How is it like being Codependent?

Jan 19 · 5 min read

“What do I like? I don’t know. What do I want? No, I can tell you what they want, I know what they like. I do. I want to help them.

Do they know what I like as much as I do for them? I don’t think so.

Is the amount of love I give to them ever going to add up as the amount of love they give to me?”

I’m Codependent.

I’ve been trying to find what exactly is my ‘problem’ for two years. Two years trying to think why do I constantly compare with others, why am I always ruminating over things I’ve done, especially if it is related to the person I love.

I thought I cared. I thought I was kind. I thought I did everything out of altruism. I thought I could be like Mother Teresa. Be a caretaker, be a superhero, and provide to the people I love.

For years, I have always been helping all the time. I neglected myself, I am a people pleaser. And when everyone else was enjoying themselves, I blamed myself, thinking “and there we go, I am not cool enough to hang out with these people — as usual, we’re the invisible person at the class corner again”.

Altruism. Is it really? Turns out that indeed, deep inside, I craved something as well. I craved reciprocation. I craved the people I treated kindly, and helped, to spend time with me. To shower me with love. As much as I cared for equality, constant comparison and having rose-tinted glasses marred my vision. The crave for equality became distortion. It became anger, frustration, and feeling that I have never enough. And the people who have loved me, and cared for me, in ways that don’t resonate to me — were neglected. I was so focused on one certain aspect of obtaining love, that I didn’t see all the tiny things that made love, Love.

A picture that resonated with me after understanding I am Codependent. Source: Unknown Artist (Please contact me if you are the artist).

Detaching with love.

Detachment? Not in a million years. They would leave.

Or so I thought.

Our relationship wasn’t going well. The more I cared, the more they pulled away. The more I offered to help, the more I tried to hug them — the colder they become. They told me I’ve become different. In my eyes, I wasn’t different. I was trying to help. I was trying to be kind. I would do nothing to harm you. Yet, you are pulling away with every action I do.

Sometimes, you have to admit that yes, you are the bad guy.

So there was one day, where tensions were building too much and too high. My conscience said “you need to have a break with this person”. It was consuming me. But I thought to myself, if I loved this person, I wouldn’t give up so easily. I wouldn’t let go. I consciously knew, that it would pain me even more to hold on, but I still did.

So they said, “we need a break”.

I didn’t feel anything at first. Expecting these words. It’s like Codependent individuals are always expecting the worst of themselves, that when it hits, we take it for granted and think, you know what, I deserve it. And there it comes.

And never did I thought, it was a blessing in disguise.

Realizing I was a bad guy, and that’s okay.

That blessing in disguise helped me see that I was obsessed. Obsessed by people, ‘out of the kindness of my heart’.

But like every spectrum, if kindness gets too much, and caretaking becomes a role, that we need to do and it makes us lose my own identity — it becomes an obsession. And even though initially it was supposed to be kind, it gets ‘too much’.

Step 1: Awareness. Checked.

Step 2: Acceptance. Checked.

I was too much. And I understand now.

I started tuning in to myself.

What do I like? What do I dislike? What are my needs and wants? I know what this person needs, wants, likes, dislikes. Have I voiced my likes and dislikes? Do I know my likes and dislikes?

I found out that I loved someone too deeply until I lost connection with myself. I prided on my flexibility and adaptability, to like what the other person likes. As long as they like it, I always tell myself. But I was neglecting my own needs.

I started exploring. I found out the foods I loved. Started watching movies and series without waiting for the other person. Went to bed early even though they wanted to run errands, as I needed sleep. I started reading. Reading on self love, self awareness, assertiveness and books on codependency. For years I was running, I was searching — why am I different. Now I realized, there is a whole community out there who is the same as me. And I am healing. We are healing.

Trust me, it doesn’t come easy. Detachment gave and is giving me freedom, but of course a piece of me is still yearning for the temporary fix of physical touch just to cure my anxiety — but my healing process is more than that. It is a Domino effect:- where once I heal myself, I heal the tension between everyone else, I am able to heal bonds, know what I love, and heal the way I see life, and the people around me.

Last time, I saw myself as a bird stuck in a cage, and I will never be able to fly off. I accepted that I have lost my freedom. I mourned it. I wallowed in my scarcity frame of mind. I saw everything wrong with my relationship and I should deserve better. I told myself to ‘leave and escape, they are not worth it’. But deep down, I know, they care about me. My vision was marred due to my codependency. And this would repeat again in a later life, if I did not love myself first, as it has always been repeating in whichever close bonds I come across.

And for the first time in my life, I saw a way out.

And that starts with me.

I celebrate myself for being able to realize that, while being in the relationship that I was once obsessed about. And I am healing whilst in this relationship — and it’s more loving than ever.

And I see that, I love me. And people do too.

And the world isn’t as dreary as it has seemed to be.