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StGeorge
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« on: June 27, 2009, 09:22:15 PM »

Since I moved back home about a year ago, I've noticed a change in the relationship between me and my parents.  I've never had a great loving relationship with either parent, but now I feel that it is very difficult to communicate with either.  We're in different worlds.   

I go to church on Saturday and Sunday and at other times during week, where I feel that I'm part of a Church family, and then I return home, often to situations that are not great and make me wish I could escape it.  I'm wondering if these feelings are a result of the hardening of my heart, or if this is something else.  When I speak with my friends, at church and old college friends, I feel all right, but when around my parents, especially when they are together, I feel a tension.  I don't know what it is: if it's me becoming Orthodox (my mother is Protestant, my father Catholic) and the changes I have undergone as a result, or if it's perhaps something negative.  I've been having depression problems as the result of a spine problem these past several years, which I've noticed makes me more defensive against adverse situations and conversations.   

I'm 26 and feel I should be on my own, and am doing my best to be so again.  So, I can understand me wanting to move out, but I'm wondering if these specific neutral, emotionless feelings towards my parents are good. 

Your thoughts are welcome. 
« Last Edit: June 27, 2009, 09:28:23 PM by StGeorge » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2009, 10:45:25 PM »

Family problems, especially tension with parents, are very normal.  It could be they are worried because of your health and work issues and they don't know how to express it.  You could try to sit down and talk to them about it, and tell them you are feeling this tension.  However, sometimes that can be difficult to do. 

The only thing I can say for sure is that no situation lasts forever.  Things eventually change, and your current situation will change also.  The first year on a job is always the hardest.  Hopefully things will get better at work and you can move out eventually.  I find that people's relationships with their parents often improve as they get older, also.  I'm not sure why.  It's just what I have seen. 
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« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2009, 11:15:11 PM »

St. George,


I wish I could offer some really sage advice, but I really don't know where to begin.  Your estrangment from your parents don't necessarily have to stem from you being Orthodox and them not being.  I think your parents have found a way to coexist with one being Protestant and another Catholic.

Let me ask this, if it's not too invading and personal. You say that you have suffered a spinal cord injury.  I notice you did not elaborate and that is your choice to do so.  However, from personal experience, when a friend of mine had a major accident which left him paralyzed, he and his parents started having more distance though he was living with them.  I found out that his parents were not intentionally trying to be distant but they were trying to respect his space and not run the risk of appearing that they were pitying him or treating him as some poor creature.  They were trying not to bruise his confidence or self-esteem, fragile as it was.  Things have improved fortunately for both of them.  I wonder, could the same thing be at work here?  Again, I'm making an assumption and I apologize for that.  But, if such were the case, you really need to talk to your parents about it.

I think you need to talk to your parents whatever the root cause may be.  The distance could only grow further to the point that it is unbridgeable and too late.  Good luck.
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« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2009, 11:42:21 PM »

St. George,


I wish I could offer some really sage advice, but I really don't know where to begin.  Your estrangment from your parents don't necessarily have to stem from you being Orthodox and them not being.  I think your parents have found a way to coexist with one being Protestant and another Catholic.

Let me ask this, if it's not too invading and personal. You say that you have suffered a spinal cord injury.  I notice you did not elaborate and that is your choice to do so.  However, from personal experience, when a friend of mine had a major accident which left him paralyzed, he and his parents started having more distance though he was living with them.  I found out that his parents were not intentionally trying to be distant but they were trying to respect his space and not run the risk of appearing that they were pitying him or treating him as some poor creature.  They were trying not to bruise his confidence or self-esteem, fragile as it was.  Things have improved fortunately for both of them.  I wonder, could the same thing be at work here?  Again, I'm making an assumption and I apologize for that.  But, if such were the case, you really need to talk to your parents about it.

I think you need to talk to your parents whatever the root cause may be.  The distance could only grow further to the point that it is unbridgeable and too late.  Good luck.


Hi scamandrius,

Luckily, my spine problem, while not minor, is not as serious as a spinal cord injury.  From what the doctors tell me, I have several degenerative disks in the thoracic area.  I experience pinched nerve pain and constriction around my chest, shoulders and back. 

