Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Holding On

My older daughter, Wandalyn, walked quite early, but she was also fearful. She put her weight on her own feet and, if I allowed her to hold both of my index fingers she tottered across the room.

One day I had an idea, and I held a clothespin in each hand. She took hold of the other end and we walked. That went on for a few days. One day she grabbed hold of the clothespins and we started to walk. I let go of my end and she kept on walking. Before she reached the other side of the room, she realized what I had done.

She dropped the clothespins and after that she toddled around the room on her own.

I tell this story because it works like that for some men in recovery. As long as they have someone to hold on to, they seem to do well. It might be a therapist, a pastor, a support group, or a friend they've been able to trust.

At some point, they have to walk without holding on to others. When that happens, it means they've overcome their shame and a sense of failure. Their self-worth soars.

We also call it maturity, because they can stand on their feet. It's not to say that they don't need others—we always need others—but maturity means we can walk by ourselves and walk beside those we trust.

But as long as we hold on by depending on someone else, we don't mature. We have to let go and give up the human crutches. We might fall a few times, but once we know the freedom and joy of walking without holding on to some safe support, life takes on a deeper meaning because our pain diminishes.


Roger Mann said...

For much of my life I have been depending on others for my needs; emotionally, physically, financially at times too. I think for me God was trying to get me to see that I could walk on my own but I was afraid. I would latch on to someone and they would move away. This happened so many times it was not funny.

I finally accepted that I am on my own here and I am ok. I can walk or fall and it is ok. I can get up and keep going and the world does not end.

To a degree we do need others. It's a fact of life but there is needing others and being parasitic emotionally. I found I sometimes just drained the life out of my friends.

As with all of like there is balance and balance here is learning when it is ok to call a friend, and when it is time to just be in the moment and let it teach me what I need to learn. Not always easy to discern but it is a learned skill and helps me be a better well rounded person that others enjoy being around.

I now try to stand when I can but I am learning when and where I need to call for help. There is no shame in doing that. Sometimes I have found people actually want to help and my call can be a gift now.

Cec Murphey said...

Roger. once again I admire your honesty. Thank you.
I would use the word boundaries, which is an area most of us survivors struggle over. Not only do we need to set boundaries for others, but also for ourselves. It's all part of the healing process. Keep on, Roger.


Andrew J. Schmutzer said...

And sometimes, when they realize they're only holding an object, or don't understand why something's been said, they fall down, angry and misunderstanding. They can scream 'triangulation', for example, and don't realize how nuances of care and even intervention occurred for their benefit. Ironically, boundaries can be read as harmful by others, it doesn't matter what others do. Survivors can easily smell 'betrayal' where in fact, there is none. Survivors are incompetent trusters.