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Assignment describing a personal situation when the Gottman Principles were used:
I live with my mother, two daughters, and grandchild. So far, our relationships living together has been respectful and harmonious. Issues are quickly addressed as they emerge. Nothing is left to linger. As most of you know I am the primary caregiver for my mother. Fortunately, I do have ladies coming in during the day to do the major care for my mother. It has been a fortunate situation for me and my sisters especially since my older sister, Cameron suffered a stroke earlier this year and is not able to assist occasionally with the care of my mother anymore. Cameron use to come to Charlotte every 6-weeks. In fact, my sister Sandra and my time have been spent helping with my older sister, Cam. In addition to overseeing the care of my mother, I have new grandmother’s duties which are picking up my grandson from school then taking him to his extracurricular activities.
In managing the care of my mother there are always unexpected issues popping up such as they can’t come in due to their illness or their children’s illness, needed time off and such. This would cause me to care for my mother by myself which is a lot. Mother is not mobile and she needs help transitioning from the bed to her wheelchair, etc. My sister, Sandra realizes this as she use to be my mother primary caregiver and she knows about the issues I am facing. Earlier this month, Sandra volunteered to come down for the weekend to help with Mother so I could take a break. So, I made plans to get away for some much-needed relaxing time. However, the caregiver for the weekend called in the day before I was to leave and said she could not come in for the weekend. This caused a problem because there was no way that my sister could manage my mother alone. She is smaller and older than me with more ailments due to her many years of caring for mother. In addition, she would have to also help with my precocious grandchild. His mother had scheduled a long-awaited hair appointment for the same weekend and she needed a babysitter. She also had church on Sundays which she looks forward to as she is a single parent needing her weekly inspiration.
I felt my much-needed break being coopted by an unfortunate series of events. We all met to discuss the situation. The discussion ended with me insisting that Carol cancel her hair appointment to help Sandra care for mother. It was clear that Carol was not in agreement with this declaration. We all departed and just went to our separate rooms for a good night sleep. After a shower and as I was preparing for bed, I realized I had overreacted and had made Carol the point of my frustration. I went to Carol’s room and told her that I would stay local and come back on Saturday morning to help with Mother if needed until Carol returned home. I asked her if she could assist with Sunday which she agreed.
The Gottman Principles used:
1. Taking a break from the discussion allowed me to calmly look at other options. I needed to have a more positive response than what was thrown at me.
2. I did not criticize or try to lay a guilt trip on my daughters for not being more helpful in the care of my mother. I thought their actions were selfish since I have gone out of my way to make their life easier. I realize that the care of my mother is my commitment, not theirs and I need to be prepared to own this commitment.