I didn't want to write when I first woke up, but I do now. I noticed that whenever I feel like I'm supposed to do something, or I have to, I balk. I've been reading my Breaking Addiction book, to call it brilliant and sensible is robbing it of the justice it deserves. To get to the root of any addiction an addict has to learn to identify when they feel helpless and powerless. Or to put it another way, those who do things to seize control when they feel powerless and or helpless are the addicts. This is why two people can do the exact same thing and one of them can be called an addict fairly while the other cannot. To trace these first feelings of helplessness and powerlessness I have to go back to my childhood when I wasn't allowed to be myself. It seems like a very small thing to not be able to pick out which clothes I wanted to wear, but in reality it contributed to some of the problems I have now. You're not going to tell me what to do, and I'll do damaging and destructive things to myself before I'll let you have control and power over me. I'm sensitive to power the way some can sense fear or danger.
Growing up went something like this. Person A was irresponsible. I had not been irresponsible, but their problem became my problem. When I was irresponsible it was my problem, and it was my problem when I wasn't irresponsible. It was a no win situation for me and as the oldest of five children I was often told that it was my job to keep my sisters and brothers in line. I tried to rule with a heavy hand. Violence from authority figures was common, my siblings rebelled, and I couldn't get them to do what I wanted and had been asked to make sure that they did. Then I was engaged and married, but I had really traded accepting a burden of irresponsibilities for another that was far larger and more insidious although domestic physical violence was rarely an issue. My mom believed that I could cope and handle the situations created by the irresponsibilities of others. My ex didn't. He lied to me. He cheated on me. He cheated me out of time, money, affection, support, validation, pretty much everything that a spouse is allowed to expect from a partner when they take vows.
Because I had grown up in an environment where the man was chronically irresponsible, irritable, and mean I thought that meant I had to work harder so that's what I did. Soon I was buried so deep in trying to manage the household finances, get meals on the table, and work my own job that I became very angry. I yelled, I screamed, I begged, I pleaded, but nothing I said did any good. I could have sex with him, and for that brief period of time I wasn't being accused of not making meals someone else didn't like. I wasn't allowed to buy treats with money I had earned. It had been spent by someone else before it made it into my account. At work I was smart so I was soon saddled with a heavier workload without extra compensation. I'm just reeling from some of these realizations. Naturally I wasn't the perfect wife or daughter, but now I can see that these situations created someone who felt so helpless and powerless that they turned to other things to help regain that sense of power and control that was missing from their life earlier. I'm so upset by this, it's going to be yet another thing I have to work through in therapy.
I can't make other people be responsible. I feel trapped by this house that is crumbling due to neglect. I can't rescue my kids from someone who is just as irresponsible as my own father was. I didn't make a better choice than my mother. Maybe I had even chosen a worse partner. I feel like no matter what I do I'll never escape the workload that comes with irresponsible people. Occasionally I too am irresponsible, it doesn't seem fair that everyone else gets away with things, I should get a free pass once in a while. But that's not how life works. I guess the good news in all of this is I'm learning new things and I have a therapist who will work with me. I'm going to come out on the other side better than I was before. I'm already better. Their irresponsibility does not define me. I won't let it. But it will affect me so I have to talk to my therapist and start praying. This book is a minor miracle in my life as tough as it is to read. For anyone else who wants to learn more, it's Breaking Addiction by Lance Dodes, MD. Good luck and good for you if you decide to take that first tremulous step.