I am powerless over the people I love #addiction #recovery #alanon #alcoholism #familysystems

May 18, 2015 § Leave a comment



I just need a bit of time to write. I need some time to sort out where I am at, what I need to do, how I make sense of the relationships I am in.

My deepest pain, my greatest loss, my pervasive terror all arise from my relationships to the people I love. I hurt when they shun me, dismiss me, invalidate me, punish me, talk over me, ignore me, neglect me. I grieve the absence of security, of knowing I am safe in these relationships, of knowing that they are capable of caring for me, of treating me with respect, not taking out their unprocessed or unmet emotional needs on me. I live in constant fear that, at any time, if I spend time with someone I love they are going to do something to me that is going to hurt. That I am going to have to spend my own precious life energies recovering from their unconscious lash.

I have tried to cut myself off from the people I love. I have tried deleting all their emails, of retreating to my own space, of pretending I live my life as a sole, autonomous agent who does not need anyone and does not need anyone to need me. The amount of grief I had to process in that attempt was stupendous. It was impossible for me to process the depth of pain that came with needing to put myself in the world without family. I gave up the effort and decided it was the path of least resistance to deal with the day to day life of living in a family than to cope with the day to day reality that my family relationships are so toxic for me that I have to remove myself from them entirely.

Escapist fantasy leaps to mind. What if I just packed up my car and my dog and a little tear drop trailer and left this whole part of the world entirely? What if I just got out? But that would not address the internal condition that I must address. There is no geographic cure because I carry the geography of my mental and emotional states with me wherever I go.

No. The reality of my life is that I must process the experience and I must do that on a daily basis. There is some percentage of my life energy that must be channeled into making sense of the relationships I chose, and the ones I was born into.

I am in a bad state this morning. I am on day 3 of separation from Husband. We did not speak at all yesterday. The day before that the last words we said to each other were, “Fuck off”, and, “You fuck off.” I do not fee safe around him. This morning when I realized he was getting up I had a moment of panic as I gathered up all my stuff from the dining room and headed down to our basement suite. Thank goodness it is not booked right now. I need it for my own respite from the constant pressure of living with an emotionally volatile husband who will not hesitate to use intense emotional pressure to control me, and who will never, ever admit that is what he is doing.

To be fair, I do the same thing. We are both in recovery, so there are times when either one of us are triggered and unable to cope with life in any but the most immature, rudimentary way.

It is problematic for both of us, and we have to be very careful to take care that we have others we can talk to so as not to burden the marriage with our PTSD insanity.

I am powerless over the people I love, and that is a good thing, because who would want me in control? That would not be a safe world for anyone. At the same time, the people I love are also powerless over me, and in that I can take comfort because I can find my own safety, my own comfort, and my own connections.

It isn’t that I need to seek out anymore relationships, after all, they will simply grow to resemble the relationships I already have. No, my task is to make the most of the relationships I have, and to make myself safe, to find connections despite my own internal condition that will tend to corrupt any relationship to conform to the conditions of my unsafe, deprived and anxious childhood.

Time to walk the dog.

Final note – I find the celtic knot motif helpful in processing these difficult relationships. My philosophical approach to these drawings is, “Many is one, One is many, Neither exists without the other.” In this sense, each line fragment is conceived as a part of the network of relationships that make up my life. The ways these relationships fit together is imperfect, as is the rendering of any one of the relationships in and of itself. I am realizing now that I want to leave two open ends to the design, to represent that idea that it is not a closed system. That there is always the possibility to form new connections.


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