EnablingI originally posted this as a blog but then decided I wanted to make it a story instead.
I have spent most of the morning dealing with a cousin in crisis. My cousin is young and she is quite isolated. She is deaf and has a very hard time connecting with people in the hearing world for support. Her mother has narcissist traits and her father as well. Her stepfather is also a recovering addict, but her mother is continuing to struggle with addiction. Her older sister drinks enough alcohol most weekend days to down a bull elephant. Her older brother, who was my favorite cousin when we were growing up, died a decade ago of a drug overdose. I wrote a story about him. His death impacted me deeply.
She is married to a guy I like a lot but who views anyone in her family with suspicion as he has seen the way her parents, sister and stepfather behave. She is an adult surrounded by addicts and until today when I was talking/texting with her she had never heard of al-anon. That just speaks to me about how isolating it is to be deaf. Regular people can't just tell you about things like al-anon or maybe they think what's the point if you can't hear what's being said? She'll use TTY as a translation service, by the way, if you were wondering.
She lives in a tiny town due to hubby's work needs and her husband is in a job that keeps him away for weeks to months at a a time so she's at home with the baby alone a lot and is currently pregnant with the second.
Recently her mother came to visit to spend time with my cousin and her baby. During her visit she relapsed and began drinking again. My cousin didn't notice until she found her mother wobbling around while she left the 16 month old alone in the bathtub. She couldn't hear the sounds of her slurred speech and it's easy to hide things from someone who is deaf when you are an addict who has had practice at it.
Suffice it to say she had the wherewithal to cut the visit short and send her mother packing but not before she got to be told through lots of angry sign language that it was her fault because having a deaf daughter drives addict mom to drink. And she was also told that she only thinks of herself and that she herself (my cousin) is a narcissist, not thinking of Mom's feelings.
Now I bet every one of us immediately KNOWS that is BULLSH!T.
But for some reason when it comes to our own sexless marriages when we hear the same bullshit lines and excuses we pause and wonder. Is it true? Did I cause this? Am I just undesireable? Why are they acting this way? Each of us can say right now that it does not matter why my Aunt is acting that way, it's unacceptable and the only thing my cousin can do is take care of herself, her family and shore up her boundaries. But yet here we all languish in a SM for years, not able to see ourselves as enabling their behavior even though we really are.