Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Co-dependence

Yes, I know. Another post! Two in one day!!

When I go to bed at night, I am like many other people. I cannot turn off my brain. Things I have to do run through, my mind thinks up the strangest ideas, and I seem to focus on interesting viewpoints of my life. And last night, there was no exception.

I was thinking about the blog situation as I layed in bed last night. I was thinking about the sick little game I play. The game is simple. To me, at least. I pride myself in being strong. In being brave, in being independent, in being able to handle anything.

I thought last night about myself, how strange I am. I crave Chris' attention, I crave his acceptance. I want him to be okay, to like, to love, everything I do at all times. If I want to work out, if I want to get back down to a size 2 like I was before he kept me up all night being gone, if I want to have a blog, if I want to make dinner, if I want to shower - I want him to adore everything I do. And at the same time, if he is annoyed or thinks I am stupid or doesn't agree with what I want, I say I don't care. I act like I don't care.

In reality, (come on, we all know reality!!), I am screaming out for his approval. Approval. Of me.

Let's get the facts straight. He is a druggie. A junkie. A crack addict. A man who is screwed me over so many times in the past, yet I want his fricken' approval. I want him to validate me.

Come to think of it, I'm pretty sure I want everyone's approval which is a real freakin' let down. I am not supposed to be this way. This is a real eye-opener. I am actually admitting this out loud.

People's blogs I read, they all write about co-dependence. And all the while I was thinking, well lucky for me, I'm not that! So I did a little lesson today. I looked up co-dependence.

The facts, the characteristics, shocked me. I stopped reading half way down the list. Here they are:


  • Positive feelings about themselves stem from being liked and accepted by others.
  • Mental attention is focused on solving the problems of others or relieving their pain, and when these goals are accomplished, their self-esteem rises.
  • Co-dependents tend to personalize all that happens around them, seeing everything as being directly related to them.
  • Unless they are externally validated, they have difficulty trusting their own perceptions.
  • Significant others' clothing, personal appearance and behavior are dictated by the co-dependent, as he or she feels that the significant other is a reflection of him or her.
  • Co-dependents have unrealistic expectations of themselves, are unable to accept their own limitations, and use control and manipulation to avoid facing reality.
  • They view themselves as failures when they cannot control everything or meet everyone's expectations.
  • They fear rejection and abandonment, so they feel they must be involved and needed in every aspect of the lives of others. Not to be involved and needed equals abandonment.
  • Co-dependents are not aware of how they feel; they are aware of how others feel. Co-dependents are not aware of what they want; they ask what others want. If they are not aware, they assume.
  • Social circles diminish as they become more involved in their disease.

Just looking at this makes me want to scream. I could give an example for every single bullet point. I am co-dependent! I am sure tomorrow I will look at this and justify it. Hell, it could be later today! Either way, I hate admitting this.

Probably why I am a social worker. So I relieve people's pain.

But the flip side is, perhaps that's why I can't lose weight. Perhaps I am doomed to never be a size 2 again. Because I have an unrealistic expectation of myself. And because I am unable to accept my own limitations. I should be okay. I should swallow my sadness and throw out my cute skirts and shorts and be proud of my slightly larger body. Right?

Easier said than done.

4 comments:

thejunkyswife said...

It's the word "codependent" that's so awful. It sounds opposite of "independent." I rejected the label just like you're doing, until I found a similar list, and then I, too, had the "oh shit" moment. I learned to think of it as co-dependent, as in co="with" dependent="junky"...I'm living with a junky, and I've lived with an alcoholic before that...so I've developed all these personality quirks that make me mesh will with addicts.

Double sigh.

Mary P Jones (MPJ) said...

I hate that label too, and wouldn't call myself codependent for the longest time, because it sounded weak, which hell, girl! I am NOT! But I have had to admit that I'm with my husband for a reason and that my own experiences and thought patterns contributed to that.

Married to My Ex said...

The strongest people I know are codependent. It will not shock you to learn that I rejected that label as well. I read that book by Melanie Beatty and it floored me to think that while I thought I was in control he really was. It took me a long time to get through that book. Welcome to the club. And yes it does answer why you went in to social work and why everything that I kick around for schooling is a helper job. I don't think it is as bad as it is made out to be, you just have to be aware, thats all! (like it only requires sunscreen, ha ha ha)

Roxie said...

Amy - I'm not sure if you ever still look at this but I just found your blog today and wanted to tell you how much I've enjoyed reading it. I am a recovering addict and am engaged to a person who I thought was "recovering" but, as it turns out, is just an "addict." I caught him in a lie this morning (though he doesn't know it yet) and am trying to decide if I should break off the engagement. I have forgiven so much already....how can I keep forgiving and maintain any pride at all? Do you wish you had never married Chris? I love "D" so much and I want so much to have a life with him but....can it ever happen? I don't know. I just wanted to say thanks for your openness and honesty....you've made me feel less alone today.