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Back to Center: 'Married 39 years and I thought we were on the same page when it came to things that mattered most'

Posted by Sarah Perron, Certified Coach

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Mon, Feb 28, 2022

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01:00 AM

AFLDS advice columnist Sarah Perron provides perspectives for personal realignment and empowered living in the COVID era

Back to Center: 'Married 39 years and I thought we were on the same page when it came to things that mattered most'

The purpose of the “Back to Center” advice column is to provide perspectives for personal realignment and empowered living in the COVID era. Sarah encourages you to reach out to her with requests for advice about self-development and emotional and mental well-being in these complicated times. Please send your questions to advice@aflds.org. Looking forward to hearing from you!

For all other inquiries, please direct your questions to info@aflds.org.

 

I am not vaccinated, never plan to be.  I've been employed at a local community college for over a decade…I first fought for my job, then fought against the N-95 non-vax mask requirement. I was then required to do weekly testing. The nasal tests [left me feeling ill, so] I requested another form of testing if it was required to keep my job. I now am required to take weekly saliva tests. 

I’m exhausted from all of this. I get backlash from coworkers and have been treated badly…I'm at the point of quitting but we need my income. I don't know what else to do. I'm only one in four of over 200 employees not vaccinated at this institution.  This tyranny needs to stop!

First, I want to acknowledge your amazing strength and courage! Over and over, you have stood up and fought for your rights and freedom at your job, despite being in the extreme minority in your views. Not everyone has the courage to do what you’ve done! 

But I hear the fatigue and frustration you’re experiencing from this struggle. You feel you’re reaching a breaking point, but don’t know what to do about it. I hope that what follows will help open up some new options and perspectives for you.

Let’s look first at how you’re feeling: “exhausted.” And rightly so! You’ve done a lot of fighting, and it feels like a losing battle. So, what can you do right now to regain some energy and positivity? Leave your job out of it for a moment and think about what would feel rejuvenating for you. It could involve activities you enjoy, time with loved ones, going to a place that’s special to you…See what you can do to alleviate at least some of that end-of-your-rope feeling. You deserve that! 

When you’re in a more relaxed, positive state of mind, take some time to consider your job situation. Let’s imagine two possible scenarios:

1. You decide that despite the challenges, you are going to stay at your current job for the time being. In this situation, what could you do to improve your feelings of well-being and sanity at work? What could give you some extra strength for handling the tough environment? One suggestion that comes to mind is to connect with the other three people in your workplace who have refused the vaccine. You might be small in number, but there’s so much potential for supporting and encouraging each other to stay strong. 

It's never easy to be treated badly by others, especially when it’s coworkers whom you see every day. However, I’m wondering if there’s any way you could create more of an emotional separation between their attitudes and the way you feel about your workday. If you commit to staying in this job, it sounds like it will call for an extra boost of inner strength on your part. What ideas or affirmations about yourself and your job could help you bring a more positive outlook to work, no matter how badly people are behaving? 

Now for Option #2:

2. You decide you’ve had it and you cannot stay in this job another minute. Here, I’ll advise you the same way I would anyone who is looking for a new job. 

I hear you saying that the idea of quitting your job is appealing, but you feel held back because you need that income. Let’s set aside the feeling of “need” for now. If there were no concerns about money, what would you want to do?

Dream big – there are no limitations in this scenario – and get as specific as you can. What does your dream job look like? What kind of organization do you work for? What position do you have? What is the environment like? What kind of relationships do you have with your coworkers? How do you feel during and at the end of the workday? 

When we give ourselves permission to dream big, a situation that previously felt limited and constricting can expand. It can start to feel more possible to have what you want. If you identify what you really want in a job and work environment and start looking for that with the belief that it can happen, opportunities may present themselves to you that you never thought of or noticed before. 

Whatever you decide to do, I believe your strength and willingness to stand up for your beliefs will take you far. Wishing you much success and happiness!

****

My family does not understand why I won't get the COVID vaccine.  It doesn't matter what I say.  We all have had [COVID], vaccine or no.  They all continue to argue that it keeps you out of the hospital.  It's creating rifts in the family.  How can I justify my decision in a way they can accept? My daughter and son refuse to see me unless I get one.

I am so sorry to hear about the conflict going on within your family because of the vaccine. It’s so painful when the people who are closest to you don’t understand or are unwilling to see where you’re coming from on such an important issue.

You ask how you can best justify your decision to your family, but after hearing how conversation about the vaccine is only dividing you further, I’d like to suggest a different question (it’s for your family members too):

How can we stay connected and at peace with each other despite our conflicting views?

