Whatever it is that you’re recovering from–an ism of some sort or in my case, divorce–a term you often hear is one step at a time. I don’t believe anyone has ever mentioned how long I have to keep taking those baby steps or how many times I will slip backward and have to regroup. Or how many times I will sidestep some of the more unpleasant aspects of recovery and then have to go back and deal with them. I have learned, often the hard way, that I have to deal with all of it if I want to be a whole and healthy person. This is not easy for me.
A recent incident comes to mind. I saw my ex at a granddaughter’s athletic event. He didn’t look well, as in unhealthy. He looked emotionally stressed. I am aware that he still has some difficulty as to how he’s supposed to interact with some family members. I am also aware that he has financial problems. If what goes around comes around, he’s getting a heavy dose. It doesn’t make me feel one bit better to see him this way.
Here’s my dilemma: I wanted to protect him. I wanted to fix him. I wanted to reassure him and tell him everything would be okay. Now I’m taking a step back (maybe several steps) and trying to examine this gut reaction. My mind is going in a thousand directions. I’m trying to remind myself of an adage I learned years ago which says (more or less): If you do for someone what he can do for himself, you take away a piece of his dignity. Thankfully, I didn’t do those things. My question of wanting to do them is not about him, it’s about me. That’s a hard pill to swallow. It brings up many, many questions about me and my motives. I’m not sure what all the questions are. I certainly don’t know the answers. I have some serious work to do.