When I consider the personal losses I’ve experienced over the past decade, and in particular, my most recent experience, I am left to wonder why these experiences have entered my life, and why I find myself increasingly isolated after each one.
Given the majority of these experiences involved some form of mental disorder, this provides some assurance that all is not “random.” Yet, these experiences leave deep scars that will never truly heal.
What’s perhaps more unfortunate is the feedback shared by friends and family. In their desire to move past the visible suffering, they are inadvertently negating the experience all-together:
“Bad things happen to good people.”
“Now you’re free to have someone else enter your life.”
“There is a reason why this happened to you.”
(And any derivation thereof)
These comments, in particular, are reduced versions of their originals; the longer versions, ironically, drive an even greater wedge between giver and receiver. In my personal experience, I’m frequently left confused, conflicted, and angry. I don’t feel heard, and worse, my feelings appear illegitimate.
Ultimately, these comments reflect a lack of courage to lament.
Taking the necessary time for deep introspection, counseling, or other forward-moving actions is a necessary, albeit eventual, component of grief. All too often, I have found that people omit these valuable exercises with the intent of “getting on with life.” And, unsurprisingly, they wish others to do the same.
Ironically, persons with ADHD are unfortunately programmed for this type of behavior. By its very nature, they are able to quickly “forgive and forget” which only worsens the pain on the inflicted (partner) and, unfortunately, leaves them in an increasingly vulnerable position over time. Not everyone heals as quickly.
Those who have not experienced mental illness first-hand are unable to comprehend the severity of the disorder. All too often, relationships involving partners with BPD, NPD, or ADHD, exhibit behaviors that are clearly visible within the relationship arena, but are invisible in normal, daily “life” interactions. The result of this disconnect should be obvious.
Through no choice of my own, there is the benefit in transforming what would otherwise be a positive and supportive relationship to an academic exercise.
The “illegitimate” dimension of suffering is initially manifested through the seemingly detached guidance just shared. It’s only when this suffering extends into inaction, and potentially subsequent unhealthy relationships, that it becomes self-inflicted.
And this is what requires my greatest level of attention.