Yet another one of THOSE conversations . .

I know my grandma means well and I know she is trying to help . . . but I have reached the point that I dread talking to her most days.

If it is a day where I am dealing with a lot of pain, if I don’t sleep well or if I sleep really well but the fatigue is getting the best of me, if the brain fog is in full swing, my anxiety or depression is winning that day or if the heavens are smiling down on me and it is a “good” day . . . WHY? There has to be a reason and “just because” is not a good reason, neither is “I don’t know.”

Why is the pain worse, what did I do to make it worse? Why didn’t I sleep, what am I worried about, what or who upset me? If I have been sleeping better, what have I been doing different so I can keep this up? Regardless of how I am sleeping, I can’t give in and take a nap, what can I do to keep going, don’t sit around - that just makes things worse, keep busy and I won’t think about it. Why am I anxious or why am I down? What is going on, what am I worried about, who or what upset me? I need to not watch the news so much, then I wouldn’t have so much trouble (never mind that I seldom watch the news), I would probably sleep better too then.

Having a good day doesn’t halt the questions either. Why am I having a good day? What have I been doing to make it a good day? What can I do to keep having good days?

And now today, we added a whole new nightmare to the equation. For nearly a week now I have been working on my pantry - reorganizing, cleaning and all that. I do not have that big of a pantry really, but I divided it into sections and I have been working on a section each day. Today my grandma informed me that when I get the pantry done, we are going to start tackling cabinets, closets, etc. and she will help me go through them and I can weed out and get rid of everything I don’t use. She is convinced that the reason I can’t keep up with everything is because I just have too much stuff, so if I get rid of things it will be easier for me. I tried to tell her I don’t have a lot sitting around that I don’t use but it fell on deaf ears.

She is going to be 90 in February. She is in a very different stage of life than I am. She is a card-carrying minimalist without even knowing what that means. She doesn’t want to burden us with a lot of cleaning out when she is gone so she has divided up most things amongst the family already. For the non-family everyday “junk” - if she decides she doesn’t want it or hasn’t used in the last 3-4 months, she gets rid of it. And she is convinced that everyone else should do the same.

She was wondering today why I keep my canning stuff - I should pass that all on to my daughter - it just isn’t worth it to do the gardening and canning for just me. The idea that I want to do it, she just couldn’t understand - it would be cheaper to just buy it at the store. And it is a lot more work than picking up a can at the store, but for me it is more than that. If I can keep some chickens, raise a bit of a garden (even if it is just a few plants in some buckets), if I can put up a few jars - it is one way that I can win. It is one way in which I can say that while I live daily with the pain, stiffness, fatigue and all the rest - that is not me, it is a part of my life, but it is not my life. The day I give those things up, that I quit fighting to keep what I love in my life; when the pain, stiffness, fatigue and all the rest become my life - that is the day I lose life. I may not die physically, but I won’t be truly living. I will only be existing.


Oh dear, sounds like forced therapy every day, whether you want it, like it or not…
But it’s not what real good therapy would do, it’s know it all and ‘I know what’s good for you better than you do’. May all very sensible from her point of view, for her life, but she doesn’t seem to realize that she’s making it worse…
And sounds like she needs a clear and definite and loving no from ‘someone’. :slight_smile:
I loved the No-book for that by Henry Cloud and John Townsend for teaching me how to do that in a way I could take and really do it.

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Hi, Struggling.
No one can make you give up the things that make you happy - that make you feel like YOU. You may not be able to make your grandmother understand, but I do understand what you are saying and feeling, and I’m sure others on this site do, as well.
Saying prayers for calmness in your life and in your relationship with your grandma. Hang in there, my friend! :purple_heart:

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I am not the best at saying no or standing up for myself really. I am also one that will almost always put the needs and wants of others above my own - even if that means I give up something I love.

I am slowly learning - and I do mean SLOWLY! - that it is ok to say no, that I can put my needs first and that if I don’t do that and stand up for myself, no one else will either.

I am finding it hard to do though - being a peace maker, doing whatever I needed to in order to keep the peace and putting the needs of others first (in particular my mother’s) are survival tactics I learned early in my childhood. Those lessons were then strengthened even more by the church that I was in for so many years. And even at 46, I am finding that they are tactics that refuse to die quietly.

Something I read the other day really hit home - If you avoid conflict to keep the peace, you start a war within yourself.

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Wow! That is a great quote - I never heard that one before. I am the “middle” child - A peacemaker by nature. But, learning to say “No” is something that everyone with FMS has to learn, to save their energy and keep their sanity. I think you will be able to firmly and nicely tell Grandma that you aren’t giving up the chickens, canning, and things in your house. They are YOUR things and not hers to take away. If you don’t draw the line somewhere, she will take over your life, and you will be miserable. JMHO

I am the oldest in my family, but very much the peacemaker. And I am learning that for my own health - physical and mental and my sanity, I have to learn how to say “no”. For the first time in my life, I am finally learning how to put myself first. It is scary and exciting all at the same time. :grimacing: :rofl:


I know e.x.a.c.t.l.y where you’re coming from… * sigh *

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This doesn’t necessarily fit for grandmas, just remembered when you said “scary and exciting at the same time”:
Best memory of beginning to feel free after my most abusive relationship was during counselling to realize: Oh, if this is what you call being an $%&* - then that is exactly what I am and even want to be, gladly!
There’s a German saying for that, which I’ve found 3 phrases coined for. This one fits best for me: “Once your reputation’s gone, you can boldly carry on.” (Needless to say, my bad reputation only exists in the eyes of this one person…)
Come to think of it: Grandchildren are often loved by their grandparents even tho they have a “bad reputation”. The problem is of course getting out of the good reputation, stopping being a “good girl/boy”. And that’s usually more of a problem in our own heads than in theirs (not in abusive relationships of course). I bet your grandma will love you just the same when you’re thru, perhaps even more, because she understands you better and as a real individual person, for what you are and not so much as an extension of herself any more. Some people only start to understand when they get a No. The others will never understand. :wink: Your Grandma might want to understand and accept you and help you by listening more to who and where your are.

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Aww, I had to chuckle- “Card-carrying minimalist!” LOL
You’re right: your grandmother does mean well. It’s the way SHE knows how to help. That doesn’t mean it’s helpful, though, eh?
She sounds like a tough ol gal; so perhaps have some faith in her ability to handle you being honest with her? Tell her these are the few things in life that make you happy these days. YOU. Not her. And askher to respect that. Just my thought… there’s freedom in speaking your truth. And the people that love us can often handle it much better than we think!
PS: as I often remind myself on the bad days, BE GENTLE WITH YOURSELF. Asking why feeds the anxiety. On the good days, BE GRATEFUL! Asking why takes you away from being present when you feel well enough to do the things you need to, want to or love to do.

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