Tag Archives: blame

Living With an Addicted Person is Crazy-Making Until You Say “No More”

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c)2013 Nancy Virden,  Always the Fight MInistries

people sitting in front of wooden table
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

“You’ve been drinking again.”

“No, I haven’t.”

“But I found a water bottle in the back of the bathroom cupboard filled with vodka.”

“That’s just water!”

“Oh… ok, it’s just water.”

It is not only those with an addiction who have a problem. Spouses, friends, and other family members jump through figurative hoops trying to make sense of lies while wanting to trust. No one wants to play the fool, yet disbelieving all the time hurts too.

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“You’ve been watching porn.”

“No.”

“I saw a link on your screen.”

“You’re too suspicious. I don’t know how that got there. Some ad or something. I have not been watching porn. You have my word.”

“Oh…ok, it’s just an ad.”

Accepting blame and listening to a constant stream of denial can be crazy-making.  It is normal to feel trapped and victimized.  Where gaslighting is involved,  trust is destroyed.  

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“I finally found comfortable shoes for work. On sale for only $20!”

“We don’t have the money for that.”

“But you bought an I-Pad and took all your friends out to dinner.”

“You don’t need new shoes, your old shoes are just fine.”

“Oh…ok, do you want me to take them back?”

Remember that you matter too. Whether someone tries to pass to you the sympathy card or victim card, the denial card or blame card, you do not have to extend your hand and join the game. 

But I don’t want to make things worse by setting a boundary. I will feel guilty.  May I suggest you are already in great pain?  

One of the strongest women I’ve met was a mother who had to remove her drug-addicted son from the home and not welcome him back no matter how he begged.  It was torment to find him at her door. Yet she stood her ground knowing she might be saving his life. Home for her and the other children  returned to peace. 

Today’s Helpful Word  

Psalm 56:10, 11

 In God, whose word I praise,
    in the Lord, whose word I praise—
 in God I trust and am not afraid.
    What can man do to me?

 

***** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

 

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S.  (for international emergency numbers, go here ), or go to your nearest emergency room. Hope and help are yours.

 

 

To Survivors of Suicide Loss: Let There Be Peace this Thanksgiving

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness   (c)2017 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

Patty was angry. Her sister had ended her life two years earlier, and left Patty in turmoil. Why had she done it? She knew she could have reached out to Patty and their other siblings.  She did not have to die.

Pastor Jones barely mentioned the past, uttering in generalities the story of his friend’s suicide thirty years earlier.  He was a fellow pastor who had called Jones and talked about feeling depressed.  Then he was gone. It did not require a doctorate to diagnose the guilt Pastor Jones carried on his face.  

These are only two of dozens of survivors of suicide loss I have met. They approach me, most often to tell what happened. They are not asking for advice or platitudes. Their tales are rarely welcomed in polite company, and they see in me someone willing to listen without judgment.

In every story there is one running theme: the question why.

Why suicide? Why did I not stop them? Why did they not ask for help? Why did I not listen? Why. Why. Why.

A Different Perspective

Sometimes I fear my story of surviving major depression and attempted suicide will only serve as a morbid reminder of pain for those who have lost someone to suicide. However, that has not proven true. Instead, as far as I have observed, my story helps those left behind with a perspective they may wish they could hear from their deceased loved one. 

For me, suicide seemed the only option after months of struggle with depression. If we wanted, we could blame me: I did not reach out for professional help until late in the process.  We could blame professionals: I was under their care when the suicide attempt occurred. We could blame the support person I reached out to who did not respond well. 

We would be wrong. There is no one directly to blame.* Suicide and suicide attempts result from mixed-up minds and torn-up emotions.

The person on the edge of a suicide attempt is not thinking about all the pain their death will bring to loved ones. Rather, they are thinking everyone will be better off.  They are not necessarily selfish, but unable to see beyond the suffering that is the only reality they comprehend.  They have not generally lost their faith.  Irrationality is due to a mental problem,  not reasonable cognitive choices. 

As supports, we only know what we know. There is no shame in not understanding how to help someone who may have reached out.  We are only human. There is no guilt to carry for being fallible. If we could change the past,  would we? Yes.  It is not too late to make peace with that.   

Anger, grief, confusion… these are natural after the death of a loved one to suicide.  Our loss is legitimate. We hurt. We want to blame someone, to find a reason for the senseless. Often, with nowhere else to look, we blame ourselves.

Allow yourself to feel, and hear this from someone who has been to the end.  The answer to why will never come, at least not in the way you want it to. Your loved one did not even know why. At least 90% of people who die by suicide do so because of impaired judgment and impulsivity. If they left a note, those “reasons” were constructed from confusion. 

Often, the holidays stir up memories of loss. Gratitude might come harder. This Thanksgiving, let yourself rest. Resign blame and be at peace. 

Today’s Helpful Word

Psalm 28:7

 The LORD is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.

*********Comments are always welcome (see tab below) NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help is yours.

*In the case of someone “driving” a person to suicide, extreme circumstances, such as Michelle Carter who urged her boyfriend to kill himself,  would be called murder. This post is written to the vast majority of survivors of suicide loss who cared directly or indirectly for the life of the one who died. 

