Love and Compassion Contaminated by Co-dependency
by M. R. Chalk
I confess that I am not sure how, where, who, or when I became a co-dependent. The was no one person to pin the blame on, simply the environment that I was adopted into. Genetically, I came from a family of severe alcoholism, mental illness and violence.(She loved me enough to give me up)
I grew up in a middle class affluent family - Mother, the daughter of an alcoholic, father , the son of a decorated war hero - a well stocked bar, both parents loving to entertain, and a complete lack of expressions of love, and caring- it was like they did not know how. Anger was however, tolerated and expressed regularly through my provocation I admit and also by me, I need to express myself by nature, and well at least it was something.
I learned that the only expression allowable is anger, everything else must be pushed down. I learned that in the real world people do not like this form of expression - that is aggression (this often happened when I was simply excited about something - good or bad).
Marriage to an alcoholic from a long line of wealthy alcoholics who loved to party mirrored my parents and his.
His parents with their 5 children, dad a violent alcoholic and mom an enabler, matched well on so many levels of my life experience. At first I partied too, had 3 children and carried on till the were teens. I enabled, ignored, had tantrums, bailed out - did all those things on the list.
Then I began to change, I chose not to associate with the friends that had drug and alcohol problems, I chose to stop participating in the drinking and pot smoking my husband engaged in. I gave him ultimatums for quitting which when not met I would forgive again and again. I went to counselling and so did my husband. He still did not stop. he had lied continuously about the finances, we were so far in debt that we could not keep up, the children were angry, we were all angry and I retreated into the world of video games - he kept buying drugs and alcohol.
I stopped trying to love, I sent him away to get rid of his problem, he lied and came back. We split up, I left, wanting the children to come to me, the children would not so he kept them.
The children do not speak to me and have drug problems, the ex has moved on.
I am now in a relationship with a recovered alcoholic (17) yrs who does go to meetings who can recite the books text; a good but sick heart who is about to declare bankruptcy again because he is unable to live by his art. Unfortunately, he is so severely passive aggressive that he is unable to support himself normally - ie. get a job to pay the bills- yet he still talks of Mexico every year.
My love and compassion on the one hand says , I understand, poor dear, and on the other, I enable by staying silent or by meekly making suggestions, which he gets mad at. He does not make enough from his art life to allow him to life off his art and this has been going on for seven years. He contributes to rent and food in a set amount like a boarder.
Although, I have not bailed on him, I have ignored the problem because it is his. I have not said things because he gets defensive and upset at any mention that he may need to get a job and stop trying to live off his art alone. He is now owing back taxes, has huge debt- is depressed and cannot hear advice(this will not affect me- ha I am living with a depressed woe is me male- it does affect me) and my thoughts are becoming consumed by him.
This whole thing is beginning to suck, We have alot of fun together and love each other dearly.