I know I haven’t written much lately. Haven’t really felt the urge. I apologize! But I suppose it is pretty conceited of me to think you’re all waiting for my next entry with bated breath. Anyway – not much writing has been done, but I’m going to try to get back into it. But in the meantime, I thought I’d post some excerpts from a letter I wrote today to my old friend Hobbes.
A friend that I lost because of my own stupidity, a few years back. I have talked with him since then and on the surface there are no hard feelings. But I still don’t have my friend back. One of the best friends I ever had. People who know me well, know that I talk of him often; I still count as one of the blessings of my life the opportunity I had to know him and be his friend. Anyway, with everything going on lately, I have been thinking about how my codependency has affected people in my life. The one that troubles me the most is Hobbes.
So I decided I would send him a letter, a final, honest letter that would put my conscience to rest and give him the opportunity to know everything from my side. I am really good at shutting people down and not talking to them, and not giving them the true explanations of what or why. So I wanted him to know the full truth. I hope that what will come of it is a renewing of our friendship, but I doubt it, as his wife doesn’t seem keen on it. However, I needed to do this for some closure for me. If I don’t hear from him within a few days of mailing this letter, it is over and I will move on. I will always love Hobbes like I love my brothers, like I love BIL, and other friends close to my heart. And like I say in the letter, if he ever has a change of heart, I will accept that with happiness.
Here you go – for your reading enjoyment…it’s the most writing I’ve done in weeks.
Hi there. I had wanted to write you a handwritten letter, on nice stationery (because a letter to you warrants it), but life is so busy I just have to jot you a line when I can find the time. It always seems to be while I’m at work! Don’t get me wrong, I’m “busy” at work too, but I have always been able to start a letter at work and add to it as the day goes by, a lot better than I can at home.
Typed letters seem so impersonal; however, at least with typed letters I can say everything I want to say and don’t lose anything, because I can type as fast as I think; whereas, writing always seems to slow me down and I get hand cramps and skip things I’m too tired to write out.
So it’s probably for the best, right?
Anyway – I am jotting you a line after much thought on the subject. My husband urged me to write you and let you know what I’ve been thinking about. Such a departure from my life with [exhusband] Joe. I love the support that I get from [Hubby], I really don’t know what I’d do without him.
I hope things are going well with you and [your wife]. When last we spoke, you had mentioned you were looking to buy a house sometime in the future. I hope you realized that goal. I hope your situation is more prosperous now that you have been in your law practice for a few years.
Things are pretty good up here in Michigan; I can’t complain about anything. Hubby, Princess and I are really doing well and all are healthy and happy. For the first time in my life I am happy, safe and secure. For the first time since I was living at home with my folks, I’ve lived in one place for more than a year. We’ve been in our house since September of 2000. I love my house. I love everyone in it. I’m a homebody; I really enjoy the quiet joys of family life. I’ve been doing a lot of house remodeling and (gasp!) sewing and crafts. I always thought I’d never do anything like that, but I’ve found a little creative spark and I really enjoy it.
When we last spoke we were talking about my dad’s situation. Unfortunately that has not really improved much. He’s been basically deteriorating over the last year and a half. It is really only one of a couple black marks on my happiness these days. Dealing with my father’s alcoholism has really been a tough one for me. I have been forced to realize a lot of things about my family and my life and my self while accepting that my father has a disease, and that I have no control over his illness.
I started going to Al-Anon a while back, and it has really opened my eyes to things that I have done in my codependence. I am not one to blame one person for everything wrong that has happened to me in my life – I am usually more than happy to take the blame solely on myself for mistakes/missteps I have made. But I really had to admit that with the home situation the way it was, I really didn’t learn the skills necessary to live my life productively and fully. I did learn the skills for survival; but survival isn’t living, I’m sure you know what I mean. I realized how very controlling I am and now understand where I have not trusted anyone fully in so long. I realize now that I have run away from conflict when I should have just faced the music when I’d done something wrong. I realized that I have pushed people away from me that could have been good for me because they pulled me out of my comfort zone and showed me what life was like without dysfunction. I was guilty of breaking up with guys because they were “too nice” and for no other reason. Is there such a thing as “too nice”?
Anyway, as I am facing my own little demons, trying to change bad behaviors and make healthy choices, I keep coming full circle back to you. One of the famous 12 steps is to make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves; and then to admit to God, ourselves and to another human being, the exact nature of our wrongs. I am sure that I have hurt many people in my life and no one I’m sure more than you. I know that I have said “I’m sorry” many times to you for the flaky way I acted when I was dealing with Joe and even before that. But I need to tell you this because it has become very plain to me in my self-searching and I feel I need to not only apologize, but to explain how I was wrong. After I do this, then I will let it go. If we cannot be friends anymore it is no more than I deserve; and I respect your wishes.
