Dear Jennifer: We recently heard that my father has advanced cancer, and the doctors say his chances of recovery are limited if he doesn’t opt for surgery, radiation and chemo.
I feel he should also consider alternative treatments such as diet and exercise. However, whenever I bring it up, everyone in my family tells me that I am insensitive to his condition and that I do not understand the seriousness of his condition. I don’t believe cutting everything out is best, but I don’t get any support for that. What can I do to help my father without all that family drama?
Jennifer’s answer: I’m sorry your father has to go through this, and that it creates so much drama in the family. You know that cancer is difficult for the patient and his family. When it happens to someone we love or who is close to us, a lot of fear comes up, and that’s what you have to deal with.
You’re right that alternative treatments might help, but he has to be willing to look at it differently, and make changes that are needed for these treatments. What you are dealing with is not your family rejecting you, but their own fear around this condition and your father’s feelings around his loss of control, helplessness and powerlessness.
The only thing you can do is not sit in powerlessness, helplessness and fear yourself, because those feelings will make you feel rejected and alone. Those feelings manifest as a desire to assist and participate in his healing,
so the rejection you feel you are experiencing is extra painful. You may know of treatments that would be very helpful, but if the whole family doesn’t like it, they won’t either. Now everyone is scared, and all you can do is be there and wait for him to be more receptive to advice.
Two things that are important to you are, first, whether this rejection is part of the family pattern from which they treat you, and second, how you deal with these lessons of acceptance and detachment in your life. Acceptance means that you allow them to be in their fear and any other emotions they choose, and wait until they are ready to be open to other solutions.
You can’t always be a source of new information for them, and sometimes you have to let people wallow in their own fear (or other emotions) until they get tired of it and they come to you for help. That’s not an easy lesson, in a difficult time, and when it happens to someone you love, but isn’t this something you’ve experienced with them before?
Aren’t you always trying to show them the way out of that situation, because you don’t want them to suffer and appreciate and appreciate you, or are you able to let them do a little soul searching, and only then when they have exhausted all their resources, allow them to come to you?
The detachment piece requires you to be compassionate but not compassionate, to be there for them but not chase them, to be empathetic but not to try to take their own emotional journey away from them, to offer healing , but not as their own healer. These are all ways we can stand in our power towards others, but when we do this for our own affirmation, we get it boomerang.
Be compassionate to your family as they struggle with this, and when you are with them, be strong and supportive. Don’t be guided by your hurt feelings or rejection, they need your support now, and when they become aware of the fact that they are not in their power, they will be open and ready for other avenues.