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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Wanting to Be Sick

My son has had a flu this past week, and I've observed some characteristics that I have also noticed in adults (believe it or not, children are quite similar to adults. Ha. For some people, this will be a news flash).

Not while he was sick, but as he has been recovering, and gaining back his physical and mental strength, he's been showing extra emotion, making unreasonable demands, and whining for the things he wants rather than asking politely like he normally does.

Not only has he told me, "I still want to be sick," he's also been quite clear about the fact that he would prefer staying home, watching TV, and having people wait on him.

As a mom, I first questioned myself (for several days):

- "Am I doing the right things to make sure he gets healthy?"
- "Should I let him get his own water, or wait on him?"
- "Does it really make sense that he's eating all this toast. Does he internally know what's best for his body?"
Etc....Etc...The Etc.'s went on continuously.

It's become clear that he wants to stay sick, not to actually be sick, but to be cared for on a level that satisfies the human need for compassion, and seemingly his need to manipulate.

I can't lie and say that since he's been starting to feel better I've had an easy time being compassionate, what with his insincere willingness to feel better and his reluctant "please" and "thank you's." Compassion has been a struggle. Maybe part of this journey with him as my son has to do with my own compassionate growth.

This relates to adult behavior- I've noticed two correlations:

1. Adults too fall into patterns until the patterns are reprogrammed

Is this how some people can sit and watch TV for days? Maybe not. But, maybe!

2. Adults intrinsically want/need the extra compassion they receive when they're not feeling well

This is part of the reason that people update their status on facebook with the status of their health.
Is it a desire, or a need, to have people wanting to help you feel better? Perhaps it is a combination of both a desire and a need. They desire because they like the feeling of being cared for (fairly enough). They need because their needs for compassion are being met through the people surrounding them.

Tidbit: Nonviolent Communication people suggest that the reason people do anything
is because they are working to satisfy an unmet need.
I need to contemplate this idea further.

As a mother, one should question whether it is their duty to try and make their offspring feel better through purely physical avenues (medicine, food, drink, warmth), or whether the compassion-factor should play a role bigger than we are currently giving credit.

I've learned, through the process of my son being sick, that I will not do the same things next time. I will be more compassionate (easier said than done), and I will wait on him a little less, letting him take initiative to learn the importance of self-healing.

This is not to say that I will stop helping him in need, but I will recognize that it's not purely what I'm doing for him that is helping him to heal, but that it is also my compassion that is contributing to his healing.

The only thing I want when I am sick is my mom because I know she will take care of me. Maybe we're all just big kids who need the love of the people around us, whether we like to believe it or not.

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