Someone very close to me made a series of decisions (and behaviors) that forced his life to implode. I know the word “force” is strong, but he put two or three people into situations where they had no choice except to react harshly. I’m going to call this person Y. Y is an adult – and not a young adult – Y is and adult-adult.
He was married to a great woman -- not a perfect woman but a woman who loved him and his children. He had a great job – a job where he’d advanced and won the support of upper management. And then …
I don’t know how to finish that thought. And then what?
Y came to us for counsel when the first detonation blew. We begged him to get professional help. But he’d labeled himself a ‘sociopath’ and said, “that can’t be fixed”. I’ll admit this label scared the shit out of me. Is he a sociopath? Is a sociopath always a sociopath?
I did some research and spoke to my own therapist. Y is not a sociopath. But Y may be a narcissist. He certainly lacks empathy. He absolutely has some buried trauma that needs to excavated. The adjective doesn’t matter. Y needs help – serious help, long-term help – counseling for sure, medication probably.
He went to one or two counseling sessions because his boss required it. We pleaded. We offered to pay. We found and presented several different options. Nope. Nada. No way.
At first, I was so angry I couldn’t be in the same room with Y. It wasn’t just him he was hurting – it was his kids and his parents and his friends. I had to go ostrich and stick my head in the sand.
And now …
I don’t know how to finish that thought. And now what do we do?
Y is a man’s man (I know that’s sexist, but you get what I’m saying). Is that part of his refusal?
Does he think he truly can’t be helped?
Or, as Dave believes, he thinks he deserves to be punished for these bad decisions –he deserves to wallow in the emotional pain.
We’ve beat our heads against the wall over this. He’s an adult so we can’t drag him kicking and screaming. We’ve talked until he no longer listens (if he ever was listening). We’ve talked so much that we rarely hear from him now – and when we do, it’s always light and fluffy…..avoiding any “serious talk”.
Dave used to talk to Y several times a week. Now, they communicate maybe every other week and Dave usually has to initiate. All communication is on text so you can guess how superficial it is. As for me, I get pictures and am looped in on some text conversations. If I reach out with something that even tiptoes into ‘how are you doing?’, I get no response at all.
Just as there are several reasons why he refuses to get help, I imagine there are several reasons why he avoids us:
I’m sure all of those are correct and that the list is even longer.
I am still angry – both because of his decisions and because of his refusal to get help. I have lost some respect and I would have to fight not to give another speech. The one time I tried to talk to him, he was so closed and so uncaring, I was shocked and appalled. And, I’m still dealing with that – even as I write this, tears are burning – tears of sadness and regret and hot anger.
I’m not sure I am in his corner anymore. So, to the sadness and regret and anger, I can add guilt. I want to be in his corner. I should be in his corner. But wanting and “shoulding” doen’t make it so.
I don’t know. I’m writing this blog six months after the implosion. It’s taken me this long because I couldn’t handle it – I couldn’t write about it, think about, analyze it. I’m still holding back because the emotions are so enormous it’s frightening.
He’s avoiding us so I can’t comment on Y’s situation or mental status. Outwardly he is doing all the ‘right things’ – going to work, being a dad, paying his bills, etc. Inwardly, I have no idea and we can’t ask.
We are powerless. We can keep reaching out with the superficial and hope the ice melts. But – and here is the truth that hurts – if he’s unwilling to get help and try to be a better person (for himself and others) – I don’t know that I want more than the superficial. If every time we are together, I know he doesn’t really care about me or mine, then it might be better if we keep distant. If every time we are together, we are all dancing through a minefield, then we’ll all be miserable. If every time we are together, I’m noticing all the continued bad decisions, should we be together?
I’ve spent several sessions with my therapist talking this through and I’ve not been able to thaw. This is MY internal problem to handle. But the difference between me and Y is that I am at least trying to work through my own shit.
Can I thaw if Y doesn’t try?
Click HERE to download the Journaling Activity that accompanies this blog. Who is like this in your life? Where are YOU like this in your life?
In April 2012 I had a mental breakdown. The real thing. I have about 36 hours that I don’t remember....