When you look back over the blogs for this week, you can see that we have been focusing on strategies to help Sandwiched Boomers communicate effectively. Wondering why it is so difficult these days?
Actually it's not that surprising - everything is harder when you are stressed. And certainly as a member of the Sandwich Generation, 'stress' could be your middle name! So don't neglect yourself as you continue to concentrate on caring for your loved ones.
Have you had to give up expectations about what your life would be like now? Your frustrations with the realities of your day-to-day experiences will likely spill over into conversations with your boomerang kidult or aging parent .
Your own emotional turmoil can impact your ability to communicate openly and honestly. When you are sad and in pain about the needs of a family member - a child on drugs, a parent slipping into dementia - it can overwhelm you and threaten your exchanges. Anger about the demands of your situation and having to put your own desires on hold can come out as anger with your loved ones for their neediness. And when guilt rears its ugly head, you may become defensive and out of touch in your communications. Instead, acknowledge that you have only a finite amount of time, energy and money for your family-in-flux and you are doing the best you can.
When roles shift, it throws everything off balance. You may be taking on more responsibilities at work, beginning to parent your own parents, backing off from acting like a helicopter parent, or becoming more independent of your spouse. Any of these changes in your position in the family reflects on your interactions, making real connections more difficult.
So, accept that you and your family have some work to do. Hang in there and give everyone another chance to improve your discussions. Tomorrow we will address some of the comments you have made during the week.