How To Defeat Codependence From The Inside
My story of self-discovery and figuring out a path to change.
Thought I’d talk about my research into codependence.
Identify the Problem.
I’ve been reading this writer on Medium, Kris Gage. Her articles about love are refreshing. They deconstruct love and reassemble it in a new way that actually makes more sense.
Your partner shouldn’t be your “everything”
It’s not romantic, it’s not cute, and it’s definitely not love.
Society shows us unhealthy love.
Love as a search for the one, a mystical being that opens you to a whole new world and completes you (personality, intellectual understanding, and physical deficiencies).
“According to Greek mythology, humans were originally created with four arms, four legs and a head with two faces. Fearing their power, Zeus split them into two separate parts, condemning them to spend their lives in search of their other halves.”
-Plato, The Symposium
That’s an impossible predicament. There’s this one partner that can complete us.
I had a few other theories about love.
Any two people forced together for long enough can fall in love, like a patient falling for her therapist except without the patient/therapist relationship. The way survivors of a tragedy are bonded in a special way.
That view supported the beliefs I had coming in. People have to give up something to be liked and appreciated.
Kris Gage supports an independent kind of love.
Kris Gage’s articles interested me in hopes of learning about blog and fiction writing. I was wondering how Kris Gage had such depth in her articles.
And how she discovered another way to love instead of the scarcity, codependence, and elusivity model that’s at the forefront.
I enjoy reading posts that analyze a topic in-depth.
Being Single Is Hard
At 5am, after a night of drinking with strangers, and pool, and fireworks in the street, and crappy pizza I was sitting…
How Extreme Need Leads to Male Entitlement
Men become entitled not because we give them too much, but because we give them too little
I Was Taught That Protecting Myself From Men Meant Protecting Men Before Myself
Stop teaching your daughters that they have to wait for some social green light before telling a man NO.
Sometimes through meditation I can dissect my own inner mental landscape in the same way these writers analyze their perspective fields.
Getting that in the form of a well thought out or researched article works just as well.
Kris Gage extensively researches her articles.
Could I replicate that?
Researching that way isn’t something that motivates me.
A recent Kris Gage post refutes the concept of motivation, but I’m not convinced. Motivation can be built by working with motivation or without.
I’ve already chosen a method to live life on my own terms, meditation.
But this article isn’t about writing articles on Medium.
It’s about things I’m trying to change about myself.
Reading one of Gage’s posts got me to this article is Psychology Today about codependence.
I dived into these linked articles from that one.
From Parent-Pleasing to People-Pleasing (Part 1 of 3)
People-pleasers are proficient at pleasing everyone . . . but themselves. They are master accommodators, intuiting what…
From Parent-Pleasing to People-Pleasing (Part 2 of 3)
As children, people-pleasers generally felt loved only when they were conforming to the needs and desires of their…
From Parent-Pleasing to People-Pleasing (Part 3 of 3)
It's certainly understandable that when people-pleasers grow up, they do so with a fully crystallized program that to…
Identify Associated Thought Patterns
It was revelatory, reading this article.
I am codependent.
Codependence starts with looking for approval instead of love that wasn’t easily accessible. That quest for approval starts with being perfect and hoping for approval.
That never came even when I was perfect, the miniature adult I became in place of my true personality. I followed rules like they were my bible. Telling on others became my pass-time. Getting better grades became my obsession and point of jealousy.
We’re all motivated to be loved as children.
Children in that type of situation subjugate their true self and deny preferences long enough that they barely exist at all.
They simply take on the preferences of those closest to them in hopes of acceptance.
For years, when people asked me my favorite color my answer would be “I don’t have one.” Same for if I liked something. I don’t know. No one told me.
The last part was something I figured out how to hide.
I became frustrated that nothing I did was ever good enough.
Then I learned to protect myself other ways.
Manipulation, Passive-Aggressiveness, and Evasion.
I got away from a situation when it started to deteriorate imperceptibly to most people. I became attuned to other people’s unexpressed emotions and found ways to manage those to protect myself.
I revealed secrets to protect myself from criticism. I blamed other people for everything going wrong.
What could’ve been bad enough to teach me those methods for my own protection?
It was criticism and withholding approval.
That seems innocuous in relation to those responses, but it worked that way.
That’s why I’m such a mess in some areas of my life, my social life being the biggest thing.
Those destructive thought patterns innervate my personality, intellectual understanding of the world, and the way I interact with my environment.
Identify the Cost of stagnation.
I crave approval to such a degree and get hurt from criticism too much.
I try to be so smart all the time so people will want me around.
I have trouble trusting people, because at some level I believe I don’t deserve them to help me if I don’t give up something in the process.
I give up stuff in the belief it’ll make people like me. Invariably that doesn’t work, and I get frustrated.
I think too much about what other people want and deny what I want.
I’ve been doing those things for so long, I have trouble knowing who I am.
Identify the Rewards of Growth
Those were things that I couldn’t have realized without meditation.
Therapy, religious belief, or other forms of meditation would’ve also gotten me there.
Therapy isn’t easily realized given the fact I can’t speak anymore.
Following a religious document isn’t conducive with my rampant trust issues.
I’m working on detangling those systems I developed for protection to find the person I am under it all. It’s a continuation of the path meditation put me on.
This is part of fixing myself, finding the things off with my mental landscape and rectifying those faults and frailties.
I have a skewed perception of my personality.
Something is wrong with me, and I’ve always been trying to fix it in hopes of being loved.
Changing into a better person would fix everything wrong with my life. That’s why I started.
Being a better person will help, but being loved doesn’t hinge on that. I know that now.
Going through with this is terrifying.
I have no idea what exists beneath this artifice erected over all these years.
I feel a sense of loss and growth that doesn’t fit together.
A nice short poem I wrote about how that feels:
You fell for me, and it was love.
But love wasn’t everything.
It is what was meant to be
It’s even better than ecstasy.
Of all the things I’ll see,
That was what was meant to be.
Things won’t be the same forevermore.
Maybe they never could be.
Of all the things in the world and the sea,
I’ll never know what was lost to me.
A turning point wasn’t a moment.
It came a surprise.
In the end, it doesn’t matter a figment
What they think about you and me.
I had love, and now it’s lost to me.
I explored Myers-Briggs personality typing.
It helped me figure out who I am inside.
And presented the goal I should strive for.
Kris Gage helped with that as well with this personality typing article that I didn’t understand at first.
Research over months got me to a place where I could understand.