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Author Topic: 7.01 | Do you suffer from Compassion Fatigue?  (Read 16792 times)
marlo6277
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« Reply #30 on: March 15, 2011, 06:50:10 PM »

Excerpt
How do we go about creating a self care plan for ourselves?

I'm a goal setter - so i like to set 3 small goals for myself and make a 'plan' to achieve them.  Sometimes I don't succeed the way I want to, but I am willing to set that aside and give myself the credit for achieving the goal - period! I can start with small things and that way, I feel like I've accomplished some things and then I will commit to rewarding myself for it as well!  And I think that will make me feel a little motivated to do more - maybe even something bigger!

I think another important part of all of this is really focusing on what I've learned about myself.  Having more self awareness of my own pitfalls will help me be more aware of things as they are happening (I know where this is going), rather than after (how did I get to this point?).

Excerpt
What do we stand to gain by moving through the whole process?

I almost feel like it's a little like driving a car - At first you are just learning all this stuff - rules of the road, where the gas is and the brake, etc... .You are paying close attention to the road, to every little thing - like being hypersensitive to everything.  You have some knowledge (because you've taken the time to study and read), but you really don't have the experience behind you, so you might find yourself in the middle of a sticky situation trying to figure out how you got there. You might think you know alot more than you really do.  Kind of like being Unconsciously Incompetent - you might think that you know a little more than you do, but you still realize that you have to pay close attention.

Then you get some experience and learn from some mistakes. Then you realize that you really aren't as experienced as you thought you were.  So you still must pay attention and realize that sometimes your focus needs to readdressed.  So you have moved over to Consciously Incompetent.

Then you've got a few years of experience in.  Now you do things out of confidence and experience.  You know that you are a fairly good driver and you pay attention to what's going on around you.  You are now Consciously Competent.

Then you are at a point, where you are just doing things automatically.  You actually have to ask yourself sometimes - ":)id I remember to put the gas cap on?" or maybe you don't remember passing a landmark on your drive home that you do every single day and sometimes you realize that you've been doing that drive that you do every single day to work, or to school and wow... .You don't remember passing that store today, but you know you did cuz you always do!  That's all muscle memory kicking in... .You are now Unconsciously Competent... .

So that's how I'm looking at this - right now I'm at the point where I know I have work to do, but I also know that I've gained some knowledge and I've been working on this for a little while, and I've made some mistakes.  I know that I am learning from these mistakes, and I'm still probably going to make more.  I know that it's going to take me time before saying no and asking for help is muscle memory.  It really is something that I still have to think about and talk myself through. I also know that this change is bringing on some resistance from others because it's change for them, too.

But I remind myself - if I feel resistance, then I know I'm on the right track - I'm doing good for me.  And eventually, they'll get used to it.  I'm at the point where I can recognize the problem when it's just starting.  I soon hope to be at a point where I can see the problem coming before it arrives. Then I can move on to the point where I'm not even thinking about it anymore and I can successfully 'steer' myself out of the way and avoid problems altogether just because I've been doing so long... .

And in turn, that will be good for others too... .that will save me so much more energy and I'll be better at doing the caretaking that I choose to do... .

That's my goal for me... .

Marlo  
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« Reply #31 on: March 16, 2011, 03:56:19 PM »

Marlo, Justhere--I was just writing about this on another board.  I like the driving analogy. 

I have been having a really hard time this week.  We have had drama related to the kids' mom being at school all the time against a court order, or maybe in a loophole in the court order--hard to say.  Kids acting out, etc.  At the same time, I have been trying to be more involved in volunteering and community events, especially about a recent controversy surrounding some neihgborhood park/land issues. 

I have always been able to mediate between challenging parties, to reach out to the hard people and work with them.  I have been able to be "low maintenance" and not need a lot myself, so that I can take flack and be flexible and work things out.  I am also able to state my needs and wants in a diplomatic way. 

But in the midst of the stress and chaos that the recent crisis and the past 4 years of crises causes in me, I am really not that great at dealing with people.  My patience is less.  I spent yesterday being harangued  serially by the 5 main challenging folks involved in our community dispute, serving as the lightening rod.  And I found I did not like that much.  I was so emotionally wracked and exhausted at the end of all of it, could only see how I had messed up.  And people are mad at me for the ways that I cannot do it all like I could before. 

