“Sometimes the people who need our help the most are those with the ability to impact us in negative ways. But if we expect to be effective at helping them, we cannot let their negative and, often times, destructive behaviors affect us. The trick, however, is knowing when to stop trying to help someone and to start taking care of ourselves”
As some of you know, I am very open about my life, but I have been hiding something that I need to share now.
For years I have lived with color blindness. Yes, color blindness. I know how shocking this is, especially since I never mentioned it in my book or on my blog. It has been hard living with this problem. I often have to get my wife’s help so my clothes match, or I lie about how pretty some colors are.
Now I’m not totally color blind. I have what is called Deuteranomaly. Five out of a hundred males have it. A deuteranomalous person is considered “green weak”. (Which can account for some of the shame and stigma attached to this horrible affliction). I am poor at discriminating small differences in hues in the red, orange, yellow, green region of the spectrum. And I make errors in the naming of hues in this region because they appear somewhat shifted towards red for me.
It has been hard living with this infliction, and even harder because of hiding it for so long, but I feel better now for finally being honest about this and sharing it.
I hope this will help others, who like me at one time, have lived with color blindness but were afraid to talk about it.
Imagine if you can a story like this.
The person you married isn’t who you thought they were.
You were warned by friends and family not to marry them, but you did not heed their advice. You believed everything this person said and further believed your life would become better than it was after marrying them.
Then over a two-year period this person, who was married before, has brought up their ex more than a few times, and although they are considered a despicable human being by most people, your spouse has had nothing but nice things to say about them. In the meantime, your spouse has repeatedly put down your friends, many of who are good people. Said horrific things about minorities, and even mocked a handicap person. And, has acted in ways that even you have to admit are quite awful and bizarre, especially for a spouse.
Besides all of this. The person you somehow still love, decides to go see his ex, who he has seen before and always defends. And you look the other way, once again, even though this ex has been accused by your friends and family of affecting them and you in negative ways. You keep the faith, though. After all, this spouse has told you time and again about all the wonderful things they have done for you so far and what they promise to do for you in the future.
Now, however, your spouse is once again going to see his ex. He is still defending them. This time, though, it has become clear that they have harmed your friends and family, and you finally begin thinking something might be wrong here.
You begin to wise up and realize you cannot take it anymore. Not just the apparent love your spouse still has for their ex. But everything else that they have said and done.
You can now see there is something truly wrong with the person you married. You can finally see what friends and family have seen since the beginning. Your spouse is a lying, vile, narcissistic ass-wipe and cannot be trusted.
You want a divorce. But the only problem is that many lawyers and judges seem to like your spouse and have defended him on every occasion he has acted in ways unbefitting a loving, caring spouse.
You feel trapped and afraid. You’re thankful you don’t have children now. But sadly your friends and family do. And you fearfully ask yourself, “what now?”
I know this is only a story. But I’m sure that something like this it has happened at some level in people’s lives and it is quite scary to think about.
You want to hear something even scarier, though?
Imagine if this story was about a president we elected?
“We do not have to love an abusive person in any way. What we can do is to learn to love ourselves unconditionally, and have hope that it will help us to love others in the same way. But again. We do not have to love abusive people in any way, shape, or form. We can certainly wish them well if they decide to get the help they so badly need. But we should never allow someone to affect our self-esteem and self-confidence. It can diminish any self-love we may have. Or it can prevent us from learning to love ourselves unconditionally and being happy with who we are. A love an abusive person never felt. And a happiness they never had.”
“Over the years, research has confirmed what so many therapists have known intuitively, that the therapeutic relationship itself is essential to the success a patient experiences. Some studies have even called it the most important common factor to successful outcomes.” (From an article called The Importance of the Relationship in Therapy written by Lisa Firestone Ph.D. for Psychology Today.)
I don’t flatter myself by thinking I know more than what I do when it comes to helping people with drug and alcohol problems. After all, I only have an associate degree in drug and alcohol counseling that I obtained as a fifty-two year old student back in January of 2013.
It was from a highly recommended community college and I was fortunate to have teachers who picked the right books to learn from and who also knew more about addiction than I did. But again, it was an associate degree in a field that requires a bachelor’s degree or higher, and truth be told, I haven’t done any counseling since that time, at least not in a professional setting.
What I have done since then, and actually for years before, is to help people with drug and alcohol problems in my private life, and I am currently employed as a case worker helping people who have been diagnosed with mental disorders. Some of them are also diagnosed with a substance use disorder, which is termed as having co-occurring disorders (COD). And it has been enough to fulfill me in life without being a drug and alcohol counselor.
The main reason I feel fulfilled is due to the level of help I am able to give to some of my clients.
Although therapy is left up to a professional for the level of help needed by some clients with co-occurring disorders, I still bring something more to the table than simply being a case worker, who pushes paperwork and provides transportation when needed.
I hope this doesn’t sound arrogant, because I’m not. But if it does, please reread this post from the beginning.
You see I have also known intuitively for a long time how important a relationship is with anyone I am helping, and although my self-confidence in doing so wavers from time to time, it still remains strong despite the lack of higher college degrees. I know inside that the belief I have in myself will always shine through to those I am helping—help themselves.
Although I did not know intuitively that it is up to the individual to take the reins of recovery and use whatever help is needed to remain sober and become emotionally well, I did learn this for myself. It not only filled me with a level of self-confidence I never had before, but also enough self-love to become happy with who I was.
I hope that doesn’t sound arrogant, because it’s not. If it does, please reread the last two paragraphs above.
Helping others help themselves has kept me humble enough to tell each person that it is they who deserve the credit, not me, while knowing intuitively, that the healing relationship we share is essential to the success they experience.
“Time is precious. Although pictures become memories later on. They can be used to help us live in the moment and make our times with loved ones even more special.”
“I would never make fun of someone who has been stalked. I’m sure it’s very unnerving and quite scary. However, I can’t help but wonder what it would be like to be stalked by a comedian who only told really funny jokes? I would still get a restraining order. But I think I would request that the distance be just close enough to be able to hear him.”