One of the things I discovered about myself recently is that I am, in fact, codependent. :’) I would NEVER have labeled myself this way because I assumed that codependency was someone who never did anything and relied on other people to do everything for them.
In truth, codependency can look like this, but for me it looks more like needing people to need me TOO much. Let me explain:
I feel OVERLY responsible for *everything* in terms of my relationships and my housekeeping and even my job. It’s almost as if I cannot function well when others are doing tasks around me and I’m not helping because I assume they hate me for not helping. That they’ll realize I am a fraud of a human simply because I didn’t rinse my soup bowl out and they had to do it for me.
This leads to a lot of anger at myself and at others. And because I hate yelling and arguing and fighting, I resort to internal screaming. Literally. Like I will go into my room and open my mouth as If I’m screaming and force air out of my lungs but no sound comes out vibes.
I’m aware that this is very strange.
The other night I was struck by how angry I was because I was still working and it was nearly eleven PM and I wanted to be up at 4 for the gym. (I’ve been going consistently for several months now!)
There had been an endless to-do list all day and I still had things to do and all I could think was that I wanted to pick up my laptop and throw it across the room.
I didn’t. Obviously. But I just broke down inside. Sometimes I wonder how I’m still dealing with all of this baggage after over five years of therapy and that also makes me want to scream.
Like how long does it take to stop mismanaging your emotions and thought processes post finding a safer place to focus and unpack your trauma and your regrets? How long does it take to stop being so freaking self critical?
My own biggest, worst critic is definitely myself. I see flaws in myself that others see as perks or benefits. And I think they’re crazy.
People see kindness and generosity where I see frustration because I can’t set boundaries and say no. I’m so bad at saying no. And I’m so awful at boundaries.
I don’t want my daughter growing up feeling like she wants to scream at tomatoes. Or anything or anyone else, either. I want her to be able to say no. To be able to live life independently of anyone else and not need their approval or their affirmations or their acknowledgements.
How do I do that? I have to live it, which means I have to keep working on myself. I have to focus on taking that anger and instead of mismanaging it and beating myself up or digging myself into a depression hole over and over again, I have to breathe it out. No matter how hard it is I have to stop seeing anger as evil and as a necessary emotion to feel about myself and start just letting it pass like a cloud in the sky.
I wanted this post to be something funny, but the reality is that I’ve been in a slump again for a couple of weeks and I’ve been trying to figure out why. I feel like sometimes I can go 6+ weeks without crying in therapy and I start thinking okay, I don’t need my meds anymore and then it feels like I’ve taken a huge step backwards and I’m thinking of everything I regret or hate about myself and all of the reasons I should be angry with myself.
I don’t want to do it anymore, but I also don’t know how to stop. How do you stop being codependent? How do you stop needing others’ approval? How do you learn to be happy independently of another persons happiness?
Sometimes I really wish I knew. But for now, I’m going to wash my sheets because I deserve that much. And open the windows because it’s feeling like Fall out here. And then I’m going to light my floating candles and listen to Harry Potter and drink butter beer and eat white chicken chili. Because that’s as much healing as I can do sometimes. The external matters just as much as the internal, after all.
Take care of yourselves out there!