A FEW OF MY THOUGHTS, FROM A CONVERSATION OVER ON FACEBOOK:
“It seems to be the case though, that, what we have here is a classic alcoholic husband and rescuing wife, both who are enslaved within a system (mindset/heart-disposition) whose components complement each other all too well.
One typical configuration, of enslavement, is seen in the husband’s combined mis-use of alcohol mixed with a ruling and enslaving love of pleasure. An escapist pursuit of:
1) a false hope from the pains and frustrations of life;
2) playing the angry and self-righteous judge of his wife’s clinging and dependent ways;
3) the self-crucifying of his periodic remorse;
4) a trust in man which seeks personal validation through acceptance by his bar companions; etc.
Then we have the reciprocal pattern in the wife’s rescuing behavior, a combination of:
1) playing the martyred savior of her husband and family;
2) playing the proud and self-righteous judge of her husband’s iniquity;
3) a trust in man which overvalues the opinions of her friends;
4) a fear of man which generates an inordinate desire for a male’s love and affection as crucial to her survival; etc.
The internal enslavement of both (and consequent behavior, thoughts, and emotions) makes sense within their system of identity. The enslavement of soul is sometimes modeled, taught, and encouraged by the other person(s) involved:
1) her nagging and his anger mirror and magnify each other;
2) his bar buddies and her girl friends reinforce their respective self-righteousness and self-pity.
The outworking of enslavement is sometimes reactive and sometimes compensatory to the other person:
1) he reacts to her nagging with drinking, and
2) she reacts to his drinking by trying to rescue and to change him.
Sadly, the children are swept up in this, later playing either the master (like the husband) and/or the messiah/martyr (like the wife). It gets real ugly when a person grows up playing out both roles! Either way, the ‘once-child-now-adult’ is having to face the crisis they were born with:
1) who they ultimately are; and
2) who they were nurtured by (who their parents, etc. were).
Yet, even those with the best of parents can/do readily find themselves caught up in the same mess, and in this case the parents aren’t even part of the blame, nor is anyone else with whom they interact, necessarily. Why? Because they (like all people!) are born (nature) with an identity crisis. Left to themselves, each and every person has the same fundamental problem: an inherent identity crisis (= alienation from One greater then themselves).
Too often what we receive from others, particularly as adults, is nothing more than a “negative-feedback loop.” Meaning, we are likely seeing a reflection of our own folly even if it comes back at us as an opposite behavior/disposition.
As we push they pull, and vice versa.
[Note: the core principles here are gleaned from an article about idolatry by David Powlison.]