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Ways to get family to understand?

We live with my Husband's parents right now because of several different reasons right now but I'm a newly diagnosed epileptic just recently since the birth of my daughter a month and a half ago and my Husband has medication resistant major depressive disorder with anxiety attacks. The epilepsy is new but they knew about my Husband's problems and that sometimes I'd have to drop everything to take care of his needs.

Recently it's all become very hostile and that we're taking advantage even though I can't plan my seizures in advance. I can't seem to explain anything without it being seen as an excuse for not dealing with things like everybody else does. I can't seem to explain any further that it's not just a headache or that I can't go without sleeping for as long or that the baby screaming left me waking up on the floor confused.

My Dad was a corpsman with the Navy, My Mom is an epileptic herself and I'm coming from a medical background so I was thinking that maybe I was explaining things wrong. Because somehow this all comes out that I'm just making excuses.

How would you need an I need to lie down right this minute emergency so I need you to take the baby explained to you especially when the person may not be able verbalize it to you for 30-ish minutes? How would I need to explain that I can't take the stairs because I have no coordination?

I'm not looking for a bunch of how horrible it is that they feel that way I'm just wondering how you as a diverse group of layman would like those explained to you in a way that you can understand.

Answer Question

Asked by lizziebreath at 12:00 AM on Dec. 21, 2012 in General Parenting

Level 19 (6,846 Credits)
Answers (6)
  • you cant change how other people view things.. sorry you have to deal

    Answer by maxsmom11807 at 12:04 AM on Dec. 21, 2012

  • The first thing you have to figure out is whether your husband's parents want to understand. If they don't, you can talk till your tongue falls out and you'll get no results.

    Assuming that they really do want to understand, I would start out by telling them you aren't making excuses, even if it sounds like you are. Tell them that once your medication gets working properly, which may take some experimenting with different prescriptions and doses, you'll be able to parent with less help. But for now, you'd appreciate their assistance. Don't make it sound like a demand. Your in-laws may already feel they've done enough by opening their home. Brainstorm ways you can all work together, or figure out ways you can parent without them if they truly don't want the responsibility. Maybe hiring a teenage babysitter to stay with you a few afternoons a week, to mind the baby while you get some rest, is an option.

    Answer by Ballad at 12:26 AM on Dec. 21, 2012

  • Although it may not be ideal, and it would be great if they just automatically did what you need, they probably feel that they raised their children, and they may not want all of this responsibility...whether you intended it this way or not. They are already helping you out, having other people live in your home even if their very expensive, creates a lot of extra work, and takes away your privacy, again, even if they are people that you love. If you add the extra work of a baby & medical issues, it's a lot to expect of anyone.

    You may not be doing anything on purpose, but they may be in a place in their lives where they just weren't expecting all of this extra responsibility, and were ready for it to be just them. Ready to enjoy their children and grandchildren without the work & responsibility that they had raising their children.

    I can't speak for them, but reading your story, I can see how they might feel.

    Answer by ohwrite at 12:29 AM on Dec. 21, 2012

  • If your husband's parents are having difficulty grasping what epilepsy is or how it affects you, maybe there are resources available on the Internet that will explain the condition in simple terms. I proofread a pamphlet last summer called "Explaining Epilepsy" that did a good job of outlining the causes of the condition and what people who suffer from it may need from others, but I don't recall the publisher or the author. Try a Google search and see what comes up.

    Answer by Ballad at 12:34 AM on Dec. 21, 2012

  • The way you wrote it is perfect.

    Answer by gdiamante at 12:38 AM on Dec. 21, 2012

  • This is probably more about how they feel & their routine ways of relating and communicating (blame, making situations "wrong") than about a lack of cognitive understanding on their parts.

    It sounds, also, like you all are caught in a struggle, where their complaints & hostility about the situation are met with explanations from you. They experience these explanations as excuses because essentially (when it comes to their experience of things), your explanations invalidate their perceptions of reality & their feelings. So they push back & "don't understand."

    It sounds like there is not a lot of room for people's feelings, there. Your instinct is to defend (explain) yourself when you hear their complaints about the situation (which likely are expressed as blame targeting YOU!) This is completely understandable but it leaves them essentially feeling "unheard" (since their upset is inadvertently invalidated, negated.)

    Answer by girlwithC at 9:07 AM on Dec. 21, 2012

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