Like Marlo, I do say NO.  But I also take on a lot, and am very critical of my failings.  I do not follow through on every detail, and I drop some projects, so there is always room for others to have ground to criticize me and I fear that.  Sometimes I say "no" only after I thought I could do it and said "Yes."  But I accomplish a lot and mostly receive good feedback and am my own worst critic. 

What I found is that when I am wiped out, I am better at being relaxed in response to drama.  This was very interesting.  I had taken it upon myself to inform people I thought had concerns about our community dispute about an upcoming meeting, so they would feel included.  Of course, though I was not organizing the meeting, had not agreed to inform anyone, etc., the people complained to me of my short notice, of the meeting topic (not my choice), of everything under the sun. 

My inside feeling was that I could barely handle this feedback as I had been dealing with really unfair, irrational, hurtful behavior on the part of the kids' mom all week, not to mention my own irrational, unfair, and hurtful internal reactions and expression to my DH.  I had actually been crying all morning. 

But my outside reality is that I listened better, but also set better boundaries.  No energy to try to win them over, I instead said things to the most challenging person like, "If you have a problem with that, show up.  I have my own concerns, so I am doing the work of participating.  I do not want to be blamed by you for something that is not my problem.  It is your responsibility to make your voice heard." 

This would have been unthinkable before the last 4 years dealing with the BPD person in my life.  I am willing to state my own needs, but to "talk back" to someone who needs to be rude, that is not my style.  OR was not.  I have always admired people who just tell it like it is, with no animosity, but no diplomacy.  Unfortunately, I do not yet love that in ME.  But I think this could grow on me. 
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« Reply #32 on: March 16, 2011, 07:59:56 PM »

Good job, Girlie!

I absolutely love how you handled it. You simply placed the responsibility back in their lap. How empowering for you!  And I also like how you stated that your exhaustion has actually served purpose. I never looked at it that way, but that is so very "cup half full". . Way to go!

I absolutely admire that you were not only able to say no, but redirect that blame and accountability back to the person.  Awesome. So proud of you.

Keep up the great work. I love these stories!

Marlo

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« Reply #33 on: March 17, 2011, 10:02:14 AM »

Maybe it is like you say DreamGirl that I am going though a time of balance but it wasn't like I was asking them to give to me but only understand that I can't keep giving to them.  Once I realized though that what I was really doing was asking their permission for me to look after my own needs and I could see that they were never going to do that, I had to do the work myself. I don't know why it was so scary for me and it made me angry at first that they couldn't see me as a person with needs too but this site has taught me that it wasn't their responsibility to look after me, it was my responsibility. 

It is sad Marlo that we have to loose some of these people out of our lives because I really miss my friend like I'm sure you miss your friend too but looking back I can see that I have grown from that person that I used to be and there is no way that could or would even want to go back.

I can really relate to what you posted ennie... .

What I found is that when I am wiped out, I am better at being relaxed in response to drama. 

and... .

My inside feeling was that I could barely handle this feedback as I had been dealing with really unfair, irrational, hurtful behavior on the part of the kids' mom all week, not to mention my own irrational, unfair, and hurtful internal reactions and expression to my DH.  I had actually been crying all morning. 

But my outside reality is that I listened better, but also set better boundaries.  No energy to try to win them over, I instead said things to the most challenging person like, "If you have a problem with that, show up.  I have my own concerns, so I am doing the work of participating.  I do not want to be blamed by you for something that is not my problem.  It is your responsibility to make your voice heard." 

This would have been unthinkable before the last 4 years dealing with the BPD person in my life.

 

I've been realizing that things are different with me too now that I just can't do it all anymore and have to say "no" that word that was always so difficult for me to say. It's been a strange world for me lately because I really have had to 'stop the helping' and 'doing it all myself.' My family members especially my sister and my mother have not liked this at all and have pushed they blackening of me to high gear but it really is not going to do any good because it won't change anything.  They don't know it yet but I'm finished with being that person who they've been able to cajole, manipulate, and guilt because I've come to the end and I have no more to give them at least in way I did in the past.