What would it be like if you suggested to your family that the vaccine discussion be tabled for now? Your proposal might look something like, “I know we see this issue very differently. But I’m worried about the conflict and distance it’s creating between us. I love you and don’t want anything to pull us apart. Let’s work together to come up with creative ways to remain close right now that we can all feel (more or less) okay with.”

I wonder how it could change things if everyone approached the discussion with the family bond as the first priority, rather than trying to persuade each other to change perspective on the vaccine.

The solutions you come up with together may feel less than ideal. Your daughter and son may still refuse to see you in person for now, and that will still be painful. But maybe there are other ways to foster family closeness that can help close the gap for now, until the situation changes. Talk on the phone, video call each other, organize Zoom family game nights…just don’t stop talking, don’t stop connecting. 

If having strong, peaceable family relationships was important before, it’s even more crucial now in this world gone mad. We need to stick together to get through this. I believe that doing whatever you can to be close now, even if it’s not the best situation, will eventually lead to more acceptance of the different opinions among you. Don’t give up hope! 

****

I work for a local Native American tribe that will be mandating vaccines for COVID…and also, they are requiring double masking to work in any of the facilities or for visiting vendors or contractors. I currently work in the maintenance for government facilities and am being asked to follow all these mandates…I have written my religious objections to no avail…So, now I feel my only recourse is either through a lawyer or to let them fire me for noncompliance. My spouse and I have different opinions on these issues, as my spouse is in the healthcare industry…I feel like I need to vent my frustrations, but I also feel like there’s no one to talk to. Very difficult times…

I hear your frustration! Yes, these are very difficult times, and when there aren’t many people around you who are willing to listen and try to understand your views, it can feel pretty lonely. I hope that my response will give you strength and help you feel less alone in this struggle.

When I read your message, what strikes me most is a feeling of hitting a dead end, the end of the line. You’ve tried religious objections, which didn’t work, and now it seems to you that it’s either get a lawyer or be fired, and that’s it. It feels frustrating and hopeless.

What I want to remind you of here is that even in the most dead-end of circumstances, we always have the power of choice. 

So, what do you really want in this situation? Do you want to fight for your job by hiring a lawyer or through other means? Is it worth it to you to do that? Or do you want to actively choose to face the consequences of noncompliance, which may include being fired? Do you want to create a new opportunity out of the frustration by looking for a more ideal job? Or is there another choice that you can make that you hadn’t thought of before? 

I encourage you to take an active role in the situation. Decide what you really want and go after it. Circumstances may seem - and may sometimes be - out of our control, but we can always decide what path to pursue, what attitude to take about it, what level of energy to put into it, and to accept whatever happens from our efforts. Then, whatever happens, you know you’ve tried your best, and you can make new choices to take the best possible course of action from there. 

These are really difficult times, but one of the most important things we can do is to not let ourselves sink into defeat. We’ve got to fight for our freedom with everything we have. And it’s possible that when you do that, and others see you doing that, people may come out of the woodwork who share your views and are inspired by your efforts. Then, you can encourage each other and feel connected in the shared struggle. Even though your spouse doesn’t share your views, you may be able to find others who do.

Stay strong and keep fighting! Whatever you choose, I wish you all the best!

****

I’m an active member in AFLDS Citizens Corps and other organizations like Kansas for Health Freedom. Essentially, my beliefs have separated me from the rest of my family, including my wife. We are now headed for separation on March 12 when I move out. Married 39 years and I thought we were on the same page when it came to things that mattered most in life on this earth!  Is her belief that she does not have to inform herself as to what’s really going on in the world and that God is taking care of everything and all she has to do is pray grounds for divorce in this new era? Coupled with the fact that she resents it every time I get involved with any activity to do with fighting COVID mandates or the evils surrounding this plan…I would rather be without a spouse than to be with a spouse that doesn’t share my convictions any longer. 

Thank you for sharing your story. What you are experiencing with your family is so painful, and there are no easy answers. I’m going to offer a number of different questions and perspectives here, and you can decide if they resonate with you and your situation. 

39 years is a long time to be married, especially in this day and age! It sounds like you and your wife really had something special, and that before COVID, it felt like you were “on the same page” about the most important things in life, as you said. That feeling of sharing common ground with one’s spouse when it comes to the big things is so important, but what I want to ask you is…is it everything? Does it have to matter that you and your wife see the issue of COVID so differently? Of course, it’s amazing if we are in total harmony with our spouses on every issue, but is it essential to a happy marriage? To loving and accepting the other person fully?

There’s no handbook for how to live during a “pandemic”; we’ve all had to find our way, and that can look very different from person to person. Is it possible to find a way for each of you to respect the other’s right to deal with all of this craziness differently? Could it be possible that there are different, yet equally valid ways of dealing with these times?

