What you are recovering from doesn’t need a label but the journey to alleviate suffering always starts from within.
The face on this page is that of a recovering codependent. An enabler. But it isn’t the whole story either. See – Happily Imperfect 5 Myths and 5 Truths about Codependency.
I had a hard time accepting that when I went to therapy years ago struggling with why so many of my interpersonal relationships were destructive and toxic for me. I fell into a pattern of never having my needs met through ineffective dependency.
To admit I was coping for neglect with poor boundaries and that I was in fact part of my own problem made me feel weak. I preferred the story that I was a survivor of abuse, of manipulative people.
But in order to heal I had to slowly change my story. I had to admit that while behaving codependent had saved my ass many times in the past it was still a poor tool to use – tied to a cycle of addiction in my relationships. The behaviors had helped me for a time but now that I was ‘aware’ they just weren’t getting me anywhere.
Changing my story brought me to my next chapter, as I looked in the mirror and asked, “Why me?” That’s when recovery really started to happen.
What I found is that there was nothing to be ashamed about in the answer to, “Why me?” I wasn’t weak or dumb or angry. I was about as far from an emotional drama queen as one could get.
When I really started looking at me without the filter of someone else’s view I could see that I am strong and confident. I am empathetic and intuitive. I am pretty happily content with myself and the world. I am smart and capable.
Really seeing myself for the first time led me to understand the ‘why me’ better. I kept finding myself in the same relationship struggles over and over because of my good traits. You can’t be locked into codependent relationships for your entire life without being all the good parts of you too or else you’d give up, stop trying, walk away. I was in that slowly increasing hot water day in and day out because I really did care and kept trying to repair the broken areas because I inherently knew what happiness should look like and how to achieve it. The people I was engaged with though – didn’t really know what to do with happiness.
It’s just like you are that super shiny, expensive and high-quality, rare and luxurious desire on the very top shelf that everyone really wants to reach up and have. People are drawn to you naturally because of all your good qualities but not everyone knows how to really take care of something that amazing, especially if they can’t even care for themselves well. If you put the care and keeping of YOU in the wrong hands you will be broken and abused. Not everyone can sustain appreciation of those types of values over a long period of time.
So, when I answered the question ‘why me’ – for myself things got much easier. Not that I didn’t make mistakes but I did decide the best person for the care and keeping of me was – ME. And I’ve slowly started to let others in but I really check and recheck now if their internal value matches mine.
That is my approach to self-care in recovery.