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Kids, Friends, and Dependency

Re: the issue of encouraging dependency in others, I would put money on the fact that I have done everything I can to train my children to be as independent as possible, to be able to solve their own problems and to fend for themselves. However, quite often when young males have a captive audience, they go onto Lord and Master mode and promptly forget everything Momma ever taught them. Even my 10 year old is perfectly capable of rendering the house spotless (he's a better housekeeper than I ever was!)... when he's so inclined, which is about once every six months. My 13 yr old could, if he chose, prepare a very respectable three-course meal. They both are capable of taking care of themselves, though of course both are too young to go unsupervised for extended periods of time.

My children resent me for being sick, blame me for being sick and therefore not an "active" mother capable of doing things that "normal" Moms do (including bring in a paycheque for them to spend on all those things children seem to "need" these days). They often choose to "forget" that they are capable of fending for themselves quite competently. I think they believe that if they're obnoxious and demanding enough for a long enough period of time, I'll drop all this "nonsense" about beng sick and life will take on some semblance of normalcy (bearing in mind that I have been sick all their lives, having contracted the dd when my 13 yr old was born; the strain of raising two small children while at the same time dealing with the angst and fashionable anger of three adolescent sons sped up my decline).

Their biggest "thing" is that they don't (can't) get the attention they need. I try to listen to their rambling tales (show me a kid who doesn't ramble and I'll show you an inhibited kid! :), but they can see my eyes glazing over if they talk for more than five or ten minutes. It's not that I'm not interested, it's that my brain shuts down no matter how hard I try to pay attention. I try to be sympathetic, ask pertinent questions and make constructive suggestions when they have a problem, but since I'm braindead most of the time, what comes out of my mouth is either gobble-de-gook or a simple "I don't know." To them, from their position of too little life experience, this says "I'm not interested."

And so they have become demanding and abusive. A natural enough response, and they're too young to understand that by doing this they are undermining their own goals: to get Mother back on her feet again. They alternate between fear of losing me (i.e. that I might die) and hating me for "letting them down" in the mother department. When you think about it, theirs must be a mighty scary world right now.

As to others: my definition of friendship includes helping. Back when I had a life, I didn't see anything wrong with helping a friend laid up with the flu, or driving someone to a doctor's appointment because she was too sick to take herself, or lending a hand with a major project that needed to be accomplished quickly, or...As I said, my definition of friendship includes the concept of helping. It wasn't til my crash, when I started needing a little reciprocation, that I realized it wasn't a two-way street. Life is full of tuogh lessons.

But in any event, I don't consider myself to have trained anyone to rely on me at any point. IMHO, there's a vast difference between being reliable and trying to make oneself indispensable. The former is a positive character trait; the latter is just plain sick. As a matter of fact, being an essentially selfish person, excessive dependence on me is the last thing I want! I have long made a point of taking time for myself to do absolutely nothing but exactly what I feel like doing at that time (something of which a lot of people disapprove since it's not "productive", and goodness knows one must be productive in our society to be seen to have any true worth).

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