I think they are worried about my future, and also about their own, especially financial and retirement future. 
« Last Edit: June 27, 2009, 11:42:36 PM by StGeorge » Logged
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« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2009, 01:57:36 PM »

So, I was getting trash from my mom's room, and I saw on her nightstand a book on Asperger's Syndrome.  Nobody else in the family has it, but my mom has told me before that she thinks I have it.  I've never been diagnosed for it, but she has mentioned in the past that she thinks I have it. Undecided

« Last Edit: June 28, 2009, 01:57:53 PM by StGeorge » Logged
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« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2009, 05:18:18 PM »

Interesting.  You know they say people with Asperger's are extremely intelligent.  They say Bill Gates has it. 
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« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2009, 07:18:28 PM »

Interesting.  You know they say people with Asperger's are extremely intelligent.  They say Bill Gates has it. 

Yes, I've heard about Bill Gates.

I asked my mom about her thinking I have AS, and she said that people with AS are obsessed with one thing.  When I said that I'm not obsessed with one thing, she made a funny look at all my icons and said, don't you think you have enough icons?   Tongue
« Last Edit: June 28, 2009, 07:23:07 PM by StGeorge » Logged
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« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2009, 07:24:57 PM »

OK, then by that measure, I have Asperger's too.  Do they have support groups for us?   Smiley
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« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2009, 09:56:42 PM »

I asked my mom about her thinking I have AS, and she said that people with AS are obsessed with one thing.  When I said that I'm not obsessed with one thing, she made a funny look at all my icons and said, don't you think you have enough icons?   Tongue
Can be, but Asperger's, as with all autistic spectrum disorders, is pervasive. A person with Asperger's will not obsess over one thing and yet lead a perfectly normal life otherwise. In fact, that sort of obsession has been more closely linked with depression than ASD.

I am not a doctor, but I have taught children with ASDs, including Asperger's, and I can tell some of the signs if I have the opportunity for observation. You have a markedly different writing style from that of my students with ASD. I cannot make a diagnosis, however, and I doubt your mother could either, especially if her only information is from that one book. If you're truly curious, I would recommend you see a doctor.
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« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2009, 10:24:54 AM »

Interesting.  You know they say people with Asperger's are extremely intelligent.  They say Bill Gates has it. 

Yes, I've heard about Bill Gates.

I asked my mom about her thinking I have AS, and she said that people with AS are obsessed with one thing.  When I said that I'm not obsessed with one thing, she made a funny look at all my icons and said, don't you think you have enough icons?   Tongue

Do you happen to recall what the title is of the book your mother has, please?  People with Asperger's do not "obsess" over one thing.  The son of some friends has a condition in the Asperger's-Autism spectrum and we've known him since he was a baby.  That does not describe him.  Here is a link to a site on Asperger's
http://www.aspergers.com/  if you're interested.

Ebor
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« Reply #10 on: June 29, 2009, 10:32:19 AM »

While our oldest is only 16, I can speak a bit as a parent.  You are an adult at 26, but living in your parent's home there is a tension between the old pattern of dependent/child and what you are now.  That you have a health problem can be a concern to them, but they can't treat you like you are a child. You have responsibility for your own care and that can be a cause of conflicting emotions. 

Could there be some conflict with your new religion?  May I ask if your family attended church when you were a child or do your parents do so now?  How long have you been EO?  That might also be a source of some tension. 

I apologize if any of this crosses a line and I do not mean to be intrusive or pry. 

With respect,

Ebor
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« Reply #11 on: June 29, 2009, 11:02:16 AM »

Interesting.  You know they say people with Asperger's are extremely intelligent.  They say Bill Gates has it. 

Yes, I've heard about Bill Gates.

I asked my mom about her thinking I have AS, and she said that people with AS are obsessed with one thing.  When I said that I'm not obsessed with one thing, she made a funny look at all my icons and said, don't you think you have enough icons?   Tongue

Do you happen to recall what the title is of the book your mother has, please?  People with Asperger's do not "obsess" over one thing.  The son of some friends has a condition in the Asperger's-Autism spectrum and we've known him since he was a baby.  That does not describe him.  Here is a link to a site on Asperger's
http://www.aspergers.com/  if you're interested.

