Often as the loved ones of those struggling with addiction and/or mental illness, you find yourself in the position of feeling victimized by the brain disorder, the person you love and to their thoughts, feelings, actions, reactions, and lack of actions; that are not congruent with what you want or choose for them.
As a loved one, I spent countless years at various points throughout my life, longing for my various affected loved ones to care about me enough to take their medication, get sober, and turn the corner in their illness, so I could be peaceful and whole.
I know the flaws in that thinking pattern, however, those thoughts were very real to me for most of my life. So real in fact, I often volunteered my own happiness, peace and serenity as an offering to coerce other people to be okay, seek treatment or whatever else I believe they needed. As a result, I would often slip into a depression due to my perceived victimization by others. When in fact, I often volunteered for the position.
We often believe if we just do or say something one more time, after thousands of attempts and pleas for our loved one to be okay they will miraculously look us in the face, surrender their will and say,”Thank you for repeating that for the 523rd time because I just didn’t hear it the first 522 times and today is different,” then miraculously turn their life around due to our undying love, efforts, and pleas.
It is just not going to happen. We cannot love someone enough, manage them enough, babysit them enough, or anything else to make them okay!
The truth is, if we had the power to make our loved one okay, it would have happened already. Not only do we not have that power, our attempts will leave us exhausted, depressed, angry, confused and hopeless, with a non stop ticket on the Crazy Town Express to Crazy Town, USA., wallowing in victimized thinking.
We get on that train voluntarily.
You will take back your power and resign your volunteer position by realizing your loved one is making their own choices and living their own life. It may not be the healthy thriving life you choose for them, but trying to control it makes your life a wreck too and you end up with two unwell people instead one.
So take back your power by:
- Removing yourself from harmful situations
- Stop begging your loved one to change
- Stop preventing another’s natural consequence for behaviors
- Stop devaluing yourself by letting others plow through your boundaries (assuming you have set some)
- Stop trying to control outcomes
- Stop doing for others what they can do for themselves
- Practice loving detachment by knowing where you stop and someone else begins
This can be particularly difficult for Christians who often fall into martyrdom believing they are called to “unconditional love and sacrifice”.
God clearly explains that every man has free will and choice. God did not ask us to sacrifice our well being trying to make someone else we cannot fix okay, that behavior is about us, and the responsibility is God’s not ours. Even the compromised brain is covered by God’s undying love for the individual and our power is not greater than His. Remember God loves your person even more than you do, and their wellness is covered under His grace.
Today’s Recovery Tip:
I will not give away my power by making my happiness contingent on my loved one’s wellness. I am victim to no one and the CEO of me.