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the glass is half empty and it's leaking

September 20th, 2010 at 02:12 pm

My mom must have hundreds of stories about horrible things that have happened to people in hospitals. She knows or has heard of people who have died from almost everything. And she feels like she has to tell me about all of them. I know she's scared, but I just don't see the point in always thinking about the worst thing that could happen. She is like that about everything, she thinks about the worst thing that will happen before she thinks about the positive. She says she's trying not to do that about the operations I need, but every conversation is What if _____? (fill in the blank with something bad).

She had company coming over and it was, "What if they see I have weeds in my yard?" "What if there's a speck of dust in the room?" What if there isn't enough food, or if there's too much food, or if the food doesn't taste right, or if the napkins don't match the tablecloth?" It's exhausting - no wonder she's so frantic and tired all the time. When she tells me these things I try to make a joke. Well if they see a weed in the yard, they'll condemn you and never come to your house again, and you won't have to worry about it anymore."

My viewpoint is so different. To me the glass is half full and I'm happy to have that half. You can't let your fears of what might happen paralyze you from moving forward and enjoying whatever bits of happiness you can. You need to grab onto those bits and then savor them. I can't waste my energy and depress myself by thinking of all the hundreds of things that could go wrong and I don't know why someone would want to. Even if I knew I was going to die in a month, I can't think of anything I would change in my current lifestyle. I love my life. I have exactly the kind of life I want for myself. I worked for years to get here and I enjoy every day.

I would like to help her with her fears but she is 70 and is not likely to change her thinking patterns now, I just wish she would keep some of these thoughts from leaking over onto me. I keep telling her, these people are experts at what they do. They've done hundred of the same types of surgeries, there is no reason to think that something will go wrong this time. I believe in being prepared for bad things - like having money saved and insurance and having a will etc, but I don't dwell on it. I wish she wouldn't either.

I finished reading the library book An Unforgettable Lady by Jessica Bird (aka J. R. Ward). Romance - pretty good. This is one of the her earlier books and she is a much better writer now. I love her Black Dagger Brotherhood series.

4 Responses to “the glass is half empty and it's leaking”

  1. ThriftoRama Says:

    I'm so sorry. I don't know why people do that. it was the same when I was pregnant. I was scared to death, and people I didn't even know would drone on and on about their horrible near-death birth stories. It was terrible. I vowed I would never do that to someone. ever!

    My mom used to call me and talk to me about the health problems/procedures of people I didn't know. it was like following sports. it was crazy. I had to tell her how it made me feel, and she has stopped.

  2. Analise Says:

    I admire your positive attitude and believe that positive thinking enhances our lives just as negativity dampens the spirit. In the past, I had some coworkers that were always negative, and I tried to make an effort to turn the conversation to the positive, but it was often an uphill battle.

  3. baselle Says:

    Woo. Your mom is a ANThill (Autonomous Negative Thoughts). You are doing pretty much what Dr. Daniel Amen would have you do, but here's a for any additional tips.

  4. PatientSaver Says:

    This is SOO like my own situation with my mother, who's a few years older than yours. She, too, always thinks the worst case scenario thoughts about everything, and she often sends me news clippings or URL links to stories warning about the danger of [fill in the blank.]

    I think our mothers are both very anxious people. I suspect an anti-anxiety medication would help, but my mom is too frugal to buy them.

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