Ebor

Asperger's Syndrome: a Guide for Parents and Professionals.  The author is Tony Attwood. 

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« Reply #12 on: June 29, 2009, 11:05:23 AM »

While our oldest is only 16, I can speak a bit as a parent.  You are an adult at 26, but living in your parent's home there is a tension between the old pattern of dependent/child and what you are now.  That you have a health problem can be a concern to them, but they can't treat you like you are a child. You have responsibility for your own care and that can be a cause of conflicting emotions. 

Could there be some conflict with your new religion?  May I ask if your family attended church when you were a child or do your parents do so now?  How long have you been EO?  That might also be a source of some tension. 

I apologize if any of this crosses a line and I do not mean to be intrusive or pry. 

With respect,

Ebor

My parents, sister and I used to always go to the Latin Catholic church.  My dad saw to that we sat front row.  A few years ago, while in high school, my sister started going to an evangelical free church.  My mother reverted to Protestantism.  I became Orthodox about 18 months ago, when living away from home. 
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« Reply #13 on: June 30, 2009, 11:09:35 AM »

Thank you for the information.  I looked up the book and it is considered to be quite decent.  It isn't a quick-and-easy or "pop-psych" sort of work.  Perhaps your mother has not had a chance to get into it much as, to repeat, the "obsess over one thing" isn't an accurate description of AS. 

Your changing to a different (and possibly unknown to your parents) Church while living away could be something that has caused a change in the dynamics.  Do you talk to them about religion? 

I am not trying to be nosy here, but are there changes that you expect your parents to do for you?  One such thing is do you cook or do you take meals with your parents?  If so, do you tell them that you're fasting and can't eat what has been prepared or that the food should be done according to EO fasting rules?  I have read of cases where a teen or young adult changes to a different church and then expects that the family do things according to her/his new faith.  Other cases of this that I know of are of teenagers deciding to be vegetarian or in extreme cases vegan and expecting that their new diet be catered to by Mom or whoever is cooking.  Often they are told to learn to cook for themselves.  Smiley

One more extreme case that I read of was that of people demanding that the parents only address their child by the EO baptismal name rather then the one that they gave their offspring at birth and which they had been using for many years. 

These are just some thoughts and by no means am I wanting to offend you.  The relations between parents and children can be very complicated and can vary within families as well since children are individuals and each relationship is unique.

With respect,

Ebor
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« Reply #14 on: June 30, 2009, 07:43:38 PM »

Thank you for the information.  I looked up the book and it is considered to be quite decent.  It isn't a quick-and-easy or "pop-psych" sort of work.  Perhaps your mother has not had a chance to get into it much as, to repeat, the "obsess over one thing" isn't an accurate description of AS. 

Your changing to a different (and possibly unknown to your parents) Church while living away could be something that has caused a change in the dynamics.  Do you talk to them about religion? 

I am not trying to be nosy here, but are there changes that you expect your parents to do for you?  One such thing is do you cook or do you take meals with your parents?  If so, do you tell them that you're fasting and can't eat what has been prepared or that the food should be done according to EO fasting rules?  I have read of cases where a teen or young adult changes to a different church and then expects that the family do things according to her/his new faith.  Other cases of this that I know of are of teenagers deciding to be vegetarian or in extreme cases vegan and expecting that their new diet be catered to by Mom or whoever is cooking.  Often they are told to learn to cook for themselves.  Smiley

One more extreme case that I read of was that of people demanding that the parents only address their child by the EO baptismal name rather then the one that they gave their offspring at birth and which they had been using for many years. 

These are just some thoughts and by no means am I wanting to offend you.  The relations between parents and children can be very complicated and can vary within families as well since children are individuals and each relationship is unique.

With respect,

Ebor

I don't talk religion much with them, except when they ask.  They don't ask so much about the theology as much as about why I go to church on Saturday  night and still go on Sunday as well.  Dinners are all right because I eat whatever is given me.  My mom cooks meals.  During fasting periods, I don't eat meat and dairy during the day, but if I'm served it at dinner, I eat it.  I have some health problems right now that make me weak feeling, so it works out well.     

