“I’ll give you all of me.” ~ John Legend
It’s not you—it’s me.
Want a friend who will continuously give and sacrifice? Someone who will make you feel powerful, competent, and appreciated? Someone whose sense of purpose is based on extreme sacrifices to satisfy your wants?
I was your girl.
I lost my soul trying to “fix” someone. Perhaps I was punishing myself for my divorce as I tried so hard to make this relationship work.
I thought that if I just loved enough when he was unloving, forgave him when he cheated, and gave him the space he “needed,” we would be okay. I knew I was so special I could mend his brokenness.
The two of us waltzed dizzily to what Ross Roseburg describes so perfectly as “the dance of codependency.” He played the narcissist—I, the addict. One evening, exhausted from dancing myself into a dizziness of depression, I had an Oprah “aha moment.”
I am a codependent.
Not understanding quite what that meant, I did what any self-diagnosing patient would do, I googled it and found Darlene Lancer’s Codependency for Dummies. How appropriate!
I read on: “Codependency—a disease of lost self. Someone who cannot function from their innate self; their thinking or behavior is organized around another person.”
The characteristics include:
>> Intense and unstable relationships
>> Inability to tolerate being alone
>> Overwhelming desire for acceptance and affection
>> Discomfort receiving attention or help from others
>> Self-worth based on caretaking.
Check, check, check, check, and check.
We teach in the poorest schools, volunteer in homeless shelters, and take on any job that is boatloads of work with very little pay. You can call us day or night, we’ll answer the phone. Need snacks for the school party? The answer is always “yes.” What? You want to go out for dinner? Sure, I’ll watch your kids.
We give until we’re absolutely emotionally exhausted and resentful, exploding into a full-blown temper tantrum. It’s funny how we stoically pride ourselves on our ability to put everyone else’s wants and needs before our own, even as the bitter taste of resentment gags us. We keep ourselves busy with work, exercise, and our addiction to social media. Asking for help, we feel defeated.
Hell, I even did Ironman races and ran 100 miles “for fun” because I lived off of the praise high.
That moment of finally being able to admit that I was the one with the problem was, ironically, the moment I got my power back. I decided to get counseling where I learned to write down what I really wanted, to surround myself with positive role models, and to step away from drama and struggle.
We spend so much time b*itching to others about the things that are going wrong—we often don’t know what would make us happy. I listed what I wanted in a relationship and partner, what the perfect job looked like, and what really and truly turns me on.
When it was clear that my current partner or job did not meet those descriptions—I knew it was time to walk away. I then began to concentrate on filling my life with people who made me feel happy and healthy.
I literally Facebook messaged this handsome dude who I felt a connection with and said, “Hey, I’m trying to surround myself with good people. You seem like good people. Want to have coffee?” Well, coffee turned into sushi, which turned into a kiss in a parking garage—and we’ve been together almost two years now.
I hired a life coach to help me focus on my strengths. I accepted every challenge she gave me to make baby steps toward my vision. I have a new job that challenges me daily, but the rewards are abundant.
Finally, I took a class on meditation. Man was it hard for this runner to sit still. But when I did, I was able to dig myself out of the bullsh*t stories my ego was telling me, and to breathe in the fresh air of my true being.
Maya Angelou said, “I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.”
Can you do better? If so—be brave! The love you seek is closer than you think. It’s in you.
Author: Jennifer Kimble
Editor: Lieselle Davidson
Copy Editor: Nicole Cameron