This Holiday – Take Some Time for Yourself

I have been thinking a lot lately about being responsible for yourself and taking care of yourself.  Too many non-ADD spouses subordinate themselves to the issues that ADD brings into their lives and, in so doing, lose themselves (or worse, become someone whom they don’t recognize and don’t like).  I think of this as being a victim of the tyranny of ADD.  But it doesn’t have to be this way.

The reason I’ve been thinking about this is that I’ve been reading up about the issue of codependence for my research for my book.  An interesting topic that is usually thought of in terms of addictions, particularly alcohol addiction.  The basic concept is that the non-alcoholic spouse becomes so concerned about protecting the alcoholic from the issues around the alcoholism that she a.) enables his alcoholism by “picking up after him” and b.) becomes totally consumed by responding to the unexpected twists and turns that alcohol in their relationship creates and c.) becomes someone she doesn't recognize.  Sound familiar?!

Anyway, it got me thinking about how best to support my own husband who, really, is pretty independent at this point…not like he used to be.  The change in him just reinforces the fact that I was hindering him, not helping him, when I did all that stuff for him.  Things like picking up after his messes, arranging his life for him (convincing myself he couldn’t do it successfully himself) etc.  WRONG!  He’s perfectly capable of arranging his life and, now that I’ve stopped trying to take over, he does it fine.  And when he misses something, that’s okay with me now because it’s NOT MY JOB!!!  His problem, not mine.  Boy, is that a freeing way to think!  And the great surprise to me has been that now that I’ve given him the gift of not trying to take over his life, he’s much more willing to actually think about me (!).  This generosity was always part of his nature, but when I was mad at him (and him at me) he hid it away.

This is a long-winded way of saying for this holiday season, be selfish!  Think about yourself.  What do you need?  What would bring some joy to you?  Splurge a little – perhaps a massage or a long soak in the tub with a good book.  It doesn’t have to be expensive…just focused on YOU!  And, importantly, since I’ve given you “permission” to do this, you don’t have to feel guilty about it!  (YAY – I knew I could be helpful!)  At the same time, see if you can give your spouse the gift of being himself without worrying about the consequences (assuming there is not specific danger to anyone...)

Here's hoping that everyone gets a bit of self-created peace and happiness these holidays!