As the therapist spoke, I felt myself becoming more cynical and apathetic to his client’s situation. Actually, my cynicism was there long before this therapist staffed his client.
I had expressed my cold eye-rolling opinion about this particular client’s situation in an email exchange; however, as the therapist staffed, I remained quiet. There was no need to verbalize my cynicism in a room filled with mental health professionals.
Mental Disorder By Relationship
At this stage in the game, I have heard a lot of distressing stories. I handed over my legal right to give people mental health advice because my sympathy level, except for kids, had dwindled significantly from when I started years ago after foolishly deciding to transition to the mental health field in college.
The client, like so many others, had a marital problem which compounded a mental health issue. An issue which started in childhood due to – you guessed it- bad parents.
The therapist wanted to give the client a reprieve from a toxic marriage. The best temporary solution was a referral to an inpatient residential treatment center (RTC) across the country. While I had no issues with the referral and the hopes that an RTC would help the person’s trauma and high intensity distress, what I had a problem with is when the patient returned home, the hell of the relationship would still be alive and well. This is a situation in which the patient could not just take a break.
It’s like leaving your dirty chaotic house for a vacation and returning home with no good plan on how to clean it up
I can not tell you how many cases of mental disorder by relationship are locked away in my mental vault. It’s like a disease that people are willing to take on and hold dear like a lifeline.
Due to years of seeing mental disorder by relationship – you know, the kind of relationships in which there are constant fights – physical and verbal. The kind of relationships in which people are more stressed to go home and would rather work late. The kind of relationships in which extricating self is the solution – has made me a believer of divorce (despite my church upbringing).
Walk A Mile
I have never walked a mile in the shoes of these people. I can definitely say I do not want to walk a foot in their situation. My brain is always filled with their stories. The stories of the children and the children turned adults. The damage is disheartening.
However, in the last 24 hrs, I am slowly starting to understand or maybe feel a smidgen of empathy (or is it sympathy) for them. Being a terminal single, who actually like being single most of the time, I can related to the need and primal desire for someone (anyone).
A Single’s Desire
As I said, I do like being single. There is a comfort and freedom to this chosen lifestyle. However, there is also a drawback.
There are cyclical times in which my hormones are doing its own thing and I do experience an intense desire/craving for companionship and sexual intimacy. Those are things I can not give to myself – no mechanical doll or vibrator would compare.
It recently hit me why people settle into these toxic hell relationships. While I might have my cravings every so often, some people have them constantly. These cravings can drive anyone to seek out those things in disappointing places.
In a not so distant past, at one point, I felt so consumed for companionship and sexual intimacy that I lost all sense of self and grabbed for something convenient but it was negative and ultimately dissatisfying with lots of regrets.
I immediately knew that this situation was emotionally and psychologically unhealthy but my madness kept me stuck and constantly compromising. I told myself I could handle it. However, each day, I instinctively knew I was losing a battle for myself. It took over a year to finally break free but so many others do not find that strength to let go. They are locked in a battle of wanting something they do not have but unable to let go of what they do not want.
There are plenty of fish in the sea’ and yet people are still swiping and going out to bars and clubs. I read a blog in which a former older virgin young man had lost his virginity via a prostitute, he attempted and struck-out in finding a satisfying relationship and now, he has resorted to advertising for sex-only partners on dating websites – no strings attached. His exploits are titillating but there was an underlying emptiness. I follow a blog of a sweet, beautiful professed Christian young lady who is putting herself ‘out there’ (the thing couples always tell singles to do) and yet she is still searching for her companion and sexual intimacy.
I am not shaming anyone but this is to say that finding a true companion is hard even with plenty of fish in the sea. After years of looking, people give up and settle. Sadly, some settle for hellish relationships that cause more harm than good and some settle for blah. After all, something is better than nothing – right?
A good relationship is like a unicorn – elusive. So, a broken down-trodden horse is the next best prize.
The reason why dating apps and sites are popular is because it is darn hard to find the prize (ahem.. Ashley Madison a dating site for married people). People are so desperate for escape that they are okay with boldly putting their relationship status as married but is still looking for someone else. Surprise! Surprise! People are interested. Have you ever noticed that a lot of ‘dating coaches’ are single or had multiple marriages? Even they have difficulty getting it right so, they keep swiping until….
Hard Knocks Life
I mostly dream about a private island with no neighbours. On occasion, I sneak in a tall, physically fit, passionate, wonderful, gorgeous man who is well endowed.
Oh well, at this time, I do not have any of those things.
However, I am starting to get it. To get why it is so easy to find toxic and stay in toxic relationships that are hell. God created us with natural biological urges and we can never deny them because they are always in our faces. When those desires are not satisfied, we lose our minds a little. It is like wandering in the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights without supplies. At some point, you will become insanely hungry and hoping for anything to take it away.
We are always searching for all the pieces to make us whole
In the wilderness Bible story, the devil knew Jesus was vulnerable. In our stories, we are vulnerable and sometimes, we have the strength to refuse and other times, we completely give in to a bad offer.
What Do You Do?
My solution is easier said than done. If you can not fix the hell of a relationship, then leave it in order to preserve your sanity. In the case of the client I mentioned above, it is not so easy to leave due to religion and having a multitude of kids.
I said it is not so easy; however, it’s not impossible. If your spirit is broken, there is no life. You become an empty mentally, spiritually and sometimes physically disordered shell barely surviving each day. It is a choice; it is your choice.
My solution is not the choice for everyone.
This is where I lose my empathy. I find it hard to watch someone destroy her/himself but particularly, the minds of the children given to them to protect. In one’s own weakness and selfishness, s/he losses sight of her/his job to protect the innocent.
It is hard.
It is hard trying to fill an empty space in your heart. It is hard wanting something that seems so out of reach.
You choose your hell and you choose whether you want to stay or break the chains of bondage.