Sunday, May 10, 2009

Paging Dr. Freud

I don't really know where this post is going to go. I'm frustrated, angry, fed-up, etc., and there's really nothing I can do about it. I was accused today of being judgmental (not the first time that's happened), although I really just think I'm being objective. I'm not angry about the judgmental accusation, but I'm furious that smart people do stupid things, and I'm frustrated that people can't see how the way they behave causes more harm than good.

Co-dependency is a terrible thing, and up until recently, one that I've always associated with substance abuse. I haven't done any research on this, but I'm starting to see that it's possible for it to exist in situations of illness or other serious life stressors. I just don't get why, or maybe I don't get how it gets to that point.

I understand the dependency coming from one side when that person is in a physical or emotional weak place, or, heaven forbid, both. The weaker person relies on the other for assistance to do or handle things he or she can't handle alone. That makes sense to me, to a certain extent. After that, I just think, step up, grow up, DEAL on your own, because what kind of life is it if you can't? If it's something you are able to do, do it, or at least TRY.

As I think this through (type, backspace, insert, erase), I guess I can also OBJECTIVELY see how it might be a really addictive thing to have someone be completely dependent on you. I don't understand it, but I can see how it might happen. Everyone wants and needs to be needed, to a certain extent, and if there's any emptiness or guilt over past actions or behavior, then it just compounds the effects. Then some sort of penance becomes involved, and all mental hell breaks loose. Put the person who needs to be needed with a person who needs to be helped, and KABOOM!

How do you make someone see the unhealthy aspects of their relationship without alienating or upsetting them? Or do you stand by and let them self-destruct because they're adults and they should be able to make their own choices? While I don't think my actions today were judgmental, maybe I should have butted out and just let the cycle continue. Calling attention to it doesn't seem to have helped, at least right now. Is that because it's not something I can help with, or because I haven't said or done the right things yet? Knowing my track record as a "buttinsky" where the people I love are concerned, it's probably not over yet. Any words of wisdom from anyone out there?

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