Co-dependent relationships

I have had two very serious relationships, both with co-dependents, because we all magnetise towards each other for some reason…. Any relationship before this time, didn’t last long because it never took me long to believe that I was mental and feel an overwhelming urge to get away, escape and desert the man that was making me feel this way. Always his fault.

My first serious relationship got past this stage because I was pregnant. (the stage still occurred, but I returned to him) It lasted for 10 years and by the end of it, neither of us recognised ourselves. Two children later we had ripped the very souls from each other. I can’t speak for him, I know, but I know he had 3 years of therapy to get back on his feet. When I left, my self-esteem was through the floor. I had no idea who I was or what I needed but I had two children to care for and there was no way I was letting them down. I could do this! I could find a healthy relationship if it killed me. I’d find them a better father figure and I’d be happy and proud and everything would be perfect and blah blah blah blah…… During my breakup, “a friend” got instantly closer to me. I had ‘saved him’ and he then felt it was his turn to ‘save me’. He was being openly mocked by a group of girls at the University we both attended.

He was trying too hard to gain the attention of one of them and when he left the room they would openly ridicule him in front of about 25 other students. I spoke up and told them that I wouldn’t tolerate bullying for whatever reason. I then told him what had been happening. He instantly became my friend and we got closer still when he told me he loved me during my break up. 3 years and a world full of drama, fear, abandonment, stalking, heartbreak and tears later, I found myself crying into my hands. I was putting all my effort into not hitting my head against a very real wall, in order to stop the nasty and vicious name calling and blame throwing that my own mind was subjecting me to. I spent 5 hours like that. 5 hours!!

Just sitting and trying to control my own confusing, hurtful thoughts. Then the scariest thought I have ever had, popped into my head. “I am not helping anyone by being around. All I do is cause more stress and pain for people. I need to end this. I need to go and let this all end now. Even my children will be better off without me. They have everything they need and all I do is bring them pain and suffering.” It was only a moment but everything stopped, my brain went clear, and I felt myself realise what had just happened, what I had just heard myself say. It was both the darkest and the brightest moment of my life. The darkest because I had actually got to a place in my life where I believed I was nothing and pointless. There was none of me left. Or so I thought….. almost as quickly as the dark moment occurred, a bright moment followed. “What?, what did you just say to yourself?” Somewhere from deep inside of me, a voice carried hope, but it was angry, furious even.

“Are you fucking kidding me?! You selfish bitch, there are people out there that love you, care for you and need you. How the hell do you think they are going to feel when they find out that you have abandoned them?! And your fucking kids! See their faces now! See them just as they are told that mummy couldn’t be fucking bothered to fight anymore so she ended her life and has abandoned you both!” Suddenly, I felt a surge of energy flow through me, angry with myself, yes, but determined once again. There was no way I was letting my kids down! This time though, was different. They didn’t need a better father figure, they had their dad and their relationship with him was none of my business. I only had to take care of my relationship with them, that was my business, mine to own. I had to be myself and be Mum, that’s it. I felt relieved. I had taken the pressure off of myself to be everything to everyone.

I had to stop saving others and save myself. What ensued was a 4 year single life journey through every emotion I think that is possible. I sorted a job, a home, a therapist to support me and I dealt with my past. MY stuff from the past. Nobody got into my trust circle bar 3 close females, 2 of which are openly co-dependent and a third who is a bit more covert. I did it! I fixed myself! I was happy, I was independent, brave, confident, relaxed and full of pride for how well I knew myself now. I had learnt my morals, my priorities, my likes and dislikes from the smallest thing upwards and I knew what I wanted from my life. My kids were proud of me too! The name calling hadn’t gone away completely but I’d managed to get it down to a quiet voice in the background and I made certain I corrected it whenever it did sneak in. “You’re a fucking moron” “NO brain, I am not, I have no fault here, I am doing my best with the circumstances as they are, I fucking rock!” (now I get why people talk to themselves!) I had all this but I was lonely NB: not alone….just lonely.

I wanted to share myself with another. So when I had a text to say that there were some hot guys in a bar, my friend worked at, and I should come down, I accepted. There were at least 5 red flags from that night that have been branded into my memory and at least 2 more, every time I have seen the guy I met, since. I am not fixed, I’m never going to be. I can only keep reminding myself to have space, take my time on decisions, especially the big ones and most of all, listen to my instinct, it’s my best friend. The man in question and I have been together for 1 year today and to be completely honest with you, it has not been pleasant at all in places. He’s also a co-dependent (surprise!), one that has not had the space and time I had, to get to know himself.

So everyday, I am counteracting my potentially diminishing self-esteem and need for some independence to keep clear, against his abandonment issues and fear of loosing me. But I am doing it! I am staying as positive as I can, I remove myself from any situation I don’t feel comfortable with, I am focussed on what I need from each exchange of information with him, and I refuse to make any decisions until I have had the space and time to think about it fully and decide what I need and want for me. It’s tough, but I accept now that I can only grow with each situation/relationship that I am involved in and I know with confidence that if it ever gets too aggressive or emotionally/mentally dominating, I’d be out of the door.

Being alone for that time and getting to know myself properly was really hard but it gave me the confidence to be independent within a relationship and I now know that I’m not scared to be alone or lonely. I did it before and I can do it again, no problem. I don’t need anyone or anything, I need me and I will always be the most important person to me from now on, because there are people who love me, care for me and enjoy me for who I am, and I need to look after myself to be able to enjoy them too. The truth of it is, none of us need another, not really, there is always someone out there ready to take their place.

Find the person who you WANT to be around, the one that makes you laugh, feel good about yourself, and leaves you feeling more energised when you are around them and never ever be scared to speak your truth, from the smallest of things, upwards. It sounds really silly but if you really don’t know if you want a tea or coffee, refuse to decide until you’ve had the space and time to consider it and come up with a concrete decision. Once you can make those small decisions for yourself, the bigger ones become easier because the groundwork has been done. Find the thing that will keep you going so that in your lowest times, you know how to pull yourself back. Never allow anyone to tell you who you are, what you want or need, or make decisions for you, and try not to do it to others either. Let them be themselves too. Give them that freedom. Anyone who has a problem with this is either, not really caring about you, or has some issues bigger than you going on inside them – in both situations…..let them go. Be strong enough to keep putting yourself first, always, until it becomes second nature. Then you will find that others respect this and people that truly care for you, will remain with you. Love and Light Always xx

This contribution was from Raven (pseudonym)