Simplistically codependency is thinking “I am incomplete without a romantic relationship.” For me it was trickier than that. I balked at the people that acted that way. I didn’t need a relationship.
Oh, but I did. And I wanted it so badly.
Codependency is very tricky. It’s not necessarily as obvious as an addiction, but it can certainly be classified as a love addiction. It’s needing something outside of yourself to make you feel whole.
The silliest part is that even if I consciously knew that I couldn’t be completed by something outside of myself, my codependency continued to seek out that Other.
That validation from someone else that I was sexy, pretty, smart, worthy, lovable.
I logically knew that I was those things, but for whatever reason I just really, really, really wanted someone else to feel that way about me too. The way I felt about me wasn’t enough, it is as if it didn’t count.
I think I am probably very tricky to be in a relationship with. I am wildly independent, and yet I crave your attention and affection and feel like a junkie when I am without it. I torture myself internally and leap to all kinds of crazy conclusions.
I have some crazy insecurities. I was adopted (I’ve always known this, it was never a big surprising reveal) and my father passed away when I was in high school. As much as I think I have healed these two things, I do believe that I have some lingering fears of being abandoned and left alone. That the people who love me will leave me, whether they choose to or not. My brain plays these tricks on me and digs up this hurt from my past.
I think that if I make myself independent enough that I won’t need a man in my life. But when I do get into a relationship, I start behaving crazy. I wait for him to call, I will wonder why he doesn’t. I’ll expect to see him on a regular basis and suspect something is wrong if I don’t. I will push him away for my own space, but then I spend that time thinking about him. I “future-trip” like crazy- picture what our relationship could be in one month, one year, 10 years from now. What would our wedding look like, what would our children look like?
I lose the boundaries of who I am. I try to be the cool girl, pretend I have a life on my own and that I don’t care when I don’t get to see him. I go with the flow and try to take up his interests. I’ve gotten better about not doing these things as much as I’ve gotten older, but I can’t deny that I still do it sometimes.
My mind was seriously working overtime, and it was making me exhausted. I would spend so much time thinking and then inevitably crying over things that my mind has made up that I wouldn’t know what way was up and what was the real truth. I made this one person so special, so important in my life, that it would be devastating without him. And I would do whatever it took to keep him- including keeping myself miserable.
This is all total codependency. Thinking I can’t live without my person that I made more “special” than anyone else, including myself. Doing whatever it takes so they won’t leave. Becoming inauthentic and subservient to the other person. His needs come before my own. I deny my own feelings and do not trust my gut.
These are false beliefs. That is not love. That is not acting as a whole person, the whole person that I know that I am.
Gabrielle Bernstein and A Course in Miracles teach us that relationships are assignments. No one shows up in our life by accident. They are there to teach us something.
I was so completely aware that my last relationship was teaching me something. It shone the spotlight on my codependency and my insane inner monologue about relationships.
I can’t speak from a place that tells you how to heal this if it’s what you are going through. I know that I am walking this path myself. It’s hard. Some days (some weeks) I slip entirely backwards and keep thinking destructive, codependent thoughts.
Then I notice something will come across my path. A friend will ask me a question that triggers a thought of forgiveness. I will re-read Spirit Junkie because someone asked me to write about codependency (thank you, dear friend) and realize how much anger I am holding on to. I am compelled to pray, ask for help from something bigger than I am, turn over my control and just show up as my best. I release and forgive what hurt me, and then I forgive myself for beating myself up about all of it.
Codependency is scary, treacherous and harmful. When we are looking outside of ourself for answers and doubting our wholeness we lose our power. It’s not going to just go away one day for me, I have to keep working to overcome.
I will continue to write about it, because writing helps me get things out. Unleash what is inside that is disturbing me.
If you have a question or a topic you would like me to explore, I am totally open to suggestions and love challenges. If you don’t see a post right away, it’s probably because I am researching it and turning it over in my brain.