Being codependent with the world is not fun. So, I’m trying to change it. Guess what? Changing ingrained responses and dealing with the reactions of the boundary breakers who’ve been trained to believe that I don’t have boundaries, is about as much fun as staying codependent.
Which is to say, frustrating, painful, and draining.
For those who’ve been reading along recently, you know I’m overwhelmed with multiple challenges happening all at once. The interplay between those things and the mental/physical health issues, means I’m not coping well in a lot of ways. Truthfully, I know I’m coping better than I have in the past, but not as well as I (and others) judge I should be.
At any rate, the last thing I feel capable of doing is constructively and compassionately dealing with someone incapable of being constructive and compassionate. This is especially true if there is more being demanded of me than I feel I have to give.
The whole turn the other cheek, give the cloak off your back, go the extra mile thing is really a bit beyond me, at the moment. As a matter of fact, I’m even having difficulty with “how you treated the least of these, so you treated me” thing. Whether it’s oppressors, those experiencing more difficulties than I am, or those on the same level, I’m running on empty and haven’t got anything left to give anybody, that’s worth having. I haven’t got the mental, physical, or emotional space to be able to open up the spiritual channels and let the Love flow through. It’s like the garden hose that gets kinked so bad the water slows until it stops flowing altogether.
I know what I need to do. I am just not quite able to do it, yet. I’m working on it, but I can’t do anymore than I can do in this moment. So, when I’m confronted with one more person in my life who wants more from me than I have to offer, I have to say, “No.” Repeatedly. With explanation. With rebuttal. With unwavering resolution.
My next door neighbor is a psychic and emotional vampire. She can’t help it, she really can’t. My understanding is that there is some untreated mental health stuff going on in addition to some pretty severe, chronic and debilitating physical health issues – all of which feed on and interact with each other.
She’s in between the ages of my two adult children. She’s a young mom, who started younger than I did. I recognize a lot of how my younger self was in her attitudes and circumstances. Although, her situation is more extreme and challenging than mine ever was.
I’m probably one of the few people who doesn’t just write her off as a pushy, loud, crazy, obnoxious, unstable, lunatic. She can be very rude, scary, and out of control. However, I’ve also seen her be compassionate, caring, and generous. I’ve experienced her when she’s genuinely and sincerely trying to understand why her life is the way it is and I’ve seen the complete disconnection between her understanding of the role she plays in her own misery and her ability to choose different action.
In some ways it’s like Keith and his knee-jerk anger response to things not meeting his expectations or Luna not getting her way. Which, of course, is part of my difficulty.
Since Keith has been home, almost two weeks now, I’ve been struggling with the codependent aspects of my relationship with him and his emotions. There’s a ton of anxiety and anger. I’ve spent a lot of energy trying to maintain equilibrium, which is starting to look like self-imposed isolation. The physiological toll is energy drain, resulting in fatigue and exhaustion. Insomnia, pain, and irritability have increased as well. I don’t want to be around others when I feel like this, especially if I know I have to keep my failing shields up.
It would be like taking the battle worn and damaged Enterprise through The Neutral Zone toward the Romulans, and expect it to withstand and survive the ensuing assault. Yeah, I’m a bit of a sci-fi geek.
At any rate, because I have been “under siege” in coping with all the people I live with and their emotions and attitudes, while battling my inner demons, my capacity for constructive interpretation and response to others, especially my next door neighbor is greatly impaired. So, when she tried to pressure me into going to the store with her, I declined. I explained I wasn’t feeling well. She pressed on and I explained in more detail what I was experiencing and refused again. She continued to push by explaining that she deals with those symptoms on a daily basis – implying I should take what she was offering and do what she does, and go anyway. A final time I turned her down.
That seemed to be the end of it, until a few hours later she contacted me again with the following text:
You actually complain an awful lot. When your a mom you cant really say what u cnt do if it means …! It looks like an excuse after awhile. That’s what I mean when I say Fibromyalgia is an excuse. I wont allow some diagnosis to come into my world for an excuse why I cannot parent feed clean or raise my kids. That’s 100% BS in my opinion. Mothers keep on! I had a conversation with your daughter about it a while ago and she agreed that it seemed like an annoying repetitive excuse. Almost repulsive. You know?
I immediately felt under attack. I tried not to react, but eventually sent this message back:
Since you seem to feel it appropriate to assume and imply that I’m an irresponsible, excuse making repulsive parent, or at least imply it, I would appreciate it if you would just stop texting me.
You are not fully informed of the ins and outs of my life, what I do or do not do to take care of my responsibilities, or the factors that I cope with. I am tired of being subjected to your uninformed and unsolicited opinions of my character when I fail to meet your expectations or requests.
I have done what I am able to respond to you and listen at times. I am not able to provide what you seek and I’m really tired of dealing with this judgmental and pushy attitude toward me and my family.
Whether you intend to be so or not, your attitudes, words and actions, are often rude, hurtful, and not based on anything in actual reality other than your expectations and views.
We went back and forth for a while with her trying to explain it wasn’t meant as an attack on me, but was her talking out her feelings, experiences, and opinions about a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia her doctor has been talking over with her. She also asked what it was about what she’d said that made me feel attacked. I tried to explain the best I could.
The long and short of it is, despite my own issues and problems, because of things I’ve experienced in my life, I don’t have it in me to just completely cut difficult people out of my life and reject them, without attempting to communicate my reasons.
If we don’t let people know how their words and actions affect us and when we’re having issues with them, then neither they or we have the opportunity to know or understand where the areas of growth are. Even at my least willing and when I feel least capable of patience, compassion, and understanding, I still feel compelled to do this.
Part of me wishes I were different, but a deeper part of me understands this is a good thing, overall, even if it makes it more difficult and challenging for me personally.