This is a time of change in my family and it hasn't been easy for anyone but the one thing I know for sure is that things will change. It's too bad that it had to come to this but I'm not sure that I could of accepted the changes any other way.  My family has slowly been picking up the slack and helping themselves with more and more everyday. I've had 2 days this week that my very needy mother hasn't even phoned me at all, and I don't know if you can imagine how good that feels.

I don't know whether it's still considered a boundary or not if you don't have any choice and it feels kind of like cheating in a way but this state of exhaustion is giving me the break I've needed to look after myself.  My mother taught me well to be the caregiver to everyone but myself so for me, it's back to the very beginning, like teaching myself how to eat properly, get the proper rest, sleep and exercise and the best part is just being able to think without someone else and their stuff in my head every minute.   Thanks to all of you for getting me thinking about this.

justhere 

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« Reply #34 on: March 19, 2011, 08:25:34 AM »

I was laboring under compassion fatigue until I read an in-depth interview with Marsha Linehan, the former nun and present popularizer of DBT for BPD. This gave me license to be who I am by nature. She gave an example of her typical interaction with her BPD patients:

"When my patient said they were contemplating suicide, I reminded them that they'd agreed to not discontinue their sessions with me."

It sounds off-handed and sarcastic, but everything is how you say what you say. She initially met a lot of resistance to her approach from other mental health professionals, but we all know how that cookie has crumbled.

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« Reply #35 on: March 21, 2011, 10:49:29 AM »

I was laboring under compassion fatigue until I read an in-depth interview with Marsha Linehan, the former nun and present popularizer of DBT for BPD. This gave me license to be who I am by nature. She gave an example of her typical interaction with her BPD patients:

"When my patient said they were contemplating suicide, I reminded them that they'd agreed to not discontinue their sessions with me."

It sounds off-handed and sarcastic, but everything is how you say what you say. She initially met a lot of resistance to her approach from other mental health professionals, but we all know how that cookie has crumbled.

ktb

KTB - I read this quote in one of my many books about BPD. I really did love this - talk about placing the responsibility back in their court.  It was an excellent way of addressing the issue.

Can I ask something? You said that you were labouring under compassion fatigue - does that mean that you have begun to come through the other side? How did you go about doing it? What challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?

(I know that I asked the same question of QCR, but I am very interested in hearing how others overcome many of the challenges)

Thanks!

Marlo 
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« Reply #36 on: March 21, 2011, 12:43:04 PM »

Feeling sad today.  Not feeling very motivated to deal with all this stuff... .just wanting to retreat into myself and my home.  Kids went back to mom's today, and I am exhausted. 

I feel like the hardest thing for me is the constant misinformation that the kids' mom puts forth, and the ways we then need to be the bad guy or deal with the fallout without speaking up.  To "take the higher ground" or not; we always take the higher ground by not being harmful in return, but it is hard to feel so powerless to her hurtful actions.  She will do whatever is most challenging for us while being perceived by others as being a great mom.  Outside of the class, but at school, mom is yelling at DH because he wrote her a note about the last few bits of a class project we had done with SD10 and she had ignored for 3 months, but inside the class she is telling the teacher how grateful she is that we finally are all working together.  And this conflict with DH is happening when he goes to do his weekly volunteering and she is already in the kids classroom during his week. 

I do not think this is compassion fatigue.  Or is it?  Part of my frustration and feeling of wanting to give up has to do with constantly putting out positive energy and getting negative in return.  Both DH and I put so much energy into trying to facilitate mom participating in this big project... .trying to do it all subtly, not communicating directly so she does not feel we are taking over, but helping SD10 to come up with ideas to take to mom's so she helps mom to get engaged in the project.  Doing everything without a computer, printing anything we got off of the internet for mom as she does not use a computer.  And so on and so forth.  Then finally, 2 days before the report is due when mom has done nothing, DH writes a note indicating all the parts of the project, and communicating what is not finished, and mom flips out at him.  And then the way it gets communicated to teachers is that dad is mad and mom is cooperative.  They have no idea that his grumpy look has to do with mom yelling at him for 30 minutes outside the school. 


it is one thing when compassionate acts do not get seen, and another when they are actively used against one, or received as aggressive acts.  I still believe in being compassionate, because it feels better and ultimately helps more.  And it is really important to the kids.  So facilitating mom's role (even just by not doing some parts) and being kind to her, is probably worth it even if the kids just get less conflict, and do not realize any of what we are doing to help their mom be empowered without noticing us.  At least that is my experience.  Maybe I just do not have Marlo's self control, to be able to maintain neutrality and her own behavior... .for me, I think I have to actively experience compassion to do the same thing! 

