Does anyone have any advice for dealing with challenging home/family situations? Whenever I am home/around family I feel suffocated and the Spirit that stays within me most of the time struggles against the negative atmosphere. I have a parent who is very highly anxious, something I have been able to find peace for through prayer but am unable to spread it to this person, or maintain it when I’m in this environment. I have a sibling who has chosen a career/lifestyle (finance) with very different priorities/goals, whom I find it difficult to relate to. I come from a Protestant/non-practicing family, though the issues are long-standing and not related to religion as I have not brought up the subject of my conversion at this point. But I have noticed that I am becoming more and more drawn to religious people lately (especially Catholics but others as well), and less able to relate to those who are not religious or do not see it as a vital part of their lives.
that tension between young adults and family is so common, and the main reason most of us have the strong need and desire to move out after HS/college. And once you have been away at college, army whatever, it is almost impossible to move back home and fit right in the family in the same way. And you are right it is not necessarily about religion, lifestyle or any issue in particular, just human nature. You have to separate in order to grow. It seems that for many, if not most, young adults they simply have to live apart from their families and reach a plane where their parents do not have day to day contact, input, comment or control over any aspect of their lives.
Sometimes the break is smooth, with just a few tears on both sides and some empty-nest anxiety, sometimes it can be traumatic, but it seems essential that the growth take place. If your parents have control issues it may be even more necessary. And boy is it tough to come back if you have to for financial or other reasons, so try and work on becoming independent financially as well as emotionally. Healthier for everyone IMO.
Thank you so much for your thoughts, puzzleannie. It is, indeed, a common problem and I know I am not alone in experiencing this, as I’ve witnessed with friends, relatives, etc. I am actually in my mid-twenties and have tried the living at home thing for two separate stints of 4 and 10 months and found it to be an absolute nightmare in both cases…and, as a result, have resolved never, ever to return again. But as my current grad program draws to a close and the threat of a difficult job market looms in the air, I’m becoming more and more afraid of having to turn to the last resort. It may be possible to live with extended family in another city a few hours away, but there are not guarantees…in fact, even living at home is not a guarantee. I literally get sucked into a nightmarish pattern of depression, anxiety, loneliness and stress when I live back there, because of the environment (middle/upper middle class, secular community where I never quite ‘fit in’) and the home situation (as described earlier).
Growing in faith eases my mind and I know God is working within me to face these fears…but in the meantime, I find it difficult even to talk to my parent (who is always complaining about work, bringing up the latest gossip or going on about who has what high-powered job or ivy league degree, in every conversation…just dumping out a lot of toxic frustration at me non-stop without even asking how I’m doing) let alone be in the same house or room.
How can you work towards peace? Have any of you who have been through this found a way to reconcile with your parents through the power of any particular prayers or saints?