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Living or Coping?

Old 02-23-2014, 12:47 PM
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Living or Coping?

I get the daily email messages from Hazelden and this one hit home (esp. the part I highlighted in red) for me so thought I would share.

Say when it's time to stop coping.

In her book Recovering from the Loss of a Child, author Katherine Fair Donnelly writes of a man whose infant daughter, Robyn, dies from SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). The child had died in the stroller, while the mother was out walking her. The father had stopped to get a haircut that day and was given a number for his turn.

"It was something he never did again in future years," Donnelly wrote. "He would never take a number at the barber's and always came home first to make sure everything was all right. Then he would go and get a haircut. It became one of the ways he found of coping."

I hate coping. It's not living. It's not being free. It reeks of surviving.

But sometimes it's the best we can do, for a while.

Eight years after my son dies, I was signing the papers to purchase a home. It was the first home I had bought since his death. The night before he dies, I had also signed papers to buy a new home. I didn't know that I had begun to associate buying a home with his death, until I noticed my hand trembling and my heart pounding as I finished signing the purchase agreement. For eight years, I had simply avoiding buying a home, renting one less-than-desirable place after another and complaining about the travails of being a renter. I only knew then that I was "never going to buy another house again." I didn't understand that I was coping.

Many of us find ways of coping. As children, we may have become very angry with our parents. Having no recourse, we may have said to ourselves, "I'll show the, I'm never going to do well at music, or sports, or studies again." As adults, we may deal with a loss, or death, by saying, "I'm always going to be nice to people and make them happy. Then they won't go away." Or we may deal with a betrayal by saying, "I'm never going to open my heart to a woman, or man, again."

Coping often includes making an incorrect connection between an event and our behavior. It may help us survive., but at some point our coping behaviors usually get in our way. They become habits and take on a life of their own. And although we think we're protecting ourselves or someone we love, we aren't.

Robyn didn't die because her father took a number and waited to get his hair cut.

My son didn't die because I brought a new house.

Are you keeping yourself from doing something that you really want to do as a means of coping with something that happened to you a long time ago? Cope if you must, if it helps save your life. But maybe today is the day you could set yourself free.

God, show me if I'm limiting myself and my life in some way by using an outdated coping behavior. Help me know that I'm safe and strong enough now to let that survival behavior go.

You are reading from the book: "More Language of Letting Go" by Melody Beattie
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Old 02-23-2014, 01:12 PM
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We all write our life scripts. We all abide by them.
The trick in life is not to be imprisoned by them.
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Old 02-23-2014, 01:31 PM
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I need a new editor.
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Old 02-24-2014, 09:23 PM
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wow this really hit home for me..

when i was in 3rd or 4th grade i had lost my great grandfather. he had died in his sleep (he was also very old) and being that i was so young, my mom sat me down and told me that he died in his sleep. (she wasnt lying, but it was the best way for me to understand at the time) every single night after his death i had to ask my mom every night before i went to bed if i was going to die in my sleep. (years later, looking back on this i also realized i have very severe anxiety lol) i can only imagine the toll it took on my mom since i felt like i HAD to ask her every single night. it had also made it very hard on me if i wanted to sleep over a friends house, i still had to give her a call just to ask that stupid question when i was completely healthy! but finally a few years later i had an annual check up at the doctor and my mom told them that i kept asking if i was going to die every night and the doctor told me that i was perfectly healthy and wasnt going to die in my sleep. i guess the reasurance finally made me stop asking. (reasurance is still a hugeeeee thing for me to this day) but it def feels great knowing that i dont have to ask my mom every night if im going to die in my sleep at 21 years old now lol
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