So ladies, pour yourself a glass of wine, grab a chair and let’s get chatting. It’s important that you are comfortable and consciously open yourself up to what we are about to talk about. I say this because I, for the longest time did not realize that I was trapped. I was trapped, I was dependent, I was a pleaser and I didn’t even realize the maze I had built around myself. Until I did. I am talking about the evils and wounds of being a co-dependent women in a relationship.
That was me for the longest time and it did not see the warning signs because sometimes you really don’t see the signs. You label it as ‘love’ and ‘romance’ and call it by other names other than what it really is. So from one woman to another, I would like to highlight a couple of things that will give you an indication of whether you are in a co-dependent relationship or not. I will also share some tips on how to be less dependent and to hold your own.
Don’t get me wrong, the very essence of love is wrapped around the ‘urge to merge’ and that when you are intermingled and in love, you give your partner a God like status as Jason Silva says, and that they become your everything. However, you need to be able to love, be loved and still be your own person. It’s not necessary to be glued to the hip, and geez quite frankly it’s very unhealthy! Yet people fantasize about this and how ‘We do everything together’ and ‘We never go anywhere without each other.” So yes, even though a degree of that is cute and wonderful when it is the norm and you feel like you cannot enjoy life without the other, or cannot do anything without the other, you are treading on the very unhealthy territory.
Fear of Abandonment
Oh, this is a big one! This was a big one for me and I know a lot of people fear being alone. I know that this can be a deep seated fear and I do not take it lightly. Some people fear that their lovers will leave them one day for another, so instead of enjoying the relationship and letting it go where it goes, you then start being paranoid. Possibly even going out of your way to ensure their happiness because you trying to please them.
Some people don’t want their partners having other friends or attending events without them, because yet again a fear creeps up “What if he meets someone who is more interesting?” or maybe “What happens when he has tons of fun without me?” You start wanting to be their entire world, and that is just a recipe for disaster. What’s worth considering is that, if you hold on too tightly, you might end up losing what you are trying to keep.
Lying to yourself and making excuses for your partner’s bad behavior
Oh but we love this one, don’t we ladies. We will defend our person till the end, no matter what. This is also true for when they are behaving rather badly. How many times have you caught yourself saying either to yourself or people around you “He is just having a bad day, he is not always like this.” Or maybe you have uttered these words, “Sorry guys, he is under a lot of pressure, he didn’t mean to hit me.” Whatever the words may be, if you have found yourself defending your lover’s bad behavior on a number of occasions, the alarm bells are wailing! Lying to other people is one thing, lying to yourself is way more dangerous because you are selling yourself an alternate reality, trying to avoid the one that’s staring right back at you. Know your worth, know your value and work towards treating yourself better.
Letting go of your own personal values for the other person’s
Queen! This is something you need to stop immediately. As women, we have been raised to be self-sacrificing beings who ‘should’ put themselves aside for others. This lie has been fed to use since the dawn of time. Remember that you too are a human being with feelings, thoughts, opinions and values. Do not let go of what you stand for or what feels like the truth for you in order to make the other person happy. Essentially you are crushing your essence, your soul and will become resentful. Voice your values and the right person will hear you and respect them-whether they agree or not.
Rarely do anything away from your partner
Sounds familiar? I used to change my plans around to accommodate my ex. Even worse, I sometimes didn’t make plans in hope that he would suggest that we do something together. My world revolved around him and I depended on him. I would sometimes turn down invites if he wasn’t able to make it or I would drag him along when I was invited to something. When he was bored or not interested we would leave early. It was always about him and what makes him happy. It wasn’t about us.
Looks like I was gunning for the ‘best girlfriend’ trophy and for what really? What was the purpose? To end up his wife? If you think about it, would you really want to be that wife? The one that bends to her husband’s needs all the time without considering herself. Is that the woman you want to be? Is that the women you want to teach your daughter to be? When I sat and really asked myself these questions and I belted out a big “Hell no!” It’s healthy to have your own life, your own friends, and your own activities. Keep the mystery alive. Be two single units that can tango together, however that can equally tango apart very happily to their own beats.
Now its time to shine
The best way to get out of a situation is in admitting that there is a situation. When you can say “Yes, I now see how that I have been exhibiting co-dependent behavior”, is when you can start breaking free and working towards a healthier and more integrated self. Know that you can never be alone, not with 7 billion people roaming the earth. Know that you do not have to be a victim to bad behavior. You do not have to keep making up excuses for how someone keeps acting. You are all adults. For the most part, everyone has the capability of handling themselves. You do not have to be the caretaker of someone who chooses not to do the necessary work to be an integrated and mindful being.
When you treat yourself a certain way, you give others permission to treat you in the same manner. So when you discount your values, viewpoints, and opinions, you are inherently giving the other person permission to do the same towards you. Remember you belong on this earth just like your partner does, so take your stand and own your power.
What I would like to encourage you to do
A critical way of shedding co-dependency is learning to be dependent. Learn to do you without him. He is not your world. Do not make him your world, because when he disappoints you (and he will, it’s human nature), your world than crashes. Make YOU your world. What matters to you? Focus on that. Pick up hobbies, go to the movies alone, treat yourself to a meal, and meet up with friends without him. In a nutshell, honey, live your life! Your partner should compliment your life not complete it. You are enough.
The glass of wine is done…
Now that you are done with your glass of wine, go and do something that makes you happy! Something that can (or rather should) be done without your partner. Something that reminds you that you are independent and that you are made of the good stuff! If I learnt to be less dependent, so can you. Go forth and be awesome!