I’m pretty sure that most people tend to second guess, look back, sort and reflect, and process what they could have, would have, should have done differently.
The recent incident with giving my son a ride is one of those times for me. I couldn’t think clearly about it yesterday at all. I wrote a post yesterday that I’m going to put out there today (in addition to this), but want to keep them as separate topics. One is really about PTSD, and this is about reflecting. I hope you’ll bear with me, because in the end I hope I’m realizing what I should be focusing on.
I have no doubt at all that I’ve been codependent most of my life. I’ve read Codependent No More a few times over the years, and I’m planning to reread it again soon. But when I look back on what happened on Sunday, I’m not sure at all that I’d do anything differently. Even the not being codependent me that I’ve worked at becoming the last several years. Before you shake your head and think I’m a lost cause, let me try to explain. I want to try to express my thoughts on looking back to what my choices were.
I knew I was being asked at the last minute, but I wasn’t aware at all that another brother had been asked/told by my husband to give him a ride to work. That I didn’t know about until I was already in the car and starting to back out of the driveway.
That brings me down to one choice to reflect on: get up and give my eighteen year old son a ride, or say no. So this scenario is the weekend, a relaxed recovering from a virus me that had slept in and was just fiddling around at my computer. The last minute request wasn’t received by me as a big deal. I even suspected maybe in the busy stuff of what we were trying to do to get the house ready for painting, that scheduling a driver had been lost in the shuffle. In the split second decision, I knew it could have been many things in play.
I wouldn’t have allowed an ongoing pattern of being available on a minute’s notice. The way I would have dealt with this on my own would have been to have a conversation later on designating drivers, and needing timely notice if I’m needed to fill in for someone else. Communication, guidelines, and setting a boundary.
Looking back, I don’t think it’s codependent to allow a pass of grace the first time for an eighteen year old. It would be codependent to allow it to continue. That’s when I would see myself as rescuing and enabling. Setting a boundary and making the guidelines clear for scheduling rides is important, and holding the boundary to let each person be responsible for their part is important. None of that had yet been addressed.
Since that communication and boundary had not yet happened, I think it would have been almost petty on my part to not just give him that pass of grace, then settle what future guidelines would look like after he got home from work. Part of this whole mess is from only having one car since that other car went kaput. Otherwise, I would just hand him keys, and see him after his shift.
I looked back and tried to imagine the scenario of my son asking me for a ride, and my telling him, “Son, we’ve never discussed this, but if you ask me for a ride at the last minute, I won’t help you. Sorry, guess you’ll have to find another ride and be late for work.” That would have been my alternative to the one choice I made that day.
This is the crazy part. I’m spending all this inordinate amount of energy trying to sort this out. Why? Because my husband acted like a threatening bullying ahole. If he hadn’t, I would have just said as I was dropping my son off, “Have a great day at work, but we’ll have to talk tonight about making sure this doesn’t happen again. See you later!”
It could have been not even a bump in my day. Barely a ripple.
What this really seems like to me is the typical pattern of looking at me, my behaviors, my choices, all in the same old way of what did I do? what could I do? what should I do?
When dealing with passive aggressive abuse, all those questions are practically moot! I can say I shouldn’t have married him, but that’s moot. I can say I should have realized years ago, but that’s also moot. And all this really avoids having the focus on where it should be… on his crazy abusive behavior.
I’m going to reread and refresh and reevaluate and recheck myself for codependent thinking and behaviors, but really the truth about that day is that if my husband hadn’t gone off like a loose cannon, there would be no story!
What my gut tells me I need at this point is to focus on that. Focus on the fact that his behavior was crazy, it was wrong, and it was all his to own. It’s not mine. This is where my energy needs to go. To remind myself that I didn’t cause his behavior. To remind myself that I have no control over his behavior. To stop and think that not only would that day look different without his passive aggressive behavior, but life would look different.
How might life have looked? I would have given him a ride, talked with my son when he got home, talked with whoever might be giving him rides, and moved on from there.
It’s entirely possible that I’d be approached at the last minute on some day after that, but then even though I’d feel bad for him, I’d be keeping integrity with myself and my conscience to not step up and give him a ride. No shouting, no banging, no drama. Just the regular stuff of life that we need to navigate to communicate and grow.