I know you knew a bit about my dad’s problems. I don’t remember what I’ve told you or not told you, but his drinking was a major part of my life from about 10 years of age on. Many nights were spent listening to drunken rampages and abject self-pity parties. I went to school tired and anxious more days than you know, just to be victimized by school bullies and mean-spirited peers. This continued through my whole school career. I was lucky to have made a few good friends, like Tony and Andy who I did treasure very much. But as you know, the 3 of us went through quite a lot our senior year of high school as well. I look back now and I wonder how I handled the stress of all that craziness, and then my father’s alcoholism and my parents’ failing marriage, and working for [TDR], and battling my own inner issues. How did I come across as anything but a mess to anyone who met me? Well that would be that “fake” persona I used to present to the world, that all was well, that I was just a wacky happy person most of the time.
First of all, you have no idea how much you scared me. You said it like it was – you were honest with me to a fault and even if you didn’t want to, you always told me the truth. You cared about me a lot. You were very open about it. You were a person that came from a life I didn’t understand. Your family isn’t perfect (nobody’s is), but it was definitely healthier than mine so I felt unworthy of a relationship with you. I always felt very embarrassed and unworthy when I visited your home or spoke with your family. And no, your family never did anything to make me feel that way – that was my own perceptions coming into play. You know how I lived. My house was falling apart; we were so poor I had to start working at 15 to have the things I wanted (things other kids just took for granted). [Sidebar to reader — I guess this is why having a home with decent things that no one can take away from me is so important to me today. CG] My mother had her hands full trying to deal with an alcoholic spouse, and working, and trying to hold things together with us. I always wished she would leave my dad, but she didn’t until I was already out of the house. I was ashamed of myself and my family. So there was so much inherent, unsaid stuff going on that you wouldn’t have known, because I couldn’t articulate this until recently.
Every time I would convince myself that a relationship with you would work out; my fear would take over and I would isolate myself; stop calling you, stop taking your calls, etc. You told me a couple of times how devastating my behavior was to you. How harmful it was. It still hangs heavy on my heart to this day.
Then, I met Joe. He was not as good as you – but he was what I deserved; a guy with no real direction or anything to offer. I settled for what I thought I deserved – ‘my kind’. I married him (way too quick as you know). After a little while, he started having a problem with Andy being around. So, to accommodate my man, I pushed Andy, and every other male friend I had (including you and [current Hubby]) out of my life. Eventually he tried to get me to push away my family, too. And to some extent, I did. I was in a situation not unlike my mother’s with my father although I didn’t realize it at the time. I only realized the similarities after I moved away from there and distance lent me a little bit of perspective. Although Joe was not a drinker, he had his own addictions and he cared only for himself and his own gratification.
But my own prevarications involving you during the relationship with Joe are what fill me with the most remorse. The on-again, off-again stuff with Joe was so much like my mom and dad. Why did I not see it at the time? Then, to add to the craziness, I would immediately contact you – the only remote semblance of sanity I had at the time. You were such a comforting person to me. You said the right things, you reassured me, you were there for me. I was selfish – I wanted the good feelings that being with you gave me. But I was not able to give you what you wanted in return. And when your feelings became apparent I would pull away from you again because I didn’t want to give you anything – I felt I didn’t have anything to give. I was completely out of line and childish and unhealthy.
The best thing you ever did was to write me off at that time. [Your wife] was completely right to want you to not keep in touch with me – because it was bad for you, even if it wasn’t anything that could harm your love for her. The best thing I ever did was to move away from Cincinnati. My relationship with [Hubby] had its ups and downs at the beginning – mostly a lot of the same – me going through a lot of that codependent insanity. But this time I saw myself for what I was; and started trying to reprogram myself to make healthier choices for myself. I loved [Hubby] with all my heart and I knew that we would be able to make a wonderful life together. I took the chance and I’m glad I did. He’s my best friend in the world and brings me so much joy.
But still, I think of you, my friend. I wish to God that we could be friends again and talk, even occasionally. My husband and I discuss you often; he knows that you hold a special place in my heart and that I think so highly of you. I told him I felt the need to truly make amends to you, to tell you everything that I haven’t told you.
I’ve done that now, and so I can close this letter. I send to you my unconditional friendship and love. It is here whenever you decide you want or need it. Be that 10, 20, 50 years from now, if ever.
I gotta go!!!
I’ll try to update again soon!