Vallarta Tribune, Jun 18-24, 2006, issue # 40, pg 17
Many of you may have friends and family who have asked “what are you waiting for?!” It seems obvious and unbelievable to them; the ones on the outside looking in, that your situation is ridiculous, that it has hit the most extreme degrees possible, and they are perplexed and baffled why you have not done something about it. Sometimes it is very important to listen to what everyone else is telling you, especially when they all seem to have the same opinion. How can they all be wrong and you be right?
What is it going to take before you do something about it?!
If you have heard it once you’ve heard it one thousand times. And you shamefully say “okay, okay” just to shut them up and change the subject, but secretly you may wonder why, what in the world is wrong with you? There are two major reasons why someone might continue to live or just exist in a painful unhappy situation. They are: increased tolerance and poor boundaries andlimit setting.
Another way to say “increased tolerance” is “to become accustomed to” no matter if we are talking about quantities of drugs and alcohol, frequency and intensity of partner/spousal abuse, or infidelity; number of sexual partners, mistresses, or long-term love affairs your partner has had. Somewhere along the way you became so accustomed that you may even be indifferent; not care anymore, or feel helpless and hopeless, and you may have even convinced yourself that “it doesn’t hurt.” But, we both know that it does. It hurts like hell.
Poor boundaries and limit setting is the inability to say “NO.” It’s when you are unable to determine when enough is enough because you keep changing the previous limit you set, giving someone another chance, thereby re-drawing the line further back allowing more room for tolerance. Poor boundaries and increased tolerance go hand-in-hand; one feeds the other. We tolerate more and more because we are unable to enforce a firm boundary.
Fear is a huge obstacle. Being afraid of consequences, of the unknown, of life without xyz, causes us to cling tightly to what is familiar no matter how bad it is or how much pain it causes us. This is because we know what it’s like; what it feels like, and we think it’s better and easier than the pain that we imagine must come with the change; leaving that person or drug behind, the pain of moving on into the unknown and unfamiliar.
IF you stop denying and minimizing your situation long enough to consider the
following questions and scenarios and you answer them honestly, you will probably chose change over “mas de lo mismo” (more of the same).
Note: we recognize that both the male and female can be victims of domestic violence (DV), be addicted to drugs, and cheat on their partner or spouse.
DV victim…does he have to hurt you so badly that you are hospitalized, permanently disabled, or killed?!How many times have you already walked around with bruises or broken bones?Finish the scenario…If he kills you, your children will lose their mother; no longer have you in their life, not to mention, you will be dead! Let’s assume he ends up in prison for killing you, now your children won’t have a father either! What will happen to them? Who will they live with? Who will take care of them? How will you ever forgive yourself for not getting out sooner? How will they forgive you for not protecting them and preventing this?
Addict…do you need everyone who still cares about you to finally give up and shut you out of their lives? Do you need to crash the car, possibly disable or kill someone? How would you like to end up in prison? Do you need to be rushed to the hospital for an overdose? How many times have you started over? How many times have you been in debt, paid it off, made money and then lost it all again? How exhausted and miserable do you need to be before you refuse to feel that way anymore?
Infidelity…do you actually need to catch him in bed with her before you believe it or do something about it? How many more times are you going to believe his promises that it’s over or this is the last time? How many STD’s (Genital Herpes, Trichimonis, Gonorrhea, Chlamydia) have you already been treated for? Do you think he’s using a condom every time? Have you or he been tested for HIV? IF you are the one cheating, are you willing to lose your partner or marriage over it? Do you need to get her pregnant or end up in a “Fatal Attraction” scenario?
The need to feel angry
It is impossible to do anything about it if you are only feeling sad and/or afraid. Although those feelings are expected and necessary, they maintain you in a victim role, powerless and hopeless. Until you allow yourself to get angry; to feel how angry you are that this has happened to you and decide you are not going to take it anymore, then nothing will change. Anger provokes action!
Change doesn’t come while you sit waiting, you make it happen!
Written by: Giselle Belanger, RN, LCSW, CADC