Healing Relationships, Part 1

Yesterday, we began our discussion on healing relationships with Anna Stookey, our bodymind guru. (You can listen to the complete show via the player at the end of the post.) Anna explained how caregiving situations bring past dysfunctions into the present. When we're tested as a family unit, Anna explained, we revert to our past. When a family system is strained, we become who we were.

Our care recipients can play their parts in the dysfunction, often manipulating relationships. Anna shared a wonderful definition of manipulation: When we are being manipulated, we are doing something with a consequence attached that goes against our values. Often, she said, manipulations are rooted in fears. You can diffuse manipulation by asking questions about a care recipient's fears.

Care recipients aren't alone in their fears. Family caregivers face situations and decisions that tap into their own fears, particularly fears of not having our needs (for love and approval, for instance) met. We are afraid we won't get our needs met, so we may act out. When we have compassion for our fears, we have compassion for family.

To begin the healing, Anna suggested writing a letter to the family member who causes us pain. Give yourself the space to write a letter, she said. "Clarify what you feel, what you felt and what you want," Anna explained. "What can you do to heal?"

We'll continue our discussion on healing relationships next month; check our schedule in early December for the date and time. Our next shows air on Friday at 1:30 p.m. CT and on Saturday at Noon CT. On Friday, Sheri Samontin, our long-distance caregiving expert, joins us. Do you have a question for Sheri? Please feel free to send your question to Denise; they'll be glad to offer suggestions and ideas for you during the show.

On Saturday, Table Talk airs. This week, Denise will discuss your caregiving fears. Would you like to share your fears? Send Denise an email; she'll happily help you tackle them.

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