Monday, August 8, 2011

You Can Co-Depend on Me

I recently learned that I am codependent. Well, that's not entirely true. Anybody with eyes could see that my husband and I were in a codependent relationship, so I already had an inkling. But I thought that he was the one who depended on me. I thought he needed me because he didn't have a clue as to how his life should be lived without my considerable knowledge and expertise. I mean, when you look up the definition of codependent, it says, "unhealthy psychological reliance of one person on another." That very clearly says to me that he is the codependent one. He needs me. Makes sense, right?


Dead wrong.

I am the codependent one. Codependent people need other people to need them. They believe that it is their job to not only decide what would make someone happy, but also to bring that happiness to fruition. They do this to the detriment of themselves; ignoring their own needs for those of another. All this time I was thinking it was such a travesty that my husband, kids, other family members, and friends depended on me so much, when in truth, I didn't give them much choice in the matter.

How did this happen? you might wonder. Well, I sure as hell wondered it, anyway. As with many of life's lessons, both good and bad, I learned this one in childhood.

Unless you're relatively new to this blog, you know that, as a child, I believed that God hated me. I reasoned that if He didn't hate me, He wouldn't let such horrible things happen to me. After all, almost every adult I knew told me that God protected His children. "Jesus loves the little children," they said. Why, then, had He not protected me?

I must be a terrible person.

Nothing else made sense to an eight-year-old girl who had been sexually abused more times than she could remember, and by just as many people.

I must be a terrible person.

Nothing else made sense to the child who cried herself to sleep every night because she couldn't understand why she was abandoned by both of her parents.

I must be a terrible person.

The only way to redeem myself to God, I reasoned in my innocent naivete, was to show Him how good I was by making other people happy. Surely, He would see that only a truly good person would dedicate her life to the service of others.

And so the cycle began, in the ingenuous mind of a well-meaning child. That cycle has had a good run in my life, but today I celebrate the death of my self-destruction. So many people fear death, but death is not only the end of the old; it is also the beginning of the new.

Take a moment to tip your hat, shout hurray, raise your glass (be sure to pour some out for the homies who ain't here) and join me as I celebrate the birth of the new, independent me.

Until next time,
Feed on love, subsist on peace.

For more information on Codependent personalities, click here.


  1. Wow, This is a great post and I can see you are working really hard at finding your hapiness.
    So happy to see you back on my roll, I have missed you my friend.
    Sending you hugs

  2. This was a beautiful post. I am so sorry you had to go thru what you did. You are such a strong person and it makes me sad that you thought yourself "terrible" at such a young age. Keep writing, I'll keep reading!

  3. It takes 2 to do the co-dependent tango. Glad you're ripping up the dance card and learning to finally make yourself happy.

  4. Codependency is a most cruel situation, as it masquerades as "doing the right thing" and "being helpful" and other mind games one plays with oneself to validate the codependent behavior ... So happy for you and very proud that you have accepted, acknowledged and are now dancing to the beat of your own music, leaving codependency behind.

    Great post!


  5. Beautiful post.

    I wish the death of this version of you a speedy trip into that good night.

    I wrestle with who would I be if I wasn't this version of me.

    I think the new independent you will kick butt and take names.

  6. i love people who are strong enough to recognize their own personality flaws and move to empower themselves. all people have some quirks here and there. it takes a high intelligence (and emotional intelligence as well) to see those quirks for what they are. and it takes an extremely motivated, considerate, and brave person to go about fixing things within the self. you're a continually impressive specimen of humanity we can all learn from. ^_^

  7. Mynx- I thought that happiness was avoiding me all this time. Turns out, I was just looking in the wrong place.

    Stephanie- It used to make me sad, too, but now I understand why I had to experience so many hardships in my life. That makes it okay in my mind. Although I do sometimes cry for that little girl that was me.

    Lola- You'd think that, but I've learned that it's possible to be codependent all by yourself. It's crazy because it explains so much about my life up to this point.

    PM- You're right! It does masquerade as being helpful. I thought I was a very loving, helpful woman. Instead I was using helping other people to keep from having to help myself.

    Annabelle- It is most definitely my intention to kick butt and take names. In fact, I think I'll keep a score card. I'll keep you posted on that.

    Lovkyne- Yes, I am very motivated to fix certain things about myself because I'm tired of using only a quarter of my potential. Thank you, as always, for your kind words.

  8. WOW, what an eye opener. My boyfriend always says to that I depend to much on him, which I never aggried with. because after all, I am the that cooks and cleans and sees to his every whim. But after reading this, somewhere a lightbulb went on. I do need him to need me, as I need many other people in my life to need me. My mother, my brother, my friends. Because if I can't look after them, what good am I to them. What will then keep them from shutting me out of their lives. And what will I do if they actually shut me out of their lives.

    It's strange to see something about yourself that you never realized.

    I watched Eat Pray Love recently, and that got me started on this journey that I am on now. I really just want to be able to make myself happy.

  9. Another awesome post, as always. Love ya bunches, my soul sister and seemingly awesome, insightful person. God is definitely using you for good--no doubt!

  10. I really needed to read this, thanks, explains a lot.

  11. Hello everyone,

    Yes codependency is somewhat of a pervasive attitudinal posture most unknowingly adopt throughout many types of relationships. What makes it so dangerous is that you can be playing this role for many years, throughout several relationship, and not have a clue. Why? Because of the psychological coping mechanisms you develop in order to hide such character weakness or flaw.

    It is amazing how life begins to turn around for you once you realized that these behaviors are unacceptable, not for your partner, and definitely not for you. Loving and caring is one thing, but when your sense of identify and purpose somehow depends on the other, this is not love, and this is not caring, this is what I call a “shared identify,” where the two of you look into one other to complete your own perception of “I am.”

    Many women stay stuck in such relationships. Waiting patiently for their man to change, to see the light, to come out of it. But the truth is that he will never see the light, if you are the one carrying the torch for him. Ms. Hyde, how does it go? “Never do for someone else what they can and should do for themselves.” We are all responsible for our own development, our own enlightenment. It is ok to hold the other’s hand, but it is not ok to try to “lead them there.” Ladies understand this, “you are the most beautiful creation existence could ever send into the world.” And men remember this, “you are in this world, not to beat them, not to play with their emotions, not to assert yourself as ruler of all things, but love, protect, and walk beside them as equal partners while traversing life’s uncharted waters.

  12. I'm three years late (THREE!), but I wanted to respond anyway.

    Trizzi - I wish you peace on your journey. It can be hard sometimes, but oh, so necessary. Your reward for staying true to yourself and growing spiritually will be worth it, I promise.

    Favorite - Thank you so much for your kind words of encouragement. Many people are still trying to find their "purpose" in life. I believe I've found mine.

    Blogged - You're welcome, my friend. I believe that the Divine gives me the words to say at the time they're meant to be said. I'm thankful for that as well.

    Anonumous - You sound suspiciously like a student at IMHS...Or a teacher, perhaps? :) That's an exact quote from the course I was taking when I wrote this post. Suffice it to say that course changed my life. I am forever grateful for the lessons I've learned and continue to learn.


Let me hear your voice.