Friday, July 23, 2010

When giving is not enough

I am learning so many things and not all of them are leaving me feeling good about myself. I wonder, how many people REALLY know what Co - Dependency is. If you do, please share it, because this is all new to me. How is this possible that after so many years I find that I am not only Co- Dependent, but probably have been for the most part of my life! I thought, that being kind to people, trying to help people in need, supporting the hurting, I thought that was all good and what I was supposed to do, but no one ever said to me, that it was good as long as it was coming out of the abundance of my heart and not out of my own desperation to be accepted and valued.

I have been reading an amazing book Beyond Codependency by Melody Beattie, which has opened my eyes to this dreaded condition...if I can call it that. When I am doing everything I can to meet everyone else's needs except my own, and I find it difficult to accept unconditional love from others, then perhaps... I am in Co - dependency mode.

This is so hard for me to digest. I know, that I really find it hard to accept kindness without any feeling on my part that I have to earn it, and in some way I have to do something in response to that kindness to settle the debt so to speak. I can't just accept someone is being kind to me and leave it at that. I am driven to respond, that way no one can accuse me of being a selfish taker. Does that make sense? I always feel that I have to earn, or deserve whatever comes my way. Listen to what I have just said! So when I was being abused day in and day out, I must have thought I deserved it, and I had earned it, by doing something wrong! Oh my Gosh this is such a huge aha moment. Whenever I was spoilt by my ex, I had earned that too, by allowing the abuse. I was rewarded for being submissive, and beaten up when I opposed him.

This is the condition of Co- dependency. I hate it, but Dr Phil always says, you cannot change what you do not acknowledge. I don't think that many people understand this condition.... and it is serious and so many people SUFFER with this problem.

I remember when I was a teenager and I wanted to go out with my friends on a Friday night, instead of my mother saying... have a good time honey, be careful. She would say...Oh.... you just go out and have a good time, don't worry about me, and she always made me feel guilty if I did ANYTHING that I enjoyed. I owed her and she made me feel guilty for everything, if I just wanted to be me, a teenager, enjoy times with my friends..... she always made me feel that if she was happy and entertained then I could go out and have fun but if she was sad, lonely then I was expected to stay with her so that she wouldn’t have to feel the loneliness.

That was the training, make sure that you keep everyone around you happy and what ever you do, don't make anyone angry.

This kind of control has caused me to spend my whole life focusing on keeping everyone else happy no matter what. To be healthy, we have to care about ourselves and do the things that fill our own soul and life with purpose and meaning.

I am learning, to say No when I am not happy about something, this is new for me...very new and I confess every time I say that word I am filled with guilt.

I am also trying, really hard to accept that when someone is being kind, I don't have to do anything except be thankful.

Okay, I am done with this now. Moving on from this huge life lesson. For the first time in years I honestly feel there has been a break through. It is time for me to live my life MY WAY.


The said...

No strings attached - You're worthy and deserve happiness.

Anonymous said...

I am a co-dependent. I never knew...

Susan said...

Hi Caryl!

I'm so glad you are reading the book! I discovered so much about myself and my codependcy when I read her first book, "Codependent No More". The first book really spells out what a codependent is. I felt like I could have written the book! It was so wonderful to finally begin to understand myself!