Wednesday, January 18, 2017

GenX GIllian: Mormonism Breeds Codependency

     The past month has been, bluntly put, hell.  There were times when a multiplicity of emotions roared through me—years of repressed emotion on fast-forward?—blurring past…. Love effects a myriad of sensations.  As does divorce.  Even an amicable one.  As an old friend said, these are the biggest changes we'll make in life.  Given her perky disposition I took that as a long-run consolation.  But nevermo friend has no idea how right she is, because for two good (read: codependent) Mormon kids, marriage, babies, all flowed along a pre-determined life course.  But decades later: a dead drop.  So begins Part Two.

     Once-eternal-companion and I don't see that as failure.  Our friendship remains intact.  We gave mutual consideration to the crunching of settlement numbers; we have good experiential knowledge to apply to new life experiences.  But there's this: he married me with the expectation of taking care of me. Not only because he’s a great guy, but because he was depended upon to do that in his family of origin.  And through those years before I went rogue, thinking for myself, I needed a priesthood-powered husband to keep me toeing the Mormon line for familial approval.  Ah, the varieties of codependency.  Yeah, I don't need that anymore.  In fact, since apostatizing I’ve had an ever-growing need for autonomy.

     But it took time to work through the anti-divorce Mormon mindset.  Then there's “divorce damages kids”.  Ha, lots of things damage kids.  I submit dogma as win-all.  Because dogma damages on multiple levels—e.g. sexual shame (see my last post)—leading to codependency.  Then there's damage due to putting a child’s needs second to the church's.  It happens.  More than a saint might care to admit.  The honor and esteem of a demanding calling are powerful, even addictive.  Yet high-demand callings are represented as righteous sacrifices, mandatory to attaining Celestial glory.  Add-in the mandatory need for an “eternal companion”, and voila: an effective breeding ground for codependency.

      I thought I’d worked through my codependency issues, but there was another cord to snip: the one tying my past decades together.  The remaining friendship can’t help us through this transition.  Mutual codependency is exactly what we’re transitioning away from.  No surprise dread fear eventually slammed me in the face—I’d never known emotional aloneness could be so brutal.  So inescapable. When that aloneness overwhelms I turned to friends: people and songs.  Because humanity learns from humanity.  I've depended on these two songs through past weeks.

     First, to purge.  
Within the church, the family, personal relationships ... Silence like a cancer grows.

     Then, to refill.  
Note: throbs therapeutically through earphones—on high volume.

     (And to the TBM who believes it takes a "wholesome" face, dark suit, white shirt, and bland tie to masterfully convey soul-deep truth … try opening your mind.  It’s incredibly freeing.)

     Music is an excellent gage of healing.  Lately, there is less "sobbing like a starving infant", as a new friend aptly put it (and I deem him a Real Man for that honesty); instead, I feel empowerment.  Hope. Because autonomy is evolving.  Whatever personal tragedy drives the human spirit into darkness, to be trapped in codependecy ...

          Sickening, weakening
          Don’t let another somber pariah consume your soul
          You need strengthening, toughening
          It takes an inner dark to rekindle the fire burning in you
          Ignite the fire within you

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

iGenIvy: Go, Go, Go, Don't Stop

My specters finally left, retreated into oblivion with all the Halloween ghouls & vamps I guess ;)

Between the Thanksgiving Turkey & Christmas Tannenbaum, I was distracted for awhile, but leaving the Mormon church leaves you with plenty of layers to come back to eventually.  (Like an onion, or parfait!)

Once the holidays were over, I started wondering why it was I couldn't enjoy them more - something always seemed to be 'wrong' or need to be done.  Relaxing was in short supply to me, why?  A similar issue that had started bugging me recently was that at the end of any day, even a successful happy one,  I felt like the whole day had been a drag.  Why do I do that?

Here's what I've come up with: everything a good & valiant Mormon is supposed to do -- the callings, classes, Visiting/Home Teaching, Mutual, etc. -- they were all coated with this goal of 'laying up treasures in Heaven'.  We were trained to always look to the future for a positive, happy time rather than the current.  The current was dedicated to fulfilling monotonous duties with the intent of keeping our heads down & dedicated.  Always, it was put your shoulder to the wheel, push forward to reach the Kingdom of Heaven. Concepts like "Enjoy the Moment", "Just Breathe", "Perfection in Imperfection": virtually non-existent in Mormonism. 

End conclusion: I was hard-wired to work constantly & overachieve, because that was what was necessary in order to achieve a high level of 'success', which would be repaid at some vague point in the future.  Enjoying the current moment had this connotation of failure because it meant you weren't working hard enough or sacrificing enough.  Yet, outside indoctrinated negativity, it seems to be a pretty well-established idea that it is possible to enjoy life, even enjoy working -- something I've been able to achieve more & more recently, and yet it still has that backlash at the end of the day.

I'm all for working towards a goal, but life is a journey not the destination, & wouldn't it be better to enjoy the journey while you're on it?!?  So here's a goal: I intend to slow down & enjoy the moment as I experience it without regret ... after all, it's the only time I'll have that moment until someone finally perfects time-travel ;)

Edit, 1/10/17 10:42 PM: I finished this post earlier this afternoon, ready for posting tomorrow morning, but it's kept bothering me all day.  Part of me feels like posting this expresses severe immaturity & naivety, like I believe that life should be all a happy-go-lucky party lived on Cloud 9.  So for clarification's sake: no, that's not what I mean.  I fully understand that life is messy, complicated (heck, I left Mormonism at 15, & heaven knows that was messy), possibly emotionally scarring, & at times intense.  But I don't think it has to be ran at top-speed without resting either.  & possibly, the feeling like I need to clarify that is some Mormon overworking still working through my system ...