Anger and Letting Go

Dear Dr. Frankie,

I got into a relationship while visiting America.  When I finally met a woman we had a very intense and unstable relationship.  She struggled with alcoholism and was very demanding.  I traveled back and forth until I had some bad luck at border control and was rejected back to the UK.  Now I am not allowed a visa to go back, which will affect the rest of my life.

 I have been increasingly furious with my now EX- lover.  She was increasingly unable to be there for me and very quickly moved on.  She began to lie and be dishonest.  I kept trying to resolve it and kept reaching out to her to be there for me.  I guess my anger in the past has caused her to withdraw, but she is a pathological avoider and liar, something that she actually admits to.  I cannot tell if she will be there for me at all. Of course each time she is unable to – but I am unable to let go.  I am left with a debilitating, impotent anger.  I am an artist and feel completely stuck… I am unable to motivate myself or draw, and I am now on anti-depressants for the first time in my life.  Please can you give me some wise words to let go of such fury and sadness?

Dear Furious,

From what you describe I think it’s fair to say you have already sacrificed enough for this woman.  Alcohol dependent individuals are often focused on meeting the needs of their addiction, which is a substitute for a partner.  Alcohol is her true partner as well as her primary focus.  It’s time to see the writing on the wall and move on.

There are several extremely difficult obstacles to overcome if you were going to pursue a relationship with this woman.  The fact that you are unable to visit the United States would require her to do all the traveling and/or moving.  Then consider her alcohol abuse.  Substance abuse alone can ruin even the strongest marriages and close-distance relationships.   These two factors combined present nearly an insurmountable obstacle to long-term happiness.  And why would you want to take this on for someone who is so unhealthy and emotionally unavailable?

Remind yourself that you and your needs are important and that you’re worthy of a partner who will contribute equally to the relationship.  You deserve to be with someone who respects and prioritizes you.  Give yourself the chance to be loved by someone who is present and emotionally available in the UK.

On a final note, consider participating in a CODA group (codependency Anonymous).  This program will help you learn how to prioritize your own needs instead of being preoccupied by the needs of others.  It will also help you realize the things that you are in control of and how to let go of the angst surrounding other people’s shortcomings.

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