— Odie P., Waukegan, Illinois
You are facing a double problem. Your relation—let's call her your daughter—is constantly rationalizing her mess instead of facing it. You are rationalizing her rationalizations. The two of you, in other words, are sharing in denial and helplessness. An emotional bond is making you do this. Perhaps your daughter learned her behavior from you. Perhaps you both learned it together in childhood if she's not your daughter.
Your real question, then, is how to stop rationalizing. You can't stop her, and that's not your responsibility. Depression is a serious problem, but many depressed people lead productive lives. They don't leech off others. If this is clinical depression, your daughter needs to seek professional help and stop neglecting her duty to herself and to you. But let's say she won't do any of these things. What is your responsibility?
- Feel what you feel, but act sensibly.
- Learn that "no" isn't the same as "I don't love you."
- Look closely at your tendency to be a martyr. Also, look at your need to control. Either you or your spouse probably has one of these issues.
- Realize that suffering doesn't make you a good person. It also doesn't make you part of the solution.
- If you know that your daughter can't be helped, don't keep doing more of what didn't work in the first place.
What should I do if my job is draining me, professionally and spiritually?
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Deepak Chopra is the author of more than 50 books on health, success, relationships and spirituality, including his current best-seller, Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul, and The Ultimate Happiness Prescription, which are available now. You can listen to his show on Saturdays every week on SiriusXM Channels 102 and 155.