Every Little Thing

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There are times when the mantras fail. When the affirmations disappear. When every tool in your arsenal of recovery vanishes.

Yesterday was one of them.

An innocuous question by a guest gave way to a tense kitchen conversation. I was aggravated. So was he. The conversation revolved around his daughter’s friendship with the neighbor girls, who bring with them nothing but drama and conflict. If there’s anything we’ve argued most about in the past two years, it is these girls.

They moved in when we were both hurting and missing our own. He took to them immediately. I did not.

They will not be a replacement for mine.

But I like having them here.

They’ve been witness to our arguments, intimately involved in last year’s breakup. They’ve crossed boundaries, and been angry when they’ve been reset. Their actions and their friendship with his daughter have led to public confrontations between their guardian and him. He’s been enraged. He’s sat all three down and explained his allegiance to his daughter above all.

Don’t test me, she is my crown jewel and if you mess with her, we will not be friends.

They’ve been told they cannot come to our home. They’ve lied to get back in. They’ve drawn his daughter into hiding adult things they’ve done with a boyfriend–on film. They coach his daughter into asking him for money, favors, food.

But his daughter is their best friend and she pouts when she cannot see them. She cries when she thinks she’ll never see them again. And there is nothing he wants more than to be loved by her, as by all his kids.

What do you want me to do about this? Why do you always look at me like I should have the answer?

When I suggested a solution last night–restrict the neighbors from coming over–he tersely responded: You just want that because it’ll give you mental security.

That stung.

I felt triggered.

I don’t want to get into an argument, I said. I continued cooking. I did not make eye contact with him anymore.

He pleaded his case to our guest.

Their guardian doesn’t even have them. I don’t know that her rules apply because she’s crazy and mean.

That may be, I think, but she’s still their guardian. And a loose cannon will find its way to our door again when the line is crossed.

And apparently it was.

Our guest told us that their guardian did come to the house while we were gone, banged on the door, and told the girls to leave–immediately. With a few choice words, naturally.

But he always knows better. And it is never his fault.

This morning, I feel like my chest is caving in. It’s heavy, my shoulders sunken.

What this should be is an opportunity to remind myself that he is not in recovery.

I am.

He is not taking responsibility for the consequences of his decisions.

I am.

He is not wanting to set boundaries.

I am.

His journey is not mine.

Mine is.

My power does not lie outside of myself.

It lies within and only within me.

Somewhere.

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