Caught between adult children and aging parents

WELL_StressWoman_5c_04

The question
I’m 45 and I’m going through a difficult period in my life now. I’m having trouble controlling my adult daughter and dealing with aging parents, and I feel like I’m making my husband unhappy. I’m so stressed out.Whatever I do seems wrong. Any suggestions?

There’s a name for people who are excessively preoccupied with the needs of others at the expense of their own. It’s called “codependent.” Codependency is often characterized by low self-esteem, people-pleasing tendencies, emotional reactivity, excessive guilt, feelings of over-responsibility and a desire to fix and control others.

If you are codependent, you’re in good company — many people demonstrate some degree of codependency, especially if you grew up in a dysfunctional family, which many people do. The good news is that codependency need not be a chronic condition. With a little awareness, you can start to develop new habits and breathe a bit easier.

Let’s start with your daughter. Unless she has substantial disabilities that prevent her from taking care of herself, she is an adult and, by definition, responsible for her own life. Whether or not you approve of her life choices, they are hers to make and learn from, even if she falls. Letting go and setting boundaries can be one of the most difficult but important acts of love a parent can do. It communicates a subtle, often unspoken trust in the adult child’s abilities to make decisions.

Regarding your parents: While it may not be easy, you’re not alone. According to recent statistics, more than 48 million Americans are currently caring for aging parents (and spending a fortune in the process). And yes, it is stressful. If you are feeling overly responsible, try to share responsibilities with other family members and utilize community resources whenever possible. I suggest visiting the Administration on Aging’s website (www.aoa.gov) for information about services in your area.

Relationships with significant others (like your husband) is where codependency can be most insidious. There isn’t enough space in my column to do this justice so I’ll try to summarize. We are responsible for our own feelings. No one can strong-arm you into feeling joy. Yes, our actions have consequences on our relationships. But how others respond to and interpret our behavior is their choice, just as how we respond to their behavior is ours.

Finally, and most importantly, is the relationship with yourself. Take time to nurture yourself and reflect on how excessive people-pleasing and care-taking deplete you. Ask yourself questions like, “What do I want?” and “How do you I feel (about such and such)?” Since self-neglecting behaviors are often rooted in our families, consulting a therapist or attending a free Codependents Anonymous (www.coda.org) meeting may be helpful.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Trump Plaza in Atlantic City to close, adding…

Trump Plaza booked less than half its rooms in the first quarter of 2014, and had the lowest gaming revenue of any of the city's casinos in May, according to…

National

Debut 'supermoon' hangs in the summer sky

It was the first of three times this year the full "supermoon" will orbit closer to earth and appear unusually large and bright.

National

Exclusive: YouTube weighs funding efforts to boost premium…

By Ronald Grover and Lisa RichwineLOS ANGELES (Reuters) - YouTube has embarked on a new round of discussions with Hollywood and independent producers to fund…

National

Pot farmer charged with starting California wildfire

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A 37-year-old man accused of starting a raging wildfire in Northern California while tending to his marijuana farm was arrested and…

Going Out

NYC's Best Bar: Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club?

Having actually played shuffleboard on the beach on Royal Palm Boulevard in South Florida, we expertly approve this hipster hangout.

Going Out

Cocktail of the Week: The Royal Palms Shuffle

The Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club, in Gowanus, Brooklyn, created this drink to feature Brugal Extra Dry.

Going Out

NYC's Best Bar: Hill & Dale?

Every bar should be the best at something: What's Hill & Dale's angle?

Music

Robin Thicke's 'Blurred Lines' was sexual, but not…

  Robin Thicke has a certified dud on his hands with "Paula," the follow-up album to his multiplatinum "Blurred Lines" and its eponymous title track that…

MLB

Yankees All-Star break report card

The first half of the season rarely went as planned for the Yankees, right down to a massively disappointing injury diagnosis to Masahiro Tanaka in…

NBA

Nets lose Paul Pierce to two-year deal with…

Paul Pierce is taking a gamble on joining a franchise on the rise.

NBA

GIF: LeBron James returns to Cleveland so deal…

To anyone out there who is upset about his decision, this .GIF is for you. Enjoy.

World Cup

A game of two popes: Vatican plays down…

By Philip PullellaVATICAN CITY (Reuters) - With Argentina meeting Germany in the World Cup final, the Vatican on Friday brushed aside talk of soccer rivalry…

Food

Taco Bell goes totally off-script with new breakfast…

Taco Bell is betting that you, or someone you love enough to take there, wants healthier options. At least first thing in the morning. For…

Wellbeing

Sex or drugs, it's all the same to…

Pornography triggers brain activity in sex addicts similar to the effect drugs have on the brains of drug addicts, researchers said on Friday — but…

Lifestyle

Pets: Dogs die in hot cars! Be careful…

Leaving animals in a car even with the windows cracked, even in the shade, can cause heatstroke, which can be fatal.

Home

Bring on the flea market

The editors at Wayfair show us what to do with cute flea market finds.