I honestly wanted to make this blog post on breaking patterns one very long post. But I realized that it would be a disservice to the topic, to myself and you guys. I have had a long journey with unhealthy patterns. So, I’ve decided to do a series on breaking patterns, I have no idea how long its going to be or how many parts it’s going to have but here we go. Today I’m going to talk about codependency. I think its best I start by defining codependency. According to the dictionary, codependency is the excessive emotional or psychological reliance on a partner. It is a behavioral condition in a relationship where one person enables another person’s addiction, poor mental health, immaturity, irresponsibility, or underachievement. It seems absurd to admit to codependency, crazy even, but the truth is for a long time I kept codependent relationships and not just in an intimate way, with friends and associates even. Sometimes codependency might be the singular need to objectify yourself in search of appreciation from others as a means of uplifting your self -esteem. Or maybe it’s the need to be anything more or less of yourself to fit into someone’s life, to please another. It comes from a place of not being enough and needing someone to supplement, to add to your personality and to your being for you to feel whole. The little adjustments made in silence and doubt, the constant feeling of not being enough, the need to constantly prove someone’s importance are all subtle signs that indicate codependency.
I once told someone I could not imagine what life would be without him because I thought it was a romantic thing to say and because it was true. I could not actually picture life without him, “he completes me” I would say often when people asked. Now that’s cute and whatever but it implies the absence of a whole being without that person. That’s how my codependency manifested, more and more, day by day, I lost bits of myself to remain a part to this person who was growing, he was becoming a narcissist and that was almost inevitable. Now he isn’t just one person, he is every guy I have ever been with. My need for approval and appreciation, the need to be more and the deep lack of self-love fostered a reason for the narcissistic persona that would be ingrained until I had enough , until I had no more space to give to his ego , no more blending to do . When there is someone who lacks a proper sense of self, there becomes the need for someone who has an overstated sense of self, they balance each other out. This is the somewhat crazy relationship between a codependent and a narcissist. I find that every time I meet someone with a low self-esteem, the person is almost always peered with a narcissist. That makes sense. How of course are you meant to keep the need to be approved of, or to feel enough, if you are not with someone who feeds off the attention and desire. There are different spectrums of narcissism and they manifest in different ways but that’s definitely a subject for a further date.
I used to think there was only one way of showing codependency, my way, that’s so funny and self-absorbed (lol!!) but I have been observing people, funny right and I realized that I have a friend who gets her sense of worth from men objectifying her and another who seems to always aim low and pick people below her standards so she doesn’t feel overly undeserving . I have a friend who is in a relationship with a girl because she replenishes his well of self-worth because everybody wants her, and he is supposedly lucky to have what everyone wants. He stays with her even though she does not particularly care for him or his well being. With codependents there is the plausible denial of reality, excuses are constantly made for intolerable behavior, there are no boundaries, there is no respect. It almost feels like one partner is a king and the other a servant.
I said earlier that this manifests with friendships and other relationships and it is true. I think it’s crazy that we do the simplest things subconsciously without knowing the effect they have on us or why we are even doing them. Take for example my previous friendship with a girl I’m going to call Sofie. I and Sofie were supposedly good friends, we did everything together. But her job was to constantly make me feel lucky to have her , lucky to be her friend or to even be associated with her and so the constant need to please her for doing me such a great honor by being my friend was born(total sarcasm). We ate whatever she wanted , she could say and do anything after all I was lucky to have her , I supposedly couldn’t survive a day without her , she thought for me , made all the boss moves for me and supposedly I needed her to get by. It’s funny that I haven’t seen Sofie in 8 years and I don’t feel her absence till this day. I was the undeserving friend with low self-esteem and Sofie was the great and wonderful.
Every time you wonder if you are keeping a codependent relationship , be it platonic or intimate , I need you to ask yourself if you’re respected in that situation , if your opinion matters , if your feelings matter , if you matter in the same way as your friend. And maybe you are the narcissistic one , so ask yourself , do I allow the other person express freely , do I respect their boundaries , do I feel the need to use them as my emotional fix up , do I make them feel like less just be around me . I think it’s Important to think deeply about this. Keeping healthy symbiotic relationships is very important. I hope that since we now know what it means to be codependent and have an idea on how it manifests, we can stop it.
We know that most of the things that affect us mentally have to do with shame. Codependency is not different, it stems from a huge sense of shame, from a place of self-loathing, of dysfunctional boundaries, low self-esteem, denial, dysfunctional communication, people pleasing, guilt and the list goes on. But truly and surely, I cannot convince you if you are codependent or not. It is not a mental illness and it should not be stigmatized. It’s a situation and it can be fixed by discovering yourself as a whole being. Discovering things, you like and things you don’t, realizing things that are acceptable and things that are not, setting boundaries and putting your foot down to ensure you don’t shift them. I think you should explore on your own. If I could tell my younger self anything, I’d tell her to be whole on her own and even when you lose your other half you are never off balance (Big Sean fans should understand). The truth is the world doesn’t collapse when you are on your own. I promise that you will still breathe air and live. When you build yourself you actually relinquish the need to have a supplementary persona fill voids in your life and personality because those voids do not exist.
Thank you, this has been The Inspo with Anne.