I first and foremost want to apologize for my absence. This has been one of the most difficult months of my life. My heart is filled with absolute sadness.
The man that I have loved (for many years) and I have decided to part ways. He is a narcissist and I was duped. I know ultimately, this is for the best. We are COMPLETE opposites and while opposites do attract, they also can, and generally do, implode.
When I say complete opposites I mean: he smokes weed, I do not; he doesn't work, I do; he sleeps until 11:00AM, I'm up at 6:30AM; he believes respect is obligatory, I believe its earned; he thinks he gets points because "he never even cheated on me" and and I think there simply are no words for that statement. Ultimately, he stole from me and that was the last straw.
And honestly, the list goes on and on. I saw the writing on the wall a long time ago and ignored it. I wanted to avoid the "icky" part of breaking up - the painful, gut wrenching, ache that you feel when you hurt.
Over past 5 years I have lost both of my parents, divorced my husband of 2o-some years, watched my daughter go through a horrible addiction and took custody of my grandson. All while working and raising my other children. I couldn't stand the thought of losing One. More. Person.
But now I have.
I'm on the other side of the "icky" part, still feeling the sting but not crying every 20 minutes. It just sucks.
I am blessed with great kids, great friends and family and a strong will to survive - which I will.
For all of you struggling in a relationship, life is short. Do what you need to do to be happy. Even if that means in the short run, you have to be uncomfortable. Every day I feel a little bit better and stronger.
In the meantime, I will simply trust that this is what I must do. That the universe knows what's best. It's a process.
Peace and Love.
I recently came across the following article on my computer. I must have saved it several years ago. It resonates very deeply with me right now as I am going through some changes in my current relationship. Although we aren't married (THANK GOD) it still applies.
The Role of the Man in the Family
According to Dr. Phil, if men want to be successful in their marriage and family life, they have to change and broaden their definition of what it means to be successful as a man. Being a good provider, protector, leader and teacher is a privilege that comes with responsibilities that many men aren't aware of.
Most men believe that being a good provider means supporting a family financially. It means much more than that. A man should also contribute to the emotional, spiritual, physical and mental well-being of his family. In order to do this, he must recognize that there are other currencies, in addition to money, that need to be provided.
This means more than beating up the guy next door if he insults your wife. It means protecting her self-esteem and self-worth as well as your children's. It can also mean protecting your way of life and guarding against any threats to the things that you and your family value.
Instead of waiting for your wife to take the initiative when you are having problems, take the lead. Get in the game and create what you want in your family instead of whining about your family situation. Marriage is not a 50/50 partnership. It's a 100/100 partnership. That means you give 100 percent. And remember, you get what you give.
What are you teaching those around you — especially your children — with your behavior? It's important to provide a good example for your children, loved ones and community with both words and deeds. Set high standards and teach by doing.
Let's point by point analyze my current relationship, shall we?
1. A Provider ~ well............not so much. He actually doesn't contribute to the household monetarily. Our deal was for him to take care of the house and lawn, be around for the kids (who are 12 & 16) and cook, clean, etc since I work full time.
In the beginning, he did some cooking and cleaning. Recently, its sporatic. And he doesn't interact with the kids in a positive way at all unless forced.
2. A Protector ~ he succeeds at this in the sense that I know we're safe with him at the house. But only in that particular area.
3. A Leader ~ he wants to be the leader. He also wants everyone to respect him. However, rather than earning it, he demands it.
4. A Teacher ~ he wants to also be a teacher but I'm not entirely certain I want my kids to learn what he has to share.
So here I am, at 40-something, ready to start over again. Sigh. But after a year and 1/2 with nothing really changing, what choice do I have?
Tell me, what would you do?
So, you love an addict. You think you can change them. You whole heartedly believe that your "love" will make them want to change.
Let me tell you why ~
1. Their addiction will ALWAYS come first. Whatever they do, including trying to behave for you, revolves around their addition. They will "act" like they're ok to throw you off about what is really going on. Listen to me - IT IS AN ACT. It is one that they have repeated throughout their lives to get what they want - their fix (alcohol, drugs, etc).
Once again, it is an act. Unless they check themselves into rehab, they're NOT trying to get better and they don't want to get better.
2. They will lie, cheat and steal from you EVERY TIME. When you begin to think they're getting better and let your guard down, they will lie, cheat and steal from YOU - the person who is trying to help them.
I want you to think about that. You are trying to help them and they are bascially flipping you off and laughing at you while they F**K you over.
They know, because you are a good person (which you have repeatedly pointed out to them) that you probably won't just walk away.
What should you do then?
WALK AWAY.....no better yet, sprint away.
Here is what is going to happen if you don't:
~ Your friends and family will get sick of it. They've tried to tell you whats happening but you continually make EXCUSES for the addict. If you're lucky, when all is said and done, you'll still have a few people standing by you. Some aren't that lucky - the addict tries to drive everyone else in your life away.
Don't let them.
~ The addict will literally drain you - emotionally, physically, financially and spiritually. You will eventually just be too tired to fight it.
Is that truly how you want to live? Do you want to spend the rest of your life parked in that particular rut?
I don't - life is too short as it is.
So, what can you do?
First, you have to be done with it. YOU have to be done with it - not your friends or family - YOU.
