When Saving Them Is No Longer An Option
“You’ll be all right. I know you will,” I whispered, but even as the words slipped past my lips, I knew it was a lie. I didn’t know if she would be all right and the uncertainty plagued my thoughts, even as I slept.
Each time she called, her words would peel layers of my heart away, leaving it raw and exposed, and inviting a whole new intensity of pain. We sat on opposite ends of the phone, each of us suffering in our own way. She desperately reached out. I desperately pulled back. Yet overcome with guilt, I would offer CPR, breathing life into her and willing my heart to beat for two. Later, exhausted and torn, I would hang up, praying my efforts would sustain her life force for one more day.
The months passed, coated in stormy grayness, with the bullets of her despair pelting onto my shoulders, until it was too much effort to stand up straight. I would drag my feet underneath me, forcing my body to go through the motions, attempting without much success to allow myself the smallest bit of joy. Those days were long, and I went under more often than not.
I finally decided I had to let her go. After too many months of trying, saving her wasn’t an option anymore. I finally admitted things would not get better and she would slowly pull me under until I could no longer breathe for either of us.
What hurt me more? Hearing her desperate and pain-drenched words or fighting my determination to once again protect her from herself? She was being pushed to the very edge, possibly to slip over into darkness, but I wrapped my arms tightly around myself instead of reaching out.
My decision was a long time in coming, and it was not one made lightly, but no matter how painful letting go was, I knew her life was not mine to live. Her challenge now was to find her footing on the horribly rocky path before her, and whatever decisions she made, they had to be hers.
We met on the street some time after that. She told me that the sun had finally broken through the clouds. Not much, but enough for hope to take hold. And everyday that hope grew until she saw that the storm had passed and her path was clear.
Only then, after what seemed like forever, I could say that I knew that she was going to be all right after all.
How about you? Have you ever had to walk away from a dysfunctional or co-dependent relationship? At what point does our generosity become a crutch for others? Where do you draw the line? Please leave a comment because I love hearing from you!
Posted on July 27, 2011, in Relationships and tagged co-dependency, depression, Diana Murdock, Diana Murdock's blog, dysfunctional relationship, letting go, suicide. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.