[18 May, 2014]

on healing.2

This fable--the person on the bridge specifically--pretty much describes the prison of my childhood, and I guess adulthood, until I learn to let go of the rope. But it's not easy. It continues to be heartbreaking and guilt-ridden. I know that it's not fair to be shackled to someone else's happiness, to be responsible for their life and feelings. And I also know the following statement is not necessarily true, but it feels very real: that I can't be happy until they are happy through my own efforts of making them happy. So that's the big question, I think, can I still be happy even if they're unhappy when I stop making them happy?

Theoretically, standing up for our own needs should create safety and peace of mind. Technically, we simply cannot do more to help others than they are willing to do for themselves. But imagine being that person on the bridge, making the choice, ultimately, to cut the rope even if it means killing the person on the other end. Making the choice of freedom and, in some sense, of murder or death. Can the person on the bridge heal from that heart-wrenching choice? Can the person on the bridge live a guilt-free and peaceful life, moving toward their original goal and accomplishing what they've set out to do? Will I need to mourn the absence, unhappiness, symbolic or otherwise death of the person on the other end of the rope in order to move on from the bridge?

I wish I had the social support to deal with all of these changes. I think social isolation and shame are part of the experience for the person on the bridge. There are no bystanders, or the bystanders misunderstand the situation and perpetuate the person holding on to the rope. "Just keep holding on," they shout. "They'll perish without you. You are all they have. Keep holding on!"

The loneliness, the guilt, the sadness and heartbreak are all part of this story.

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