The Onion

I am in school. I don’t know if I have told any of the readers that or not, but Monday was the first day of classes. I am going back to school to complete my degree to become a marriage and family therapist.

That should be a fun degree for anyone that I date. Lol…anyway.

Why marriage and family therapy? (I have had people ask this question.)

Here’s the thing, I want to help people like me figure things out. Like Dana said in my post last week, unravel the ball of yarn that is our thoughts and emotions. So, while the technical degree plan is marriage and family therapy, I am going to concentrate on the CoDA set. Yep – Codependance.

If you read my post on agony you know that I have had some experience with addiction. Well, it’s as the wife of an alcoholic. Open a psych textbook and look up codependant and I was the definition. Or should I say am…I don’t know…I am learning. Perhaps like alcoholism you don’t get over it, you just learn new ways to cope and you learn HOW to form boundaries.

As hard as it is for an addict or alcoholic to admit when they have a problem; it is just as hard for the partner in that relationship to admit that they’re a more than a little messed up too. It’s a tourturous dance of abuse and neglect.

Like peeling an onion. Addicts pull back your layers until there is nothing left. Starting with that protective boundary that keeps anything bad from penetrating. Then the thin inner layers, those would be self-respect, self-reliance, and self-confidence. Then instead of continuing to peel they just grab a knife and start hacking away at the rest of you. You know what you are supposed to be, but you’re unrecognizable.

You’re no longer whole.

It’s a pretty pathetic sight to see and even harder to recognize – if you’re the onion.

I have read countless books on becoming whole again. I have read the Courage to Change book from Al-Anon every day. It sits on my coffee table so that when I feel weak I can open it up and soak it in for a while.

Slowly you start to put yourself back together. Grasping shards of who and what you once were and hope that it’s enough to form a whole person.

Clinging to this knowledge, you try to put that outer shell back on, knowing that it is the only thing that will save you. Save you from being hurt. Save you from being tortured. Save you from feeling worthless.

Only you DON’T KNOW HOW. You try repeatedly and you can’t.

Just when I think I have got this figured out. This life post-husband, I realize that I am still trying to put the pieces together. I am not even to the point of finding that outer boundary. That solid form that keeps me whole.

I allow the self-doubt and unexpected confusion to cloud new friendships and relationships by constantly questioning “Why?”

The thing about what I have been through, and anyone else who has been through this knows, is that you never feel good enough about yourself to allow yourself to think you are worth being part of something good, something worth trying. Even if it ends in utter misery you don’t allow yourself the freedom to try.

So, this weekend as I am reading through my weeks assignments and trying to find the pieces of myself. Please, for the love of all that is holy, remember (as I will try) that we may be learning to cope and learning to try, but we will come out the other side. We will some day be whole. Someday we will allow the people that make us feel special to know that we aren’t complete psychopaths for not knowing how to love.

Not yet.

6 thoughts on “The Onion

  1. Susan Marie says:

    It sounds like your journey to attaining your degree is also including self-revelation, and I would think that a therapist who has been through the same things he/she is counseling on, makes for a good rapport.

    Best wishes, Megan!

  2. jamieahughes says:

    It takes an amazingly strong person to be the one next to the addict. I often think it’s the harder of the two roles to play. You want so much to stop what’s happening, and you hurt for the person when he/she is harming him/herself without a care in the world. You’re intelligent enough and have a heart big enough that you will come out okay on the other side! Keep praying and leaning on the Lord!

    • Megan DaGata says:

      It really is the hardest thing you will ever go through. Can I recommend that if you haven’t attended an al-anon meeting find one. I recently started going to them and they are making all the difference.

  3. critters and crayons says:

    Sadly, I’m not the one that’s having a hard time giving tough love. I’m all about it. What is difficult to watch is the self-destruction incurred by those who would give everything up in order to keep someone alive, even if keeping them alive means keeping them an addict. I’ve never studied psychology but I imagine there is a word for that kind of behavior. “Enabling” seems like too simple a term to describe lengths that actually cause someone to lose everything for fear of losing the person, even someone who has no desire to become clean.

    I’m on the far end of the spectrum, sadly. Where, I’d put him out on the doorstep in freezing weather with no shoes to let him hit rock bottom and not think twice about it.

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