#375B...Being a rock...

gardenbug(Canada zone 5)July 23, 2008

The previous post was getting too hard for me to download.

Below are some morning thoughts-

Being a rock for others can be all engulfing. It can eat you up. It can also not always be a good thing as it allows the other person to rely on you rather than on themselves to effect change.

But I see it as a fine thing for relatively short periods of time. To have a mentor you trust and admire and communicate well with is great...especially if you can bounce ideas off them and get the impetus to move forward on solid footing.

Some folks have problems so severe that they will never be able to face the world on their own. To be a rock for these folk is incredibly challenging as it usually involves dealing with slow moving agencies that are governed by strange rules and laws that don't apply to individual situations. The staff are always changing too. And then what happens when YOU are no longer around?


Chelone spoke of aggression as the last resort in self protection. In my experience, it is not the very last resort. Children I know resort to cutting themselves. They do this because it eases the pain in their lives. It is heartbreaking. We wish they could be aggressive! That would be such a big improvement, but too much to hope for I fear. Even worse, this is becoming a common problem in the world today...My DB tries to be their rock, but it is almost impossible, though he fights for access. Letters usually never arrive, phone calls are not allowed, gifts are lost or not delivered, computer access is denied. Treatment is ignored... The children really do not understand much about relationships and the "whys" of their situations. So complex.


Family dynamics do tend to run in circles for me with lots of repetition. Generally I agree with PM that the willingness is there...but it sure shows up in odd ways!


We should all realize that we are sometimes a rock to others without even knowing it! As a teacher I was not aware how much students relied on me at times, and not just for academic things either. Years later I'd get a surprise visit, a letter, a comment. It can be so touching...and a little scary!

Time to send this off and face the day.

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Why didn't I know that Kathy and I both have incredible taste in boy names? LOL

Continuing to love Mitch's take on color in our world. Rock On!

The pics from New York are stunning, and the looks on the faces exude our shared passion. Just when we thought we knew everything about New York City, Wave Hill gets added to the list of things to do with clients when there's "nothing" to do.

Went back and found Bella and Bud hanging in the garden. Can't decide who's enjoying it more.

The silver edge lavender is wonderful! I'll be googling it to find out who got it's release since I'd heard about a variegated lav being in trial a few years back. Also wondering if it's blooms will be dark since there was a hew and cry from lav growers about the "pastelling" of new releases. Remember -- benign neglect is the thrive factor of lavs. Doesn't get any easier!

There's a lot I read that I'd love responding to, but time and mental temperment won't allow.

A thought on being a rock: One can be a rock in the raw and be solid and forceful, be climbed all over and stepped on and thrown into water and buried. But when a rock is split from force, then tumbled around and cut some more and polished here and there, the true beauty of the gem inside comes out.

How's that? Hadn't ever thought of it that way but it might get me through some days ahead .....

All best!


    Bookmark   July 23, 2008 at 9:09AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

BTW, this is a continuation of 'What IS Aggression, you guys!' I think we confused poor Martie. [g] Martie, if you don't mind, when they start the new thread, I was thinking of copy/pasting your post to the new one, so you will get better response, is that alright with you?

Back to my usual spot with a cord, Gardenbug.

Gardenbug....I agree that being a rock can be 'all engulfing'. In the sense that you seem to mean it. I guess it just depends on what your idea of being a rock means. I am thinking of my Mother who was my rock and there wasn't really mentoring going on there, or a lot of problem solving together. I wasn't relying on her to do things for me. She was a rock and was always there for me, in the sense that she was consistently meeting life according to her values, giving me an example to follow. That she was always supportive and encouraging, loving and forgiving. A great source of unwavering acceptance. She didn't always have the answers, but you knew she was in your corner.

In that sense, that is something we can all give. I had the idea that was what Kyle meant, but hopefully he will come and clarify. :-) I am sure everyone could add something more to what it means to them.

I am following your thought Marie. You have brought up good points about how you can step over the line and do too much for someone else. I struggle with wanting to jump in and rescue people. It is hard to watch someone struggle with something and not always easy to know when they have done all they can and are stuck and need help. To me it is a fine line and needs exquisitely sensitive timing. What is even harder is watching someone you care about struggle and not be in a position to help.

The self mutilation behavior, I have never been able to understand. A person must be in a very bad place for that to be their choice. One I can't even imagine, I guess.

Your brother's situation sounds like a nightmare. I don't understand why an agency would deny giving gifts, computer use, visits. I understand that a bureaucracy takes on a life of it's own and that the actual physical care of people in need of institutions can become overwhelming, but that situation with your brother, doesn't sound like anyone is monitoring it or paying attention at all. Very cruel. Is this in Canada? Because here in the States, I would think there has to be a branch of government responsible for monitoring these facilities that one could lodge a complaint with. Would that be the same there? Why would a facility want to discourage family from participating in care??

DH's Mom is in assisted living requiring round the clock care and although there are problems with that, we fear the day when she will need to be given more care than the current situation provides, for fear of the same problems your brother deals with.

Martie, I started getting the giggles reading your thoughts on being a rock. Thinking of myself being climbed all over and stepped on, thrown into water, buried...lol. MY Gosh, no wonder I am tired!! That does sound like my week sometimes...lol. Not quite sure about the 'gem' part of it though. [g]


    Bookmark   July 24, 2008 at 6:50AM
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Yes, confused is me. LOL

NOW I get it :-)

To delve into my feelings of doing what I need to do could take on some very comic twists right now, so I'll be reverent and delay getting into the serious stuff.

Suffice to say that when things become overwhelming emotionally, I'm grateful that I can feel them, realize they are just feelings and will eventually go away or continue as I wish, and hope for the best for those who don't have that ability. For some reason I've been entrusted with that strength, and to question the "why's" and "what if's" becomes more overwhelming that the actuality, sometimes.

