Sometimes the wind gets knocked out of us. Sometimes literally like when we take a sudden fall – then you get that awful feeling that you cannot take a breath in for what seems like an eternity. Then you gasp and take the sweet air into your lungs- things begin to seem more clear – less frightening. Then sometimes the wind gets knocked out of us figuratively – some news or event might trigger this syndrome – while your breath is really there you still feel like you are drowning. You don’t know when you can come up for that deep breathe.
Sometimes I feel like I am in waves getting pummeled and then getting up and drawing breath in only to be pummeled again.
Its been a time- feeling like the wind is constantly being knocked out of me- me trying to come up for air. Me wanting to write about things but feeling like I can’t or shouldn’t or both. But I think I can write now- but should I ? I need to.
Sometimes people you love make terrible choices. People you love ignore your advice and offers to help. Sometimes it is just too hard to watch.
Thats where I am. I can’t watch. Someone in my family has made some very bad and risky choices. I have confronted this person and they don’t want to stop and they don’t want help. They want me to accept their choices and I can’t – they are not safe choices.
In this “you do you” society (which has been created by the millennial genre) we are called upon to accept everyones choices. Hey if you are into it then it’s ok. To a degree I love this philosophy – I want people to feel empowered to reach for the stars, find your voice, live your truth. But the philosophy gets dicey to me if it becomes a way to enable bad choices. Hey if you are into it then its ok. Nobody is supposed to question anyone or warn them if their choices seem to be dangerous of even illegal. We don’t want to hurt anyones feelings. You Do You can be taken too far.
And I am not a person to enable anyone when I know their choice is harmful to them or illegal. But what do you do when someone doesn’t want to hear your advice or offers for help?
I think there are as many answers as their are situations that we may encounter. It depends on the nature of the relationship and I suppose the degree to which we each are able to watch things take a tail spin.
I just cannot watch. I realize how little I know this person. That saddens me.
In light of the risky choices being made I had to create a boundary to not only draw my line in the sand but to also help save my sanity. I knew I could not live day to day chatting with this person knowing what I knew. Getting together and sharing space would just be too awkward now. And they liked their choices and found nothing wrong with them. That is their prerogative I guess. Sadly, they did not want to stop the behavior even in the wake of not being in contact with me and as it turns out other members of the family. I couldn’t watch the train going down the wrong tracks. I don’t want to see it crash.
What is left is heartbreak. I call it collateral damage. The family member assures us that there was no intent on hurting us. But sometimes our choices bring on damage that you can’t imagine.
The breath is knocked out of me. I am sad and angry. I promise myself I wont let this persons choices wreck my day. But it permeates it when I allow it too. It has effected our family unit. What a heartbreak.
I keep asking why? Why these choices? I have always been a why person. I have been to therapy and I have been told that sometimes there isn’t an answer to a why that makes any sense. And I suppose that is true. I know this person has some buried sadness and pain. But even with all this I can’t figure out why these risky behaviors were chosen.
I know this person needs help but they have to really want it. When they shut out that possibility its so defeating for those who want to help. I want to shake them, I want to hug them, I want to scream….I want to help – but I can’t – not now.
For now, I am not engaging in contact with this family member. I have made it clear that I need a break. I cant have daily interactions with this person knowing what I know – and frankly I think they feel the same. A boundary is a consequence and a choice. Its my choice to set the boundary. It is what I need in order to try to cope with this hurt.
I am sure some people reading this can relate- they may have been on one side or the other of this wall. I know there will be a time where I can check in with this person but not now. My open hand is always there if they want to accept help. Always. Anytime. I haven’t shut my phone off or blocked this persons number.
When you love someone it is so hard to see the person choose something that can hurt them and even others. It is hard to see the wall go up when they feel their choices are being questioned. It is hard to not want to try to control it all. It is hard to know you have no control. I know that the consequence of my boundary isn’t enough to make this person stop their behaviors and I am afraid of the the real consequences that may await them.
So I try to let go and live my life. Sometimes I wonder if I can ever forgive this person for the collateral damage they have caused. The air of sadness that has permeated us. The feeling of rejection. That we aren’t important enough – that their bad choices are better and more important than the family that loves them. It hurts a lot and it angers me too… and then there is the need to help them that pulls at me – nags at me like itchy wool. Sometimes it all blows my mind and thats when it feels like the wind is knocked out of me.
But I get up again- brace myself and wait for the next wave.