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

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