The struggle is real. A great phrase that everyone can associate with. We all have struggles, hardships, and difficult times. It may change are attitudes on the situation or get us down and depressed. For us ‘different thinkers’ the struggle is 10 times what an average person experiences. Not only does the doubt take over, but we dwell on the issue. It can consume everything we think and do for an extended amount of time.
I was a teenager, deep in ‘love’ with my high school boyfriend. He was not just the only person I wanted in my life, but he literally was my world. I didn’t do anything without talking to him about it; I never thought about anything else, unless he asked me to (which was quite often, he was extremely controlling), and never ever, ever let anything come between us spending time together. I was overly dependent on him, emotionally, physically and mentally.
Codependence is a very real, very serious, symptom of most people that deal with addictions, mental illness, or even as simple as lack of confidence. The lack of confidence is usually associated with people that are codependent on someone that suffers from addiction or mental illness. These diseases will consume the diseased as well as anyone that is close to them.
I was this person that couldn’t see outside the box. He was somewhat of an addict and I was suffering from mental illness and didn’t know it. Looking back, I realize how small my world was. It’s terrifying to think that I allowed someone to take complete control of my life, my health, my wellbeing, etc.
As most teenagers, I got grounded. I was not allowed my phone and stuck in the house. My so-called boyfriend wanted/demanded that I show up to his house because he ‘needed’ me there. I had one of my most dramatic fights with my mother over this. I screamed at her, pleated with her, and also targeted her emotions to get what I thought I wanted. She was hurt, and that pain effected everyone else in the house. My dad knew more than anyone that I was codependent on this boy. He never called it that, though. He became angry with this kid and told me this couldn’t go on. I had to breakup with him.
Being the defying teen that I was, I refused to do this. I thought I could fix things. I thought I could change one of the men in my life. I was bound and determined to convince them to come together for my sake. This went on for some time. I tried convincing my dad that people make mistakes and this boy was only human. When that didn’t work I went to my boyfriend and told him this was going to tear my family apart and he would probably loose me over it. He needed to stand up like a man and let my father know he wasn’t going anywhere. I convinced him to come to my house and speak with my dad.
This, of course, was one of the worst things I could do. My father was for the most part a very calm collected man. Everyone gets strong feelings, but I never had seen my dad down right outraged at any situation or any person. When we walked into the house, my father was immediately on his feet and I could feel and see the redness come into his face and cloud his mind. His first thing to say was, “how dare you bring him in my home!” This kid didn’t have a chance to even defend himself. I didn’t think Dad would ever disregard a person in this manner, but there we were. He yelled and shouted and kicked us out of the house. I cried the entire way back. I stayed at his house while he attempted to calm me. It wouldn’t work. My love for my dad wasn’t broken by this but it was an eye opener to see a different side of him.
This kind of rage lives in all of us, but is most exposed to others by people with more struggle. Fighting an addiction or mental illness is 10 times the struggle. It engulfs us. It controls us. It dwells within us and will never go away. One way to handle a situation like this, had I known then what I know now, would be to have a little radical acceptance. You can’t change anyone, but you can except people for who they are. You can accept that it is what it is, even if you don’t like it or can’t control it. Some choose to use their faith. Others tie off that chapter of their life and move on. Whatever you have to do to not let your emotions control you, but you control your emotions, do it. There is enough hate in the world to go around. That doesn’t mean it has to come from you.
I have apologized repeatedly to my mom for things that I did or said to her over my life. She was one of the people that has been mostly effected by my decisions and rage. Sometimes the people closest to you are the ones that get hurt the worst by these diseases. Don’t let your loved ones be damaged by you, but allow them to be supportive. Support…. Tricky subject. It will HAVE to be a topic for another time! Stay tuned.