Hurting Parents Feel Crazy!

If you are a parent who is hurting due to the self-destructive choices your child is making, or if they suffer from a mental illness and the anxietyrepercussions of these things are turning your life upside down, then this blog is for you.  Does your child have an eating disorder or is cutting themselves yet refuses to talk to a counselor? You may feel like you can’t bear it one more day. Are they abusing alcohol or drugs while living in your home? You may feel like you are going crazy!  Are they refusing to take medication for depression or a mood disorder (i.e. bipolar, etc.)?  You may feel like you need to start taking meds yourself (maybe you already do), or be put in the hospital. Do they keep getting in trouble with the law for DUIs, shoplifting, possession of or selling drugs, expecting you to bail them out and pay for a lawyer? You may feel like you can’t take it any more or you will lose it.

Everything you’re feeling is normal. You aren’t losing your mind. You’re not a bad parent. It’s not your fault. But there’s something you need to hear.

Take a minute to step back and look at what you’re doing.  Are you “helping” or enabling your child in any way? Are you doing things for them they can and should be doing for themselves? I know fear drives you to feel like you have to, and this is much harder if they are under 18. You do have more responsibility then, but you still don’t have to do as much for them as you probably are. I know. I did that too. Fear drove me to get overly involved. But I’ve come to realize that when I enable, it makes me feel even more crazy and it doesn’t really help. It’s insanity.

Al-Anon defines insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result.” Do you do that?  What’s wrong with us? Let’s get smart and rethink how we respond. Let’s strengthen ourselves so we can pull back and let our child experience natural consequences, taking ownership of their problems.

A book that ‘s helped me a lot is Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Children by Allison Bottke (it ‘s a great help even if your child is a teenager).  Bottke affirms that involvement in a support group can really help, because it is so hard to stop enabling without a lot of encouragement from others. One parent is usually weaker than the other and tends to give in more easily, so we need a lot of outside help. After all, we don’t want to see our son or daughter suffer, do we? It truly does hurt us much more than it hurts them. We have to entrust them into God’s hands.

If your situation is a crazy-maker, what can you stop doing (or do differently) so you can regain your sanity? Just because your child isn’t in their right mind, doesn’t mean you have to lose yours. The good news is – you don’t need to handle these things in your own strength. What a relief.

This Bible verse encourages me: “It is God who arms me with strength.”  (Psalms 18:32)  I don’t know about you, but I sure need God’s strength. How reassuring to know He’ll provide this for me when I feel like I’m going crazy. No more insanity for me. What about you?

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