|Posted by The Thinking Other Woman on May 19, 2022 at 4:40 PM|
OK, everyone can point fingers and call me an idiot. People get broken up with every day, and healthy people get over it in a matter of months, not years.
They also don’t choose to get involved with anyone married in the first place.
For me, the lure of my married guy held twin, powerful draws.
I grew up my mother’s clone, desperate for approval. She loved horses, so I loved horses. I didn’t realize until my second year at college, where horseback riding for credit was offered, that horses were actually large and intimidating animals and I would actually rather admire them in photos than in the flesh. My mother’s favorite color was red, so my favorite color was red. I was in my early twenties before I seriously considered whether I might actually prefer some other color.
So, when my mother, who I will bet any licensed mental health professional has borderline personality disorder, wilted with the pain of low self-esteem and perceived rejection by other people, I vibrated in tandem. I felt my mother’s pain. I just felt so, so badly for my mother and wanted her to feel better.
Even at the tender age of six, I could see better reason than she could. I remember wondering why she would bother calling up one family member to complain about another family member, and then the next day calling up the one she had sent down the river the day before to complain about the third one. Certainly, there was a better way to do things.
As I grew older, my mother, who blamed her husbands for all of her unhappiness — it was always something they did or didn’t do for her — purchased the first popular self-help books, way back in the 1970s and 1980s. Dr. Joyce Brothers. She never got anything out of them, but I snuck and read them on the sly and I sure did. I am grateful for those books, because they set me on a lifelong path of seeking out information about my emotional problems, her emotional problems, and my upbringing, and trying like heck to heal.
I always knew, if my mother would only do this, if my mother would only do that, she could feel and get better. I went on a crusade to get our family into therapy just before I left for college. Little did I know that the borderline generally only participates in therapy as a complaining outlet, and once it no longer is and the therapist starts pushing for some real work and change, the borderline drops out.
This was my mother, from the time I went to college to the time I could no longer deal with her unreasonable and upsetting behavior and cut contact back in 2006.
I knew by this time that I couldn’t make her do anything. Only she could decide to get into treatment and actually apply herself.
So, what did I do after my husband passed away and my lovely marriage ended? Go find a severely codependent ACoA affair partner and reenact the same thing all over again.
Scold and scold all you want. I know in my mind that I could never make this person change and that it was never my place to.
Unfortunately, old, old feelings from childhood are so deep and so strong that you can’t squelch them with mere intellectual knowledge.
I suppose I’m still living with a child’s heart, a child’s broken heart that spent thirty-eight years trying and trying to help her mother, waiting for the day when that person would apply herself and then I would have constructive behavior to support and finally things could be all right.
It’s been so very difficult and painful to accept that we don’t live in a world where that happens. People can and do choose to stay sick, to not apply themselves, to suffer and suffer in a well they choose to stay in and that we may not pull them out of.
It’s not a world of happy endings, here. It broke my heart to have to accept that then, and it’s still breaking my heart now.
But the only thing we can do is just leave people in their misery. We can’t fix them; we can’t change them; we can’t save them.
Yet we still have to know how much pain they are in. I could feel that with my mother, and I could feel that with this guy.
It’s not fair that there is so much pain in the world, and people are so limited that all they can ever do is suffer. This is knowledge that spawns deep, deep grief in me.
And I can’t do anything at all about it.
I know. I tried.