“I love you enough to let you hate me.”
I believe that there are times when expressing your love toward someone can lead to their being angry with you.
Does that sound strange? These days, it appears that this way of thinking is very much in the minority. But, hear me out.
I’m not talking about abuse
I’m pretty sure that any (loving) parent worth their salt has been “hated” by their children, for a short time, anyway. If my kids didn’t “hate” me occasionally, I’d figure I wasn’t doing my job.
Let me explain
No child is happy to receive discipline. Not gonna lie, I hated my parents more than once when they stopped me from some foolishness. They had wisdom that saw where I was headed, left to my own devices. They loved me enough to risk dealing with my anger.
Of course, because I knew that they loved me, eventually my anger subsided. After a while, sometimes years later, I came to see their reasoning, or at least I understood that their actions were done out of love. I accepted that they weren’t perfect, and that while there were things that they regretted doing (or saying), as parents, their hearts were in the right place.
What’s this got to do with addiction, ab?
I’m glad you asked. When we are running our lives in the throes of addiction – to WHATEVER – in our self-centered determination to “look out for number one” or “teach them a lesson”, or my favorite “F*** them!”, we injure the ones that (when in our right minds) we love. Often, they are so determined to “help” us, that they inadvertently become the target of our destruction. Repeatedly. I suppose they just can’t bring themselves to step away, knowing that the result could be that we end up hurting ourselves, or someone else. I’m just going on what I’ve heard, here, as more often than not, I was the addict in this scenario, “rippin and runnin”, and causing so much chaos and misery for those who loved me.
Ok, so what’s the answer?
Sometimes, as the parent of a headstrong child, we have no choice but to look for help in learning how to handle them. Or maybe we have to see a Professional in order to heal from wounds (physical or otherwise) inflicted during a temper tantrum. Even moreso when dealing with a person with an addiction. The thing is, at some point it will become clear that you can’t control them. Whatever you have done in your desperation to change them has failed.
Real change requires courage
I’m thinking of a friend who’s living with a person in active addiction. I don’t know how long I’d last if I shared a home that was filled with so much insanity.
The thing is, in recovery I’ve had to learn to create boundaries, and also how to keep them. After a while, clean and sober, my instinct for self-preservation returned, and I began to more carefully choose those who would be a part of my life. Before that, though, I was given a precious
little (7.7#, 23″) tremendous reason to exercise caution in choosing my associates.
Feelings aren’t facts
My friend is reluctant to do anything because of the sh*tstorm that will no doubt follow. We don’t like it when you suggest that we might be doing it wrong. I know that the housemate will likely say that she hates her, among other things. It’s, sadly, what we do when our addiction is threatened.
Difficult, NOT impossible
When a person in recovery is living with a person in full-blown addiction, who doesn’t want to change that , there aren’t a lot of options. In my experience, I felt that continuing to be abused and to interact daily with a madman was just too big a threat to my sobriety. I eventually left. Certainly, I didn’t want to leave the person (or, the person they HAD been), and it was a safe bet that they were not going to go, quietly, so it took a lot to actually do what I had to do. Like a child who’s about to lose something they think they need, the addict made sure to let me know that they hated me. I can live with that. I am powerless over other people and their behavior.
Thankfully, I am NOT powerless over whether or not I continue to subject my child and/or myself to the toxic environment that active alcoholics and addicts create, EVERYWHERE they go.
Not gonna accept unacceptable behavior
So, I’m grateful for finding the support of groups like Alanon and Adult Children of Alcoholics. I don’t know how many folks struggling with addiction have finally gone for help after sleeping in their car, or losing their job, or some other catastrophic event. It takes what it takes.
I hope my friend can maintain sobriety and do what she must to care for herself and her kids in this situation. As much as I care, I can’t do anything but pray and share my experience strength and hope.
In my experience, with children as well as individuals in active addiction, I love them enough to let them hate me.
Posted from my hut in the forest.