I wanted to say a hearty welcome to Megan – you have found a loving community of people who understand what you are going thru and have been in similar situations – Twighlight: I love your last line of the post:
“Let them deal with the mess they have made and be good to ourselves.”
This is so profound yet so hard to do. I have so far to go in this process but feel like I am making strides. It is hard to let others go, let them fail, let them be responsible for themselves –
I never thought of myself as a “fixer” but I guess I am – have been- for so long. But I never knew it – “enabler” was always someone else, not me! My helping was just that, help – they “needed” me to help and I guess I *needed* to help…NOW I understand that even if it pains me, I must let them fail, I must let them flounder because otherwise they are drowning ME.
I have been under water (metaphorically) for so, so long…deprived of oxygen, sun and other human dignities that I even forgot what it meant to have them. I got used to living without (“I’m fine”, I would say even though I knew I was dying).
I used to joke that I have bent so far over backwards for my husband and children that I am now in the shape of a circle – ha ha – or I would say “I am in an abusive relationship with my children” (because they boss me around) , again, ha ha – But, no,…..not so funny. Not funny at all. I let my kids and my husband walk all over me – doing their bidding in the guise of “helping”. They need me, I told myself. I may sound like a meek housewife, someone used to being last – Not so – I am a professional woman, I train as a cage fighter and am incredibly bossy but this just goes to show you that anyone in any situation can be manipulated by Gambling and other addictions and be sucked into enabling others thru their own guilt. I felt if I didn’t help my CG I was a bad person, that I would make excuses for his bad behavior bc of “x, y or z” – or “it won’t happen again, i need to give him another chance because of (fill in the blank)”. So many times I have done this – NO MORE – I can’t – it is killing me, crushing me and I decided even if he walks out I don’t care because I need to LIVE.
I am not sure if this is helpful but all I wanted to say is that even though I am married to a CG I know that pull of wanting to help, feeling like you must help, making excuses for the CG but in the end knowing you MUST turn around and walk away from the addiction because it is not healthy for YOU.
Post again – it is very therapeutic and helps tremendously to process “on paper” what is in your head.