can they still get to us?”

This is what a friend of mine, also married to an alcoholic, texted to me yesterday.

“I’m so mad at myself.  Why do I let him do this to me?”

I know it’s all well and good to say that we are in control of how people make us feel, that only we choose how we react to people, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah but I think that’s kind of, well bull shit.

We are human beings.

Human beings have sort of pre-set as to how they are going to react to certain things.

We don’t choose to be emotionally hurt, saddened or angered by certain behaviors any more than we choose to be physically hurt if someone punches us in the face.

Why can they still get to us?

Because it hurts to be lied to.  That’s a natural human reaction.

It hurts when a simple request is met with vitriole and condemnation.

It hurts when someone we love – the person who is suppose to be easing the burden of living – makes daily life painful.

They still get to us because we still care.

Not because we are weak.

Or stupid.

Or some ridiculous version of the pop-culture term “co-dependent.”

But because our souls are not (yet?) pickled.

Because even the beast of alcoholism takes a long time to kill the human heart.

And it’s a slow, painful death.