Exercising Your Own Voice
My friend of 38 years came to stay with me. She needed to get away from home. She is 90 and recently had a mild stroke. Though the damage done is almost imperceptible, she has had to do physical and speech therapies to regain the mental and physical strength lost. All in all, her recovery is progressing amazingly well.
The problem is that this independent, accomplished woman is having her loved ones micro-manage her.
The effort it is taking to survive the onslaught of dictates on what to eat, what she can drink, how much exercise she needs, and whether she is sleeping too much or too little, is unnerving her.
It is clear that her dying would be a family failure. The paradox is that the more they push and demand, the less motivated my friend becomes.
She just wants to be left alone. She wants to catch her breath. Get her bearings. Regain some control over the life she seems to have lost. Her children believe it is their duty to make her act right, according to their understanding of what is necessary.
The result is that, perhaps for the first time, she is thinking about death. What a relief from bombardment that would be! She laughs at the thought, but since it would be the ultimate respite, she doesn’t plan on opting out just yet.
The problem is that she does need their help, because she is somewhat dependent. She is, and always has been, an independent thinker. She is forced into a corner. If she surrenders to their control, she loses her sense of self. If she fights them, the emotional energy expended leaves her physically exhausted.
This is a complex mix of love, fear, dread, loss, anger and frustration for all concerned. Change brings these experiences to the foreground.
We talked about the importance of self-care, self-respect, and self-protection. That is her right. We also spoke of the need for her to be cared for, respected and protected.
Sometimes ownership dresses up in love’s clothing. When that happens, in any stage of our lives, it is our responsibility to respect and protect ourselves by expressing what we want until we are heard.
It takes practice. The lesson? Start now to own your voice so you can use it well when you most need it.
Susan Velasquez offers local workshops on the dynamics of intuition and is the author of “Beyond Intellect: Journey Into the Wisdom of Your Intuitive Mind.” Contact her at www.susanvelasquez.com or (949) 494-7773.