I also want to speak to you as someone who recognizes the truth of what’s really going on with COVID. You know this whole thing is built on lies, by people who are out for power, control, and money. Please ask yourself honestly: Are you really ready to let go of your marriage of 39 years because of a lie? Are you going to let them and their awful schemes come between you and the one you love? I want you to know that you and your wife have the power to choose, and if you choose to fight for your marriage, nothing will be able to keep you apart. 

If you do decide to work on your relationship together, I’d like to suggest that you try to leave the truths and untruths of COVID out of your conversations and focus on how the other person’s actions and words make you feel. I believe this conflict is not ultimately about COVID; this is about you and her. You can choose to leave the third wheel of COVID out of it completely if you like and focus on how to come back together as people who used to see something amazing in each other.

I believe that COVID is not going to last forever, that there will be an “other side.” No one can say what that will look like, but maybe what we need to know right now is who we want standing next to us when we get there. May you both have the clarity and wisdom to know the best way forward!

****

How do we trust doctors and hospitals with any illness now?? My concern is on their integrity. How do we know [they are] taking care of what we are actually there for (non-COVID)? AND…how do we know they won’t throw “COVID” in our face (when we don’t have it) and treat us with those scary protocols like REMDEZIVIR when we have pneumonia? How do we even know for sure they are not lying to us about what they are giving us? I’m scared to even go to a hospital for any reason. I’ve seen videos of doctors deeming a patient unfit to make his decision and physically forcing the man to get the jab. I’ve also seen doctors refuse to treat or even be the patient’s doctor if they don’t get the jab. So, how in the world do we get confident and compassionate care anymore??

These are great questions. You are absolutely right to wonder how we can trust doctors and medical facilities anymore, after all that’s happened and all that is continuing to happen. They’re painful questions too. These are the very people and places that are supposed to have our well-being and best interests absolutely at heart and look what so many of them have done with our trust.

These times have shown us more than ever before that we have to have our eyes wide open when it comes to our own medical care. And you know what? In my opinion, maybe that feeling of uncertainty about who to trust isn’t such a bad thing. If we choose, we can let it motivate us to reclaim ownership of our own health and well-being – our very lives – instead of blindly outsourcing them to others. 

It could be that prior to COVID, many of us had been lulled into believing we didn’t have to take an active part in our own care. We could just go into a doctor’s office or hospital, get treated, and not ask too many questions about what was done to us. They know best, so why should we worry about the details? I have been guilty of this mindset at times myself.

But when you come to a point in life where you feel you can’t trust anyone, it’s time to learn how to trust yourself more. I would suggest trying to see this as an opportunity to be the director of your own health. Research health practitioners and facilities in your area thoroughly. Talk to doctors. Ask people you know who share your perspective on COVID where they go, and who they trust and why. Ask questions – lots of them. As you listen to the answers you receive, also be listening in to your own inner voice. Be attuned to what sits well with you, and what raises red flags.

Be tenacious in your efforts to find the safest healthcare for yourself. It will take work, but if anything deserves some extra work, it’s this. 

This may also be a great time to learn more about natural home remedies. There is so much healing available to us in the natural world, and so many resources available for learning about it. Consider your lifestyle and choose some healthy habits to implement that could help prevent sickness or injury. A healthy diet and exercise alone can take care of so many maladies. We have the power to take care of so many of our health needs on our own if we’re willing to put in the effort.

Lastly, and maybe most importantly, I want to address the fears that I hear coming through in your message. Fear is one of the worst enemies of health and wellness! Just speaking for myself, I can point to numerous times when I’ve allowed fear, worry, and stress to take hold of me so strongly that they caused a negative physical effect – stomach aches, sore throats, shortness of breath, and so on. We’re also much more likely to have injury-causing accidents when we’re in a dark state of mind. The mind-body connection is real, and we can do ourselves serious damage by letting negativity take root in us. If you’d prefer to stay out of the doctor’s office and hospitals, try cultivating more positivity and peace in your life.

Any time fears about today’s medical situation (or anything else) come up, write them down; don’t let them get stuck in your mind. Spend time doing things that calm and inspire you and connect regularly to the people in your life who lift you up. Make a point of including mental and emotional health in your self-care regimen, and I believe you will see abundant health benefits.

To your health and safety!

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Sarah encourages you to reach out to her with requests for advice! Please send your questions to advice@aflds.org

Sarah Perron is a Certified Transformational Life Coach. Her passion is to help people create a powerful vision for their lives, identify and eliminate anything that holds them back, and step into their own unique greatness and mission in the world. She believes deeply in the power of coaching to bring fresh perspectives, ideas, and motivation to anyone who wants to thrive in life. Sarah works with clients one-on-one and in group coaching programs and presents exciting workshops on self-development topics. You can follow her on her YouTube channel Find Your Fire.

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