Monday, March 15, 2010
I truly understand what he is doing. I too have stayed in a relationship that was bad for me, and I stayed out of loyalty and some kind of hope that things would get better. Now things are much better, and I'm glad that I stuck around. But I also wonder about the cost that it took on me.
As long as I was not in a relationship, I was happy with who I was and what I did. I remember in high school that I fell head over heels for this brainy, attractive, exciting girl. We had a great time for over a year, until she started going out with another fellow. The pain of loss during the break up was like a death. It was a time of grieving. But eventually I was able to move on. But as soon as I would become involved with someone again, I would start looking critically at myself, become anxious, and essentially begin to push the person that I loved away because of my fear of being hurt.
Irish at Recovery Archive had the following to say about dependency in her post today: I am only free of my dependency to the extent that I am able to see my own irrational clinging to people places and things, (various conditions) in a deluded attempt to pin reality down to a controllable form. Because I am powerless over people places and things, this attempt to control people and places and things leads only to suffering.
So often the frightening part of letting go of control is not about what happens to others but what will happen to me. I used to think that it would mean that I failed in a relationship because I couldn't "fix" another, and that if I were to let go of control, things would fall apart. Maybe these are similar fears that alcoholics feel when they have to give up booze. I have heard all kinds of excuses from others and from me about why I wouldn't give up on another. Isn't that an addiction of sorts?
In the end it comes down to choices of whether I want to live an authentic life or one that is predicated on fear of loss. Today, I can see how far I've come in understanding that I don't need to control in order to relate to others. Now I am seeing after being in a long-term relationship that we have to work on it--it is like the care and feeding of fragile plant. It has to be tended and the weeds pulled in order to grow. What is my idea of being in a healthy relationship? I think it means that we encourage each other, we care for each other but have a balance in which we maintain independence too, we speak kindly to each other without sarcasm and anger, we help each other out, we are intertwined gently with gossamer and not chains.