She had a good upbringing but with dysfunctional parents. Over time, she had one failed relationship after another, mostly with alcoholics or addicts. She had been let down by a lot of people and did her share of letting down as well. Isn't this what we do? We let ourselves down by accepting the behavior of the alcoholic that wasn't acceptable. I used to believe that things would change just because I wished them to. That simply doesn't happen. Things change when I take action for myself.
In retrospect, I don't think that I had much of clue about how to have a close relationship. Instead I had a set of fantasies about how it all "should" be. And when those unreal expectations weren't met, I built up a lot of resentment. In relationships with people, I either gave too much or too little. In either case, I was confused because my life and relationships weren't working. I understood the pain of living for years with so much anger. And I too confused hating the disease with intense feelings of dislike for the alcoholic.
I thought that I would put down some of the characteristics that I had which set me up for failing with other people in relationships and just plain living:
- I didn't know what a normal relationship was
- I judged myself and others harshly
- I had difficulty just having fun--everything had an agenda
- I took myself way too seriously and was overly responsible
- I didn't like change or know how to deal with it
- I sought approval and affirmations from others but not from myself
- I wanted immediate gratification
- I avoided conflict because I didn't know how to deal with it
- I feared rejection and abandonment and would put up with a lot of stuff to avoid being rejected
- I feared criticism and judgment of myself, but would not hesitate to criticize or judge others
- I had a lot of misplaced loyalty
Am I giving because I want to or because I feel responsible to?
Am I feeling an obligation, guilt, shame or superior?
Am I afraid to say no?
Am I just wanting people to like me?
If I assist others, am I really enabling and thereby preventing others from facing their true responsibilities?
Am I giving because I want to and it feels right to me?