I have wondered many times why I spent so many years in abusive relationships. After last night's meeting though I believe that I came to understand that I was hooked into the abuse.
But the question that has bothered me is what made me put up with it? I truly was the insane one because I let myself be driven insane by giving all my power to the alcoholic.
I can remember how sullen, withdrawn, moody, and irritable my wife would be. I would then rush in to try to figure out what was "wrong". Of course, she would say that nothing was wrong. So gradually, she became distant and angry, hostile and mean, and I became frustrated, angry, and sad trying to figure out how to restore harmony.
I was sure that there was something much more wrong with us than I could fix, yet I kept trying. And no matter what I'd do, it wasn't the right thing. When she would move away, I'd move forward, and so on. It was an ugly dance. And I became crazier and crazier because I began to believe all the untrue things that she said about us and our relationship.
The insane thing is that I was attracted by someone who had a lot of problems. And not only because I was hoping to fix her but because her problems seemed to be of a greater magnitude than mine. It was important that I find someone who was more maimed than me. Perhaps that would make me feel better. Go figure! A non-recovering alcoholic is negative in thinking. Her pessimism slowly eroded me down until I felt hopeless.
I've read that the irregular emotions of untreated alcoholism tend to hook a co-dependent as surely as an angler playing a fish. In a book entitled, Getting Them Sober, I read that the reason for bonding with someone who gives love inconsistently is that since we want the love, we are anxiously awaiting it. Therefore, we pay a lot of attention to the alcoholic, watching out for when a morsel of love will be tossed this way. I wanted to not feel rejected, to fill that huge hole within me. And for reasons that sometimes escape me, I chose to seek out a person who had a larger hole than mine to put on a pedestal.
Now I find that within the program, I have friends who speak about solutions rather than problems. And who are not only surviving their losses but are enhancing their psyche. And, the relationship with the recovering person is so much different than it was before. We treat each other with respect and kindness. I don't have to "tip toe" around the keg of dynamite. I have come to not feel anxious about doing things that I like. I no longer have to wait for the crumbs of love to be tossed my way.
I'm off the hook in the best way possible. And it's a much better way to live.