But then it is so draining.  Why do I need kudos for my good acts?  If I help a street person, I do not need anyone to know, not even that person.  The satisfaction is to see the load lightened for that person.  But receiving antagonism when doing good for someone--that is tough.  My experience is that regardless of what we do, we get that reaction from the kids' mom.  If we limit contact, she attacks just as frequently  If we have lots of contact, same thing.  If we do lots for her or nothing, or do lots but do it in a way she does not see, or whatever we do.  The difference is that some acts mean the kids see less conflict and get more of their needs met, and then the kids see mommy as perfect and her blame of us makes more sense, whereas if the kids see mom's conflict, they think we are nicer because they see mommy screaming, us being kind.  It really is selfless, to prioritize less trauma for the kids when it results in the kids liking us less, as they then believe mom when she tells them we are always mean to her and yell at her and hate her. 

My response to this is depletion.  Exhaustion.  Not WANTING to make my own plan.  Not wanting to dialog on how to care for myself.  But here it goes:



How do we go about creating a self care plan for ourselves?


I am seeing a therapist/coach about this.  With her, I listed all of my priorities.  Now my task is to make it into a work plan, with percentages of my time listed for each goal/priorities.  Then to try to make a schedule that reflects that. 

But the part that is harder to plan is the overwhelming feeling on the day the kids go back to mom's of needing to hide, to just stay at home, not to see others, to rest.  Maybe this needs to be part of the schedule.  My work is very flexible, so this is possible.  But I have guilt when I get nothing done, especially when DH works so hard all the time.  My comparing myself to DH is a big obstacle to my will to care for my own needs. 

What do we stand to gain by moving through the whole process?

Great question.  So easy for me to want to dwell in the place of it not working for me.  I just want to hide from it all today, not to have to figure out how to make it work.  I resent being so responsible for dealing with the effects of others' actions myself... .I know this is "childish", this wanting others to do it for me.  Not to be rescued, but to have the kids' mom take responsibility for her actions.  This morning, SD10 was hiding candy. SD6 "told," and SD10 lied about having the candy and then pretended to get really mad at SD6, saying SD6 was lying about her having the candy to be mean.  This reminds me so much of how their mom is.  When I finally got the truth out of her, she said that she "can't help lying," that it is a habit and she cannot help it.  Later, she said she was lying about that. 

We had a good talk about it, I stayed calm.  There will be a consequence, and we also talked in more detail about what it means to not be trusted.  She really wants to be trusted, and I what trust means... .not a judgment, but my ability to rely on the information she gives me, like a percentage reliability that goes up or down when she lies.  That it just means I need to get the information elsewhere when she lies a lot. 

But I can take responsibility for this with a ten year old, I can let her know what my response is to her, with firm consequences, but still be loving and not resent her too much.  i can own my response, and share with her. 

But man oh man how I resent having to deal with the fallout of the same kinds of dishonesty in the kids' mom, even when I know she is doing this out of unquenchable pain for which I truly have compassion. 

Acknowledging my resistance and resentment, and moving on---what do I have to gain? 

I have to gain the feeling of being adequately rested, of being able to deal with things more easily and happily because I am not drained.  I stand to gain the enjoyment of the activities I do to take care of myself.  I stand to gain less friction with my mate over where my boundaries are by clarifying them... .indeed, this is the case. 

So I wonder why not just stick with the plan.  I started, then dropped it.  Was exercising daily, then stopped.  It has also been rainy and snowing a lot... .which dampens my ardor for outdoor activity.  I think the question for me is "What do I have to gain by NOT forming a care plan for me?" as there seems to be something that weighs against the obvious benefits that maybe should be more openly evaluated--the pros and cons of this. 

