Connection and addiction–Creating the love we want and need
Connection. What is it really?
I believe it is different for everyone. And that everyone needs a different level of connection to feel loved, to feel understood, to feel free to love.
I grew up with a very loving father and an emotionally distant, aggressive mother. I moved between unconditional love and neglect and abuse, a seesaw of emotions daily.
What did this do to me emotionally? I sometimes felt worthy of love and respect and other times completely unlovable and inconvenient. And so my personal relationships have mirrored this strange imbalance. There was a conflict going on within myself. A strange war between the side of me that felt worthy and the side that absolutely didn’t.
The war caused me to be capable of deeply loving kind, innocent people and creatures. And made me reckless at times, living filled with rage.
I know that anger fueled me for a lot of my young life. The fact that it was my mother who didn’t really want to love me made learning that I was worthwhile that much harder. Mothers are supposed to love their children, aren’t they? I grew up knowing that was not true.
It was not a given. I did not have my mother’s love. And because of that I did not have that mother-daughter connection.
It has affected my life in many different ways.
I was very emotional, passionate and loving. I was reckless and angry. I was driven to achieve at school, and did, being highly competitive. I used my body physically to keep my anger at bay. I was extremely physical and challenged myself to keep up with all the neighbourhood boys, no matter what their ages were.
I started keeping a journal and writing poetry to express emotions that no one knew about or would listen to. I fell in love with my cats, and looked after them and loved them with my heart. I loved babies and children, babysitting regularly. I worked from a really young age to keep busy and because it was expected of me. I had good friends that I confided in, and was sometimes betrayed by. And I had boyfriends who treated me well and others who really didn’t.
And as I got older I realized that the connection I needed and wanted in my relationships was of a certain quality, of a certain depth. And that I was capable of giving it, but not all people were able to give it in return. That became a difficult issue for me because the side of me that felt unworthy of love settled.
I didn’t know that the settling would bring people into my life that were not good for me. As they say, hindsight is 20/20.
A pivotal moment in my life was when I found out one of my old boyfriends had killed himself. He had a terrible childhood with his father, who tried to kill him many times. My old boyfriend was already taking drugs regularly at 17 and by 19 was an addict. He took uppers, muscle relaxants, caffeine pills, smoked hash, and God knows what else. By the time we split up, at 19, he was already incapable of functioning in society. And at 33 he killed himself.
He was a man who I totally connected with. He was sweet and gentle, and loved me openly. We were fearlessly in love with each other and connected so deeply that I think the power of our connection kind of blew us away. And we were young and didn’t know how unusual and wonderful our connection was until we broke up and were apart.
I think we both looked for that connection in other people after that, and though I can’t speak for him, I never found it again. Not until recently.
And it is through my connection to my old boyfriend that I can feel how profoundly connection affects us. He turned to drugs to cope with his childhood, with the lack of love and the violence he lived through at the hands of his father, but was still able to connect with me. But once our connection was gone after we’d broken up, how did his life go?
I think he had trouble finding the level of connection again, or maybe had trouble giving it. Likely the drugs interfered with his relationships greatly. I broke up with him because he was unable to work or support himself. He likely couldn’t maintain good relationships with others either because he was only marginally functional because of his drug use.
It obviously didn’t make his life worthwhile to him. I was heartbroken when I found out he’d killed himself. He was such a gentle soul.
After I found out he was gone, I wondered if our connection had been real. If it had ever really existed, and I think I kind of gave up. It was not long after that I was in a very bad relationship with my ex-husband and had a breakdown because I just couldn’t hold it all together anymore.
My breakdown taught me that I was living a life that wasn’t mine. That I was in a marriage that had to end. That I was working at a job that was soulless for me.
And that I’d been battling depression for most of my life, unknowingly. I’d been attacking myself from within with all that rage and feelings of being unworthy.
And as I went through counselling and took my medication I started to come more and more back to myself. And the connection that I had at one point had with myself and my old boyfriend came back to me. And my whole life changed after that.
And it has continued to change. I now know that the connection I had with my old boyfriend was real. I have found it with another and within myself. And since then my life is becoming what I want and need it to be.
I no longer feel incapable or helpless or unlovable.
It has been a long road, and I have learned through other people who I’ve loved how important living our own lives is. I now know and will never forget that the love I need and want exists and is there for me. I can give it and I can receive it.
I am far stronger and more courageous than I once believed.
I am so sorry that my old boyfriend couldn’t keep fighting. I am so sorry that he felt he couldn’t go on. I am sure that his need for drugs clouded his perceptions and made his life harder, not easier.
I will focus on my connection to others and myself, and remember that distance creates hopelessness, and none of us are every truly without hope.
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