>a reasonable conclusion to a dysfunctional mess

9:54 AM

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Last night I posted the entire story of what happened last night on Internet of the Mind. I'm going to post part of that here also because I don't think in all the reflecting I was doing in last night's posts I actually gave the full story of what happened:

I have been very ill over the past week. What started off as a fever, congestion, and sore throat has been creeping down my chest and I now suspect I may have the beginnings of pneumonia. Don't worry! I am going to the doctor tomorrow. However, it is important to know what kind of physical health I am in for this story.
Tonight a long time "best friend" contacted me on a messenger to ask if he could take me to another location so I could pick up a Netflix movie that was due to be in the mail by tomorrow. If he didn't get it in the mail by tomorrow, it was going to be a $20 late fee. He was going to be busy tomorrow so he wouldn't be able to retrieve it then.
I told him that I couldn't leave tonight because I am sick. I then offered to get it in the mail early tomorrow morning before the mail ran or even to pay the $20 late fee if it ended up being late. That was evidently not good enough for him though because he stated it was very rude of me to say that. I must admit that feeling as miserable as I was I enabled the situation by using some profanity and blocking him.
He showed up at my home raging. He let himself in and started threatening the lives of my family while swearing me off from his life forever and swearing that I was perfectly fine to go get the movie. I ended up injuring myself, again enabling, while he tormented me about what a "retard" I was for doing it. I have to admit at that point I had gotten in to such a primitive state I didn't care about anything any more but just releasing the pain.
I got him to leave. A long time friendship out the window, and a successful job on recovery that has slipped in to a relapse. I am a bit shaken from the experience, but I believe I have learned from it enough to do better in the future, and that's what really matters.
In reflection, I have been enabling this friend for years. He snapped and I and my husband both jumped. He often failed to meet commitments, changed his mind in the middle of the stream, and generally dragged his friends through a angsty storm of emotional drama. I told my husband when I started therapy that I had a funny feeling I would eventually end up having to drop this friend just for the dysfunctionality he represents.
Despite realizing all of this though, I held off on cutting things off. I kept so confident in myself being able to avoid any sort of drama with him from now out that I failed to see that just by being exposed to that dysfunctionality this early in my recovery I can very easily be pulled down in to a relapse, momentarily throwing away all I have learned because the reality is so close to what I experienced as a child that my brain decides it needs to protect me by switching on my defenses.
I wrote an apology email to him tonight. I apologized for enabling him for all those years and for enabling him tonight. I told him that I had enjoyed our friendship but that indeed it seemed it had came time for an end. And I wished him a long and happy life.

One of the commentators on the site disagreed with me about last night having been the result of a relapse. This is what they had to say:

I know what you mean as in it felt you were relapsing. In fact i think this proves that you are making huge progress. You knew deep down that you were going to have to cut this 'friend' free one day and now you have. It sounds like he has no respect for your boundaries. Do you have a strategy to put in place if he shows up raging again at your home? Same for if he launches a cyber attack?
It took things coming to this kind of very obvious acting out on his part (probably due to his increased insecurity as he sensed you have been growing in strength recently)for you to take the action you have probably wanted to do for a long time ago. Well done. I also feel like I revert into childhood defense mode while the trigger is right there in front of me but the truth is we now know deep down that this treatment is not excusable, not deserved and shouldn't be happening. You 'felt' regressed internally and no wonder with that kind of performance going on from him but you still took action to protect yourself and your family.

I think I am beginning to understand how this was not actually a relapse. While I did fall back in to old behaviors once the drama started, I recognized the drama for what it was and made an effort to stop it. In the past this would have not been the case. I would have given in to this person's demands no matter how much they disrespected me and violated my personal rights and/or health and on top of that would have excused the behavior as just being a part of their personality. Last night though I attempted to stop it as soon as it started with them implying that me putting my health above their personal agenda was "rude".

I also think it's kind of interesting that the commentator on this site theorized that perhaps last night's events happened because my "friend" had began to sense the change in me. I think there may be some truth in this statement, because this "friend" has never acted out to such extremes with me before. Then again I have never really said no to this friend before, either, with the exception of refusing to take "I'll call you back" as an answer to a very simple yes or no question that could not physically wait any longer to be answered (and thank God I did because as per usual I never got that call back!). Thinking back to that day, I remember him seeming a bit irked that I was telling him I needed to know the answer right then and there, even though I had a good reason as to why I needed an immediate response and it was not a big decision to make - either he had the time for it right then or he didn't. Maybe the anger over me refusing to get jerked around that day carried over in to last night's events when once again I refused to get jerked around.

Thinking deeper on this, it probably all comes down to abandonment issues (hello, Iceburg effect!). Any refusal on someone's part to do things exactly as he wants them to be done turns in to feelings of abandonment in the ID, which then turns in to feelings of shame in the ID, which then turns in to feelings of contempt in the ego that either get internalized or externalized. That perceived abandonment kicked in as soon as I said no, and ignored the situation surrounding why I said no and also the reasonable alternatives that were offered. A child - which is what your subconsciousness can be compared to in terms of the way it processes information - does not understand the details, they just hear "no". And if "no" is perceived as being a term of abandonment, the child gets hurt, then starts to feel ashamed of themselves for being hurt, then starts to feel contempt for themselves for being so ashamed and hurt. In an adult once this "child" has formed these feelings the adult ego responds with contempt either for them self or for the other person that the "child" inside has perceived as being the originator of the hurt. Now, in a healthy adult, these feelings are recognized as being purely internal and the adult struggles to reason out why they have these feelings, what the reality of the situation is, and how they can most peacefully resolve the conflict of the internal with the external. In a dysfunctional adult however these feelings are taken as being the highest truth to the situation. The real reasoning behind the feelings is pushed aside because the adult feels that it is too painful to face or denies that it needs addressing. The reality of the situation is also pushed aside because the adult probably realizes in their subconsciousness that in order to address the reality of the situation they will also have to face the reality of why they are feeling the way they do. This leaves them with nothing but that nasty feeling, which in their mind has to be disposed of in some way in order to make them feel better. So they "dump" it, either on themselves or on someone else. That is to say they blame those feelings on themselves and then take action to try to get rid of those feelings by stuffing them down in to the subconsciousness or  they blame those feelings on someone else and then take action to stop that person from "making" them feel that way.

Sheesh, I look back on that and I think about how much work all of that took when I was playing the Iceburg game. It is so much easier now to just face the way I feel head on and work it all out on a completely conscientious level. Yeah there may be some pain and other nasty feelings involved but in the end I truly feel better, calmer, happier, and even lighter. The old neural map I followed would leave me feeling cranky for a while while I slowly worked on getting those nasty feelings stuffed down in to a subconscious level where I wouldn't feel them any more, praying in the mean time that nothing else would happen to bring those feelings rushing back to my full conscientiousness.

In closing, I want to remind myself of the rights I have according to the Adult Children of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families Bill of Personal Rights:

I have a right to actively pursue people, places, and situations that will help me in achieving a good life.
I have the right to say no whenever I feel something is not safe or I am not ready.
I have a right to not participate in either the active or passive “crazy-making” behavior of parents, of siblings, and of others.
I have a right to “mess up”; to make mistakes, to “blow it”, to disappoint myself, and to fall short of the mark.
I have a right to leave the company of people who deliberately or inadvertently put me down, lay a guilt trip on me, manipulate or humiliate me, including my alcoholic parent, my nonalcoholic parent, or any other member of my family.
I have a right to put an end to conversations with people who make me feel put down and humiliated.
I have a right to develop myself as a whole person emotionally, spiritually, mentally, physically, and psychologically. 

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