When a parent is mentally ill, a degree of chaos permeates every aspect of family life. Children are terrorized in myriad ways. They fear for their very survival. And in a desperate attempt to make sense of the non-sensical, children figure they must have done something to cause the adult(s) to behave the way they do. Denial becomes one of the most prominent defense mechanisms because it enables survival.
When we awaken to truth, our hearts break wide open, as we grapple with making sense of the non-sensical. Profound grief comes with accepting the truth that our lives were literally endangered because the adult(s) couldn’t even take care of themselves. Desperation characterizes the many ways one tries to cope.
There is no way out of the turmoil other than slogging through the pain of what never was to be. Everything is about the person who is ill. The world revolves around them, and a heavy price is paid by those closest. Until a door or window opens or one’s heart cracks open to allow us to see things for what they truly are…
What is happening in our country right now is nothing less profound. I am reminded of a book written by Anne Wilson Schaef many years ago: When Society Becomes An Addict.
Knowing that recovery is possible, today I choose hope that an opportunity for an en masse awakening is upon the citizens of the United States of America.