When others harm those you love... help needed

When others harm those you love... help needed

Postby meepmeep » Tue Oct 08, 2013 12:17 pm

I read this forum a lot, but I rarely post... I find myself in a difficult situation, and in need of advice from a Buddhist perspective.

To explain briefly. I was partially raised by my grandmother, and therefore we are very close. She has two children, my mom and aunt, who have a very bad relationship and only sometimes speak. My aunt has her issues which I will get into... my mom has bipolar tendencies, and issues with her family that send her into rages and dark depressions. My grandmother has a troubled relationship with both her daughters.

So, currently my grandmother has been ill with various problems over the last several months. Initially, my mom was working with my aunt on this, but she lost it and backed out. This has left me as the mediator between the three parties...

Since mom has been not actively involved, and before as well, my aunt has been taking over my grandmother's life which has a decidedly negative effect on my grandmother's mental state, not to mention that she has stated that she thinks she should be out of her own home and in a nursing home. My aunt has control issues, and I really feel that she is manipulating things so that she can see them to that end.

So here I am in the middle... I am trying to approach all parties with love, but I keep experiencing intense anger. Anger at my mother for not being involved where she could help, and anger at my aunt for hurting someone that is very precious to me. I really don't know how I should view or act in this situation that won't cause more negative karma. I don't have local lama to turn to.

I make offerings, recite mantras, and do 35 BUddhas practice and dedicate merits to all parties in this situation. A couple of months ago I commisioned some pujas from Kopan monastery for my grandmother. I believe they seemed to work in the short term, but now, idk... I thought maybe I'd do this again, but I'm not sure...

Sorry if this doesn't make sense... It is such a long and convoluted issue, trying to be concise it difficult. I would love some advise and prayers though? How does one maintain bodhichitta when the other person is hurting someone you love. Harm to myself I can deal with, but this is something completely different, and I feel powerless to help, thus anger arises.
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Re: When others harm those you love... help needed

Postby praeteritum » Tue Oct 08, 2013 12:39 pm

In the most simple of terms, it would be "what does anger achieve?"
If you are already doing your best, then getting angry won't change anything at all.
Everything is in constant change, life is short.
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Re: When others harm those you love... help needed

Postby meepmeep » Tue Oct 08, 2013 1:06 pm

Intellectually, I understand this... but anger simply arises. As if, someone was harming your child and you want to stop it but don't know how. I am afraid of taking the wrong action and making things worse, or taking no action and making things worse...

As things are I am a granddaughter, not a daughter so I can only do so much. However, I am treated differently than child or grandchild, somewhere between. Everyone acknowledges that I am the only one grandmother trusts, but I feel like if I was honest to her about my fears, she could not mentally handle it. I cannot be honest with my aunt, because I don't want to create more family tension. I cannot be honest to with my mom because she will fly off the deep end. I guess I have been channeling my desire to do something into doing lots of prostrations, but idk if that is correct.
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Re: When others harm those you love... help needed

Postby praeteritum » Tue Oct 08, 2013 1:32 pm

Okay, what you need to do is be mindful of your feelings - that is to say, take a seat within yourself, and question why you feel what you're feeling.
If "anger simply arises," as you say, then "As if, someone was harming your child and you want to stop it but don't know how," cannot be the cause.
However you know the cause, and therefore the anger is not simply arising.

Now, you can only do what you know, and out of what you know there is only the action you take. You will only do what you believe is the correct course of action at the time.
There is no point in worrying about doing the wrong things, if you don't know what the wrong things are. You can only do what you know.
People make mistakes, but mistakes are different than doing something wrong on purpose. I know you are trying to help, and therefore do good. So there is absolutely no point in worrying about the future, worrying about some unknown.

Try to be aware of how you are feeling, and question those feelings. Then ask yourself what can you do, and act upon the best things you can do. If you are scared that the best action will offend, question why it will offend. Is it a problem with the other person, or a fear within yourself?
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Re: When others harm those you love... help needed

Postby futerko » Tue Oct 08, 2013 1:52 pm

I think you need to consider what is best for each person in this situation. If you have a vision of how this can happen then aim at that.

It sounds like your mom is not in a position to help, so it would seem to come down to either you, or your aunt, or the home, to care for your grandmother. If you are honestly able to provide that care then it would seem to fall on your shoulders, if you are prepared to do that, and your grandmother wants that too.

I would differentiate between the occasional need for angry words at times and the possibility of falling into an angry state on an "existential" level. If one or two angry sentences from you to your aunt can make things clear and prevent longer term anger from arising, then you might need to "put your foot down". That's fine if you let go of it as soon as the job is done and you avoid letting it "fester".
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
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Re: When others harm those you love... help needed

Postby Jikan » Tue Oct 08, 2013 6:16 pm

futerko wrote:I would differentiate between the occasional need for angry words at times and the possibility of falling into an angry state on an "existential" level. If one or two angry sentences from you to your aunt can make things clear and prevent longer term anger from arising, then you might need to "put your foot down". That's fine if you let go of it as soon as the job is done and you avoid letting it "fester".


:good:

Sometimes it is necessary to rock the boat, speak loudly, even act as though you are angry to achieve a peaceful resolution. futerko speaks well here.

