Sometimes the only thing left to master in your circumstance is learning to simply let it suck. I’m pretty sure Brene Brown calls this “embracing the suck” and after I write this I fully intend to sink my teeth into some BB content.
For the last three years, I’ve been called to caregive for my brother-in-law, father-in-law, mother-in-law, teen niece, and teen nephew – with minimal overlap THANK GOD. I don’t have to write about how challenging it’s been because if you’ve landed on my blog you’ve had enough life experience to imagine. During this time I have leaned on my therapist, my coaches, and even coached myself through all of the perspective-shifting to keep me positive and pushing forward.
I’ve moved through the emotions of being honored to show up for people when they needed me most, while at the same time experiencing the resentments that inevitably make it into my consciousness. But this week, I had an experience that reminded me of what it really means to SURRENDER.
The only person left on my care roster is my mother-in-law, and like most mother-in-laws, she can drive me batshit, bonkers, crazy! She’s as sweet as pie but her generational and religious perspectives have a way of finding my buttons. Everyone tells me what an angel I am for the care I give her and I appreciate the acknowledgment because I really do give her an immense amount of compassion and gentle care, but honestly, I’d take my free time back over compliments.
My MIL is 88 and has enough cognitive impairment to be with it conversationally but at the same time not grasp what’s going on entirely or have the ability to keep timelines and details straight. Sometimes her struggle, that isn’t her fault at all, can create situations that make me want to scream into a pillow and when that happens what would really feel good is having someone to blame.
Turning to my husband leads him to want to fix it, which of course is an immediate nomination for the blame award I’m looking to present to the lucky winner. SIDE NOTE TO ALL THE FIXERS OUT THERE – wait for the invitation to fix or don’t be shocked when grunt-scream mode gets activated in your partner’s mind.
So this week when the grunt-scream mode was activated in my mind, I call my sister who is hilarious and will let me be extra dramatic without judgment but is wise enough to never be my hype man. Then divine intervention sends my friend who simply says, “Hey, sometimes there are no blessings or lessons left for you in a situation and things just suck.”
The conversation abruptly ended and I INSTANTLY felt calm, schooled but calm. I stood in my kitchen and thought, “holy crap, my husband isn’t wrong, I’m not wrong, I don’t have to find the positive spin or who’s to blame and I’m allowed to feel like a victim of circumstance for a minute because this situation sucks and IT JUST IS.” This doesn’t mean I’m truly a “victim,” and definitely not a victim of someone’s wrongdoing, I’m simply feeling at the effect of a situation that isn’t anyone’s fault.
I regularly set boundaries with how much time I have to invest, what I’m willing to talk about, etc. This isn’t about codependent people-pleasing and saying yes to things I really don’t want to do.
I continue to care for her because I love her and because service & family are at the top of my values. Sometimes adulting is just a real pain in the ass and we don’t get to be all-zen all the time.
I am a believer that there is a purpose in everything, including pain. There is sometimes a benefit to leaning into the suck or allowing yourself to feel your feelings. At this moment, I am reintroduced to SURRENDER. Sure there are plenty of other things I would rather be doing with my time but apparently, having control over my schedule isn’t meant for me right now so I will surrender to the suck, accept the suck, release the need to blame, and enjoy my ice cream with acceptance and not sadness or resentment.