The Straw that Broke the Camel’s Back: Until We’re Tested, We All Seem Strong

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c) 2012 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries  

oqpcf3sTwo camels, Tom and Bill, walked side by side heading for what they assumed would be a feast. Their masters were always partying. A wedding here, a funeral there, it didn’t matter to these beasts of burden. They always had to carry whatever was needed, and at the end of the trip they too feasted – on straw.

Their backs, already laden with heavy gifts and wine, had to bear food as well. Huge sacks dangled on each side, flung between their double-humps and joined by a tie.  Straw lay in the bottoms to protect clay jugs and hold them upright. It encircled the cargo, stuffed into crevices, and bulged the sacks at odd angles.

“Hey,” Tom said to Bill as they lumbered along. “You know ‘ol Henry?”

“Sure. I know him. Shame what happened.”

“I blame his parents. They didn’t raise him right.”

Bill shook his head. “Nah, he hasn’t been coming to church. I mean, when he showed up  I could always tell there was something wrong with him.”

It was quiet for a few more minutes. Each tried to solve the puzzle of why ‘ol Henry had a broken back.

“Ok, I get it. Clearly his wife is difficult. You never know what goes on behind closed doors!”

“Regardless, he isn’t who we thought!”

The ignorant gossips, neither of which had asked ‘ol Henry why his back broke, slowly maneuvered their way through the crowd. One party-goer, no one knows who, decided he didn’t want to carry his gift any farther. Seeing an opportunity in the passing camels, he topped one bag with a teetering clay pot.

“Sheeez!” Tom complained as his back bowed. “I can only carry so much!”

“Quit your griping, it’s not that hard!” his insensitive companion bellowed. “Breathe easier. You should exercise more.”

Groaning, Tom wobbled a little. “Hey, will you let me lean on you the rest of the way?” He looked to Bill, pleading.

“You’re a pansy. Just repeat, ‘I’m a good camel.’ If you believe in yourself, you can do anything! Now c’mon. You’re slowing us down.”

As Bill was chiding, he kept his distance from Tom. The party-goer stacked straw around the clay treasure he’d added to Tom’s bag. Tom began to lose his footing. One straw fell out of the man’s hand and he leaned down to pick it up. Laughing and joking with surrounding merry-makers, he tossed the lone straw onto Tom’s sack.

There was a popping sound, then a loud crack as if a large tree branch was torn from its trunk. Sudden cries of anguish and fear faded into a low moan as Tom lay crumpled on the ground.

“I guess he was weak,” someone muttered.

No one considered the weight of Tom’s burden. 

“Yeah, you never know what you’re really getting into with these camels. Until they’re tested, they all seem strong.”

Today’s Helpful Word

Romans 12:16

“Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!”

**********COMMENTS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME.

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help is yours.

*pics from Kozzi.com 

Compassionate Boundaries: Refuse Blame (Seventh of Series)

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those fighting mental illness, addiction, and abuse (c)2013  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministry 

SONY DSCStanding on Chelsy’s doorstep was her new acquaintance, Kaye. “May I borrow $20?” Kaye said.

“Ummm, sure. Just a minute.” Chelsy rationalized that Kaye must need the money or else would never ask her. She handed over the cash.

“Ill pay you back!” Kaye said as she ran to her car.    

Months later, the debt yet unpaid, the two women stood in the church where they had first met.  Chelsy heard Kaye say,  “Over there are some visitors. Fresh meat.”

Kaye wandered toward the unsuspecting couple. She regaled them with her sad story. “I’m divorced and have no car. My landlord evicted me because I can’t pay rent and feed my children too.”

Awkward replies of sympathy preceded Kay’s inevitable question. “Will you lend me $20?”

Chelsy watched in horror. She too had once been “fresh meat.” Since then, truth had found its way to the top of Kaye’s heap of lies and exaggerations. Turned out, Kaye will not seek work because she did not like her old job. She totalled her car driving recklessly. Her children attend private school on a benevolence scholarship. The  eviction was due to destruction of property, not overdue rent.

Kaye returned. Chelsy’s $20 loan clearly forgotten, she said, “They wouldn’t help me out. Some people just want to keep you down, you know?” 

One healthy boundary is refusing to take blame for another person’s poor choices.  Most people understand that, and hence Kaye’s need for “fresh meat.”

Discernment about when and how to become involved in a person’s life grows out of knowledge and insight. There’s no need for mindreading; all we have to do is ask.  Financial boundaries for example, probably have black and white bottom lines. In the same way, we can develop policies of sorts to help us avoid emotional responses to false guilt.

Nothing much in this world will fall apart because we take the time to pray and think before deciding  to become involved. 

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Other posts in this series: Friendship (1) ; God’s Example (2)Values and Family (3) ; Self-Care (4) ;  How to Say No (5) ; Motives Beware! (6)Refer to Experts (8)  ; How to Say Yes (9)

__________________

***** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S.  (for international emergency numbers, go here ), or go to your nearest emergency room. Do not be alone. Hope and help are yours.