Delaware family in need of intervention
Dear Mariann: Can you help with a situation involving a troubled teenage child with a potential addiction issue, a father who is emotionally absent, and a mother who has quit her job and is giving 100 percent to the situation? Your thoughts please, Mariann …”
MARIANN’S RESPONSE: Wow, there are so many levels of dysfunction within the situation, an entire column could be devoted to just this question. The “identified patient” (IP), is the “troubled” teenager. However, he or she is just a symptom of much larger problems within the “family system.” An intervention is necessary on many levels, which merits finding a competent counselor trained in both addiction and family dynamics. The urgent issue is the perceived addiction of the teenager. Is there a school intervention specialist within that school district whom the mother can contact for assessment of the child?
Once completed, there are other issues needing attention within the family before it can once again be healthy. Why has the father “checked out?” Is he depressed, a workaholic, having an affair, dealing with his own addictions, physically ill, financially burdened, or just truly “emotionally absent” from his own family? How did the mother become the martyr? Considering that she has “quit her job and giving 100 percent” is equally unhealthy in comparison to not participating at all, per the description of the father. Lack of parental balance is a glaring issue, since the mother seemingly is “carrying all of the weight” for the family.
As for the sanity of the mother, run do not walk straight to a trained counselor’s office. If the father does not want to participate, that is his choice, and no one can force him. Any siblings should be involved in counseling since chances are they feel ignored due to the attention being received by the “IP,” and might be harboring their own issues or addictions.
The mother must establish healthier boundaries and care for herself, versus sacrificing “100 percent” for her troubled child and absentee spouse.
Attendance at Al-ANON meetings will give her strength by hearing the experiences of other families who are dealing with the same addiction issues of loved ones.
Dear Mariann: I am very bothered by the trend of women being frivolously referred to as “crazy.” For instance, if a woman gets the wrong meal at a restaurant and she complains, the server would be more apt to tell her coworkers that the woman at table four is crazy, while a male diner with the same demeanor as a female diner who complains would just be referred to as a jerk. Why do you think this happens, and what do you think we can do about it?
MARIANN’S RESPONSE: “Crazy” IS an offensive term that should be “ousted” if overheard. Much of our verbiage concerning female emotions evolved from Sigmund Freud, especially “hysteria” or terms specific to reproduction. Even though Freud contributed mightily to the studies of human behavior, his principles concerning the mental and physical frailty of women have been problematic for many subsequent generations of females.
Women have made incredible strides from that repressive Freudian age of being second-class citizens to “coming of age.” Females are now graduating from college at a rate of 25 percent more than their male counterparts, while also filling the classrooms of such professional pursuits as law and medicine at a much higher rate than men. And finally per a July 16, 2012, story reported by ABC News, James Flynn, a New Zealand IQ researcher, has determined that, for the first time, women are now outperforming men on those tests.
My point being, seemingly women are evolving forward faster than their male counterparts and this is potentially a threat to the male species that became too comfortable as the dominating societal force. When the “status quo” is threatened, a person often resorts to demeaning comments, which leads us back to your anger toward the casual use of “crazy,” especially since it has been thought of more in a female context versus describing male actions. Remember, be tactful, not offensive when speaking up and your commentary will have greater merit in deleting this inappropriate and outdated word from our lexicon.
Mariann Main is a Licensed Counselor and a Delaware native. Her column appears weekly on Saturdays. To submit a question and have Mariann answer it, visit delgazette.com/life-questions-with-local-answers or send mail to the Delaware Gazette office, 40 N. Sandusky St., suite 203, Delaware, OH 43015.