Helping Parents

QA172 QUESTION: My mother is about to have an operation on her eyes, and if it is not successful, she may be blind. I have to go home to be with her, and I always feel terribly negative around her. I feel compulsions to hurt her and this undermines not only me but also her. It hurts her and she doesn’t understand the way I feel. Could you suggest some way that I could approach this next period so that I don’t undermine what’s important to her?

ANSWER: Well, in the first place, I would say that you have to understand here a very important factor of the human interrelationship on the unconscious level, which is vastly ignored. Ignoring it creates a tremendous burden and is in itself a cause for heavy guilt feelings.

You must consider the following: you can undermine others only to the degree they are open for it and have their blocks and their own blindnesses already. This is just as true of yourself. Others can only undermine you – affect you negatively – to the extent you are in some way blind about something in yourself. The moment you fully realize this, you will already remove some of the burden of guilt.

You see, ignorance creates guilt, and this is always a vicious circle. The guilt then creates more resentment, for one cannot help feeling resentful toward the person one feels guilty for or with or about.

The first thing here is, you are both blind individuals. You have come into this world in order to find your blindness. And if the blindness proceeds more and more and more, it can eventually take such a form as outer physical blindness.

It is the acceptance that we have to deal with the effects that the causes in us have set in motion. This attitude, “I have to accept this in myself, therefore I have to accept it in the other person also,” will remove this blame that will only serve to make you more resentful and more negative. That is the one suggestion I have.

The self-acceptance will make you also more accepting of her blindnesses. And also it will help you tremendously if you really specify what attitudes in her make you especially negative. Then look for the corresponding or parallel or opposite corresponding attitudes in yourself. As you then accept them in yourself, it will be much easier for you to deal with your mother.

Of course, also realize that this cannot be done from one day to another. But you can begin to do so, and you can help it greatly by meditating in this respect, by remembering that all your negative reactions to her illustrate reflections of something negative in yourself that you have not quite seen.

Also, meditate for guidance for your feelings. Ask yourself, do you want to have good feelings for her? Do not cover up the No that may come here. For only as you can accept your own inner No that says, “I do not want to have good feelings,” can you then find out why, can you find out the whole problem that is involved.

Only then will you eventually accept yourself and her and really have good feelings. Even now, as you can accept that No, you can also then say that is only a partial answer – for there’s also another side in you that would like it. If you can accept the two sides in you simultaneously, you will remove a lot of strain between you and her from your end.


QA199 QUESTION: My father-in-law had a heart attack yesterday, and I was called to take care of it because they felt that if they called my mother-in-law, she’d get hysterical and wouldn’t know what to do. So I had to make all kinds of decisions, feeling on one level that I should do it, that it’s my responsibility – so, of course, I did it – but on the other hand, feeling I just didn’t want the responsibility, I didn’t want to have to take care of the situation. I was supposed to go somewhere last night, and I ended up spending the whole evening in the hospital, still feeling that part of it was my duty while also feeling very resentful. Also, my mother-in-law is now staying with me for a couple of days. I’m not very understanding of her. She’s in a bad situation. And I really don’t feel very much compassion for her. I don’t know quite how to handle all this.

ANSWER: Now you see, the outer situation only brings forth a conflict that has always been there. The outer situation you can only handle at this time as best as you can. You can do the right thing; you do not have to act out your selfishness or your irresponsibility. That acting out is hardly ever the solution, anymore than repression and denial and falsification are a solution.

So it is certainly possible that you express, that you act, in a way that is compassionate and decent, even though you realize you’re only doing it because it is expected and the heart feelings are still lacking in you.

Now, if you can use this very good example, then you can really go into yourself and begin to pray to know what it is that makes you cold and closed. You can really begin to deal with this aspect in yourself, and open up to the deeper regions of feelings that you have certainly accepted in theory, but you have not really let yourself feel yet.

The outer handling can only be done in that way, because you cannot come that quickly to being compassionate. By doing the right action – the compassionate, loving, and responsible action – you can then get a much sharper view of your real reactions inside. That is the only constructive thing to do. Can you see this?

QUESTION: On some level, part of me is not letting in what you’re saying, because I’m blocking with not wanting to see it.

ANSWER: Yes. Perhaps in some irrational level of your being you were hoping for me to tell you something very different – either give you a magical solution in which you do not have to deal with this problem outwardly or inwardly. And of course, what I say is perhaps what you like least to hear.

You have to deal with something you do not enjoy doing. Perhaps you can help the situation along by allowing yourself, when working with your Helper, to really express – without any reins, without any holding back – the utter irrational selfishness. I do not believe you have really let yourself see this or do this, or have you?

QUESTION: No, I’m just beginning to. I’m coming in touch with it.

ANSWER: Yes. That, in itself, may release some positive energy in you, the acceptance of this side in you. Nothing can be overcome unless you accept it. The acceptance is so often confused with acting it out against other people.

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