And, PM2, there are serious safety reasons that people can't have access to things while they're in treatment. Best to ask why the rule is in place before making calls, I've learned.


    Bookmark   July 24, 2008 at 8:38AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Yes, I'm sure there are serious safety issues that have to be considered. I realize restrictions are often necessary. It is not one rule that I have trouble with, rather the overall result of keeping family away from a patient. Which from my viewpoint can't be considered an improvement in quality of life to the patient and is really very cruel to family that wants to be involved with their family member. I just think there has to be a way to allow family that wants to be involved to be able to. Not only that, but it puts the patient in a position of powerlessness with no one able to know what is going on with them from day to day. They could be a victim of abuse and no way to be made aware of it.

It occurs to me there must be Patient Rights of some kind. I know that the last time I even had a non invasive test in our local hospital I had to sign a form acknowledging that I was given a list of my Patient Rights to read. Even the mentally ill must have rights, no?

G'bug...I wonder if there is something like that in place at this institution that your brother's girls are in?

    Bookmark   July 24, 2008 at 9:15AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

So far only one of the 3 girls, the oldest, is institutionalized. It is only a matter of time for the other two. They suffered severe, EXTREME, abuse at the hands of their grandmother. The grandmother is the only relative who wants to visit them!

Other relatives want no part of their lives. It is understandable, the weight of the problems could destroy you. My brother is a close friend of one of the relatives, and the fact that he cares about the girls and their futures has been a very difficult issue in that friendship.

It is understandable that he is not allowed to visit because he is not a blood relative. He is called "Uncle John" but is not truly an uncle. Case workers in the past have wanted him to have access, but are paralyzed by regulations. Then they move on and the girls flounder, whether in the institution or in foster homes. They have run out of foster homes. They don't want the girls spending a long time in any one home and becoming attached to temporary "parents".

The refusal of mail, phone calls and such can make sense at times. Basically these are rights that are taken from the oldest child as disciplinary measures. If for example the child cuts herself, fights, tries to escape (or succeeds), etc, then she has no rights. The letter writing is difficult in the first place because she has no stamps. My brother occasionally can send her some. The contents of her letters can be stressful and disturbing. One thing that surprises me is that she ALWAYS makes a point of thanking him for being a friend and asking how HE is doing. He managed to send her flowers for her birthday and she was touched. She hates her life, sees no future and would like to end it all. Her companions in the institution have similar problems it seems and are certainly unhealthy friends. They speak of escaping and changing identities and death...when they are not cutting themselves. My brother is torn each time he receives a letter because he feels he must share the contents with authorities yet wants to keep her trust and privacy in tact. Of course there is much more, but as you can see, it is unbearable pain for all.

If I were in such a maze of a hellish situation, my brother is the person I would want on my side. He is extremely intelligent and can work through red tape and regulations well. He is knowledgeable about Patient Rights and much much more. He knows every word written on this medical condition and treatment and is in pain because the state (NJ) will not place the children in the location where the proper treatment is given. It is 10 miles from where she is now placed and he would be more than willing to drive her there daily...but of course, that is not possible. He is not terribly socially gifted, but with children and their openness, he does very very well. He is very open and honest, kind and caring. He does not give up.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2008 at 3:15PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Gardenbug....that is a very, very sad story. And a very complicated one. It is very interesting that your brother has taken such an interest in these girls. So the relative of the girls is not happy that your brother takes an interest? What a shame. I wonder, if the relative gave permission for his visits if they would be allowed?

I do find it very comforting to know there are people, like your brother, still left in the world who will get involved in such a heartbreaking situation. I can only imagine his frustration that the help she needs is so close and the 'bureaucracy' once again, instead of helping puts a giant boulder in the path of progress. I wish there was some expert in moving 'immovable' objects that one could consult in such cases.

I do wonder, what is the prognosis for people with these conditions? Is this institution supposed to be treating her with an eye to recovery and release, or is this a permanent placement?

It would seem he is being a rock for this girl. I really hope he is getting the support he needs so he doesn't get completely drained from the situation.


    Bookmark   July 25, 2008 at 6:05AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Let me just say that the situation is infinitely complex, that the relative would NOT give permission, that the system is NOT capable of making exceptions. They all live in fear of retribution by the grandmother on others.

As to prognosis, Dr. John G. Gunderson is a very prominent researcher in this difficult field. Here is a brief paper of his:

Here is a link that might be useful: Borderline Personality Disorder

    Bookmark   July 25, 2008 at 9:17AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Thanks for the link, Gardenbug. I did briefly look it over. I was curious what the symptoms of the disorder are. It sounds like a condition that is difficult to treat, but not impossible. I do find it frustrating that the mental health field provides more diagnostic labels and medication for treatment, then more concrete treatment plans. Psychotherapy with a therapist that the patient has a secure attachment to, for 1-6yrs. I wonder how often that happens?

It is sad, there are so many ways to find yourself in trouble I guess. I really hope something can work out soon for this poor girl. What will happen if the grandmother is no longer the main family member, would another family member become involved I wonder?

Have we lost Kyle?

    Bookmark   July 26, 2008 at 6:24AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

The most important and positive progress is that the courts have removed the grandmother from the scene entirely. NO access to the grandchildren is allowed. One of her sons will occasionally visit the girls. He and his wife have children and therefore are reluctant. My brother would be allowed to join them for visits, but there is no contact between them unfortunately, though DB has tried and tried. The other brothers and sisters, cousins, etc will not become involved. In fact, that is almost a blessing. Sadly, the mental and emotional health of that family is a mess.

I think Kyle has observed this topic has strayed from the original over time. I'd be happy to swerve back!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2008 at 8:20AM
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