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February 26, 2020

Co-Dependency

I’ve been reflecting lately.  Trying to break old patterns, heal my wounds, and trying to break through some co-dependant tendencies.

After ending an almost 20 year relationship it can be hard to look at your own shit.  The ways you contributed to the downfall and things that you can change for when/if you decide to open your heart again.  It’s easy to place all the blame on your partner and stay the same.  It’s easy to hold onto anger and resentment.  The challenge and growth come from looking at your own behaviors and how you can grow from the pain.

For me one of the biggest challenges face is my willingness to completely abandon my own needs and pleasure for someone else.  Pushing down that intuitive voice that is whispering this isn’t ok. I feel this need to change myself to keep my partner happy.  Then after years of living outside of our truth I burnt out.  I become a shell of who I used to be.  At worst I become bitter and sharp, belittling and dismissing anyone who was willing to do things differently.

I was 14 years old when I entered my relationship.  I was a young 14, someone with very little experience in the ways of teenage boys and also an eternal optimist who always thought if she could just be less loud, more intelligent, less fat, and less myself, then I could make someone love me.  Simple success formula.  Just change everything about me and be someone better.

Looking back now we were doomed from the start.  I think on the most basic level we both knew this, but we both had our reasons for clinging.  I changed so much of myself to be what he wanted.  At the end of the day these were my choices.  I did it all to avoid conflict, so he could be happy, and he could see that I was exactly what he wanted.  I hid who I was.  But like anything, we can only hold it together so long and occasionally my real self would make an appearance, and she was not like the person I pretended to be.  She was messy, scattered, constantly seeking, and probably a little more vulgar than she should be.  When she reared her head, his reaction was obvious and she was not the person he wanted.  So, I shoved her back down.  Buried her under food, cigarettes, and addiction to work, and alcohol.  Trying to keep her silent.

Since the relationship ended, I’ve tried to live in my truth.  But I know that person who will change and give it all up for love is still there.  I feel her all the time, just below the surface, ready to be sent out into the world to convince people I am worthy of their time and love.  I feel her most when I’m around men.  That feeling that if I could just be smaller, smarter, prettier, less loud that I would be worthy of their love. Maybe if  can convince them I am not really myself at all, but this person I send out, that they will fall in love with her and then when they see the real me they will be so enamoured that they may love her too. I know this never works.  I know that changing myself will result in a spectacular failure.  But I always wonder what if…

Armed with this knowledge I’ve started getting really honest with myself.  Noticing the times, I am living out of alignment with my truth and trying to call myself out.  Becoming a witness of my life and trying to break the pattern of co dependency.  I am working on seeing my own worth and loving myself because that’s the only way to break the pattern.  It’s the hardest work I’ve ever done.  It’s forcing me to face my demons and fears.  I must be brutally honest with myself and call myself out on my toxic bullshit.  I’ve spent so much time on my pillow begging the Universe to help me love myself.  To help me see the beauty and worth in myself and stop relying on others to give me that validation.  I work on expressing gratitude to my body.  I repeat affirmations about being enough. I am doing the work and feeling frustrated that I still have this co dependent tendency.

But simply knowing this is breaking the pattern.  Being able to witness this behavior is growth and when I get discouraged that I don’t feel love toward myself, I remind myself that witnessing is the first step in change.  I’ve sent my representative out for the last 34 years, it isn’t fair for me to expect my fragile inner self to be ready to step into the harsh world immediately.  This will be slow and painful and something I may work on for the rest of my life.  But by choosing this work, by choosing to attempt to show up as myself, I am healing not only myself but my children and the rest of the generations that follow.  Maybe by trying they will see it’s possible to have healthy relationships and they will never feel the desperation of being co dependent. They will never feel not enough. They will never have to give away all of themselves for someone else’s happiness. They will never have to send out a fake person into the world to try and get the love they don’t feel for themselves.

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