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.


  1. Thank you for the reminder of who we are at the core. Loving and compassionate. Able to give that freely. On our good days we do it well. On the hard days we remind ourselves why we do it. On bad days, I petition the Lord to take over my feelings for me while I find a better emotional space to be in. Big hug!

  2. Wow, you are doing tough stuff. I don't even know how to begin to do this! Thanks for setting the bar high and helping me have a fresh perspective.

  3. I agree with you. Giving love is something we as WOPAS and really all people need to do for our selves. It is so we can learn to be like the Savior. That's are goal. Having strings attached doesnt make sense to me at all.

  4. I basically love this and kind of want to share it with the WORLD and you are awesome and I love you the end.

  5. You are brave! It's encouraging to hear your post. This gets so hard to do when your life is full of addicts. As our children grow they also are more likely to have addictions. I'm surrounded by addicts and its exhausting to give and give and get so little in return. Honestly I wish I could say every day I get to give and need nothing in return, but I have been living this for so long and as our family has grown there are more addicts..... Self care. I need so much self care so I can give my love more freely and need nothing in return.

  6. A quote from a book filled with hope around our situation: "She minimized by trying to water down her husband's poor choices with his past good ones. In truth, though, those actions were independent of each other; good choices don't cancel out bad ones." Jane, you are entitled to emotional reactions. Don't shame yourself for them. I believe you know yourself and probably know when you have crossed over into a place that is unhealthy for you BUT you are being traumatized... another quote "Complete honesty is the only path for moving toward health." this is true for you and very espiecially your husband... COMPLETE honesty.... and another quote "Many cords of security mistakenly attached to my husband needed to be disconnected and plugged into the right source - the power of God." AND ANOTHER "Pray for God to give you His heart for your husband. It will take time for those feelings of love to catch up with your decisions. In the meantime, pray for wisdom to know when and where to spend your love. Before further risking your heart, give yourself time to heal and observe an attitude of change in both yourself and your husband. And from now until forever, let Christ be your first love." Jane please be gentle with yourself. You are precious. It is OK for you to step back and watch for an attitude of change in your husband while you give yourself more permission to care for yourself and connect with the very reliable love of God.

  7. Thank you for this! It is refreshing to read your entry because it feels like we may be going through something super similar. I have been reading other blogs and looked to my church for support but find the things I have read and found that are very hope-filled are often written by a wife married to a husband in active recovery. The husband is "trying" and he is doing his best to accept her pain and not minimize it or his role in causing that pain. I had yet (before this morning) to find the story of a WOPA whose husband has been slipping back in to relapsed after never having EVER started his recovery. (I found this out this last Spring in his formal disclosure). I know that his recovery has nothing to do with mine, but it is nice to hear a voice out there that resembles the voice inside of me. So thank you! Thank you. I am glad you have such a good therapist, may I ask how you went about finding such a good therapist?

  8. Go to TheCounterfeit.org
    there is information from there Webinar you will not find anywhere else.
    This will really help.
    Very powerful stuff!!!