What do I have to gain by not forming a care plan for myself?

I gain the unhappiness that is so powerful for with my mate--he prioritizes things based on who is the unhappiest with him, and if I am unhappy, he acts.  But this does not work if it is stuff he has no real desire to fix, for even if it changes in the moment, he then becomes accustomed to my anger and stops trying to fix it. 

I gain the motivation to rest... .feeling down and depressed can result in me avoiding things I do not want to do, which is fun in the moment though painful in the long term. 

I gain the motivation for disengaging from others, which is a challenge for me but necessary.  My T invited me to join her club--they never meet--which is for introverts who love people.  I am very social and engaged with others a lot of the time, but am really nurtured by alone time.  I feel I need and crave alone time, and one of the hardest thing about being part of a family who needs so much from me is never having alone time for more than a few hours.  But when I feel down, I give in to that need.  I am willing not to call people back, not to engage.  To give up on people. 

The place this feels bad is with the kids.  And my husband.  With my husband, I can explain but with the kids, me pulling away emotionally (especially for SD6, who has been really close to me for most of her life), this is painful and no explanation fixes the pain it causes her.  I still pull away at times, trying to do it in a clear and loving way. 

On the whole, do I gain more by not planning my own care, or by making sure to care for myself?

I know we are all supposed to think the answer is that we gain more by caring... .after all, look at Maurice Sendak's Pierre for the dangers of not caring. 

But I want to meditate on this as if it is a real question, because at times I find myself acting as if not caring for myself is the preferable option... .so there is some degree to which it must be

I will get back to y'all on this one. 

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marlo6277
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« Reply #37 on: March 21, 2011, 11:46:06 PM »

Ennie,

If I could, I'd reach through this computer screen and give you a great big hug... .Just wanted to let you know that.   

It's a little late for me tonight, but I will come back and respond what you've already written and look forward to what else you will write.

So sending you good thoughts tonite and hope that you can feel my hug. 

Marlo  xoxo
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« Reply #38 on: March 22, 2011, 12:21:38 PM »

Oh ennie I felt so bad for you when I read your post and I'm sorry that you have all this stress in your life and feel discouraged.  I guess I must be a lot further away from healing and healthy coping then you are because even after all these years I still don't want to be in the same room as my BPDexh let alone work on some project with him.  Maybe I'm missing something because I'm relatively inexperienced with any kind of cooperation with my exh but couldn't your dh, you and the teacher find ways that one time your dh helps and next time his exw helps because it sure seems unrealistic to me to think that you can all work together in peace and not be affected by her BPDbehaviors?

I do admire your dedication to your stepchildren and even the compassion and kindness you are extending to your dhexw but I can also see the toll it is taking on you.  I can only wonder what my life would of been like if my father, a teacher or an aunt or someone would of had the awareness into what I was going through with my BPDm and helped me to see what healthy looked like and taught me about boundaries and healthy coping so I wouldn't of had to spend all my whole life in the FOG and dysfunction. What you are giving your family is something very special and a blessing beyond measure.

It's odd that I should be thinking about this at this time in my life because my own children are adults now and my exh and exhw have moved away and there is only occasional drama from them but my BPDdd is dealing with something similar. Of course her own BPD makes everything worse as well but she is very determined to continue with this relationship and has been trying very hard to deal with the issues of his 3 children and their mother.  She found herself a book 'The Happy Stepmother' by Rachelle Katz that has helped her a lot with dealing with the issues of a blended family. Just thinking of you.

justhere

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« Reply #39 on: March 22, 2011, 12:30:42 PM »

Excerpt
On the whole, do I gain more by not planning my own care, or by making sure to care for myself?

I know we are all supposed to think the answer is that we gain more by caring... .after all, look at Maurice Sendak's Pierre for the dangers of not caring.  

But I want to meditate on this as if it is a real question, because at times I find myself acting as if not caring for myself is the preferable option... .so there is some degree to which it must be

I will get back to y'all on this one.

