fallflowers6I’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.fallflowers8

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.

fallflowers5I 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.fallflowers4

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.

fallflowers7

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