How to Deal with Belittlement from Adult Children While in Menopause
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When it comes to menopause, only those going through it can truly understand what really happens during this transition. Hot flashes, mood swings, weight gain, low sex drive, heart palpitations, and many other symptoms can leave you tired and confused. These can be so severe that your daily life might become very hard to handle. This gets worse for women who feel like they cannot talk to anyone about their symptoms. Whether it is a friend or a family member, sharing your concerns is very important. But sometimes, when women talk about their symptoms, they may face belittlement. That is especially true in the case of adult children who do not understand menopause and can see its symptoms as something unimportant. What does this do for the woman and how to deal with it? Read on to find out.
Why Do Some Women Experience Belittlement from Children?
Not every parent-child relationship is great, and it can get worse when our children become adults because they may have their own issues to deal with. At the beginning of their lives, children feel bonded with their mothers because of how female hormones act during childbirth. But, as they grow older, this connection becomes strained. It is good to keep in mind that by age 30, you might already see a changed person in front of you. And when you share with them how it feels to have mood swings or brain fog, they might dismiss it. They might say that it is all in your head or you are simply getting older.
But menopause is more than just simply aging. It is a natural transition that goes quite differently for every women. It is also very different from “going crazy,” although with everything going on, some women may feel that way. When adult children do not offer their support and treat their mother’s menopause as something less than it is, she might end up feeling anxious and disconnected from them. In this case, a woman is left to deal with her struggles alone. This should not be the case, though, because a strong support ecosystem is what women need the most to go through menopause without breaking apart. What can belittlement do to the symptoms of menopause?
How Does Belittlement Affect Menopause?
When women's problems are not taken seriously by their closest family members, this can lead to emotional problems. Think excess stress, depression, and anxiety. While anxiety is a symptom of menopause, it can also have an impact on other symptoms. For instance, a study has shown that anxiety has a negative impact on hot flashes in menopause (1). In this study, results have shown that anxiety came before the hot flashes, and not the other way around (1). In another study, it was found that vulnerability to stress can make the symptoms of menopause caused by stress even worse (2). As a result, anxiety, stress, and depression in menopause can make it hard for you to go about your days. Keep in mind that you have to manage stress while at the same time dealing with menopause symptoms. That is not easy at all.
How to Deal with Belittlement from Adult Children?
In order to help your adult children understand menopause and take it seriously, talking to them is the best way. Communication is the key when it comes to any type of relationship. That is why just speaking honestly with your children makes them start thinking about this transition and perhaps even do research on their own. Here are some tips on how to talk to your adult children about menopause.
Lay the Groundwork
It is not easy to talk to your adult children, or to anyone else for that matter, about menopause. That is why you might have to have multiple other conversations with them before you actually sit down to talk about menopause. Tell them about aging, or your daily life, every week or every so often. If they do not live in the same house with you anymore, this could help you reconnect and get a glimpse into each other's lives. In any conversation, try to talk with your child, do not simply talk about yourself or give them advice, because this way they will be more open to having the conversation.
Menopause is a transition that happens over the course of many years. You cannot know exactly how long your symptoms are going to last and how severe they will be. That is why being open-minded about it is very important so you avoid problems with your children in the future. Do not shy away from them. Talk about your symptoms and how they impact your life, what you would like to do to ease them, and what that means for the family. Even if your children will not understand everything about menopause from the get-go, at least they will appreciate your honesty and will be willing to go back to the conversation later.
The reason why you may experience belittlement from your adult children is because of how menopause is portrayed. A study has suggested that many women see menopause as a time of liberation in their lives, but it is often portrayed in society as being deprived of family and lacking sexual interest (3). That is why supplying more information is the best way to change this perception. Share articles or research studies, or share more of your personal experience. Let your children see different perspectives so they can get a full view of menopause.
(1) E. Freeman et al. "The role of anxiety and hormonal changes in menopausal hot flashes."
(3) N. Stotland. "Menopause: Social expectations, women's realities."