It has become abundantly clear to me in the last three weeks that I am a codependent. I prefer to do for others rather than myself so much so that I lose myself and I constantly question my self-worth. Codependency is normally rooted in our childhood….and without any blame…because I’m 44 and totally responsible for the choices I make in life….I believe that I am reenacting my mother’s example of the family caregiver. I may have experienced some emotional manipulation during my parents’ divorce, a somewhat traumagenic environment, and some financial struggles…
I decided to look into the idea of codependency…because I have always relied on other people, specifically men, to affect and direct my emotions, my preferences, my activities…and I want to both change that and also learn how to prevent it for my daughters.
I am a giver. I give too much, too soon, too naively…and in most cases out of fear rather than love. I remember having vivid dreams as a young child in which I was desperate to please the people in my life. These dreams jumped out of my sleep and haunted me during my awake hours…my need to please was overwhelming…and I think this imprinted that ridiculously desperate need into my psyche. I apologize too often, even when it’s not my fault…because I believe that will somehow make the other person feel better…and that makes me feel more comfortable. I think I’m being polite by sacrificing myself…my feelings…for the sake of making someone else feel more positive.
I repress my feelings often. For the sake of keeping the peace, or preventing hurting someone else’s feelings…I’ve put myself into a lot of really not good situations for fear of hurting someone else’s feelings. I mean, it’s ridiculous looking back at but at the time, when I didn’t know what to do, it seemed like the right thing. Although I was never comfortable…but at least no one was angry at me. It’s a total reaction to fear.
I’ve even gone so far as to dumb myself down for others…I still do that often infact. I give in to other people’s demands, and generally take the path of least resistance. It is easier and keeps things less complicated. Supposedly.
I seek approval from others. I am afraid of rejection. I need to be needed in order to feel…complete.
This is the generalized gist of a codependent. There’s more but…that’s the gist.
So, where do I go from here? Now that I know…what do I do with that information?
Well…I have decided how I want to feel on a daily basis. I have taken steps to learn how to accomplish that…how I can protect myself without compromising my natural instinct to give, how to live without guilt, and how to take time to replenish myself, and how to ask for help.
It all sounds very…simple. But most of that goes against my natural instincts. I suppose it takes practice.
I know all of this. It’s common sense. I can give advice and I can observe a situation and understand what is going on….but to look at myself? To understand what I am doing to myself? And ultimately what I am doing to my children…that’s a very big pill to swallow.
But I will not give up. I will conquer this. I will make the necessary changes, I will recognize what I actually want in life…I will learn to avoid certain situations and relationship types, I will create healthy boundaries, I will learn to stop seeking approval. I will take care of me.
It’s a long road….I don’t expect anything to change overnight. But it will change. I will make the necessary changes. Not because I have to…or because someone else thinks I should…I’m going to make positive changes for me. For my kids. For me. Because I’m the only me I will ever have….and I think I may just deserve to be…happy.
If any of this sounds familiar…maybe you want to look up the online course I’m taking? Just incase? dailyom.com
Codependency is not an ending…it’s not a state to remain within or celebrate in any way…it’s a beginning to learning about ourselves and how we can find happiness.
Cheers to all you codependents out there and all the work we have ahead of us xoxoxo