Every single morning I wake up in a panic.
Maybe not full-blown, but touches of anxiety that range from a tight chest and stomach, to feelings of worthlessness, despair, and longing. I have been in a codependent relationship for the last 16 years. I am now trying to untangle the cords that have bound me to this person while trying not to fall the fuck apart and simultaneously trying to stand on my own two feet.
Codependency is like crack. It makes you feel safe, secure, whole. But it is a LIE. It is not you feeling that way on your own, its someone else you’ve put in charge of your sanity, well-being, and emotional safety. When that person who anchors you is suddenly taken away (loss of a relationship, divorce, death) you are left reeling and panicked. I feel at times as if I am floating away and there is nothing I can do can stop that from happening. In my case, the codependency was so severe, I don’t know how to regulate my own emotions. I spiral out of control with panic and the one person who held me and kept me anchored is not here to do that any longer. Sometimes I am scared shitless I won’t have the strength or the power to do it on my own.
Codependency is contagious. It can be transmitted to your children because, let’s be honest, kids pick up on everything. They can tell that your sense of self is less than adequate. When you’re codependent, you tend to ignore your own shit and dive into every one else’s. Why focus on you and your self-work, self-worth, your demons, when there are people you love who NEED you? I thought I was a strong and independent, fierce woman, a shining example for my daughter and my son. But I was gone, empty, incomplete.
I have spent my entire adult life using other people to reflect back to me who I am, why I am worthy of love, and what the fuck I am doing on this planet. It is sometimes referred to as relationship addiction. I am 42 and have no idea who I am or what it is that I love to do. It is terrifying. Like deer-in-the-headlights scary. I have so much work to do.
Codependency takes your inner self and pushes it out and away (or buries it deep within you), I need learn to focus everything in. Leaking out love and affection, and self-worth, and putting everything into the hands and hearts of others is dangerous and unhealthy. It is time to turn that around and learn how to direct it inward, and fill myself up with love and hope and compassion.
Say Hi to Oprah:
Article on codependency:
A great article on melding in relationships: