“Must be addicted to all this pain,
cause I keep coming back for the shame.”
~Toni Childs, I’ve Got to Go Now, (1991).
This is a hard subject to talk about, always. It involves such weighty portions of shame and guilt for those who are afflicted, or possibly also for those who’ve been afflicted. I even ask myself if it’s appropriate to write about it, in the present forum, and I suppose that because I often ponder the hard things of life, it is okay. My prayer is that it might help.
The subject is domestic violence, often precipitated by substance abuse or addiction. There is a cause-and-effect relationship at play here. The substance is the cause—initiating or compelling the behaviour; the violence is the effect.
Childs’ song captures the essence of this topic with a most crippling and pain-enriched beauty. Sadly, whilst the addict is addicted to the substance, the co-dependent spouse is addicted to the pain, as they keep coming back.
This is an eternal conundrum for the family, the co-dependent spouse and the violent protagonist. It’s a cycle of misery that never ends—until it does... i.e., end.
It is sad that, for many a family unit, there must be such an outcome. This is most poignantly so where things have been tried, again and again, yet there’s no getting past it. Things don’t change, oftentimes, until they do.
Tackling the Impossibility
Anyone in these circumstances can be forgiven for thinking they’re in an impossible situation. Let’s make no bones about it; what is untenable and insane is not ‘fixed’ quickly whatever we do.
But a relative wisdom—one requiring the courage of a rigorously continuous honesty—can be the vehicle to a better existence, especially for those truly dependent. This usually means the children entrapped beyond their will. Theirs is the oft-silent voice, but we know their pain.
Courage, the trust of our instincts, and the consideration of trustworthy advice... these three in unison, generally, will serve us well, always.
When the “ENOUGH!” point is reached, continue with your conviction, unless there’s good, sustained evidence of a miracle—for any watering down of intent will further convolute an impossible situation.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.