In Response to Ann Garvin

In Response to Ann Garvin’s I Like you Better When You’re Not Here

Reviewed Mary E. Latela 7/13/2016

Dear Ann, I could have been swallowed up in your novel – I understand that it’s just not healthy to take care of others when I can barely take care of myself. I know that my Mom and Aunts were trained to never say no to a request for help. And they all ended up with severe bone, muscular, and hypertensive disorders – which my sisters and brother now “enjoy.”

I thought I had learned to say no. Several bouts of burnout – in healthcare, in teaching, in parenting, in marriage to an abusive, self-centered husband – indicated otherwise..
One day I realized very clearly that I had not learned anything.

I had filled in for a pastor one Sunday, then stopped to see my Aunt Rose, my nearest and dearest. I told her that these people wanted me to come twice a month to preach. I started thinking out loud (transparency they call it,) and my aunt, who had NEVER raised her voice to me said, “DON’T YOU DARE!” I asked why she was yelling – the answer – “I’ve needed to say yes all my life and now I’m in pain all the time.” We wept, hugged, chatted quietly – these are entities I cherish.

Then I told her, “I understand.” There is wisdom in making a space between myself and people who need, ask for, beg for help. I’ve slipped a few times, but thank goodness they still make band-aids for the knees. I am standing a little taller now. I do not walk into situations which history has told me are toxic. I say no … and amazingly, my circle of friends consider me to be kind.

 

Dear Ann, I could have been swallowed up in your novel – I understand that it’s just not healthy to take care of others when I can barely take care of myself. I know that my Mom and Aunts were trained to never say no to a request for help. And they all ended up with severe bone, muscular, and hypertensive disorders – which my sisters and brother now “enjoy.”

I thought I had learned to say no. Several bouts of burnout – in healthcare, in teaching, in parenting, in marriage to an abusive, self-centered husband – indicated otherwise..
One day I realized very clearly that I had not learned anything.

I had filled in for a pastor one Sunday, then stopped to see my Aunt Rose, my nearest and dearest. I told her that these people wanted me to come twice a month to preach. I started thinking out loud (transparency they call it,) and my aunt, who had NEVER raised her voice to me said, “DON’T YOU DARE!” I asked why she was yelling – the answer – “I’ve needed to say yes all my life and now I’m in pain all the time.” We wept, hugged, chatted quietly – these are entities I cherish.

Then I told her, “I understand.” There is wisdom in making a space between myself and people who need, ask for, beg for help. I’ve slipped a few times, but thank goodness they still make band-aids for the knees. I am standing a little taller now. I do not walk into situations which history has told me are toxic. I say no … and amazingly, my circle of friends consider me to be kind.

About @LatelaMary

Author of 14 self-help books, five still available: Prepare Him Room, Ten Steps to Peace, Healing the Abusive Family, Moments for Mothers. Breaking the Boxes: critique of institutions vs. individuals. Work-in-progress: Memoir (Sorting out Secrets)
This entry was posted in art, chronic pain, growing up, healing, mystory and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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