You know, I have a girlfriend who recently became engaged and will soon take on the title "Stepmom".  She is having some pretty difficult, real struggles in that she has a great, big heart and really, truly cares about her soon to be stepson - who at 8 years old is attending therapy because of recent suicidal ideations - and the biological mama acts terribly towards her in many facets - for no reason at all (sound familiar?).  She called me in tears the other night because the therapist, with the very best interest of her SS8, explained to my friend that she needs to reassess her role and perhaps stop attending functions where everyone is present (like his soap box derby the next day). She could barely contain the tears when she admitted that she was so afraid that her stepson would ever think that she didn't care... .

I think "caring" comes in so many shapes and sizes. I care so much about my stepdaughters that I had to step outside myself and be someone I wasn't to truly "care" about them. I had to stop attending every one of their functions in order to give their mom some room to stop throwing temper tantrums every time she saw me.  I had to let an otherwise "crazy" person take the reigns of control to help ease whatever it is that she thinks she needs so that her wrath could quit being the normal in our life.  I had to do a lot of things that helped me "care" for my SD's so indirectly that I couldn't even be seen.

Learning to love them from a safe distance so that mom feels better? Hardest thing I've ever done.

It's what I told my friend, that she'll have to learn what it is that is going to work for her. I found my peace and my place... .which isn't going to fit in everyone's situation. So in what can be seen as "not caring" is all a matter of perception.  I care very much about the well being of my stepdaughters and I know how much influence their BPDmom has in their life.  I also know that in my own Radical Acceptance of the situation that I can't sacrifice my life trying to change the inevitable chance that my SDs will be impacted [greatly] by their disordered mom.  

This stuff is hard. It's extremely difficult to wrap your head around what is occuring sometimes on a day in and day out basis.  I had to seek therapy at one point because my capability of handling the situation was non-existant.  Was it Compassion Fatigue?  Perhaps it was.  Whatever it was had gotten the best of me and I forgot what it was like to have hope. I forgot what it was like to look at the world and see the goodness in it and I really did not know how to look at the mother of my stepchildren anymore and not feel anything but hatred and injustice.  

But then like I asked my friend... .what now? Where do you go from here?

I think that's where we get so stuck sometimes, in diagnosing the injustice and what doesn't feel fair. At least it was for me. It's what I really think is so great about this site (and this workshop!) in that here is the solution in a pretty simple form.  We need to learn to care differently when our current way just isn't working.  Whether we're codependent (guilty!) or controlling (guilty!) or maybe inexperienced in dealing with the situations that arise having a disordered person in our life (guilty!)... .there is always hope and resolution I think.

And I don't think it happens overnite and it sometimes happens in a very round about way.  Like when we start taking "care" of ourselves and our own resilience makes the situation a little more bearable.  Or when we look at the situation thru clearer eyes because we work on our own mental health (another form of self care) and realize the humanity involved... .

I think, ennie, you are such a good stepmama who is just expending yourself in ways that are enriching your SDs lives.  It isn't always so apparent when our children act out, but even if they take one little seed of knowledge from you and you are able to help them nuture it... .it will grow.  I'm 6 years in and my SDs are turning to be fine young ladies, where at one point I felt that they were going to really struggle in this life.  

I'd like to think I was a part of that. Smiling (click to insert in post)

  :)reamGirl
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« Reply #40 on: March 26, 2011, 12:14:14 PM »

DG  Hi! 

I like the way you worded that post.  Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)  I absolutely agree with you - a lot of things that I don't do for my skids is because I do care about them so much that I needed to step away and 'be in the background'. 

Excerpt
It's what I really think is so great about this site (and this workshop!) in that here is the solution in a pretty simple form.  We need to learn to care differently when our current way just isn't working.

I have these conversations with my DH all the time - and the truth is that it really IS a simple solution... .but it's not easy.  It takes effort to change the way we do things. It takes effort and thinking and planning and foresight.  And sometimes I just don't have that kind of energy because I'm so busy trying to manage the basics... .  And yet, if I let the basics go and just let them be, then I'd probably have more energy to plan and think instead of operating on robot some days.   Being cool (click to insert in post)

Marlo 
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qcarolr
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« Reply #41 on: March 26, 2011, 04:41:38 PM »

I have been off bpdfamily.com for a week or so - actually on VACATION! Dh, gd5 and I went camping in Utah for a week away from the news on TV/newspaper, away from work demands, away from little friends and neighbor moms chitter-chatter. It so helped clear my mind. We also got a lot of sleep because THERE WAS NOTHING ELSE TO DO - and sharing a 23 foot travel trailer pretty much negates any married adult activity with the gd5 bunking in same space.

