Family Relations/try #2

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Question
Hi, I just asked you the question about needing to stay with my husband's grandparental figures and you seemed confused by my questions so I'll try once more.

Same background story: My hosts hate me and I feel awkward staying with people who hate me.

More specific question:  If I get too overwhelmed with my anxiety or OCD while I'm staying with them and I do what I need to do in order to calm myself down and manage my stress, what is the best way to respond to them if they get angry that I'm taking some time for myself? Normally I go with honesty and explain my situation but last time I did that with them they got upset with me. I don't know how to handle them if they get angry with me or how I can best approach the situation if it arises. Do you have any suggestions?

#2.  My kids and morning drinks. My question is: am I allowed to serve my kids drinks at other people's homes or is it considered rude?  As social expectations go am I to wait until they offer or am I within my rights to ask for what I need?

What I meant by asking about what to do with the drinks/breakfast situation and then delcaring 'nobody messes with my kids' is that I always do what is BEST for them and nobody is going to stop me, but I CAN be swayed into believing that what I think is best is NOT BEST by people telling me that what I think is big deal is perhaps not as big a deal as I think. If someone like you tells me that socially I should wait to be offered food and that making the kids wait for several hours to get food or drink is a better practice then I may be swayed into thinking I shouldn't be asking my houseguests for drinks for my kids. That is my whole point in asking an expert opinion - to find out if I'm within my rights to ask such things of my hostess.

Answer
Hi, teg, thanks for your questions. I will try to answer as best as I can, although I'm still somewhat confused.

"am I allowed to serve my kids drinks at other people's homes or is it considered rude?"
----- this is not a question that a psychologist can answer. I have no idea if the people have any rules, or what the rules are. Also, psychologists do not do surveys about what people think is rude / not rude. You might try asking an advice column for such questions. Even if it were rude, would you make your kids suffer in that way?

" As social expectations go am I to wait until they offer?"
---- social expectations are really the purview of advice columns and social etiquette. Psychologists help people find their own truth and learn to be assertive, not try to read other's minds.

"am I within my rights to ask for what I need?"
----- rights are a legal question, one that you should ask an attorney

"If I get too overwhelmed with my anxiety or OCD while I'm staying with them and I do what I need to do in order to calm myself down and manage my stress"
---- well, there are a number of things one can do. A lot depends on the person and situation. There are both behavioral and cognitive techniques (such as deep breathing or muscle tensing). Also, you could simply do nothing and simply 'be with' the feelings.

"what is the best way to respond to them if they get angry that I'm taking some time for myself?"
--- IDK what the best way is, but what about doing nothing? i.e., letting them have their anger and express it however they want to? After all, you are asking them to allow you to express your feelings of being 'too overwhelmed', so why not?

" If someone like you tells me that socially I should wait to be offered food and that making the kids wait for several hours to get food or drink is a better practice"
---- yea, this is something that psychologists never do. We don't ever give advice - it would be presumptuous of a psychologist to think that we would know what is best for someone else!!!

Not sure that answers your questions, but it may be because these mostly are not psychological questions. Regarding anxiety and compulsive behaviors, cognitive therapy seems to be the best approach to resolving these problems. A therapist helps alot, but one can study the technique by reading books. One of the best approaches is RET - 'Rational Emotive Therapy', created by Albert Ellis. Part of RET involves confronting the illogical thinking that most of us have. For example, it likely is untrue that anyone can be 'too overwhelmed'. Also, it may be untrue when people tell themselves "I need to calm myself down". Illogical thoughts can increase the problematic emotions that one is having, and working on the thinking is pretty easy to do.

for you and anyone else - check out my new blog on false arrests and the mentally ill - www.fl-forensic.com/blog  

Family Relations

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Bruce Borkosky, Psy.D.

Expertise

questions framed similarly to 'what are some ways to respond when someone does/says X' are best. Questions posed in the form of 'why does my father do/say Y', or 'how would you diagnose my mother when she does/says Z' are difficult, if not impossible, to answer. I will probably reframe your question to fit the first question (what do I do). Nay question regarding any family member is fair game. Some of the most difficult are in the area of step-parenting and divorcing families.

Experience

I've been a licensed psychologist in Florida since 1994. I've evaluated and/or treated thousands of patients.

Organizations
American Psychological Association Florida Psychological association National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology

Publications
www.bruceborkosky.blogger.com

Education/Credentials
Psy.D., Miami Institute of Psychology, 1993 M.CS., U. of Dayton, 1984 B.A., Ohio Wesleyan U., 1978

Awards and Honors
Award for Years of Dedicated Service, Palm Beach County Legal Aid Society, 1999

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