I still experience strong emotions when people (landlords, relatives, employers, friends) contact me about a status or question about one of my sons. There’s a lot of collateral damage floating around out there and it pops up from time to time. The reality is their drug addiction left untreated progressed to typical outcomes: irresponsibility, vagabond lifestyles, and, in some instances, drug related crime. As a result, I’m left standing as the only viable source for information – apparently. It’s been a few years since the extreme drama and the intensity and duration of the feelings I get may have decreased, but not entirely – I never know when something or someone can trigger a relapse. I’m hard wired to default to a defensive position. Knowing that, I have tools to use that are healthier. Put simply, I quit taking it personally.
Just the other day 2 squad cars and uniformed officers approached my front door looking for my son who is currently incarcerated. I don’t have control over that. They came to my house and I have to “deal with them.” My feelings are a force within, so strong I’m momentarily fraught. I’ve come to understand this is a common experience for a parent whose child’s early adult years are plagued with substance abuse and left untreated lead to stronger co-dependency behavior.
Today, I’m better at handling the “outside my control” matters. I’m able to distinguish what’s my business and more importantly, what’s not. The feelings of “what will the neighbors think” are still there, but I know that what other people think of me is ALSO NOT MY BUSINESS. The thoughts of “don’t you guys have computers to look someone up?” are still there. But just because I think it doesn’t mean I have to tell them how to do their job! It’s not my business!
Because of healthy boundaries, a strong program of recovery and a Higher Power in my life, I have learned that I can be respectful and guarded versus the sick, reactionary, raging co-dependent that I once was. This is all about my own recovery from my affliction of the family disease of co-dependency.