How to live with Extremely Worldly Parents

PineTreeFarmer

Woodpecker
Woman
Orthodox Inquirer
I actually was going to bring this up-- I think there's a tendency to call people worldly/materialistic/et al when often they grew up poor or otherwise insecure and working hard to be well-off makes them happy. So I don't necessarily think it comes from a bad place.

My dad constantly has money issues and thrift shops/dumpster dives all the time and I think that kind of stress can be a sort of materialism, too. So that's the opposite end of the spectrum but it's not always better.

(I grew up "poor" too but American 90s working poor wasn't that bad and my mom is good with money, so it often strikes me how the quality of between me and my husband was neglible.)

Sometimes you just have to reach out to people. My husband's parents rarely, if ever call or visit, and we only live an hour away from them, but I tell him to do it anyway. We had my father-in-law watch our son for few hours recently and he was tickled pink. My mom harasses me constantly (out of love, I call her too) but I always have to be the one to go visit her, and I do it anyway, because I know one day sooner than later that won't be the case (and she'll probably be living with us in a few years anyway). I do talk to my dad somewhat frequently and my brother probably a few times a week.

Anyway, life is short, and sometimes we have to do things that are awkward or inconvenient!
I know it doesn't come from a bad place. He is always so happy to talk to me. Usually I show up the day BEFORE surgery, and he tells me when I get there. Not a week late with him calling me. But preventative care etc.
It's getting everyone somewhere together without my mother being upset, too. She is so hurt to see us thrive without her. Like she is alone and older and having trouble with it, though she's actually really beautiful and youthful and has been successful. She's much prettier than I am.
My parents were married a long time. Until I was 30. And she affords my home and her only sibling's home, in the wilderness, so we can all be together. her brother has been in jail my entire life basically. For murdering someone he says broke into his house. They're not fancy houses. They're just ours. And we all have each other. And I can't hurt my momma's feelings.
 

Akaky Akakievitch

Woodpecker
Orthodox Catechumen
Is this counselor your Orthodox priest?

The counselor I'm referring to a licensed professional counselor who helped me more than anyone improve my relationship with my dad and my feelings about that relationship. Her very fundamental advice to express your basic feelings, then ask for what you want/need, was transformative for me. Ideally it would go both ways, so both are expressing their feelings and wants/needs.

My priest gives good advice, too, but it's more general - be kind, pray, don't judge, that kind of thing. I've found that when it comes to the fundamentals of communication in good relationships, I often get more concrete advice elsewhere.

Of course, it's just my opinion and anyone is free to take it or leave it :)

Just wanted to respond to these points here. Currently reading a book related to this topic, some of you may find it an interesting read:


The passage below relates to your situation well:


I'm not sure about the author yet and haven't finished reading it but he has some valid viewpoints and thus far I think his critique of the mental health industry being deceptive and an instrument of State power to remove us from the spiritual healing of the Church and Her sacraments is spot on.

Roosh also recently wrote an article related to this:


Only the sacraments of the Church can heal me, only the wisdom of holy elders will lighten my burden, only my unceasing prayer can spite Satan and his deranged strategy to take my soul and others. I will not count on psychiatry unless I feel that I cannot live for another moment, but well before that happens, I will lean on God, and know with confidence that He will respond.

We could say, why choose therapy when we already have the Church, which is the "hospital for sinners", with Christ being the Physician for our wounded souls? Although for specialised or tailored advice, perhaps a priest is too busy, lacks discernment etc. so therapists/counsellors can lend their support -- as long as there are no drugs involved (avoid at all costs or reduce dependency at the very least). Maybe someone goes to a rehab centre and finds value there and gets clean from alcoholism, for example - this can't be disputed but ideally a priest should be involved as well. All too often priests and the spiritual life is "supplementary" to our life problems, something that be "compartmentalised", as the author says, but Orthodoxy is a way of life, not something we segregate to certain days or moments during the week. I'm very new to the Church but can already see how the Church life is total, not partial.

Each situation is highly individual and it's up to each person to decide whether they think the Church can help them in their situation or if they have to go elsewhere, i'm not disputing counsellors provide sufficient advice and support, they obviously do. RVF can operate in a similar manner at times, though it is from a (mostly Orthodox) Christian perspective of course, and there are even Orthodox priests who comment occasionally. I've heard the inimitable Priestmonk Kosmas speak along similar lines (can't remember exact citation, but may have been somewhere during this talk: Talk 08: Let’s Not Forget About Spiritual Abuse) that counsellors or therapists can be useful and support the Orthodox in their unique situation - but we should always be aware that psychiatry, psychology, psychoanalysis etc. is secular and derives largely from the State, not from God.

Sorry if this derails the thread slightly, i realise i have not contributed to the OP much. @PineTreeFarmer I hope you resolve the issues with your father, I also have issues connecting with mine, so reading through your posts has been good to reflect on my own situation. A friend told me recently the most challenging Church teaching for her was "Honour thy father and thy mother" from the Ten Commandments - obedience to our parents despite their ills or poor character is a very hard thing to achieve. My father has basically been segregated from my entire family since i was young. I respect @DanielH 's views above, this is something I need to approach my priest about. But it's encouraging to see you want to re-kindle the relationship with him.
 

messaggera

Pelican
Woman
Other Christian
Just wanted to respond to these points here. Currently reading a book related to this topic, some of you may find it an interesting read:


The passage below relates to your situation well:

I'm not sure about the author yet and haven't finished reading it but he has some valid viewpoints and thus far I think his critique of the mental health industry being deceptive and an instrument of State power to remove us from the spiritual healing of the Church and Her sacraments is spot on.

Roosh also recently wrote an article related to this:



We could say, why choose therapy when we already have the Church, which is the "hospital for sinners", with Christ being the Physician for our wounded souls? Although for specialised or tailored advice, perhaps a priest is too busy, lacks discernment etc. so therapists/counsellors can lend their support -- as long as there are no drugs involved (avoid at all costs or reduce dependency at the very least). Maybe someone goes to a rehab centre and finds value there and gets clean from alcoholism, for example - this can't be disputed but ideally a priest should be involved as well. All too often priests and the spiritual life is "supplementary" to our life problems, something that be "compartmentalised", as the author says, but Orthodoxy is a way of life, not something we segregate to certain days or moments during the week. I'm very new to the Church but can already see how the Church life is total, not partial.

Each situation is highly individual and it's up to each person to decide whether they think the Church can help them in their situation or if they have to go elsewhere, i'm not disputing counsellors provide sufficient advice and support, they obviously do. RVF can operate in a similar manner at times, though it is from a (mostly Orthodox) Christian perspective of course, and there are even Orthodox priests who comment occasionally. I've heard the inimitable Priestmonk Kosmas speak along similar lines (can't remember exact citation, but may have been somewhere during this talk: Talk 08: Let’s Not Forget About Spiritual Abuse) that counsellors or therapists can be useful and support the Orthodox in their unique situation - but we should always be aware that psychiatry, psychology, psychoanalysis etc. is secular and derives largely from the State, not from God.


@Akaky Akakievitch: Appreciate this post, shared information, and citation points.
Would be interested in hearing more about this text you are reading: when you are interested and time permits.

I may have some more to share in return because you have provided great observations and critical points.
Sharing would consist of the emasculation of a man being subjected to a women professional counselor.
And how the practice of counseling encourages individuals to speak of others' sins.
 
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