Let’s take a little trip down memory lane shall we…
I was raised by 3 incredibly strong women: my mother, my grandmother, and my aunt. My dad left the picture before I can even remember, and though I’ve met him 3 or 4 times, he does not hold an influence in my life. So yes, I have the very characteristic father wound. Take that and couple it with the desire of my female-dominated family to prove to the world that they don’t need men –or anyone really- to thrive in life, and you’ve got me – a jumbled bag of conflicting emotions where half of me is desperate for my prince charming and the other believes that I am no damsel in distress.
Needless to say, I have always struggled with the notion that I am meant to live interdependently with the people around me. I have always thought that in order to find love and acceptance, I must DO instead of simply just BE. So no matter what dynamic I found myself in, whether it was in academics, in the church I grew up in, or in relationships, I have consistently been performing on this stage that I created for myself. I have been their chameleon, constantly changing colors, emotions, personalities to fit what I believed they needed. And sure enough, somewhere along the way, I forgot what my true color was underneath all those layers.
See…I have been the perfect straight-A, straight-edge student that my mother needed to make raising me easier. I have been the shoulder for the fair-weather friends. I have been the Mother Theresa to poverty stricken people of Kenya or the homeless on Skid Row. I have been the lover that plans, that buys, that pampers, and that serves. I have worn all of those masks. Please don’t misunderstand me; those things, in of themselves, are not evil traits…but they become evil when they start to define you, when you start adding them to the list of “reasons why I deserve to be loved”.
Fortunately for me, 2 significant things happened in my life:
1) My aunt discovered early on that she struggled with Codependency, and joined a program that brought much light and clarity to her life. She would often share stories of her recovery and the things that she had learned about herself around the dinner table (at this time, we were all living together). This then prompted my mother and grandmother to self-evaluate and realize they too may benefit from this class. Yes, they all struggle with Codependency in their own way and on their own levels. Thus, I grew up knowing certain tidbits of information that would allow me a head-start in my own journey.
2) I met the most amazing man who has really helped me take the dive into recovery. He knows all about Codepedency because he is an addict. Granted, he hadn’t used for years before we met, but as he says, “once an addict, always an addict.” Not to say that we (I saw we because I believe Coda is an addiction as well) don’t have the power to choose whether we partake in feeding our cravings, but it is simply the acknowledgement of the on-going, daily struggle. Anyway, being an addict, he was subconsciously attuned to the codependent nature in me, drawn like a moth to a flame. One day, he pointed this out after we had been dating a few months. My immediate reaction was to become defensive, angry, and hurt; but after calming down, I was able to acknowledge the possibility of me being Codependent. From there, we discussed what this means for us and how best to proceed because he knew it was a dangerous situation. That was 2.5 years ago! More details on him and our ironically textbook relationship later.
And that brings us to today! Hopefully this sheds a little more light into my inner workings and allows you some insight as to why I think the way I do.
Everyone’s got their story. This is a glimpse into mine.