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.