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Addiction and Relationships: How Are You Handling Judgment?

Why does everyone have an opinion on everything? Don’t get me wrong, I am this kind of person, too. Sometimes I get flustered while driving because, come on, that person didn’t have their blinker on and just cut me off for no reason! But other times, I’m just trying to live my life and someone comes in from out of left field and starts criticizing a post I made when I didn’t know they even saw my posts to begin with (can’t I have this opportunity to finally put something out about my family that’s good?).

I get it. I really do. It’s part of free speech, right? I can give my opinion on any topic and you can give me one right back. Sometimes it can even be fun, or challenging. There’s even professions, whole industries even, built around the entire philosophy of it.

However, sometimes they get a little too close to home, and get a little harder to ignore than that article about how unflattering Kim Kardashian’s outfit was at that social event last night.

I know, I’ve made some unflattering choices in my life that warranted talk: clothes that were just not forgiving, cringeworthy attempts at trying to impress a former crush, or even quitting my job for no good reason besides needing a change of scenery and following a crazy impulse. And those were things that I’ve heard other people comment on, sometimes a bit harshly, but I was able to take it in stride and know that I could prove them wrong by showing it’s success, or at least that it was a positive thing in my life and made me happy.

But there were also things people commented on that were harder to let go of. Harder to prove. Harder to shut out and let roll off my shoulders.

I heard these when things were at their worst. I heard them at night when I couldn’t sleep, adding to my anxiety and fear. I even heard them when things were going well.

“You should leave them.”

“Why don’t you find someone you can be proud of?”

“You don’t deserve this kind of stress.”

“You deserve someone who can take care of you.”

“Aren’t you tired of this? I would have left years ago.”

And those comments never leave. I’m always anxious that they will be right. What if he relapses again? Maybe this next relapse will be the time I decide that it is enough, and then they’ll all be right. If I stay is it just to not give them the satisfaction? Or can I be believed that I’m staying for a reason I believe in?

There were times both when things were going well but I still had self-confidence issues, and when things were bad and I was trying to make others feel more at ease by trying to make light of the situation, when I felt the heaviness of other’s words and judgements. Nothing I could do or say could ease those feelings of self-worth, and I felt I had no sturdy feet to stand on. It felt like everything was met with criticism, or I just got pity and felt embarrassed from trying to feel good at all.

In my situation, I know the person that I’m with is always there. I know he’s smart, loving, kind, understanding, a bit goofy, and a genuinely good person. Sure, sometimes he loses sight of that and gets led astray. But the reason I’ve stuck around so long is for that very reason: I know he can find his way back and stay there. The long term question, though, is if that is possible, and how many times is too many to go through? And that’s the question that I myself, and everyone in the same position as me has to ask themselves always. Even in sobriety the battle is never over. There’s always the ones who say it’s so soon, that the way he’s doing things isn’t the best/right/truly sober way, or that I can never have a normal life because the threat of the unknown is always there.

But I get it. I know that I must always be on top of all that I can be to make sure that I am doing right by my daughter and myself. I also want to see that he is doing the same. And if I see that happening and I see us able to go in the direction of a healthy family dynamic, then to hell with everyone else’s opinions.

Now, I know that those close to me may very well have my best interests in mind. But what I’ve come to realize is, the ones who are truly closest to me and my family and who really know and get me, are the ones who trust my decision. They see me working hard, they see him working hard, and they know that if I’m still here with him, it’s a positive thing. They are happy that I am happy. And beyond that, I have nothing more to prove.

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