Stepping Back In Carefully

My family of origin. It’s been broken for a while. And now somebody is ill. Time to pick up the pieces. Time to show some compassion. But how? What to do?

First you gotta put the past behind you, and concentrate on the now. Woulda, coulda, shoulda doesn’t help right now. It’s not going to get fixed at this late date under these conditions, but if you reach out and build that bridge with compassion, it will get better.

Take it slow. If you can. As an empath or highly sensitive person, we feel everything. Conflicting emotions can be difficult and overwhelming. And exhausting. Step in, but take time to step out and rest. Don’t expect clarity at every moment. Do the best you can, and some days the best you can will be different than on other days.

Have a support system, but don’t tell everyone you know. We need to be able to confide in and process with a few trusted confidantes¬†who won’t judge us.¬†We want advice and suggestions, not judgment. We are already judging ourselves over years of family troubles, we don’t need any more.

Don’t get stuck. Forget how did it get this way. It did. Period. Time to accept and move on. And step in. Don’t wait to get dragged in. Stepping is easier than dragging, and it gives you more autonomy.

Do you have another family member who you can be brutally honest with? It is helpful to validate our feelings and thoughts with someone who shares our family history. Work through the mess together. Work through what needs to be done together. Pray and hold each other’s hand together.

Keep some boundaries. You have created a life outside of your family or origin. Keep it. Protect it. Do what you can, but don’t sacrifice what you have made.

Time shifts when someone is seriously ill, and you realize that you don’t have the luxury of figuring things out because you don’t have the luxury of time. We can use our time to move toward forgiveness. The ill person may be grateful that you are just showing up – and gratitude melts anger.

My family member doesn’t have good days anymore. No good days and bad days. There are bad days with good moments and bad moments. And my heart breaks for her and breaks for the family I thought I had many years ago before it shattered. So I remind myself that I am doing the best I can in this moment …. and so is she.



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