19 December 2014

Conditional Love

This morning as I was walking home from my children's school, I was stewing.  Just to give you a brief update -

I've been relearning about codependency, I've been attending Al-Anon and Skyping with my therapist.  I've been discovering loving detachment, and trying really hard not to totally check out of my marriage.  Things seemed to be looking up.  Pete has been helpful and responsive and we have spent quality time together.  But he is still an emotionally closed book, and refuses to share with me anything regarding his addiction or recovery.  

The other night he said some more hurtful things.  And I felt like I handled it well.  I didn't trigger into a pathetic, sobbing mess on the floor.  I listened, and then offered my best love and committment to him.  The next day I felt really good about maintaining some sanity, until he came home.  And then I couldn't handle it.  Anger and hurt bubbled up inside of me. I think I was hoping for an apology,  In any case, I had an emotional response.

So this morning I've been stewing, and as I was walking along, some advice I have given to multiple people hit me like a face-palm.  (This is yet another reason I try not to give advice.)

You don't treat people with kindness and love to get something from them.  Because some people will never give you what you are longing for.  You treat people with love and kindness because it is the best way to feel good about yourself.  

Love, kindness and forgiveness are my moral code.  And I'm most likely to maintain contentment in my life when I live in line with my moral code.

I think I've tried a dozen different, unhealthy ways to try and elicit empathy and compassion from Pete, with no success.  I know there is a compassionate person inside of him, I've seen it.  But there is absolutely nothing I can do to force it out.

Choosing to offer him love and compassion is a choice I make with no strings attached, no expectations, no emotional ties to outcomes.  Just a gift of love that I can give when I am emotionally strong enough to give it.  Which, I'm not sure if I am, today.