you don't want me? & other thoughts on codependency
*First published via email on Monday, February 11, 2019. Click here to subscribe.
Winter is in full force (in more ways than one - if you'd like me to stop talking about my period...I won't. Because I believe it's important, lol. Seriously, it's helped me understand my body's subtle cues, which are not so subtle anymore, and it's helped a ton on the inner peace front).
Frustration, annoyance, and sarcasm are at its peaky-est this morning. Peakiest?
We are still in limbo over where we will end up...location-wise. (Don't even talk to me about life-wise lest you wanna die.)
I'm feeling distressed about it because now that I've resigned to getting a job and releasing so much pressure on my coaching business to make me money, I'm just itching to get a job. Funny how that turned around.
Also funny how distressed is one letter away from de-stressed.
This morning, Melo asked me if I plan to move when he moves.
Again, sarcasm, frustration, and all the things that make my blood boil are already boiling at 7am. It was boiling in my sleep. I looked at him with a WTF face, and said, "YEA."
In my head, here's what happened:
Where the hell else am I gonna go?
Do you not want me with you?
Melo used to get pretty upset and taken aback at my responses like that, but he calmly asked, "Why did that upset you?" I told him what happened in my head and he held my hand and chuckled at me. He also knows it's fucking winter. "Of course I want you with me. I just don't want you to stress about money, so I wasn't sure if you were going to work here first and move later."
Still annoyed at his dumb ass question, but I'm chuckling at us.
Because we've come a long way to get here.
When we first started dating, like most couples, we communicated like puppies when we were happy. We chatted, frolicked, laughed, smiled, cuddled, and it was great. But the minute someone got upset, and oftentimes not even at each other, we would turn into angry, hissing, defensive cats.
We both grew up with emotionally explosive parents, so we were extremely averse to and fearful of unhappy emotions. We worked our asses off, not even trying to keep each other happy, but to keep each other from being too UN-happy.
I worked constantly on trying to "figure him out" - watching out for little facial tics, body posture changes, and doing my best to remedy whatever I thought the issue was. And he did the same.
For me, in an effort to avoid his unhappy feelings, I ended up invalidating him. And I felt frustrated and eventually resentful whenever he did get upset. I would think things like, "I already did so much to make sure he was happy, why is he still upset?" and "What is he upset about now?"
And he would think the same about me.
This was a pattern of mine in all of my relationships. I always bent over backwards to shift myself, to morph myself, into someone who was "the perfect girlfriend." I always said yes to everything he wanted to do, and when I had the guts to speak up for what I wanted to do, it was "always met with a no." That's the story I told myself. I felt unseen and unheard in so many ways and would always end up depressed.
And this is what I came to understand is called "codependency."
According to Melody Beattie, author of "Codependent No More," a codependent person "is one who has let another person’s behavior affect him or her, and who is obsessed with controlling that person’s behavior.” (That's an Amazon affiliate link, which means that at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.)
Melo and I have come a long way (and are in no means perfect!) in learning to detach ourselves from each other's emotions. To know that when the other person is upset, it's their emotion and they're allowed to have it. And if they're upset at us, it's also their responsibility to share with us when they're ready, not the other way around. We don't have to try to hard to "fix things."
So this morning, as annoyed as I am, I am in love with my partner. I see him, and I appreciate the hell out of him, his detachment from my emotions, his question that allowed me to feel heard, and his stupid chuckle.
Listen to this week's episode to learn more about codependency and how to release those patterns so that the only person who can affect your own happiness...is yourself. :)
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