After finishing another book on codependency, I am only now verily certain that I suffer a kind of post-traumatic stress disorder related to childhood wounds, exacerbated by a series of life traumas as well as repeated difficulties that have triggered it. Although I am tempted at times to think I have made no progress, simply because the wound remains tender, the evidence is quite the contrary. I almost never take out my pain on other people anymore; even in my own mind and emotions I protect them from my angry monkey brain. I work very very very hard at this, because the monkey is a monster. I have become a great monkey killer over the years. I refuse to accept non-constructive motivations toward the people I love, even if I can't stop them from repeatedly rising up. I can give the benefit of the doubt and forgive and work through almost anything with someone if they will give me the chance and meet somewhere in the middle (I'll be forced to do it alone if they don't). Thinking unloving thoughts about people is to me such an unbearable violation of my faith. And it is enhanced by my wounds. I am less adept at protecting myself, however. I take serious beatings from the monster sometimes; even to the point that I can barely make it through my daily duties. I'm talking about days that feel like they go on for weeks. It's absolutely brutal and physically exhausting. Telling me to just ignore it, or shake it off, or man up, or just let go, is counter-productive. Its like telling someone with bipolar disorder not to be so extreme. The difficulty is already there whether we want it or not. To top it off, we feel burdensome to the people we love as the burdens we bear might be somewhat contagious. During the worst times for sure. There is a process here I have been working on as well, and my recent break has pushed the whole thing into overdrive.
Holding boundaries with ourselves and others is where the healing happens. For myself, I do well with forcing my monkey to reason. I force us to examine all the evidence in context. I can keep him busy for long stretches with these logic games. I.E. She only said that because she is struggling with X right now and doesn't realize that I've been doing Y for her, so I understand and hope for the time when I will be understood as well. The logic of the cross is the ultimate trump card of course, when all else fails, but we want to have more pragmatic responses as well. The Lord only wants us to bear what we have to bear and not to add to it by being mentally/physically/relationally lazy. However, all the non-Jesusy answers are going to be temporary. The monkey will be back with new data soon. Where does he get this data from I wonder? *cough* spirits *cough*. My heart apparently is a landing field for imaginings that I don't own and often don't approve of. I know the difference between my own creations and those from above or below. That's my discernment to make, so unless you're my spiritual director, stay out of it. If you don't believe me you can't teach me. Which leads me to the prognosis of a new boundary I must enforce in my life. I need to be trusted and listened to in my relationships (you'd think it would go without saying...). I'm not suggesting that I deserve the trust or ear of a stranger, because knowledge about someone and trusting them go hand in hand. But people act like that means you have to distrust everyone!!! No, no, no, no, no. Distrust should follow the same rule of being tempered by knowledge of a person. I can't tell you how many times I have been accused of crimes by people, expressing utter certainty, who couldn't possibly have the knowledge required to file the charge. Some evidence isn't sufficient evidence my dear shallow world. I'm sorry that this culture taught you to judge everything by its surface impression, I really am sorry. This is the anti-climax of Western Civilization. Consulting the other person BEFORE making the assumption is vital. Often I have felt like my entire adult life should be evidence to the contrary of an accusation, but that's not enough, or its overlooked, when the monkey gets ahold of them. I am not saying I can't or don't sin anymore, but please, acknowledge my goodness first. Five affirmations before a single criticism! That is a loving friendship. I understand if its too much work to be worth it sometimes, but I'm going to be the last one to accept that. I like the work. I think that is where love really is. Communion. I die for you, you die for me, I resurrect, you resurrect, repeat. But when its: I die, I die, I die, I die, I die, I die, I die, I die, you die, repeat, um, something's off here.
So when the monkey can't get me from within, he tries to get me from without. He knows exactly how to get in too. Through the women that I love the most; this is where the lie is so wrong that the fact they are even entertaining it is degrading to my core. I fight heroically for Our Lady and my women, its a critical point in my identity. Why would I want to be around women who don't honor that? Strange to me how secular women seem to see it and appreciate it better than my Catholic sisters. Truly, I am not standing for the emotional abuse anymore. Its triggering to me. If the relationship isn't giving me anything in return, why would I stay around? I have been too lenient with people. Its an insult to God, because it is unjust. A false assumption once and awhile is normal of course, and good communication skills will stomp it out right away. In fact, if the communication highway is open, I can take pretty intense triggering. Like I said, I fight heroically when the one I am fighting for loves me and leaves me with a promise of love. So long as I know the person cares enough to work through it with me, and is humble enough to acknowledge they may be wrong, that's a healthy relationship and I am all about it. I don't have to feel guilty about the fact that relationship with me requires more work than it does with others. That's because I am actually trying to become a saint here. I am at war with pretension and falsehood. It doesn't mean I don't know how to have fun, it just means that visits with my inner child require the admission price of a holy effort in communication first. If the price is too high, its too high. Come back when you've built up more spiritual capital. If you don't know how to listen, then stop talking so much. As soon as I feel like I'm the dumping ground for someone's woundedness, I'm closing shop and shipping out. Like they just use me and leave me, that's wrong and they need to learn. I'll be kind and help if I can, but I cannot subject myself to that continual abuse. So I won't. That's my codependent creed.
P.S. I am a total sucker for repentance and apologies.