Friday, December 30, 2011

The power of words - You didn't just say that did you?

I wanted to write another post to let you know I have identified the reason for my sudden depression after the holidays.

I thought it was strictly chemical but it turns out it has to do with something my sister said to me. I felt bad again today and couldn't shake it no matter what I did. I finally called my sponsor today.

I was telling her about my trip to my sister's house. She knows her because for years I wouldn't go there alone. When I would visit it was like I was invisible so I started taking my friend and sponsor with me. We played the tourist so it didn't matter if my sister made time for me.

Today I was telling her that my sister told me that the reason my husband left me 20 years ago was because I was too much work for him. Before she said this she said I know you don't want to here this but. I didn't react and brushed it off at the time. She didn't know me then or my husband and really had no basis for saying that.

I believe my husband was an alcoholic and an adult child of an alcoholic. I was equally messed up with my own stuff and didn't have a clue how to deal with him or his anger. I was in my 20's with no tools to work with. I did my best.

When I told my sponsor what she had said tears started rolling down my face. Evidently some part of the what she said I felt was true. I loved him so much and when he left it broke my heart. It also saved my life because I went to Al-Anon and learned how to see how messed up my thinking was. Was it my fault he left? No.

My sister's words weren't meant to hurt me. Most unsolicited advice isn't meant to intentionally hurt someone but it can and does.

I have done the same thing plenty of times I am sure. I think it is interesting how the words of someone you love can hurt more deeply even when you aren't close.

I have problems reaching out because I don't want to be a burden to anyone. I don't want to be too much work. Maybe this is why her words hurt and even when she said it I blocked the emotions until I was home and felt safe.

It is easy to see where others have made mistakes even when you can't see the ones in your own life. Maybe I am too much work. I know sometimes I am too much work for myself. But that is my own business.

The depression has lifted.


  1. Grace, I feel like I'm nearly living this myself. In my own case, it's difficult for me to wade through the muck and come to know or remember or connect to my own sense of deep truth. I'm quick to consider others' version of truth over my own. Quick to question myself, period, that is. If not that, then quick to argue my version of truth, sometimes fiercely or unkindly. I have a too high intolerance for unkindness or unfairness especially, and for nonsense.

    Aside from being baseless as you said, my view of the remark offered to you is, it was unkind and unfair. Pointless as well. Your post is well-titled. Loved ones aren't the worst, but I agree: they hurt the worst.

    Since Al-Anon... my awareness of and my acceptance of my own deep truth is becoming solid and is surfacing more spontaneously, for which I'm so thankful. I'm calmer and more confident in myself. I'm becoming less and less affected by personal differences of opinion whether the person is an addict, or not.

    I didn't mean to write very much. I really just want to offer a 'hats off' in some way for your having worked through this and for sharing it here. Like I said, I feel like I'm nearly living it with you. I don't have a sponsor yet and look forward to the day I will, but I'm gradually becoming friends with individuals in the group. I'm so thankful for the community so immediately available to me when I came to Al-Anon.

  2. I am glad to be at a place where I can take my own inventory and not pass judgement on others. Doing so is cruel and often, the words are not true. Remember what we say--I don't have to believe everything that is said about me nor do the opinions of others really matter.