Love can be tough and blind

addiction, health & wellness, holidays, thoughts for living, Trends, Uncategorized

m-scott-peck

Love is blind. This is somewhat true, but more realistically people can be blind to love, especially when others make a tough decision to step back to allow the natural order of things to occur.

Families oftentimes are placed in double (love) blind experiences when they are trying to find their way in helping someone recover from a drug addiction. The first function of a family is to support its children in learning skills, morals, and values. When addiction strikes a family member, normal approaches to building a thriving family unit can be affected. Oftentimes, a family member’s addiction will drive the individual to decisions which do not fall within the societal norms of morals or values.

Unknowingly, non addicted family members can be caught up in a perpetuation of fueling the addiction through co-dependent choices. A family member needs a ride somewhere and what caring family member wouldn’t give one? Or can they borrow a few bucks until they get paid? Saying no to simple requests seems petty and punitive. But within the illness of addiction, keeping the affected individual comfortable may literally be “loving them to death.”  People are only as sick as their own and other people’s secrets, and addiction is sneaky and secretive. People don’t know what they don’t know.

Before families realize what is happening, the constant conflict and anxiety created by addiction, has begun to break down the family unit. Substance abuse is a leading reason married couples seek divorces. When a child is the one suffering from addiction, families frequently cope with a degree of grief and anguish that only other families battling life-threatening diseases, such as cancer, can understand.

Consequently, all family members become blind to love. Underneath the person suffering from addiction is the valuable human being God created. But the manipulation and deceit of addiction destroys trust. In periods of sobriety, the restored family member resurfaces and others within the family welcome them but are confused themselves as to how they can so harshly judge a relative.

tough-loveEventually, family members may begin to see that trying to fix the consequences for their loved one’s addiction is making it worse for them and the addict. Yet, it is scary to relinquish control. The illusion for the non addict family member is they make better decisions because they are sober. However, if  consequences of some bad choices aren’t allowed to be experienced by an addict, then no motivation exists to change.

Addiction can and does kill and it can’t be cured. But it can be managed. Just as a family wouldn’t treat a loved one’s cancer, family’s ought not endeavor to manage another’s addiction. Working with professionals is as important for the family members who don’t suffer from addiction as it is for those with the illness.

When a family suffers from an illness, love is tough. Tough love may be the highest form of love one can offer another.

And when a family sees this, then addiction can no longer blind people to love.

 

 

 

Fanboys and Fangirls be your own number one fan

Trends

your life mattersThis week if you have young people in your life who spend time on Tumblr or other social media sites, please keep an eye on them. Word is going around that anonymous terrorists on Tumblr and other sites plan to aggressively bully young adults who have shared themselves in a vulnerable way on their social media sites.

A young friend of mine is posting warnings to protect her friends from now until after New Year’s that they not use their tags and turn their ask button off within Tumblr. Other young people have shared posts from individuals hiding under “Anonymous” and who actively suggest suicide and other forms of self-harm.

As my young friend shared with me in an email, “many teenagers have been hospitalized and a few have already committed and died.” In particular, young people who identify with “Fandom” or have self-disclosed on their social media they feel suicidal or are cutters are being targeted.

If you are of my generation, you might be tempted to minimize the effort of my young friend as melodramatic teenage behavior. I want to assure you, though, if it was important enough for her to post to her personal page, then this is a real threat to our young people who are looking for personal connections with social media. Many news stories have been written about cyber-bullying.

As a parent or teacher, be vigilant about checking out the social media of your children and students. You can do it surreptitiously so your child doesn’t put up filters to keep you out. If you check the friends list of young people on Facebook, you will see many of them have between 1,000-5,000 friends. This means our young people are friending others as a way to demonstrate popularity, not because they actually know this many people to consider as friends. Facebook has tried to address people who bully people on line with various policies, but has not yet come up with a fool-proof way.

Also, our teens tend to gravitate away from where their parents are congregated and so now are on other sites such as Twitter, Tumblr, Yik Yak, Vine, Instagram and many others.  But many still use Facebook. You are not out of bounds as a parent to know where your kids are hanging out. In a real world way, you set boundaries and don’t knowingly allow your kids to go to biker bars, strip joints, or  other dangerous neighborhoods. So do the same for your young people in the virtual world.

What’s dangerous about bullying activity is it’s difficult to trace anonymous stalkers to stop them. The Supreme Court currently is considering a case which will have far reaching effects on how our freedom of speech intersects with our right to safety in our society. Our teenagers live and survive in a tenuous place right now. They are exposed to many more grown-up things than what people were 30 or even 20 years ago. Yet they lack the autonomy to protect themselves the way an age recognized adult can.

If you know someone who you sense is struggling right now, please reach out to them. If you don’t know what to do, then call someone who does. The Suicide Prevention Hotline is available to contact if you want to ask on someone’s behalf. They can connect you with your local resources.

And for every hater post out there, you have an opportunity to share your own encouragement. As my young friend said: “kids need all the help they can get and sometimes adults have a bigger impact on them than teenagers so yes, please do” help.