver bullet, I can tell you from experience, and I know this sounds overwhelming. But to even really start getting a handle on making shifts and changes for yourself, and I'm gonna say this, and you're not gonna like it. But it's a six months to a year process period. And a story I hate to say it, but that's how long it takes for people to start making shifts and changes, it takes three months just to get clear about what the problem is, and then a whole nother quite a few months to actually start making changes about it. And those changes can sometimes be really uncomfortable. And this is where it's really helpful to have someone like myself, help you. Because if left to your own devices, you get uncomfortable. And you don't do it. It's like all the sudden, things still seem so bad. And nothing changes. Because you're like, you know what, I have accepted that this is just going to be my life, because making changes seems too hard. Well, bullshit, because we're just going to be right back here in another year, another two years, another five year do you want to live the next 10 years of your life? Because this is what you're up against? Do you want to live the next 10 years of your life? Not making any changes whatsoever? Is this the way that you want your life to look like? Is this the way you want to feel? And not even just for the next 10 years, but get worse? So at what point do we start making changes so that in a year from now, our lives don't look the same anymore? And for the better? And so I want to I want you to ask yourself, what are you willing to do to not feel the way that you feel about yourself about your loved one about your situation? What are you willing to do? Are you willing to dive into some of the things that's coming up for you, in order to be the support person that your loved one needs. So that is a little bit and I know that was seemed a long from this post, but I'm gonna keep doing this, and you're gonna hear some of the same thing. So I hope that you kind of tune in and you know what, if you are not the person, if you were just interested in listening to this podcast, because maybe, you know, it's your sister or your brother, share these things with the people that you feel like could use it the most. And if you're worried, share it publicly, like Go share it on your Facebook page. Right, Go share it in, in let people know that this is out there. That's the only way that people find these things is either you know, subscribing to the podcast, sharing with sharing it with their families, their friends on their own social media. Because there's I'm going to tell you right now, there are people that are out there that you know, well. But you have no idea that they're going through these things because this this situation, these situations, people love to stay in hiding. People love to not talk about it. People are that deep in shame that they don't even they don't want anyone to know what's going on. So sharing this allows people the opportunity to hear something in the privacy of their own car, and their own home, sitting at their desk at work or whatever have headphones plugged in and they can get the support and the help that they need in the privacy of their own home. So sharing this is such an amazing support for the community that's out there that you may not even know who needs it. So thank you so much for listening. Again, subscribe, share, talk about it with people send people this podcast. And if you want more podcasts like this, I do a lot of interviews. I've done a lot of interviews in the past. If you haven't gotten a chance, please go and look through some of the interviews so that it's not just me right Not just me saying these things, not just Jin's opinion. It's like what works. This is what works. These are the things that work, it's not Jin's way, it's sometimes it's the way, right. So if you want to listen to more, you can go check out my website, unbreakable, unbreakable boundaries podcast.com. And if you have a situation that you'd actually like to hear, kind of, I guess maybe my two cents, or some of my thoughts, I encourage you to write in to me. And you can go to my email, just shoot me an email. Keep things I always keep things anonymous, or, and vague. So unless you publicly say yes, I'm totally cool with whatever you want to use with this. But otherwise, I lean on the side of anonymity. So everything will always be anonymous, if you want to, and I will be vague. And in some of the attributes, in terms of, you know, age, or whatever to make sure things don't get attached, or people can't figure out who we're talking about here, but email me a situation you would like to hear about. And my email is Jennifer, at Maneely, ma, N E. l ey consulting.com. And I'd be more than happy to kind of discuss this on one of my future podcasts. And you can get your two cents. And of course, if you write in to me, I will happily let you know when that will be released. So it's not just, you know, you write in to me, then you don't ever hear anything back. I will always let you know when I have talked about your situation on my podcast. So anyway, I hope that you have a good rest of your day. I hope this was helpful. If you have questions you can you can email me as well say, Hey, I would love to just talk and get more clarity around what it is that you're talking about. If you'd like to discuss a little bit more about how, what working with me looks like I want you to go check out my other website. My main website is Maneely Consulting. Again, that's ma N e L ey consulting.com. You can go check out that you can even go schedule a call with me and just learn a little bit more about what I do and how I may be able to help you. So I hope this was helpful. And don't forget there is always hope even when things seem the most hopeless.