I’m not sure that I can write cohesively and coherently while I’m swimming in a cesspool of negative emotions, but I’m going to try. I think the bright white honesty of this topic might be lost if I wait until I calm down, and raw honesty is probably more important than the flow. Or not. We shall see.
I’m not going to identify the persons in this post, and it should be because I want to respect their privacy. In truth, privacy is the last thing in the world I care about right now, but there’s some red flashing light in the back of my head spelling out “DISCRETION“, and I’ve learned to trust the red flashing light in the back of my head.
There is a woman near and dear to me whom I shall call Ophelia, because it means “helper” in Greek. Ophelia has established a permanent sidekick whom I shall call Chaos. Over the years, Chaos has actually taken on the form of various people and situations. As one version of Chaos leaves just long enough for me to think that maybe Ophelia is ready to move on without some sort of Chaos, *poof*, Chaos returns! I hate that bastard.
For the last few years, there has been one consistent person filling the Chaos role in Ophelia’s life. He is an abusive, addicted, dishonest, criminal, low class, bad person. This is not my opinion, this is fact. Even Ophelia acknowledges all of these attributes as valid. I don’t know anyone who would disagree with this assessment of Chaos. I hate this particular Chaos most of all. Yeah, yeah, I’m not supposed to “hate”. So sue me.
I didn’t get crazy the first time Ophelia tried to intervene and help Chaos change things around, find a new direction, make some better choices. Chaos was her friend, and she wanted to help. She’s a big helper (codependent) by nature, probably because she was raised by a codependent parent. Anyway, the “help” didn’t quite take, but somehow Chaos became the romantic interest anyway. That’s when I got confused. Chaos brought nothing to the table except, well, chaos. He’s not funny, handsome, smart, hardworking, rich, popular, or kind. Seriously. On a scale of 1 to 10, he’s a 2. Ophelia is way out of his league. Like, light years.
I should mention that Ophelia has another concern: Theo. Theo means “watcher” in Greek. Theo and Ophelia are a team, and Theo watches all. Sees all. Theo is near and dear to my heart, too.
I could recount example after example, scenario after scenario, of the destructiveness of this relationship with Chaos, until your coffee was cold and my fingers were bleeding, . I won’t, because the flashing red “DISCRETION” is still invading the back of my head. Instead, I’ll give you The Cycle.
1. Enter Chaos. 2. Commence Crisis (property destruction, physical violence, vile verbal confrontations, theft, infidelity, threats, etc.) 3. Theo watches. 4. Chaos departs, at least from public view. 5. Ophelia’s circle surrounds her, and starts picking up pieces (both figuratively and literally). 6. Ophelia begins hinting at how Chaos needs her help.
That is Ophelia’s cycle. My reactive cycle to Ophelia’s goes like this:
1. Bite my tongue until it bleeds. 2. Anger and fear overwhelm me. Communication during the Crisis is typically fragmented and hysterical. 3. Shield Theo as quickly and thoroughly as possible. Sometimes it’s not possible. 4. Relief and gratitude, with anger and fear still lingering in the background. 5. Whatever it takes. Talks, encouragement, friendship, advice. 6. A quick spiral into a pathetically pointless conversation.
Ophelia loves Chaos. I get that. You love whom you love. What I don’t get is letting love dictate poor decisions. Chaos needs to be in rehab or jail, period. Ophelia has the ability to put Chaos in jail, but won’t. Rehab is a decision that Chaos has to make, but right now it’s just a word that Chaos throws around to manipulate Ophelia and give her delusions of a Happily Ever After something to cling to.
And Theo watches. Theo hates Chaos when Ophelia does, and welcomes Chaos when Ophelia does. Theo has already learned to display the opinions and feelings that will cause the least resistance: one version to Ophelia and Chaos, another set to others. I don’t know what Theo’s true feelings are, and I don’t think Theo knows either. The knot in my stomach is indescribable when my brain thinks too much and I envision Theo repeating this cycle.
So here I am, in the middle of a storm, choosing to get soaked rather than open the umbrella known as Codependency. I’ve been in this storm with Ophelia more times than I want to admit to. Over the years, Ophelia’s choices with Chaos (and please note that I’ve progressed to putting the responsibility on Ophelia for her choices, rather than on Chaos for just being Chaos) have resulted in Ophelia and I not speaking for months on end; hours and hours of ugly, skin blotching, snot running hysterical crying; and sad endings to (or cancellations of) celebrations that happened to intersect with points 1., 2., or 6. in Ophelia’s cycle. The thing about making memories is that sometimes you wish you hadn’t.
Ophelia refuses to give up on Chaos. I refuse to give up on Ophelia. Every time the Crisis arrives, she thinks, “Chaos has really learned his lesson this time.” and I think, “Ophelia has finally hit the end of her rope this time. Chaos will be gone for good this time.” I find myself on the phone with her, totally exasperated, saying “Why do you do this to yourself? You KNOW how it’s going to end up!” Then someone points out that *I* am doing the same thing: getting worked up over the situation when I know how it’s going to end up. Oh, the irony.
So today I sit here crying, realizing that there are no magic words I can speak to change Ophelia’s mindset. My heart is breaking, again, knowing that it’s not over. I try to talk myself into acceptance. I pray. It’s probably not good that I get all attitude-y with God when I talk to Him about this, reminding Him that I don’t ask for much, and never for myself, so it would be really appreciated if He would just HANDLE this somehow, and exactly as I would like it handled, thankYouverymuch.
I suspect that Ophelia’s somewhere crying as well, realizing that there are no magic words she can speak to change Chaos’ behavior.
What I really want to do is cut Ophelia’s head open, and somehow insert the thoughts that I want her to have. “I don’t wish Chaos anything but the best, but I need to remove him from my life.” “I’m worth so much more than this.” “I need to show Theo that mistreatment is never OK.”
We can build rockets that travel to outer space and regrow human organs from a pig’s ear, but no one has invented a vaccination or a pill or maybe some electroshock therapy that will make Ophelia do what I want her to do. Dammit.
And that is why I want to slap the shit out of Ophelia.
I think you should slap the shit out of Ophelia. Shit is a good word. And slapping it out of someone who really needs it is a good thing. I think you would feel better and I know after reading this I would feel better. How frustrating to watch this go on and on. My thots and prayers are with you.