Wednesday, June 5, 2013


THIS MORNING I SAW AN Intriguing article on the Healthy Place website. It asked the question, "Do People Want You To Stay Mentally Ill?" 

Well, first of all I'm not sure if I like the term "mentally ill." Is it just me or does it wreak of condescension, an antiquated term relegated to the inhabitants of yesteryear's dark and foreboding asylum? I prefer the term my doctor used with me. Doesn't "impaired" seem a little friendlier and up to date? But I suppose it's just a matter of semantics, right? 

Anyway, we humans tend to get set in our roles and prefer to keep things familiar and predictable. When a person in our life seeks to change that norm, it can cause a ripple effect. We can get very uncomfortable and not even understand why.

This was very true with me when I was impaired. Although "Brock" was supposedly all about helping me get "free," he seemed comfortable with his role as my rescuer and I could sense a desire in him to perpetuate it. And conversely, I was comfortable with Brock's role as well, and my role as rescuee. I also sought to perpetuate it. Whenever either of us veered away from those roles, there would be conflict. And yet, veering away is exactly what needed to happen--on a permanent basis. Like a one-eighty! 

I suppose it's similar to climbing over a barbed wire. Freedom waits on the other side but in the process of getting to it, you're going to get poked and scratched. You're going to bleed! It can be daunting and scary, focusing on those rusty blades. It's much easier to stay put and lament how out of reach the landscape is on the other side of the fence. Or to turn away from the fence altogether and look for something redeeming on the predictable and familiar prison side. 

I was enmeshed for way too long in a very toxic rescuer-rescuee relationship. I feared those barbs. Eventually I climbed out and bled for close to ten years. But the scars have been slowly healing. 

Tough question: Are there people in our lives that avoid change, preferring the comfort of familiarity? Or worse, do we look in the mirror and see that person. I would have to say yes. But change is getting easier.  


  1. Good noon Dear Grace...Interesting article you read. I too don't care for the term mentally ill, I would prefer accurate terms or if one decides to be general, then impaired seems to be a better choice.

    I suppose this could doctors who will continue to find a need for tests until we run out of money...that is too bad, isn't it? With psychological trauma I am sure it is rather easy to take advantage of patients. Still I hope the rescuer does more good than not.

    Good to see you....

  2. A thought-provoking post, Grace! I think it's very easy to get comfortable in our role(s) and not want to change, even if the change is ultimately better for us. Before I met Larry, I was in some relationships that were so bad for me, but it was hard to break loose from them because I was comfortable with the status quo. Being alone was too scary for me at the time.

    I think change is getting easier for me, too, partly because I'm more aware of and more willing to face the difficulties that go along with it.

    I love the image of climbing the barbed wire fence--so apt!

  3. An interesting subject Grace...especially for us who have gone through an "impaired" phase and had the one we felt should have supported us the most, make us feel like it was a permanent illness and therefore, we would have to be very careful to follow "their" advice so it wouldn't happen again.

    Fortunately, I had a wonderful doctor who explained why this happened and how to prevent it from happening again.

    Unfortunately, I had to give up the one who should have supported me after I felt I was well again...but didn't. Oh well...we live and learn. :)

  4. Oh I hate change! Having said that I have had to release people in my life too that were toxic.It is heart retching and then the FEAR of stepping out alone after feeling taken care even if it was for good or bad sometimes paralyzed me.I was afraid I could not find a job let alone take care of two small children.It had to happen for the good of all of us though because of the abuse. Taking it one day at a time and finally the healing comes and you realize how strong you really are. I look back now and could kick myself for not getting out sooner because of those two children but despite it all we all turned out to be stronger individuals because of it and I think also since they are now adults they have a respect towards me that they may have not had.
    The things that people go through sometimes no one ever realizes or knows about. Another reason to not judge others I think.
    I think you have come through so much and like I said you are my hero. LOL!
    A wonderful posting Grace.

  5. So true Grace...for me it was finding the same relationship...abusive mentally and some times physically...finding I would stay too long and sabotage myself over and over...easier to stay and when I left I never left the person because I found him again...looked different but I found it was the same person I was took a lot to break my cycle. We are not sure we are strong enough and won't keep going back...hard to describe but maybe I should someday. So many don't understand this cycle.

  6. Interesting post. I've never thought of "mentally ill" to have a negative connotation to it. "Ill" brings up the idea of having some affliction that you can go get fixed. For normal illnesses you got take some medicine, for mental illnesses you typically get therapy.

    For me illness suggests that there are treatment options available, being impaired almost more suggests there isn't. Is that just me?


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