It's going to be difficult to end it because you're going to feel guilty (there's that damn word again). It's going to hurt, you're going to be sad but you have to remove yourself from the addict. Period. You need to save yourself - they're not going to.
If they decide to go get help, good. Make them prove it - make them show you that they intend to work on it. But don't let them back into your life until they follow through. They'll make all kinds of promises (because thats just what they do). Actions speak louder than words.
You also need help. Go see a counselor, talk to your pastor, read a few books. One of my favorites is "Co-dependent No More" (http://www.amazon.com/Codependent-No-More-Controlling-Yourself/dp/0894864025/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1454945465&sr=8-1&keywords=codependent+no+more+by+melody+beattie)
The bottom line is that you are only going to continue to get hurt. You need to step away and take care of YOU.
Peace and Love
I first pondered the notion that I might have codependent tendencies when my oldest daughter was in the midst of her, shall we say, "rebellion". It was not a good time in our lives, I was a complete wreck, I thought she had lost her mind and it was scaring the crap out of me. I kept attempting to "make" things better and "fix" her. Not a good strategy at all.
Somehow, in my mind, if I continued to "help" her, the situation wasn't REALLY as bad as it was (and it was BAD). I thought if I was able to help I was still somehow in control. Turns out, I was never in control.
And thus began the dance..............for several years - yes YEARS (I tend to be a slow learner). I wasn't making the situation any better. I was prolonging it (hindsight is a wonderful yet frustrating thing).
She knew that I would jump into action when she called with whatever sob story she had concocted that particular day. I would give her money, buy her food, take her places, help her move, get her a new phone - the list goes on and on and on and........well, I'm assuming you get the picture.
In the process, my other children felt like they were forgotten. And a lot of the time, their needs became secondary to hers.
My primary focus WAS on her. My life started to fall apart. It was hell.
In retrospect, I thought I was keeping her alive (which was my greatest concern - my biggest fear was that I would get the call to identify her body). Thankfully, that never happened.
But what did happen was, after a very, very long time (because I'm a slow learner), I got sick of it. I got sick of being in a constant state of chaos; sick of handing over money (always with a promise to THIS time pay me back - also never happened); sick of the excuses; sick of being completely consumed by her issues and so, so, SO sick of the lies.
I started to do a lot of reading and research. I needed answers. Why had this happened to our family and for the love of Pete, how? Most importantly, could I make it stop?
Turns out, you don't make IT stop; YOU stop. That too was a very long process.
So, how do you know if you're codependent? There are a few tell tale signs.
This is a BIG one. When I was trying to "fix" and "help" her that was about control. I was attempting to manage her and her situation. I was trying to manage and control how things "looked" to other people - i.e.: my daughter hadn't really gone wild - I had it under control. My intentions were good. I believed I was doing what I was supposed to do as a parent. I believed I was still teaching her.
And I was. I was teaching her how to manipulate me and laid right down and let her do it. Not a lot of control there was there?
#2. Poor Boundaries
Do you overshare with people? I am an over sharer. I sometimes can't stop myself. Even with strangers. Somewhere in my head I'll hear a voice saying "STOP TALKING" but I just can't.
I think this stems from very poor boundaries that were set by my mother and sisters when I was little. They each told everyone else EVERYTHING about themselves, their kids, their husbands and worst of all, each other. I remember doing it also when I became an adult. It was normal to me. Trust me, its not normal and its not healthy.
Along with the poor boundaries in my family, there was also a lot of dependency. If I didn't check in with my mother at a minimum of once a day (as a 35 year old woman), she would call my sisters to see if they had heard from me. They would then call me to let me know that she was upset that I hadn't called her. Never mind that I had children, a husband and a house to take care of (while working full time). I learned from a very young age to always tell them all where I was going and with whom. A vacation out of the area was extremely stressful because "God only knows what could happen". Sigh.
Decisions about simple things were discussed with my parents and sisters in addition to my husband. We were all very dependent on one another.
#4. Low Self-Esteem
I don't remember really liking who I was until just a few years ago. I never felt like I was my own person. I felt as though I was an extension of all these other people and who they wanted me to be. I do remember being completely consumed with worry about what other people thought about me. It was the catalyst in most of my decision making and probably why I didn't trust myself to make a decision alone.
#5. Pleasing Others and Giving Up Yourself
It's not unusual for women to put others first. It's just what we do. But when it's ALL you do, it's problematic.
Do you do things for yourself? Do you spend time doing things that only make YOU happy? Do you ask others to help you or do things for you? Or is your time consumed completely with work, cleaning, kids, schedules, your parents and your husband? If you can't think of a time in the last week that you spent doing something you love for at least 20 minutes, you need to step back and take a good look at whats going on.
There are many good books on codependency. My favorite is Codependent No More by Melody Beattie.
And it never hurts to find someone to talk to about it.
The good news is that you CAN stop being codependent. It isn't an easy thing to do, it takes work and sometimes that work is difficult. But you can do it.
I have made significant progress and am happy to report that my daughter is no longer "wild". It honestly took me removing myself (some call it tough love - I have a hard time with that) and making her figure out her problems on her own. She did have to hit rock bottom but guess what? She's a smart girl - she's just fine. She didn't need her mommy constantly hovering over her and her bad decisions trying to fix them. Once she realized I wasn't doing that anymore, she started making better decisions. Go figure!!!
Hang in there! Be tough. You can do it too. And don't hesitate to ask for help if you need it.