No, my parents call me by the name they gave me, and I have no problem with that.  I don't like to rock the boat more than necessary, so when I became Orthodox I chose George as my name, the same saint's name I chose for Catholic confirmation. 
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« Reply #15 on: June 30, 2009, 07:48:04 PM »

My brother was recently evaluated for Aspergers by a neuropsychologist. He was born about 2.5-3 months premature and had oxygen poisoning which causes him to now be legally blind (he can still see enough to not be tax exempt but he is incapable of ever driving a vehicle). It turns out that while he has all the symptoms of aspergers he actually does not have it. He has some neurological issues between his right and left hemispheres. So reading a book is not enough to diagnose something like autism in any form.
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« Reply #16 on: July 01, 2009, 09:40:55 AM »

^ I'm glad you checked, though; births in those conditions can often result in ASD or other mentally handicapping conditions. It's good to know your brother does not have Asperger's. With everything else he's been through, he doesn't need any more.
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« Reply #17 on: July 02, 2009, 08:43:54 AM »

I don't talk religion much with them, except when they ask.  They don't ask so much about the theology as much as about why I go to church on Saturday  night and still go on Sunday as well. 

Well, I know about vespers services (Anglicans have them too at times) but it could be that your parents are puzzled by this attendance since some places have Saturday evening services that are the same as Sunday morning ones (the idea that Sunday starts on Saturday evening) so they might wonder with the idea of "same service twice".  From what you wrote this is a definite change from how things were when you were a child.  Maybe it seems on some subconscious level to be a kind of "break" from how things used to be/are supposed to be done.  You, as an adult, have chosen a different path.   

Are Saturday nights or the time when you attend services during the week a time when there was some particular family custom in the past that your going to church has changed?  Families and their habits and patterns can be very complicated.  Could they be concerned that this could be straining your health, is another thing that occurs to me.

It just struck me re-reading your title, that having some distance with one's parents is a normal thing.  We're raising three children right now, but as time passes each of them is changing and maturing bit by bit and becoming a person who is not just the little boy or girl but one who has facets that are new to us.  Eventually, if all goes well, they will leave home and make lives through their efforts that will change how they see us and we see them.  But they'll still be our children.  I just remembered a saying

"A child passes through your life and disappears into an adult".

I'm sorry if this seems incoherent. Please feel free to ask for clarification and I'll do my best.

Ebor
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« Reply #18 on: July 03, 2009, 09:41:20 PM »

I don't talk religion much with them, except when they ask.  They don't ask so much about the theology as much as about why I go to church on Saturday  night and still go on Sunday as well.

Well, I know about vespers services (Anglicans have them too at times) but it could be that your parents are puzzled by this attendance since some places have Saturday evening services that are the same as Sunday morning ones (the idea that Sunday starts on Saturday evening) so they might wonder with the idea of "same service twice".  From what you wrote this is a definite change from how things were when you were a child.  Maybe it seems on some subconscious level to be a kind of "break" from how things used to be/are supposed to be done.  You, as an adult, have chosen a different path.   

Are Saturday nights or the time when you attend services during the week a time when there was some particular family custom in the past that your going to church has changed?  Families and their habits and patterns can be very complicated.  Could they be concerned that this could be straining your health, is another thing that occurs to me.

It just struck me re-reading your title, that having some distance with one's parents is a normal thing.  We're raising three children right now, but as time passes each of them is changing and maturing bit by bit and becoming a person who is not just the little boy or girl but one who has facets that are new to us.  Eventually, if all goes well, they will leave home and make lives through their efforts that will change how they see us and we see them.  But they'll still be our children.  I just remembered a saying

"A child passes through your life and disappears into an adult".

I'm sorry if this seems incoherent. Please feel free to ask for clarification and I'll do my best.

Ebor

They know of Saturday night Vigil Mass, which in the Latin Church may be attended in substitution for Sunday morning Mass.  It's the same Mass, same liturgy.  So, I can understand why they don't understand that I attend both services.  I explain that Vespers is a preparatory service for the Divine Liturgy, that the Eucharist is not offered and that the liturgy itself is different.  I also said that Vespers is based on the monastic service for that hour.  The thing that I feel a little uncomfortable with is the time: 6 p.m., falling as it does right when dinner usually happens. 
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« Reply #19 on: July 03, 2009, 11:43:52 PM »

Have you spoken to your Spiritual Father about this?
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