Several years ago, I found myself sitting across the room from a therapist. I was telling him how my boyfriend at the time completely F* my life up! Drained my bank account, destroyed every family or friend relationships I had, and at this point was about to cost me my career.
The First Visit
I cried begging my therapist to tell me what I was doing wrong, and if my boyfriend was crazy or if it was me?!? He sat across the room, writing frantically while I just explained my entire life story in about 10 minutes.
As I sobbed my eyes out, he paused from writing and asked me this one life changing question:
I looked at him through the tears and said, “No, what is that?” I don’t remember his exact words, but he told me to go home and look up the definition of Codependency. Naturally, I took to Google and OMG! It was like my life flashed before my eyes.
Codependent relationships are a type of dysfunctional helping relationship where one person supports or enables another person’s addiction, poor mental health, immaturity, irresponsibility, or under-achievement.
The Second Visit
I returned the following week for a follow up and I couldn’t tell you how many questions I had. He recommended a book Codependent No More by Melody Beattie.
This book seriously CHANGED MY LIFE. I began to understand why I had become so dependent on my boyfriend, as well as, why I felt like I was in a constant state of chaos with my thoughts and losing my mind.
It was the beginning of a journey.
I was so pissed, to figure out I had allowed all of this into my life. He did what he did because of what I didn’t do. — I didn’t set up personal boundaries.
This “problem, disease, mental disorder” — I’m not sure what you would call it other than a “learned behavior pattern” I did this to myself because I never loved myself enough to say “NO.”
I went home that day and bought that book, I was obsessed with understanding what I needed to do in order to fix my situation. Needless to say, we parted ways and it was the BEST DECISION I EVER MADE!
I decided to LOVE myself. Stop listening to him, called up old girlfriends, moved, changed jobs, what ever I needed to do — I was determined I was getting out of the HELL I had put myself in.
I have never posted anything publicly about this because honestly I feared what people would think. Here I am a very intelligent and accomplished female, letting someone else determine where my life was headed and for what?
I see this so much in relationships today. I would say usually females, but males can suffer just the same. I hope if anyone else has ever had such feelings they take some time to take care of themselves FIRST.
Learn what it means to “Teach people how to treat you.”
If you have any of your own stories, or are in a similar situation now, I would love to hear your feedback. And, please note Codependency can occur in any type of relationship, including family, work, friendship, and also romantic, peer or community relationships.