Can you save someone from themselves without losing yourself in the process?

Until the last couple years,  I believed that if I loved someone enough I could save them from harming themselves.  Now I know it’s not true but it took a hell of a lot of tears and a near breakdown for me to admit that to myself.  No amount of love and care in the world will stop a person who is hell bent on harming themselves whether through addiction, reckless behavior, or even suicide.  The despair that you feel deep in your soul when your loved one decides that they can no longer cope, is simply unbearable.  When you think about it, both of you are going through the same horrific pain.  Now the question is, will you be lost as well?

We can’t save the world.  It’s not our job to do so even though we get inundated through the media outlets that it’s our “duty” to do so, “one child at a time.”  Really?  Yes, it’s noble to donate to these causes but there has to be a limit.  When the help comes at the expense of your own physical and mental health, the price is way too high.  Of course, when you are faced with helping someone you love and helping yourself, the choice is made without question.  You will give and give until you are no longer able to give anymore.  Like the drowning victim, your loved one will cling to you, claw at you and beg you to help them keep afloat.  All the while you are being pulled under water for longer periods of time and then eventually left below the surface and forgotten.

You can try to rationalize it all you want but the fact remains if someone does not want to be saved, or just can’t see the light and love you offer to them, they will continue down that destructive path and take you with them.  Your pleas don’t always go on deaf ears.  They hear you, but some feel they don’t deserve your love or friendship and will keep pushing you away over and over.  Once they get through that period of darkness, they stay away for a bit, maybe even ignore you all together because they have dulled their pain with booze, drugs, or another lover.  Whatever the vice, it smoothed out the rough edges until it all wears off again and they come running back to you.  Even though they know they are ripping your heart out every single time, they still come back.  You are also a “drug” and help keep the cycle going.  By begging them to see the truth and to get professional help, you give them a lifeline once again.  And once again they toss it aside to cling to you.  Misery loves company.  No truer words have been written.

The greatest act of love in this situation, as painful as it will be, is to let them go.  Pray to the Goddess or whoever your higher power is that their path is clear and their pain eases.  Pull their arms from around your neck and push them clear so you can swim to the surface and breathe again.  You don’t have to say goodbye.  That is so final.  Take that love you feel for them and file it away in your heart with the promise that it will bloom when your paths cross again either in this lifetime or the next.

 Darkest Hour
 
The pain of a love lost yet again
Is all consuming and gut wrenching.
And yet we will continue to suffer through
And hold out all hope.
It seems never-ending
Until one day your heart finally listens to your head.
It’s time to close the door
And throw away the key.
Just in time because you’ve reached
The frayed end of your rope.

Even in that darkest hour
You still believe things could change.
He’ll come back,
Realize his mistake.
Beg you to listen to him
Pour out his pain and sorrow.
But before you know it
He is gone once again
Telling you he will call tomorrow.

In this your darkest hour
You finally see that tomorrow will never come
He will go back to the world he left you for.
Cutting you out once again,
Leaving you unable to ask why,
In shock, and numb.
In this your darkest hour
You finally see
He wants his cake and
He wants to eat it too.
He wants your support,
Understanding,
And unconditional love,
But never once will he
Return those things to you.

Instead he takes and takes and takes some more
Leaving you sobbing,
Heartbroken,
And waiting by the phone.
He returns over and over and over again
Claiming he still loves you.
But he instead leaves you bare
Battered and alone.

In this your darkest hour
Your eyes are wide open
And you finally see…
He will never love you as you love him,
Even when he pleads with you
On bended knee.
It’s all an act.
It’s all make believe.
It’s time for you to turn your back
And walk away.
No longer letting your heart be deceived.

In your darkest hour
You realize the truths you have ignored
Will truly be what sets your heart free.

In your darkest hour
You will find the peace and light
That will mend your soul.
The wounds laid open for months on end
Will begin to heal
And slowly allow you to become whole.

For now you can wake up from the nightmare
That you had convinced yourself
Was just a dream.
Now you can wake up to find
The one who will put you first,
Love, honor and cherish you…
He will be everything you need.

©Tammy Dennings Maggy
 1/23/2010
 2am
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