THE ROLE OF UNDERSTANDING IN THE FAMILY
These cases from my practice show that unregulated relationships between spouses cause problems in adolescents. Every teenager needs parents whose marriage is reliable, full of mutual respect and love.
And the ability to express one’s emotions, especially negative ones, is crucial in marital relationships. An honest, frank conversation means a lot in difficult moments of stressful situations and can even determine whether the marriage will be durable or not.
Over the course of my own family life, I have repeatedly realized how important mutual understanding in the family is. However, this awareness, as a rule, was not easy for me. The most difficult time was for me after the birth of our second daughter, Katie, who was born with several physical disabilities. It was very difficult for me to come to terms with this. But when she turned one year old, it became obvious that she had not only cerebral palsy and a severe form of epilepsy, but that mentally she was also seriously behind. I was 24 years old then, I was a husband and father, but suddenly I experienced feelings that I had previously considered simply impossible for myself. I was overwhelmed with rage, irritation, I was unbearably painful, I felt guilty and completely inferior as a man, father and husband. There was no strength to carry this load, and I just wanted to run away, hide, especially when I saw that Katie’s condition was not improving. She absolutely did not develop, could not do anything on her own.
Caring for Katie was a nightmare. When she finally learned how to move with difficulty, it became even more difficult, because she constantly pulled everything that came under her hands into her mouth, pulled her hands to the hot stove, almost not feeling pain. Every second she had to be watched – she was irresistibly attracted to everything that was dangerous.
It all started in the first year of my studies at a medical school. The cost of taking care of Katie and other financial problems made our financial situation very difficult. Remembering all this, I wonder how our marriage did not break up at all.
Pat, my wife, has always been emotionally more mature than me. The pain for Katie and the lack of funds were as painful for her as they were for me, but she reacted to everything in a completely different way. Although her heart was also breaking with pain, nevertheless she did not give up, took care of Katie with attention, patience, gentleness and boundless love. She almost never succumbed to the panic feelings that plagued me like that. Her love, gentleness and patience were beyond my comprehension. And the worst part was that I couldn’t appreciate all this because her behavior contrasted so much with my inability to cope. Compared to her, I felt like a bad husband and a worthless father. I even took offense at her for this and tried to distance myself from her and Katie under any plausible pretext.
However, I loved Pat and understood that, instead of helping, I created new difficulties for her. I was tormented by the consciousness of my guilt and complete helplessness. In search of a way out, I turned to others, but no one could understand me.
Our affairs went especially badly when the “method of samples” became popular in the education of such children as Katie. 5 people were needed to simultaneously move her arms, legs and head, simulating a crawl. Almost all the money was spent for several hours of such everyday activities, and the failure of our efforts forced us to give up.
In the end, we realized (as, indeed, many others who were fond of this method) that it turned out to be a waste and pointless waste of time. But before we came to this conclusion, our family budget was at zero.
Nevertheless, even in the darkest moments, Pat continued to care for Katie with love, tenderness and amazing patience. She has not lost either inner peace or spiritual beauty.
And I? I could barely handle it. Day and night inside, everything hurt for Katie. I could not concentrate on studying and did not know how to cope with financial problems. In short, I was pathetic and was afraid that I could not stand it for a long time. I asked myself: “How many difficulties can marital relations endure? “Will they go bad after all this, or will the marriage break up at all?”
By then, Katie was already 5 years old. In general, everything remained the same, but her attacks became stronger and dealing with them was becoming more and more difficult. It got to the point that the slightest change in the environment caused a new attack. After the attack, Katie could not eat for three days. When the attacks began to be repeated several times a day, I had to force-feed her. In the end, we realized that Katie would not survive unless she was taken to the hospital. And finally, the day came when we had to make the hardest, most painful decision in our life: we had to put Katie in a clinic for the mentally retarded. Imagine giving our precious five-year-old baby to completely strangers. I was not at all sure that I would survive this. And again I looked at my wife, at my dear Pat.