Monday, June 23, 2008

The Slug, The Shoplifter, And 2 Best Friends

I met with my two closest friends this weekend for dinner. Best Friend’s divorce is final and she will be leaving the state to start a new life for herself this week. Sitting there on the deck of a beautiful riverside restaurant I was forced to see my two closest friends struggling with lives that they are living.
Best Friend has been married 4 times. Her latest marriage was to a man 14 yrs her junior. He was eye candy when they met. Dumb as a box of rocks. He never even worked a full time job until they relocated to Virginia 4 yrs ago. Eye Candy married his ‘mommy’ and Best Friend took on that role. He was easy on the eyes but wore grooves everywhere else. Including Best Friends finances. In the past 6 years she has lost her pool home that was paid for. Her vehicles. Her disability insurance. All of her antique Coke collectibles. A lot of her sanity was stripped. She actually lived in a camper while they were homeless. Now that marriage is over. The dreams that she had somewhere made up in her head are shattered. Not because of adultery. Or alcohol. Or drugs. But because Eye Candy has a problem with shoplifting. He was arrested and jailed 2 times in the past 6 months.
Eye Candy recently inherited his 13 year old daughter due to the death of her mom who had custody of her since birth. Eye Candy cannot be a father. He cannot even parent himself. The daughter who watched as her mom lost her battle with breast cancer is now essentially alone. She has lost her step mom too. Her father is useless and on his way back to the county jail.
Where is the hope in any of this? I just don’t see any hope!!
Then there is Friend 2. The Enabler. I have know her since I moved to Virginia in 2000. She used to be a happy vibrant woman. Single mom making it happen. She married her longtime boyfriend 4 yrs ago and it has been devastating for her since. She is nothing more than a roommate. Her husband sleeps on the couch. She has no idea of his earnings or retirement benefits. She doesn’t even know the amount of his truck payment. They have separate bank accounts. All the bills are split 50/50 even though Slug makes a lot more money than The Enabler does. They lead separate lives. Her husband the big fat Slug sits and watches TV day and night while the Enabler works full time. The Enabler has many severe health issues. And like all good co-dependant women….Enablers health needs always come last. SLUG has no health coverage for his wife. The Enabler has thrown away major parts of herself for the sake of having a husband. And what she has gotten is a very poor roommate.
I see both of these women as my most valued friends. I have struggled with this dinner since I walked off the dock that night. I am tired. I am saddened by how both of their lives have turned out. I am deeply torn by the heartache that they have endured for the sake of love and a spouse. And I am beyond any sort of comprehension as to what would make a woman stay in a situation where they are not being lifted up and treasured with blind hope that it will get better. Both of these women deserve to be treasured. They are good women.
I guess where I think that this has to go for me is inside. I know that thru talking to these women this weekend I have realized two huge “tapes” that play over and over in my head when I engage in a relationship with someone. Those tapes say this:
“I can make his life so much better”…..holy shit! Where does that come from?
“Oh, his (addiction, life style, unhealthiness) isn’t that bad. Nobody’s perfect…” That ut-oh that I hear?? I better be listening to it and run! That ut-oh is there for a reason. It tells me that I need to look at this and really figure out if that unhealthiness is worth living with. Or I will end up like my friends.
If I put these two things together in operation… spells out disaster for me. I mean who do I think that I am to make anyone’s life better? That is not my job! I want someone to take care of ME for a change. This character defect is deeply engrained in my co-dependency. It is the “Saint/Sinner” complex. I have only been able to trace it back to my Ex-Husband and the way that I rescued him from himself and others. Wow. This one behavior sets all the other behaviors up and starts putting the bricks of denial in place.
SO. Here I am. Sitting in the residue of my closest friends lives and what those life choices have done to them. I don’t want to be another one of unhealthiness’s casualties. I don’t want to be broken again. I don’t want to step into the crazies of a relationship that I think I can work with. I want a relationship that will work with me.
As Best Friend embarks on her new life I pray that she goes forward without scales on her eyes. But they are still there. I pray for safety for her.
Enabler and I will continue our friendship. The tears that poured down like rain on Saturday while she talked about how lonely she is…they will continue to come until she finds out that she is worth more. I will continue to tell her she is. And I will work really hard at making myself believe it too.

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