February 26, 2024

The Unseen Betrayal: Self-Love in the Storm of Codependency.

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Several years ago, I was untangling from the web of a relationship that had fallen painfully apart.

A love story gone terribly wrong thanks to the slow and hidden tentacles of addiction.

Unfortunately for me, I spent many years knowing that “something” was wrong and not knowing how or what or who to seek for help. The disease of addiction was carefully hidden under the complex layers of my relationship and all the while I was unknowingly playing the classic role of “enabler.”

It wasn’t until years after it ended that I finally faced the truth that the heart of darkness that destroyed my relationship was deeply rooted in addiction, and once it came to slap me in the face I had to come to terms with my own disease: codependency

I once heard someone refer to codependency as “sticking the thermometer in someone else’s mouth to see if I’m okay,” and I remember how deeply that resonated with me.

How many of us are in relationships where the measure of our love and support lies in our ability to carry and manage the emotional burden of another?

But what happens when you decide to put that thermometer in your own mouth to see if you’re okay? How many of us have been taught to view the act of caring for ourselves, for seeing ourselves as a priority, as betrayal?

Woven into the tapestry of the story of my life is a profound realization about responsibility—not to a partner, not to a shared life narrative, but to myself. This life, this singular human experience, comes with lessons I am here to learn, and I understand now that these lessons are often learned in the context of relationship.

The unraveling of this years-long relationship shed light on codependency not only as my personal battle but as a reflection of larger societal issues—a collective misunderstanding of love’s true nature and the importance of boundaries.

Boundaries, I’ve learned, are sacred lines we draw to protect our well-being. And despite what we may have been taught, our well-being matters as much as anyone else’s. Boundaries are the definitions of our self-respect, the parameters within which we can love others healthily and wholly.

We often hear that love requires sacrifice, but what goes unspoken is the stark difference between compromise and self-erasure. In my journey, I’ve discovered that the holes we seek to fill within ourselves cannot—and should not—be filled by another.

This is the paradox of intimacy: we seek closeness but must retain our separateness for the relationship to flourish. And the clearer the boundaries are, the deeper the potential for intimacy.

As I navigated the debris of a relationship dismantled by addiction, I was confronted with a stark realization: the greatest betrayal was not just in the promises I couldn’t keep until “death do us part,” but in the ones I failed to keep to myself. This awakening, though shrouded in pain, became the first step on a path toward reclaiming my self from the clutches of codependency—a journey from the external validation of a partner’s well-being to the internal affirmation of my own worth.

In the tumultuous life disruption meant to call forth self-discovery and personal growth, I came to understand that love, in its truest form, does not demand the erosion of self but the celebration of individuality within the harmony of partnership. It was a revelation that boundaries are not barriers but the very framework upon which healthy relationships are built, allowing us to love fully without losing ourselves.

We are beings of change, destined to evolve, and to resist this change for the sake of another is to betray our essence. The love story we must first author is the one with ourselves.

Codependency emerges when we limit our growth for fear of outgrowing the love we receive. When our relationships become the crutches for our insecurities rather than wings for our aspirations, we are no longer in a partnership—we are in a mutual containment. It’s a dynamic that serves neither party. Growth is not just a right but a responsibility.

We are not halves of a whole seeking completion. We are complete within ourselves, tasked with the journey of becoming, of unfolding into the fullest expression of our being. True connection with others comes from the overflow of our self-love, not the deficit. It is in this space that love becomes liberating, not confining.

As I reflect on my past and envision my future, I see relationships not as vessels to contain my growth but as gardens to nurture it. The love I seek now is one that celebrates evolution, champions change, and stands steadfast in the knowledge that we are both whole, individually. It’s a love that understands that the greatest gift we can offer each other is the encouragement to become our truest selves, without restriction, without fear.

This isn’t just a theory; it’s a lived experience. It’s a path of self-discovery that demands courage to enforce boundaries, to embrace change, and to pursue growth relentlessly. It’s about trusting that there are people who will love us for who we are and who we are becoming—people who will lift us up rather than hold us back.

So here’s to the journey of self-love and to the unshakable belief that we are worthy of relationships that respect our wholeness.

Here’s to understanding that our responsibility is to ourselves first, for it is only from a place of self-fulfillment that we can genuinely contribute to a healthy, loving partnership.

Let us not be afraid to walk away from relationships that demand our smallness, and let us have the bravery to seek and foster love that embraces our infinite capacity for growth.



You exclaimed

Believing that it

Was my job

To keep you held


A desire

To hold yourself

True I was your partner

True I was your friend

But I wasn’t meant to be

The guardian of

Your soul

That responsibility

Is too great a burden to bear

When I have

A soul of my own

To make



I could have

Never completed the task

You set out for me

I was always


I was always going

To fail



When I cared

Too much for you

And not enough

For my Self


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