The Jewish holiday of Passover bursts with powerful and positive themes such as: Renewal, Liberation from bondage, The responsibilities brought by freedom, The immediacy of God in the lives of people, Individual identification with one’s history, one’s family, and one’s nation, and The consequences of individual choices.
CODOPs (Children Of Difficult Older Parents) often feel enslaved to the needs and demands of a parent who is neither cooperative with nor grateful for the assistance the CODOP provides. The CODOP strives valiantly to serve and please the parent, but is repeatedly and unfairly characterized as an insufficiently loving child. In the language of the Seder (the annual Passover dinners incorporating many ancient stories and rituals), the adult child actually embodies “the wise son,” but is treated like “the evil son.”
The CODOPs I meet further suffer the bondage of incorrect and maladaptive beliefs, such as: “It is my job to make mom happy,” “I am not allowed to say no to dad,” “The resentment I feel when mom criticizes me means I am a bad person,” or “I must not be a good person if I am not fulfilling the biblical commandment to honor my parents by doing everything they ask of me.”
Luckily, for CODOPs, liberation does not require divine intervention. The remedy is available. In my practice, my writings, my speaking, and my workshop, I teach CODOPs a variety of specialized tools for protecting their hearts, effectively loving their hard to love relatives, and creating a healthy legacy for their own children. If you are a CODOP, I hope you will call me to discuss our working together. Our goal for you will be, “Next year in the promised land!”
“My passion is ensuring that every adult is mentally ready to succeed in all transitions that comprise the adult years. The meaning in my life comes from helping my patients see themselves, their situation, their future, and the entire world with new eyes and a newly courageous attitude.
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