The modern philosopher and Power of Now author, Eckhart Tolle, explains how our minds tend to fixate on the negative. He writes, “People tend to dwell more on negative things than on good things. So the mind then becomes obsessed with negative things, with judgments, guilt and anxiety produced by thoughts about the future and so on.” Because of this tendency, it is no surprise that you may experience negative feelings when considering a future event as stressful as sending your daughter away to treatment.
As a parent, It is very common to blame yourself for what your child is going through. This blame can often lead to resentment, and this resentment often leads to guilt. We have two things to say about that. One, we want you to understand that these feelings are common and it is normal to be having them. Two, while these feelings may be natural, they do not need to control you. More importantly, they do not have to get in the way of getting your daughter the help she needs.
Issues of Mental Health Are No One’s Fault
Unfortunately, there is still a stigma that lingers around the subject of mental health. While it has certainly diminished over time, this stigma often brings up unnecessary negative emotions when it comes to determining the need for mental health treatment.
This mental health stigma carries with it a sense that issues of mental health are somehow the individual’s fault. For the parent, there is the feeling that their child’s mental health struggles are somehow their fault. We here at Clearview Girls Academy want you to know that your daughter’s struggles are not directly correlated to anything you have done.
There are myriad root causes for issues of mental health. It is important to remember that for adolescents, one cause can simply be derived from the fact that their brain is not fully developed. Also, it might help to know that mental illness is not unique to your situation. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Mental illnesses are among the most common health conditions in the United States,” and “more than 50% will be diagnosed with a mental illness or disorder at some point in their lifetime.”
The Effects of Codependence
It is also crucial to understand that mental illness is a “family disease.” What we mean by that is that issues of mental health not only affect the individual but can also have serious psychological effects on those around them. This is especially true for the parent/child relationship.
One of the psychological effects that can occur in a parent-child duo is they become disproportionately affected by each other’s emotional needs. This effect is referred to as “codependence,” and it is not uncommon for parents of struggling children to experience it. If you are currently feeling elevated levels of guilt surrounding your daughter’s situation, you may be experiencing this psychological phenomenon.
When this codependence takes hold, it can be hard to let go of that relationship, even if the break would be temporary. It is hard to feel happy about taking this step, even though it is for the benefit of your daughter. Again, this is natural. It is relinquishing control of a situation that you already feel is hanging by a thread, and that is understandably hard.
The Benefits of Treatment Outweigh the Discomforts
Eckhardt Tolle also has some advice when it comes to the negative emotions you may be feeling. He exclaims, “What a liberation to realize that the ‘voice in my head’ is not who I am. ‘Who am I, then?’ The one who sees that.”
All of us are often bombarded by our negative thoughts, which lead us to be wholly consumed by negative emotions. However, if we can get out from under these thoughts and feelings and realize that we are not them, we can begin to make empowering decisions. When a person’s mental health is shaky, most of us know that seeking mental health treatment is the right decision. Yet it is negative thoughts and emotions like guilt that hold us back from making the right decision.
The key is to reframe the treatment conversation from “how it makes me feel now,” to “how is it going to make my child feel in the future.” Here at Clearview Girls Academy, we see the benefits that our treatment program has on our students daily. We invite you to investigate these benefits further so you too can begin to understand them.
Treatment for the Entire Family
We have primarily been talking about how treatment can help your child recover, but we also want you to know that you deserve the same level of treatment. Not only do you deserve it, but when the entire family gets treatment, this bolsters your child’s recovery.
To harken back to Tolle, your feelings of guilt surrounding your daughter are most likely arising out of a belief that you have done some wrong in the past or will make a mistake in the future. We want you to know that seeking treatment is not an action that merits guilt. It is a move that deserves an honorable mention. Let us give it to you straight: You are doing the right thing.
When you are sending a loved one (especially a child) away to a recovery facility, it is normal to feel a sense of guilt. However, it is important to understand that while this feeling is natural, it doesn’t need to dominate your emotional existence. It is vital to remember that sending your daughter away for treatment is not a punishment. Rather it is a chance for a new beginning. It is also important to understand that issues of mental health or substance misuse affect the entire family. That’s why the entire family deserves to get the help they need. Yes, guilt is normal, but it is not necessary. For more information, please contact Clearview Girls Academy today at (888) 796-5484.