Over the last 9 days a friend of mine has been pushed to the brink of a nervous breakdown. With legal implications still pending, I'll keep the details to a minimum, but suffice it to say that family can be your best ally or your worst enemy, and if the latter, they know how to deploy emotional terrorism better than any other human being on earth. When I speak to her I never know if I'm going to get the calm, competent, intelligent woman I have known for 20 years, or a sobbing hysterical self-doubting unrecognizable person. Yesterday, I sat with her and calmly talked for nearly an hour about updates to her situation. Not 30 minutes after I left, she called me at home fraught with tension and gasping for breath between crying jags and just needing me to talk her down.
Serenity Now! My brain shouted thinking of the mad mad Costanza family. In reality, I had to tell her she was not insane, unreasonable, or wrong. I had to tell her to breathe....just breathe. I suggested a cold cloth, a quiet dark room, and chocolate...dark rich chocolate, to get the right endorphins flowing. And I volunteered to lead her to a day of distraction this weekend.
Later that night, unable to sleep, I found my mind beginning to construct a Serenity Now Mantra that might help her in moments when I can't jump on the phone and talk her down.
SERENITY NOW MANTRA
I am a good person.
To be a good person I do not need to subsume my own wants and needs.
To be a good person I do not need to accept toxic behavior and forgive all deeds.
To be a good person I do need to be kind, be honest and be real.
I am a strong person.
To be a strong person I do not need to do it all myself.
To be a strong person I do not need to know all the answers.
To be a strong person I do need to accept help and be true to my core.
I am a person of truth.
To be a person of truth I do not need to explain all of my actions.
To be a person of truth I do not need to give advance notice of my intentions.
To be a person of truth I do need to keep my motivations true to my values and when I speak, speak honestly.
I am worthy of being loved.
To be loved I do not need to change.
To be loved I do not need to beg.
To be loved, I simply need to be my true self and to offer love in return.
So, my lovely friend....I hope you find your serenity....if not now....soon.
Lord this is really good advice. So many people give away their power, or let people get into their heads. I hope your friend gets through this and she is lucky to have someone like you!
It's very difficult when family and friends use us as counsellors. We are not trained for that position, and it can be draining. As much as we would like to help someone we care about, it can take a lot out of us.
Your friend is lucky to have you, but she should be speaking with a professional, or you may need one soon too!
Jo - luckily my friend is smart enough to know that and was seeing someone TODAY. She also has legal and financial advisors, so she is getting the help she needs.
Wow, one tends to forget that not all families are created equal.
On another note, your earlier post that mentioned Sister Wives---That's one of the more stupid shows that I've ever been obsessed with! Plus, I actually like all the sister-wives tho I think the husband is in it for the attention.
Your prayer is perfect. When your family does this to you, there are all those extra layers of pain. And my guess is, lucky as she is to have you, she is probably friends with you for a reason, too. Hope you BOTH get through all this with your serenity in tact and hers returning. Good luck.
That's a great mantra - one that I'm sure many, many people can use in upsetting times. You're a terrific support to your friend, and I hope she gets through this!
It's a great mantra and I really feel for your friend. When my family drives me nuts, I try to remember that they are probably hurting as well. I hope your friend finds peace.
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