Can You Avoid Overfunctioning When Help Is Needed?

Helping is not necessarily overfunctioning, but the difference can be difficult to discern. Your child may need help with homework, but doing his or her science project is overfunctioning! My parents are in their late 80s, and my mother has Alzheimer’s. They are still living on their own, in another city. I just spent two days with them. My father has at last agreed to hire someone to help them. They definitely need more help now, and will need even more in the future. I’m struggling with how to be present appropriately with them, respecting the boundaries while being honest about what I see and what I think. I’m working on staying in my role as daughter even when I’m helping them. It is tempting to get parental. Clarifying responsibilities and choices is not easy when anxiety is high. But these challenging moments in life are also great opportunities to learn about ourselves and others.

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