Shells, you're so funny... There's definitely a Mad Props Award. And great idea to bestow it upon Laura yesterday.
The ways relationships change and evolve along with someone's recovery is so important to talk about. And surprisingly, I find it doesn't get talked about enough- in families, with friends, romantic partners, employers... whoever...
We should predict these evolutions in relationship- just as we predict evolutions in any relationship over time. If you have kids, or are around kids, you know well that the relationship between you and the kid changes and evolves pretty much continually as the kid grows.
Those changes are not always easy to get used to- and some require more adjustment than others.
Here's an example of just one of these types of changes/evolutions: a friend of mine told me the other day that her 8 year old son had informed her that morning that she was no longer "allowed" to kiss him at school, and that he was grown up enough for her to walk him only to the school gate instead of all the way to his classroom. As far as my friend was concerned, this was WAY too early to have to be giving up the "have a good day at school" kiss, but she did understand that he is experimenting with being more independent and more grown up, and that, if fact, this was an important phase in his development.
They made a compromise: she would kiss him before they left the house (and he said she could kiss him "a million" times at that point) and she'd walk him to a place by the gate where she could see he'd get all the way into school. This way, he gets to try out some more independence and she gets to know for sure that he's made it safely into school.
This is a change in logistics AND an evolution in the relationship between mommy and son. And this change was no doubt easier for the son than for the mommy! It's been about a week now, and it sounds like both mommy and 8 year old boy have adjusted quite well.
One of the things that makes a change like this hard on the mommy is that she doesn't know exactly what her son is thinking. Is he pushing for this change because he's truly ready for the experiment? Does he feel he needs to do this only because other 2nd graders are walking by themselves? What's his motivation? Should the mommy take him at his word and let him try this out, or say no, because he doesn't really want to get to try it?
The son in this example really did want to make this change, and apparently had been thinking about it for awhile. But the change seemed a bit sudden and out of the blue to the mommy.
Laura, this may be how your parents and/or friends feel.
They have been with you for the duration of your treatment and recovery- but they haven't, of course, been present for every thought, change, feeling, or experiment that you've had along the way. How could they, right? They couldn't.
So, you may need to talk to them about how much has changed, and that it's normal for all the relationships to evolve (and to have growing pains along with that, since evolution isn't always easy), and that, in fact, this is all a sign of great progress! It's easy for people in the life of the sufferer to get a little fixated back at the point where things were really scary, and to have trouble learning to believe that things really, honestly have changed.
And try to be a bit patient with loved ones about this kind of thing- especially if they haven't been directly involved in your treatment. I mean, think about it, you may have been intensely involved in working on yourself for awhile, thinking about recovery and practicing recovery 24/7. Unless they've been involved in their own work along the way, they may not have an understanding of what happens as we humans change and evolve. You can help them by talking to them, by predicting that evolution occurs and isn't a bad thing (remember our Bumper Sticker- Different Doesn't Necessarily Mean Bad).
It's worth paying attention to these evolutions in all our relationships. Relationships with clinicians evolve over time also. I'm working with someone right now where the relationship is evolving as she gets stronger, and she has lots and lots of growing pains about this- she keeps thinking she's falling apart, when really what's happening is that her relationship with me is changing- she doesn't need me in the same way as she did a year or so ago because she's in stronger relationship with herself- but she hasn't quite gotten used to this idea yet and there's quite a bit of panicking these days. She'll get adjusted to it, and she and I will proceed. It's an adjustment for me too- we just cut the frequency of her therapy down because she was ready for that. But now I don't get to talk to her as often! We both have to adjust. And we will.
Ahh, evolution... it's that old "flower pushing out of the ground" thing... not always easy... but doable, and important :)