Thursday, December 4, 2014

Navigating the Negativity

When I posted my most recent post about my Acceptance Letter and new About Me page, it was with a huge internal battle, and a lot of prompting from trusted friends. I knew that if I chose to go down that road there were going to be a lot of haters out there. There would be people to judge me for talking openly about my story. These people would range from those I thought to be friends, or women in my situation that choose to just accept their spouses activities, people that are ignorant to the life of a partner of an addict, and finally either addicts themselves. Let's face it, the guilty take the truth to be hard. The question for myself and one I had for others was how do I get through this part of telling my story and not let it affect me?

So there were a few things I thought of that explain where I am, why I won't apologize for the path I will stay on, and most of all how I am dealing with it all.

1. It is My Story: Anything I am sharing is my story. It is about me, what I have been through, and how I am healing now. It has nothing to do with slander for those in my story, getting even or anything along these lines. It is not resentment, it is living again. Brene Brown said "To be healed, we have to be seen." So I will tell my excruciating, demeaning, humiliating story. If you have not lived it, or even walked a mile in our shoes...don't judge. I do not have to qualify for the pain I have experienced, the growth I am enduring in my recovery process, or worry about acceptance from people who I don't know, or worse...people I do know that cowardly want to leave an anonymous comment.

2. "Secrets are the Lifeblood of Addiction."-Dan Gray: Anyone who is an addict, is part of an addict's life, or in the support system of an addict knows true healing begins to happen when it is no longer a secret. The same goes for partners. Telling your story is healing and takes the shame out of the situation so you can connect with others. This is why confession is such an integral part of the road to recovery. I have kept this "secret" for over a decade. Unless you have lived this life, you will never begin to understand the pain, humiliation, and shame that comes with being the partner of an addict. And you won't understand how that shame was never yours to begin with, but how addicts are so skilled at transferring the responsibility of their addiction to whomever will bear the burden with them. I understand this now, and realize my role is to give the burden back and walk my own path.

3. Notice how I say addict, not him: There is a distinction between the personality of an addict and the individual himself. And depending on how deep into the addiction one is, varies the level of abuse that the addict will inflict. This also varies the level of accountability, and acceptance of behavior. The person I married was a man- a human being that I loved, and will always love. (You cannot go through this type of life where you sacrifice yourself and serve them to never love them.) The letters I write, the blog posts, the references to betrayal are about the addict, not the man. They are about my feelings, not his... because my feelings didn't exist for a very long time.

4. You don't have to agree with me, but show some respect: If you are one that believes I have to earn your respect before you will give it, then I guess we will have to agree to disagree. I believe respect is something we give freely to all, because of who we are. Respect says more about you, than the person you give it to. And reading what I write, choosing to be offended by it and trying to leave a cryptic, calculated anonymous attack on my vulnerability says what kind of person you are, not what kind of person I am. It is also a complete slap in the face to others who have also walked my path and are looking for healing. Just remember: no one forced you to read this, or to like it, so just move on and not comment if that is the case. You will leave with your humanity card if you do that. And if you can't resist and have to leave a comment, I will be flattered. Leaving a demeaning comment telling me how much rage I have tells me I struck a nerve. Those that have not the ability to look within themselves and challenge their reality- want others to change theirs.... and they cannot stand for people to have an opinion that differs from their own. Unfortunately #partnersofaddicts know too many people like this.

And to the partners of addicts,  keep on keeping on. No one knows your story. But I will tell you, you are not alone. You can hold your head high, and tell your story.


miss kristen said...

Haters are gonna hate, and it's even EASIER to hate behind the safety of a keyboard. The guilty take the truth to be hard, and I encourage the haters to turn that hate inward to figure out WHY it hit such a nerve and fix it. I love you and your ex, and props to you for having the courage to share this very personal part of your life with the world, and peace and light to him.

April Schmidt said...

Thanks Kristen, he is a good man. Thank you for wishing him the best. I do too. Love you friend.