It’s a hard stage. At some point our loved ones get to the stage where they feel “persecuted.” It’s right there on the LBDA website and it’s right there in our homes. What it looks like is an anger and hostility for you trying to help them (“as there is nothing wrong with me”), anger at what you haven’t done, anger at what you’re doing. The barbs coming from their eyes are fierce.
It’s demoralizing in subtle ways. You work so hard to take care of your loved one and hostility is the response. But keep going.
Harder still is the other people. When your loved one complains to them how they are treating them, other people actually believe it and turn hostile towards you. Or try to “gently” tell you that you’re doing it wrong and how you need to change and they can do it better if you just listened to them.
But they haven’t walked this journey. They don’t the know the reality of the “hostile normal.” Unfortunately. You could be a saint and still not win the favor of your loved one.
Then there are those other people who want to take their accusations even further. Unfortunately it’s a stage where you have to accept that people don’t understand. And it may mean withdrawing a little bit. Which isn’t all bad because hostility from your loved ones can be directed to anyone at any time.
Thankfully the hostilities for us are not physical and hopefully won’t be. No guarantees. But it still hurts the heart when you’re trying to help your loved one or keep them safe and it makes them angry. And I think the hard part is that it’s usually a parent that we’re caring for and they have so much influence on our hearts. Our minds know that this isn’t them, but it’s hard to get that message through to our hearts.
So we keep on being gentle, kind, loving and wise. It’s what we pray for and practice every day.
This is what love looks like.