Jane's Mental Health Source Page

One of the Web's Oldest Personal Mental Health Sites [Est. 1998]

Why Mom or Dad Doesn’t Change

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Image by Andreas KrappweisThere is no age limit to personal change.

But there is a real age-based burden to personal history, which prevents personal change.

Your mother has built a whole identity and life around being stressed and afraid.

She has too much personal history invested in this identity, including how to interact with her friends and family, to change this. Her whole life… all of her personal relationships… is revolved around being stressed and being fearful, then having her psychic energy (or emotional energy) fed from helpful family members who are very distressed at her level of fear and stress preventing her from living her life to the fullest.

She is already living her life to the fullest, the way she is habituated* to live: her life is full of stress and fear. She gets love and attention from being stressed out and fearful. This much she knows. She is habituated to it. She is conditioned to this “normal.”

The only time when a person is willing to change is when the pain of staying the same far exceeds the fear of changing.

Otherwise you can have a person any age, who lacks willingness to change.

Maybe there’s no need to tell her what she already knows.

Maybe try, “Mom, you’re stressed and afraid. Guess what, that’s OK, I’m not going to try to change you. Life and everything is always going to be really stressful for you, and I know you’re used to it, and you can handle it.”

Maybe go and live your own life, and include her when you can accommodate her being stressed and afraid, and in situations where you cannot accommodate, you don’t include her.
*I purposely use “habituated” because I’m equating this as an addiction.]

Written by Jane Chin

November 15th, 2012 at 11:10 am

Posted in Family and Parents