They say that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Caring about someone who struggles with mental health and addiction issues is no walk in the park. The frustration, the resentment, the dark hopelessness you feel when you watch your loved one make the same mistakes over and over again.
I love someone who struggles with these things, and for years I have tried my best to help this person.
For years, we’ve run in the same never-ending cycle, me fruitlessly trying to help, to no avail.
It’s maddening, this circle we are running around in. Round and round we go, circumstances and situations changing a bit, but never enough to truly fix it all.
It’s exhausting, it’s disappointing, and it wears on my own health. But the fact of the matter is; you can’t help someone who doesn’t want the help, and you certainly can’t help someone who only sees themselves as the victim.
So, I’m learning to say no.
The fact that I even have to say no is heartbreaking. I never wanted to say no, never wanted to have to make decisions like this, but because of this person’s choices and behaviour, I’m putting my foot down.
I can’t do this right now.
It wasn’t–isn’t–a forever thing, but until this person truly gets their ever loving shit together–or at least genuinely attempts to, I have the right to choose when I want to deal with them. Sometimes, it’s a flat out no.
No, I’m not going to deal with the strife, the tension, the anxiety and the aftermath. It clouds the whole weekend, not just for the people directly involved, but for everyone else, too.
At first, I felt guilty. I’ll admit, my guilt almost overrode my decision to say no, but then came the threats and manipulation, and I realized this person still doesn’t get it. They don’t see the damage that they’ve caused to our relationship, and they are doing nothing to repair it.
They’re just slashing away at the bloody remains, refusing to put themselves in anybody’s shoes but their own.
Mental illness and addiction are both very real, very hard diseases, and combined they are next to impossible for families to deal with, especially with our serious flawed medical system.
But it’s not just the flawed system. It can’t be blamed for everything. You cannot expect those who love you to carry you indefinitely, especially when all you do is fight them at every turn. If you’re not fighting for yourself, if you’re not taking your mental illnesses and addiction issues seriously, you can’t expect everyone else to keep fighting.
Eventually, they’ll have to stop; they’ll have to let it go. They’ll have to focus on the things that they can help and change.
It might seem unfair, sure. Especially to that person. But what’s also unfair is expecting someone to tolerate toxic, harmful behaviour.