I wish you and your family all the best in a very difficult situation.
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Re: When others harm those you love... help needed

Postby smcj » Tue Oct 08, 2013 7:49 pm

Not so long ago I had a somewhat similar family situation. As a long time Buddhist I tried to not become angry, but the situation became so dire I had to act. The action came in the form of a court battle, and I did my best to be outwardly civil, although internally I was less successful at rising above the matter. To make a long story short, I won. It was only after I was able to stop the elder abuse that I was able to begin to enact some teachings. First; to not seek revenge, and second; begin to forgive.

I am afraid of taking the wrong action and making things worse, or taking no action and making things worse...

There is a Dharma imperative to repay the kindness of one's parents. In this case it would be the kindness of one's grandparent for having raised you. Whatever you can do that is motivated by love for her, with the least amount of selfish and self-righteous motivation, is probably the right thing to do. Maybe it is nothing, that creating conflict will be worse for her than doing nothing. Plus there is the issue that she is an adult, and has choice. Only when people cannot protect themselves should we appoint ourselves their protectors. With children this issue is clear, but with adults there is a very wide gray line in this regard. Only you can decide what to do or not do.

The Milarepa story comes to mind, where Mila was not able to save the situation but took revenge after the fact. He suffered greatly because of the negative karma from his actions. Whatever action you take or don't take, don't be vindictive, and do try to not condemn, but reserve a space in your heart for forgiveness, if not for now then for in the future.

This is what I learned from how my karma played out. I know others could have done better in my situation, and if I were more spiritually developed I could have done better, but at the time that was the best I could do. Doing your best is the most you can ever do, even if in the end it doesn't work. Good luck to you.
Last edited by smcj on Tue Oct 08, 2013 8:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
A human being has his limits. And thus, in every conceivable way, with every possible means, he tries to make the teaching enter into his own limits. ChNN
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Re: When others harm those you love... help needed

Postby pemachophel » Tue Oct 08, 2013 7:57 pm

IMO, contact Lama Dawa Rinpoche via www.saraswatibhawan.org and ask for a mirror divination on what specific practices, either done by yourself or commissioned from others, will help your grandmother the most. Then also ask the best way for dealing with your aunt and Mother. You could even ask how to deal with your anger. Just a suggestion. The answers come from Dorje Yudronma.

Good luck and best wishes. I will pray for you all.

:namaste:
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Re: When others harm those you love... help needed

Postby meepmeep » Wed Oct 09, 2013 1:08 am

Thank you all for your posts :)
I guess if I thought for sure that getting angry, so to speak, would help I would do so in an instant. However, a big part of me feels like there is enough anger here already, and since I can't take any real legal action I don't know what could be accomplished.

My grandmother and my aunt have a very co-dependent relationship. My aunt encourages my grandmother to be dependent on her, then berates her for her lack of independence. When she is well grandmother wants her independence, but when she is feeling ill, (or afraid as has been the case lately) she becomes very needy. Anyhow, I feel like if I act out of anger, I will just alienate myself from my grandmother, as I have to go through my aunt to contact her half the time now, and then my grandmother just loses an advocate. So I try to be present and kind to everyone and hope for the best, but obviously this is troubling me.

Something I keep thinking about is... Garchen Rinpoche said ( and this a paraphrase) that bodhichitta makes life better for you and and those around you, like sunshine melting ice. So I try to cultivate bodhichitta, but I don't think it is working.

Another thing, which is sort of a tangent... before my grandfather died some years ago, the last conversation I had with him, he made me solemnly swear to be there for my grandmother... I guess that is weighing on me too
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Re: When others harm those you love... help needed

Postby meepmeep » Wed Oct 09, 2013 1:13 am

pemachophel wrote:IMO, contact Lama Dawa Rinpoche via http://www.saraswatibhawan.org and ask for a mirror divination on what specific practices, either done by yourself or commissioned from others, will help your grandmother the most. Then also ask the best way for dealing with your aunt and Mother. You could even ask how to deal with your anger. Just a suggestion. The answers come from Dorje Yudronma.

Good luck and best wishes. I will pray for you all.

:namaste:

Pema Chophel- I actually tried to contact lama dawa a couple of weeks ago via Khandro Kunzang at info@saraswatibhawan.org about this situation. I didn't go into such detail, but asked for insight into the karma of my relationship with my grandmother, aunt and mother as well as how I could resolve it. I have not heard back. If you know of another way to contact him, please let me know.
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Re: When others harm those you love... help needed

Postby T. Chokyi » Wed Oct 09, 2013 1:59 am

meepmeep wrote:please let me know.


If it were me, and I felt strongly about it, I'd ask here:
Gregory Powers.
EMAIL: nativebounty@yahoo.com.
PHONE: 575-491-3031

I'd call or email, and ask if you could relay a question to Lama through Gregory when
Lama is there in a few weeks, he'll be giving divinations there but in person,

Then formulate your questions according to this site:
http://www.lamadawa.com/index.html

When it says Lama is not doing the divinations on this site, and he's in retreat,
just know that he'll be in FL in a few weeks doing divinations in person... so for right now maybe "no" according
to the the divination site, but maybe yes in FL http://saraswatibhawan.org/program/florida-teachings-with-lama-dawa/

You'd have to contact them and see what happens.

I also suggest to look over how to ask the question when you read the site:
http://www.lamadawa.com/div-questions.html

:namaste:
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