We were not created to live alone. After ending a relationship with an addict – especially a loved one – it is not always easy to make the step to find new people to like, or to love.
As you may have read elsewhere in this blog, the consequences of living with an addict are multiple. You have invested all you have. You may feel you have failed. You are disappointed and you carry emotions such as guilt, anger, shame and frustration with you.
The time will come that you feel ready for new relationships, but how do you deal with these emotions. How do you know whether this time it will work out? The honest answer is: you don’t.
I remember how afraid I was. Of being hurt again. Of trusting again. Of giving the best of me, again. It felt as if I had built this wall around me to protect me. The problem with a wall is that it works in two ways. It keeps others from entering the sacred place of self. It also prevented me from getting to the outside world. It actually is this metaphor that can help.
Walls are built with bricks against each one of those feelings of hurt, fear, anger, pain, and guilt. Your wall may have taken years to build. Fortunately walls can be removed.
When you meet people or a person you really like, we want this process of “demolition” to go fast. We are desperate in our search for love and kindness. We can’t wait. Especially when we have become isolated and lonely for a long time, which is a very common consequence of living with an addict and/or co-dependency.
We tend to see time as an obstacle that stands in our way.
Based on the many stories I have had the privilege of sharing, it is my experience that it makes more sense to tear down your wall brick by brick. As you get to know the other person better, you will gain trust. So you can take out this brick . And as time passes, you can take out the next brick, and the next. See time as being on your side. Use it to your benefit. Your wall was not built all at once. And so is it with removing it. Do it step by step. It will allow you to really get to know the person in a healthy way and thoroughly. And you know what: at one point walls will collapse, even if not all of the bricks have disappeared.
Just as it is preferable to build walls solidly, isn’t it just as desirable to build your new relationships solidly? Time is on your side.