Looking at my ringing cellphone, instant anxiety, reading the caller ID, warning me it’s my brother, a year older than I. The drug addicted homeless one, who never calls to give me anything, except another hard luck down and out story, with the appeal for another rescue for him, and his plight.
My heart always hurts after his calls, leaving me feeling hopeless, anxious, guilty, and a little desperate. This is because I still have codependent, victim buttons, he is able to access and push. God is healing and strengthening me in this process, supplying me with the grace and hope I need to gain a healthy perspective, establishing appropriate boundaries. Only these limits can protect me from the fallout and consequences if I make unhealthy choices regarding him, involving my emotions and needs. (I’m helping him, but what am I after?)
Acting like my best friend and loving brother, he’s really an intruder, who’s only agenda is to take advantage, and use me. A painful, costly, relating history bears this out. His selfish choices to remain addicted, and not take responsibility for anything, sabotages any normal healthy relating. The relationship improves, and is safer with distance and limits.
I keep believing, hoping there’s something in the relationship for me, other than pain, disappointment, and a feeling of being used again.
I enter into an unhealthy victim role of rescuer and enabler, when I try to save another from their own bad choices and outcomes. The child cannot learn responsibility if the parent rescues them from their poor choices. The adult child will be looking for a handout or rescuer, instead of learning responsibility and maturity, and owning their choices, living with them.
Truth statement; I am not responsible for the choices of another, or the resulting consequences.
Loving from a distance
We can’t control the choices of others. Their choices are “out of control”. Some of the most stressful situations we get into, involve the choices of others we are powerless to control. The spouse, or wayward child, mom or dad.
Anxiety and stress accompany these dynamics, because we can’t control the outcomes of the choices of others. However, we are not victims of other’s or their choices, if we let God show us where we’re in unhealthy roles in relationship to these people, and stop enabling and rescuing them.
It doesn’t mean we don’t love them, and help when God leads, but we don’t give our hearts in unhealthy ways to feel powerful, or garner their approval or acceptance, seeking validation in distorted ways.
It’s harder with family, and it usually is family, because we all have one, and are enmeshed in sibling, parent/child relationships. And many of us have a spouse, to get healthy with, in order to have an intimate, lasting marriage.
Spouses are not the enemy, or some curse, but God’s assignment to us, for our love to mature, and grow us out of our own selfishness and denial. You will either grow or bail. The next one, if you can keep them, will be the same or worse until you surrender your heart to what God is after. Don’t blame the devil, or your spouse, for what God is up to. You will find that in the mirror. Check out the resource page under books! XO