Friday, November 29, 2013

"Solicitous Domination"

Eeew!  A very creepy phrase: solicitous domination." I read this in a recent reading in one of my meditation books.  It was referring to the pattern of behavior that's common to folks taking care of someone who needs care. 

I noticed when I worked for the Alzheimer's Association and talked to a lot of family members who were caring for someone with Alzheimer's that it was very common for the caregiver to speak to the person as though he or she was not all there.

Of course, the person actually wasn't "all there," but he or she didn't know that and usually became very angry about being spoken to in a way that seemed very disrespectful to him or her.  Solicitous domination. 

Then I began to notice that that "solicitous domination" was very common with all caregivers.  I used to say that it seemed to be a human thing to become obnoxiously bossy when someone needed help. 

Then I noticed that I was that way with my husband when he was ill.  I seemed to think that I should tell him what to do all the time.  I eventually apologized to him and, for the most part, was able to give him enough respect to let him decide for himself how he was going to live his life.

Of course, I had good motives:  I loved him and I wanted him to feel better and I wanted him to live for a long time.  However, good motives didn't excuse obnoxious bossiness (solicitous domination). 

After the 2005 wreck when the love of my life died and I was seriously injured, the awareness of the common behavior pattern in caregivers came in handy.  For quite awhile I was completely dependent on the people around me and had the experience of being bossed.  Because I knew it was a common behavior in caregivers, I didn't get my feelings hurt or get angry.

Not everyone was like that and the ones that were probably had the same good motives as I had when I was like that.  They loved me and wanted me to get better and thought they knew what I should do.  Sometimes they were right.  A lot of the time they were wrong. 

I didn't say much because I didn't want to piss anyone off.  I just ignored as much of it as I could and when it was necessary, I called in expert opinions to be sure what was right.  In my heart, I had to know that this was a case of "what goes around, comes around."  I gave my husband several years of bossiness (solicitous domination), and I only had to deal with a much shorter time. 

I am still learning that although I might be very very sure that I know what someone ought to do about whatever problem is going on in his/her life, I actually cannot be sure at all.  Plus I am way out of line by telling them what to do when I haven't even been asked because their lives are theirs.

Of course, I think I'm pretty smart so it's often been hard to shut up.  I've collected some lovely rolls of masking tape that I keep around to remind me that I will never regret keeping my mouth shut!

1 comment:

Eric Wayne Mix, DO said...

I hope that I was not being solicitously dominant! Thanks for this lesson!!! : )

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