So this was such a self-care time and my compassion fatigue is so much less. And there was wi-fi at the campground - that was mostly empty while we were there Sun. - Thurs. and I am so proud that I was able to choose to look up stuff on lizards and things instead of getting into email and BPD issues.

Coming home started getting texts from DD24 as she was aware when we would return - first saying she had a 'blanky' for gd5, then asking for money, then she 'missed' getting to shelter and needed help (she hasn't gone to shelter that i know of this past winter -why would she go now when it is warmer out?), then saying come get me, taking breakup hard, bf left, i am alone... .Her messages were filled with contridictions about her distress level, and for a change I was able to HEAR WHAT DH HAD TO SAY ABOUT IT. So my responses were matter-of-fact questions about her situation - reminder that bf had always come back before - did she get the $60 we transferred to her account when we left as that was all we could help with this month. (she gets a small stipend from county each month that we supplement a little last 2 weeks of month). Then only silence again, so am pretty sure dh's take that she was just trying to push my 'hot' buttons for more money and bf was right there beside her. She had been no contact for the 3 weeks prior to our vacation - ever since I told her we were going, and yes of course gd5 was going with us, where else would she be?

So what has helped me here is 1. getting away for several days 2. consious choice to avoid news and internet (except to get info on lizard gd5 caught!) 3. getting lots of sleep 4. having lots of fun with dh and gd every day in spite of dust storm, snow storm, wind/wind/wind. There is such a wonderful connectedness with the 3 of us that was missing before. I feel able to keep in my Wise Mind so much better after this rest break. Best vacation of my life.

qcr xoxo
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The best criticism of the bad is the practice of the better. (Dom Helder)
LaoWho
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« Reply #42 on: April 02, 2011, 02:34:39 PM »

My compassion must have been developing stress fractures because I finally caved last night and spoke without thinking. It just came out that I wanted my estranged wife to just leave me alone. I think what did it was the accumulating, albeit subconscious, realization that nothing I was saying or doing was getting through or landing anywhere, triggered by her accusation that I was being accusatory. Ugh. Then came flooding the realization of who, and what, I'd been trying to deal with all along. My compassion fatigue gave way to compassion collapse, and I doubt whether I'll ever get it back. If she calls again I'll be speaking to her from a different place, one much more removed.

LW
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Auspicious
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« Reply #43 on: April 12, 2011, 11:30:50 AM »

Do I suffer from Compassion Fatigue?

Yeah, probably   

My wife is seriously mentally ill. One of our children is seriously mentally ill.  Our other children have physical disabilities, which feel easy by comparison, but still take a lot of time and scheduling difficulty to manage. (Only the physical difficulties were known and "chosen", BTW - our family was built via adoption.)

Somehow I have to hold everything together, keep my full time job, and not go nuts myself Smiling (click to insert in post)
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Do. Or do not. There is no try.


« Reply #44 on: April 12, 2011, 11:54:05 AM »

Somehow I have to hold everything together, keep my full time job, and not go nuts myself Smiling (click to insert in post)

Any idea how?

Wanna let us in on some of those ideas?

Smiling (click to insert in post)
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  "What I want is what I've not got, and what I need is all around me." ~Dave Matthews

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« Reply #45 on: April 13, 2011, 04:48:49 AM »

Somehow I have to hold everything together, keep my full time job, and not go nuts myself Smiling (click to insert in post)

Any idea how?

Wanna let us in on some of those ideas?

Smiling (click to insert in post)

Well, it's still a work in progress! But these things probably helped most:

-Spending a lot of time here, at bpdfamily.com. Learning from how other people handle these situations.

-Seeing a therapist for myself

-Learning that I can be empathetic without rescuing

-Learning about boundaries

-Remembering that my job (as I understand it) is to love God and to love other people ... .my job is not to be a perfect rescuer. I can't fix everyone's problems, and sometimes I can't even fix my own problems, and that's OK. Smiling (click to insert in post)
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