Family in Crisis


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Everybody needs help to get through a tough time. Many of us will turn to family in a sudden physical, emotional or financial crisis. They are usually the people you can count on most. If you’re lucky to have a tight knit family, they’ll likely drop everything to help you out, day or night. We all need a solid support structure for when things go wrong. A cushioned inner circle is a must-have – it’s soft place to fall. Whether it’s family or friends you need a handful of people you can trust implicitly with just about anything.

Society seems to expect that we remain strong through adversity and stay in control of our lives, so when things go wrong we might feel ashamed or inadequate. Sometimes pride keeps us from asking for help even from professionals because to us they’re strangers. So we attempt to keep our troubles quiet and inadvertently place higher demands on specific family members or close friends.

A crisis can spiral a family into chaos. Boundaries become blurred. Relationships begin to unravel. Emotional turmoil has the potential to turn us nasty and we often treat the very people we claim to love most in the world worse than we’d treat any stranger. We take our fears and frustrations out on the people closest to us. Perhaps it’s because their love is unconditional? So we take them for granted, albeit unintentional.

No family is exempt from those shameful times when everybody is weary, emotions are running wild and things get out of control, sometimes a consequence of too much alcohol around the dinner table or a long history of complicated family dynamics.

It’s important to try to keep calm and stay patient with one another in times of crisis. Show that you still value the relationship by being willing to do what it takes to sort out the conflict. However, be aware that some relationships grow so toxic that it’s better to just let go.

If you’re the one in crisis, take a day at a time. Don’t sabotage yourself or your relationships by refusing to accept help, but understand that it may only be for a limited period. If you can, get professional help to curb the strain on your nearest and dearest. Try to regain control of your life as soon as possible by making your own decisions and, most importantly, take responsibility for your own well-being.

If your family member is suddenly paralysed (for example), it’s important to remember that although unconditional love, care and support is needed, you should resist the temptation to take over completely. Respect their decisions or choices no matter how difficult it is to accept. Avoid unnecessary conflict. Damaging good, healthy relationships beyond repair is not worth it.

Most importantly, be kind to yourself and to those you love – always.

PS… Some friends will always be friends because they know too much – they may know even more than family.


About Tracy Todd (Brave Lotus Flower)

Author of Brave Lotus Flower Rides the Dragon – an intimate and inspiring memoir of a quadriplegic. Inspirational Speaker. Teacher. Counsellor. Wife. Mother. Animal lover. Although I need a wheelchair to get around, it is most certainly not what defines me.
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4 Responses to Family in Crisis

  1. Anne-Marie Webb says:

    So true, as only the individual in the situation, knows the limitations, goals and frustrations best. The worst fears of being condemned by loved ones, can dump the strongest personality into a devastating depression, which can take a life time to surface from. Just keep flowering beautiful Lotus flower by the grace of the Lord you have survived two crashes. Keep the blog going!!

  2. Terri Nida says:

    I’m looking forward to reading your book!

  3. Terri Nida says:

    A post written with wisdom and compassion. You are so right – it is so easy for one family member to try and take complete control over a tragedy, and with good intentions. I appreciate hearing from another spinal cord injury blogger because I can so relate. In a way, it boosts my confidence that I can succeed in most of my endeavors. I’m so grateful to be following your blog. Thank you, Tracy.

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