Identifying ‘Stuckness’

Identifying ‘Stuckness’

Have you ever felt stuck? You may be as surprised how often that common phenomenon bugs our world today.  Our focus today describing four varieties of stuckness begins with ‘physical stuckness’.

We’ve all been stuck in traffic, weather-related stuckness, vehicle or airplane stuckness, or power outage stuckness. Situations beyond our control. For instance, last week I was stuck in the hospital for a pre-planned back surgery. Yes, I agreed to the exchange of my normal get-up-and-go demeanor to following instructions to authorities as young as my grandchildren. So, as is normal for me, I asked the Lord to give me some ideas for a blog for my return home. I hate to waste time.  Stuckness increased as a one-night stay turned into two lying flat on a tilt for 24 hours to correct a surgery complication. Then another night for another complication adding a 3rd day. I asked the Lord to help me get as much out of the experience as possible and allow me to help someone along the way. I turned my listener and recall on full blast.

I was duly inspired by my charismatic night nurse who spoke about her work as a counselor for the family members of dementia patients. She beamed as she shared her expertise answering many questions.  She said that memory-impaired patients often suffer from 'dementia stuckness’ retreating to a prior era-maybe when they were working full time in their careers. The stuck times can be temporary or may become permanent. So, caregivers have to deal with those changing phenomenas. She told of an 83 yr old husband who retreated to the 1930s and thought his daughter was his wife. Then, said to his wife, “who are you?” Patience is a primary ingredient as the patient remembers what he/she wanted to say. They are forever searching for a word. Also patience is needed as the patient repeats the same story many times. She cautioned that caregivers often lose their identity by removing themselves from society by immersing themselves totally in care-giving.

I’ve discovered that almost everyone has a dementia story on the tip of their mind regarding their friend, relative, parent or spouse. People need to tell their stories to balance their lives. Listening to other’s stories is an unselfish gift requiring only time and genuine respect and interest.

As we continued our discussion, the night nurse was interested when I described a  stuckness existing in many marriages.  I’ve counseled couples who struggle with 'problem stuckness'. Being stuck on an old problem often badgers couples for years and consequently threatens the health of a marriage as well as the security of children. The parameter of ‘problem stuckness' can affect parent/child; child/child/ neighbor/neighbor and worker/worker.

Last, ‘emotional stuckness’, refers to individuals who relentlessly grapple with themselves for past mistakes, poor habits, bad friendships, etc. They become angry with themselves but need to be kind and patient. Everyone needs compassion. I discuss this in my book How To Get Along With Everyone.

How do you communicate healthily that someone's behavior is disappointing you, especially when your own people-pleasing nature is probably partly to blame for it?  As mentioned in other blogs the drill is the same:

  1. Acknowledge the problem or event (50 percent of solution).
  2. Ascertain the root cause of the problem; tragic events like fire, weather, accident, medical, financial, death or normal events like birth, promotion, or employment move which precipitated the problem; the indefinable boredom with each other or a heated disagreement which never received closure.
  3. Research options for correction and elimination. A good time to seek out a counselor.

All this requires that the people involved understand who they are and who they are not and who the other person is and is not. Understanding each others’ temperament/personality requires a dose of humility and purposeful review. Applying the skills of communication for respect, appreciation, listening and suing non-offensive I statements which makes being kindly honest easier and automatic.

Our son who came to be with us while I was in the hospital, after listening to my ‘stuckness’ conversations, responded: “We are all stuck a little in habits that provide stability to our lives and practices. God is the great “unsticker”, breaking us out of habits that have become destructive. That works for individuals as well as larger communities. The resurrection of Jesus is the moment when all the habits of death were irrevocably broken by God. “

Please feel free to comment or question.  I yearn to learn from my Blogger-reader-family.