Dear Dr. Schwartz Good Afternoon; My question to you Dr. is this, How does someone who comes from Parents who never gave ANY kind of Emotional Support to them, and once they grew up the parents had no interest in either them or their childen(meaning grandchildren). What suggestions could you give me on what I can do for myself or possibly what websites could you suggest for me to help our situation/outlook to improve. I’m having bouts of Severe Sadness often usually surrounding any type of "typical family holiday times, etc" but also a few times withing each month. As I said before, my family takes no interest in me or my kids and I don’t really know what to do, I know I need to do something to improve things. One thing I have learned is this; I must stop and realize that my family has no intrest so I’ve come to accept this as hard as it’s been, but I’ve done it. How can I/we overcome the situation and make things somewhat better? Can you please help Thank you for your time. Sincerely, Lisa
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Lisa, thank you for your very emotional E. Mail question. You raise an interesting question: how to cope, once you are an adult, with the hurt and rejection you experienced as a child and continue to experience as an adult?
Of course, the easiest and almost automatic answer is to tell you to enter psychotherapy. Actually, this is an excellent idea and I want to recommend it. In addition, the sadness you experience is both understandable but is also treatable with anti depressant medications. I want to urge you to seek both psychotherapy and medication for feelings that really have to do with depression.
However, your question deserves a longer and more complex explanation that I hope can help you and others who have to cope with this type of ongoing rejection and pain. First, it is important to understand that there is nothing much you can do about your parents. For some reason, they show no interest in you or your children. It could help you to realize that your parents are the real losers as a result of the distance they put between you and their grandchildren. They are the losers because they do not allow themselves the pleasure of grand parenting these children. I cannot think of a greater joy, other than being a parent, than to be a grandparent. In many ways grand parenting is better than parenting because one does not have to be concerned about "spoiling" the grandchildren. Grandparents do not have to be disciplinarians or worry about any of the things that are the responsibility of parents. They can have fun with their grandchildren, buy them presents and too much candy and ice cream and get down on the floor and play with them. At the end of the day, grandparents go home and have no further responsibilities. This is a great joy for the grandparents and grandchildren who always look forward to seeing grandma and grandpa.
Second, once we become adult we can no longer get from out parents what might have been missing during childhood. What we can do is turn to the outside world, in the form of friends and community, to get the attention, warmth and recognition we seek. Today, when most families live far apart from their families of origin, it becomes necessary to establish new relationships even if our ties to our parents are intact. In most cases, parents live far away from their children and grandchildren and only see them on special occasions. Young couples with children seek ties in their community to replace the kind of ties wished for from family. This is something you must do either through your religious institution or community involvement and communication with neighbors.
A combination of psychotherapy and anti depressant medication can help you learn new ways of communicating and with more energy and enthusiasm.
Best of Luck