I’m feeling some kind of way today. Not only did I only get about 2 hours of sleep last night, I’ve also had about 8 cups of coffee. Unnecessarily I might add. I am hyper active, but I can’t seem to get anything done.
It’s a perfect day for a rant.
So let’s talk about codependency. The simplest way I can define codependency is to explain it like this: I am codependent when I am only okay if you are okay. When you’re not okay (emotionally, mentally, etc.), I am not okay. I am dependent on you for my emotional well being. I can’t do anything without you.
This makes me very, very easy to control and manipulate. All you have to do is throw a temper tantrum. I immediately start working to correct my mistakes (even though I haven’t made any) and fix everything just the way you want it.
I will bend over backwards and sideways to make sure you’re okay. I will downplay what I’m feeling and what I want in favor of what you’re feeling and what you want. In fact, I will make it my goal to get to know you so well I can practically read your mind so that I can guess what you want before you know you want it.
Because I can’t be okay with myself if you’re annoyed or in a crappy mood. Even if it’s just because you woke up on the wrong side of the bed and you’re just a little grumpy.
Now, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with doing something nice for someone because you want them to feel better. But I have to check my motives. Most of the time I’m not just trying to make someone feel better. My ulterior motive is to make myself feel better.
I have to learn to be okay when other people are grumpy and sad and angry and annoyed. It’s becoming easier for me to recognize when I’m being codependent the longer I stay sober. Lately I’ve been experiencing genuinely good moods! I feel happy or genuinely good, and I can recognize that I feel differently from other people who are clearly having a bad day.
But that person’s bad day does not have to become my bad day. Even when it’s my husband’s bad day. I can let him take care of his own emotions and carry on with my good feelings. It’s okay to do that.
When my husband and I first got married, I was an absolute mess. He didn’t even have to say, “Jump” before I was asking, “How high?” I tried to anticipate his every need and desire. Everything in me needed him to be okay. I couldn’t breathe at night for fear I would make too much noise and wake him.
Come to find out that I snore when I sleep.
I followed him around the house like a lost puppy dog. I didn’t know what to do with myself if I wasn’t doing something for him or with him. I was not okay by myself unless I was drinking.
Before I got married, my fixation was my mom. So long as she was okay, all was right in my world. And I had years of practice making sure she was okay. I knew exactly what to do and say and how to act. Her emotions controlled me.
It wasn’t until I shared in a meeting this morning that it sank in how unhealthy my emotional boundaries are. I at least have some measure of self-awareness now, so I can recognize when I’m being codependent. But I still struggle with my codependent nature.
I still downplay my emotions. I still try to read minds. I have a difficult time identifying my needs and not feeling guilty for taking care of those needs.
But I have found a special kind of strength within myself. Patience. I am already far beyond where I was when I started this journey of recovery. I can be patient with myself, knowing that I am growing and learning every day.
What I know today is your emotions are not my responsibility. I can sympathize and empathize, but I have to maintain healthy boundaries. I have to learn how to take care of my own emotions and let you take care of yours.