The Enduring and the Mad.
The two are about as mutually exclusive a pair as I think I’ve ever drawn. Their exclusivity does not occur at person-boundaries, necessarily, where the Insane can never produce or participate in the Enduring and the Enduring never go mad, for one individual can compass either side at any given time.
Pick a point in Time. Cast thoughts forward, then backward. And ask yourself: Do I still endure in the Now? Is all I have a perpetual Now?
I have mentioned here before the difficulties my family is suffering, entirely due to the fallout over the dissolution of my brother’s marriage.
Before I made the trip back to PA for this visit, Insanity would have been the word that I would have chosen, were I forced to choose only one, to describe the entire situation.
And now? Well, insanity continues to impel the situation further into the deep-dark, with throttling and carburation provided by lawyers who excel at alchemizing hurt into hatred, hatred into billable hours, and billable hours into an attack on the wallet.
However, it’s the sheer breadth and depth of the vituperation that shines a rather unflattering light on those of us in the family who are not my older brother and not my sister-“god won’t someone take that Damocles-sword away from that bitch already”-in-law. It’s our collective Denial that stands in a proscenium arch and under a hot spotlight for all of us to see.
Denial, in the sense that we all along knew that demonstrating the good in the world was not the same thing as addressing and repairing the bad. Denial, in the sense that the one-way flow of goods, services, cash, affection and love would not and could not ever produce anything but a Policy of Appeasement. Denial, in the sense that Keeping the Peace is not tantamount to Harmony.
That Which Endures is something my family excels at producing, at maintaining, at enriching, at extending. What we seem to be wanting for is recognizing when something doesn’t take. We all, individually (much to my personal consternation) and collectively are rank amateurs when it comes to recognizing Endings.
“Stick a fork in it, it’s done”? Oh, hell no. More like “don’t stick a fork in it, the meal may yet be salvageable”
So here we all are, scorched and feeling irretrievable.
Above, I mention my personal consternation: the pattern I can so easily see in my family’s current situation, I recognized in myself and my behavior in relationships in my past.
Always afraid to call it done. Always believing that by injecting more and more good will into the relationship without the boyfriend doing the same, it will suddenly, magically inflate to be a healthy, loving and most importantly, self-sustaining marriage where commitment to and investment in it by both parties is simply, categorically, a Given.
Instead, the giver becomes the Giver. And the other, becomes the Taker, the emotional vampire who sucks every bit of free-energy good-will out of the system, hoarding it for himself as if it’s something you can store away for a rainy day.
And when such a relationship ends? Well, from the outside, it seems that the injured party completely flips things around, making statements that the rest of us look at and wonder why that person ever bothered to stay in the relationship, ever got involved in the first place. Ever, ever, ever. Speaking in Absolutes is the only language mode that makes sense to the speaker.
If the injured party is the Giver, bewilderment rules for a very long time. “But I did all these things!” “And he never…” “And you’d think after all that I did…”
If the injured party is the Taker, rage and fury and madness rule. “He abandoned me!” “He’s a dirt bag!” “He should suffer like I am suffering!”
My family is bewildered.
My brother’s unfortunately-still-wife is a whirlwind of rage at her core, a funnel cloud that collects anything and everything, anyone and everyone in her path, hurling bodily whatever invective suits her into the world around her. It’s all horseshoes and hand-grenades: close is good enough to create sufficient damage. It’s a mindset that seems to believe there is No Happiness to be had, only the relative Unhappiness of others.
But in the end, I believe, it’s the Givers who have built the Enduring around them, that when the Denial and Disbelief turn to Disapprobation, we’re left with, for the most part, our intactitude. That which did not remain whole is cleared away, cleaned up, and the detritus becomes raw materials for a new artifact of masonry, one which will endure.
And the Takers? When the yawning internal chasm, no longer fed by the Givers, stares back at the Taker, drinking in all light, sound, energy and giving nothing back, the Madness sets in. Rage and anger and injurious behavior are products of the madness, as if the Taker must minimize the dependency that used to be, in order to feel Independent and Right.
But eventually, inevitably, the hunt for yet another Giver begins.