Today I learned of Pyrrhic victories- a state in which winning ruins the victor.
I had never heard such a term before, but of course it makes perfect sense. There are some battles which cost too much to win.
But humans are complicated creatures. We fight battles for many reasons- justice, moral superiority, pride, revenge and anger. All too often winning becomes the sole and absolute aim, with no regard for the losses.
As abuse victims and codependents, we have lived our lives in a state of warfare. For those of us who grew up in abusive households, wars take place daily. Many of us have observed our parents fight mercilessly. Slamming doors, throwing things, swearing and cursing. We have listened to horrible things, threats and calls for loyalty to one side or the other.
Many of us have been locked in battles for years. Pushing for someone to change. Fighting constantly to move things forward to our vision of life. We don’t understand why the abuser or addict won’t work with us, why everything is a fight. But we never stop fighting. We never ask if it is worth it.
When I first began my work on codependency, I defined the condition as destroying oneself to save another. The other is never saved though, so in actuality it is just destroying oneself. Sometimes, the only way for us to win is to walk away. We must stop ruining ourselves fighting. A Pyrrhic victory is an empty one.