Crossroads at Midlife: Your Aging Parents, Your Emotions, and Your Self

By Frances Cohen Praver | Go to book overview

9
Problems from the Past

Life can only be understood backwards;
but must be lived forwards.

Soren Kierkegaard

Neurotics build castles in the air,
psychotics live in them.
My mother cleans them.

Rita Rudner

Old ghosts that have lain dormant are now haunting. Unresolved problems from childhood, long buried, resurface. There is pressure to resolve these issues before parents die, which may be a good thing or a bad thing. Resurgence of anxiety, depression, or anger comes with the territory.

Painful experiences make life’s journey more difficult, but they also enrich and deepen personality. Given the urgency imposed by the truncated time span, the need to rise from the ashes of bottomless suffering to the apex of self-discovery is greater than ever.

Examining the past, we come across pieces of the puzzle. Prior interactions influence our relationship to our selves and to others. Loving, happy relationships increase trust and hopeful attitudes; they provide a firm foundation during stressful times. Overindulgence decreases ability to tolerate frustration and accept rejection, which may present problems now. Other issues that may loom large are histories of neglect, criticism, or abandonment.

Holding on to the hurtful past and longterm suffering arrests creative living. You have choices to make. You can remain mired in misery or you can say “enough.” At midlife, time is of the essence. The challenge lies in extricating your self from the morass of strangling emotions for a freer tomorrow.

-101-

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Crossroads at Midlife: Your Aging Parents, Your Emotions, and Your Self
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Introduction xiii
  • 1 - My Story 1
  • 2 - Getting Your House in Order 3
  • 3 - Role Reversal 29
  • 4 - Diverse Role Demands 47
  • 5 - Emotions Evoked 65
  • 6 - Dark Feelings in the Spotlight 77
  • 7 - Guilt, Guilt, and More Guilt 85
  • 8 - Caring for Your Self 95
  • 9 - Problems from the Past 101
  • 10 - Unfinished Family Business 109
  • 11 - The Burden Is on You 117
  • 12 - Long-Distance Caring 123
  • 13 - Handle with Care 127
  • 14 - The Setting Sun 139
  • Notes 153
  • Index 159
  • About the Author 165
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