My Dependency

21 09 2009

I am currently going through the 12 step guide, “The Hurting Person’s Handbook”  A companion for 12 step recovery. The first step in recovery is admitting that my life is out of control and become unmanageable. One of the Step 1 Meditations (based in scripture) is based on Psalm 31 9-10, “Have mercy on me, O Lord for I am in trouble; My eye wastes away with grief, Yes my soul and my body! For my life is spent with grief and my years with sighing; My strength fails because of my iniquity, and my bones waste away.”  The meditation for this passage tells us how we are unable to admit we are powerless until we have “first assessed the magnitude and gravity of what our addiction has cost us.” It goes on to suggest compiling a list of losses that are due to our problems with dependency.

When I was thinking about this, I first had trouble, I mean, I am not an alcoholic. I shouldn’t be the one with the dependency problem, right? Upon closer look however, I realize that I don’t have one dependency, but several that have cost me quite a bit in my life, and I think I need to examine all of them in order to heal. Usually (I think) the codependent is the person that is obsessed with the alcoholic and trying to change or “save” them. I saw my mom try to save my dad my whole life, through manipulation, screaming, threatening, crying etc. She tried to get him to stop drinking and give a damn the only way she could think of, Drama, drama, drama! As you can imagine, this did not work. My dad still drinks and they are very much divorced.

I realize, though my husband is not an alcoholic and I cannot see any symptoms of an addiction, I am very much prone to using the same manipulation-shrewishness to get my way. I am codependent and basically get all of my self-worth from how he sees me and treats me. Looking back I saw this pattern develop starting with my very first crushes in elementary school. Since my mother ignored me and spent so much time on dwelling on my dad, I realized I desperately wanted to get my very own measure of self-worth.

As far back as the fourth grade, I can remember my very first crush, JJ.  I don’t really know why I was in love with him. He was much shorter than I was, a swarthy, athletic kid who came from a well-off family, his dad was a doctor and he did well in school. Even then I was thinking long term, this is a guy who will be able to support a family, as he wanted to be a doctor too someday. But this was no childhood crush as I imagine childhood crushes should be. There was no pulling hair on the playground or teasing and chasing. No, I carved his name underneath my desk along with the date of when I started loving him and did not cease for three years. I never told a soul, but daydreamt of our life together, imagined his parents, his siblings. Wondered how his mother would like me, imagined how I would get him to love me and carved his name a new every new  years eve, thought about how I would keep him happy. I was totally obsessed. I would picture how I would feel once he started loving me, how he would see me, once he noticed that I was the right one for him for life. How I would be totally complete.

As I grew older, I transferred my affections to another boy, then another, finally one who I dated. My very first boyfriend. I dated him from my freshman year in highschool all the way to my sophomore year in college. I did not care about anything but him. If he had asked me to marry him any of the years that we were together I would have said yes. I cannot tell you how unhealthy this was. We never slept together, just because my mom totally scared the shit out of me and I was convinced I would immediately be pregnant if we did. But if our relationship was going well, I was over the moon, if he broke up with me I was in the depths of despair.

You may think this is just normal teen-agey stuff, but I don’t think it was. It wasn’t the fact that I loved him and he was so wonderful that I just had to have him, he really wasn’t that great. It was just because he loved me that I liked him.  I needed him to see me as perfect, and cute and quirky and sexy and smart and _________, and I had to ruin him for all other women after me, or I was none of those qualities. If I didn’t project this facade of perfection, and sugar and spice and everything nice, I would ruin it and he would not love me anymore and I would be worthless. I had to see myself through his eyes.

The first step in recovery is basically giving everything over to God, and I think alot of that is seeing us through Jesus Christ’s eyes. In the handbook, the first Step 1 meditation is Matthew 9:36, “But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepard.” Jesus Christ sees our neediness and flaws with deep compassion and love. He is forever accepting of us, that never changes. People, especially hurting people are not able to give us that constant and complete love that God gives us. No matter what, he sees our flaws and sees us as his children that were created for him to love, the way you are supposed to see your newborn baby girl.

My mom was happy when my dad was loving her. She was all sparkly and beautiful and loving to us. But when he didn’t love her, when he was drunk and gone she was a joyless-pitiful creature who cried and slept and ate constantly to dull the pain of the fact that she was NOTHING, therefore she had NOTHING to give us when we were little. She didn’t love us the way a good mother looks at her perfect and helpless child and wants to give her the world. She saw us and saw only her pain and rejection and bad choices she had made. She projected that dissatisfaction onto us, and since one of the characteristics of an alcoholic family is hiding the pain, we were the only ones she talked to about her loss. But we couldn’t tell anyone. We were stuck being the adults, and we were no good at it. I couldn’t wait till I could grow up and I would show my mother how to be a good wife, how to be a good mom, how to love someone perfectly and get their love back. PERFECTLY.

Man was I ever wrong, I have no clue how to love somebody. I am selfish and depressive and dissatisfied and pain-ridden. I am constantly needing my husbands time and energy and love and like a SUCUBUS I am draining him of life. This is why I am getting help, not only because I want to be happier, but because my husband really does LOVE me which is crazy, because he KNOWS me and loves me anyway. I am very lucky and I need to be a blessing to him, not a curse. I need to be his helper and not a little girl, constantly begging for his approval. I need to be a strong independent woman that he doesn’t have to worry about. I need to make him glad every day when he wakes up in the morning. I need to learn different than I was taught. My dependency aside, I picked a pretty great guy, and right now, he needs help with the laundry.

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