When Is Enough, Enough?
After a tasteful watermelon and baby greens salad with a champagne vinaigrette dressing and a great steak dinner, I ate a large crème brulee for dessert. At the end of the meal, I had had enough to eat. I couldn’t open my lips for one more bite, not even if it were the best of the best or any kind of food. I had simply had enough.
A healthy body signals us when it has had enough food. If, perhaps, I would have eaten one more bite, I probably would have regurgitated. Some people, however, have stretched and stretched their stomachs so much that the appestat, which regulates our hunger, malfunctions. When this happens, a person can eat as much as he or she wants and never feels the pain of overeating physically. Mentally, however, that challenge becomes an entirely different story.
When young children get abused over and over again, their functional boundaries change. When you can’t protect yourself; when you are taught that you shouldn’t honor your basic boundaries; you lose the sense of what is enough. You simply learn to tolerate until the abuse stops, if it stops. The result is Post-traumatic Stress Syndrome and many uncountable mental problems that I fear will never all be addressed in one lifetime for most people with this challenge.
But the buck stops here: when children abuse their parents by taking advantage of their loving nature by mistreating and stealing from them because of drug addiction. When this happens, there is a matter of enough that can be measured. It is, perhaps, the one time in all of these scenarios therapists and psychologists alike agree and say that codependency helps no one.
Children don’t learn lessons by parents bailing them out of every situational problem their kids create. In fact, this kind of codependency can cause more dependency and worse drug addiction.
The problem with this scenario, (and I am really close to this particular situation right now in my family), is that the child can’t see through his or her own addiction to understand that he or she is abusing the closest love that exists. They can see only one thing, their sickness and need for their drug of choice. Unfortunately, that does include the constant, consistant pain of the parent involved.
This scenario can cause a guilty need in the lives of a parent who has striven to make good choices in the life of a child, but perhaps couldn’t do the right thing all the time. Maybe they were single parents or had their own abuse problems. At any rate, this problem is huge in America right now. I know some parents who have paid thousands of dollars on treatment for their children who have gone in and out of drug abuse and in and out of sanity, leaving their families in total disarray.
But how much love is too much for a parent? Most parents feel if they had to give their last penny to save their child, they would. In fact, I know of two parents who picked up their child from meth addiction so close to death and actually saved his life by a thread, when only they could have. The child has been drug free for three years and faithful and grateful to his parents ever since. Probably this is the first time in his life he has understood their unconditional love and says he will never abuse it again.
Will he stay drug free? Who knows? It’s anybody’s guess. Drugs are tough to beat, the hardest to beat. Is there a scenario in his life that will be too difficult to deal with and cause him to go back to what comforted him before? I sure hope not.
So, when exactly is enough, enough?
I’m going to take a leap of faith here and say that if you are doing your own spiritual work, you should be able to sense inside the leading of God as to that decision. I want you to know that it is no one’s business but yours what you choose for the sake of your loved ones. With all judgment out of it, I can still see why my sister stays alone in Arizona waiting for her only child to get out of prison. It’s not the best choice for her life, but her life isn’t the only life at stake. I can make a great plan to fix her life and create health for her, if she were to let me, but it’s not mine to fix.
You see, I have learned one great thing in life: I know when enough is enough. There is my path and my challenges. There is your path and your challenges. Where the two meet is only when you approve that I help. And even then, most times codependency and parental love overrides good sense. I know that, and I’m not offended by a choice that is not mine.
- Enough is to give your opinion when asked, and to leave it at that.
- Enough is to try to listen to your body when it says stop.
- Enough is to follow the laws of love and not override the laws of codependency.
- Enough is when God says it’s enough!
- What? A Roach in my Kitchen, but I Live in Belle Meade.
- The Murky Waters of the Mind