It’s my birthday but it’s just another day.
Here’s what I’ve learned about codependency, and instead of using ambiguous statements I’m going to use a personal experience.
1. Most birthdays end up being me disappointed that my s/o does nothing for me at all. This birthday, although I’m nowhere near any friends or family other than the kids and the s/o, I’m going to have cake and ice cream and the kids and I are going to have a fun day. I might nap or make art while they sleep but regardless, it’s going to be about enjoying the day.
(Owning my feelings and finding better ways to deal – my happiness is my responsibility)
2. The house needs extra income, my s/o has made it difficult to maintain enough routine to get a part time job and refuses to caregivers the children if I do. That said I also need an outlet so I’ve decided to start making art again with all of the art supplies I’m sitting on, and try selling it. Worst case, it’s cathartic… best case decent money and cathartic, and maybe I can afford a sitter once a week.
3. Refuse to do anything more than I’m supposed to do in my role as a stay at home parent.
4. Delegate. When stuff needs two people politely say to s/o to do/grab/deal with the thing. If s/o doesn’t, talk to them about it later.
5. No is the magic word. Reframing boundaries.. this is a hard one, and unique to each person. I see posts about how to lay boundaries and there aren’t many clear answers regarding the subject. What it seems to boil down to is separating yourself from the other person and even your relationship to them. Who are you when you’re single? That’s who you need to be in a relationship. Who is that person outsode your relationship? Let them be that. If the relationship doesn’t work by just being, then you aren’t compatible, and that’s okay.
6. Expectations are lies we tell ourselves about what we deserve. Yes we deserve love and affection and compassion, but we need to find people in our lives that we share those things with, not find a person, give it our all to that person with the expectation that they need to give us anything back. Healthy love is naturally reciprocated, not demanded.
7. Self care. If you need permission to take a walk or have a shower or just sit and relax, here it is. You have permission, so say what you are going to do and just do it.
8. Destructive self indulgence.
Smoking, binge eating, habitual self damaging habits of whatever kind. I tried to quit smoking and the chaos suddenly got ramped up in my house. The doctor that prescribed champix said, once I got to 5 smokes a day think about those ones. They are the reason I smoke. I smoke to step out of a calm situation to a stressful one. (Morning smoke, post meal smokes, etc.) I also smoke to be indulgent. It’s my little thing that let’s me be selfish, and make up for the “giving” and “sacrifice” that I do. Which is all ego.
9. You aren’t needed. If you dissappear tomorrow, life will go on. You’ll be missed, your presence desired, but nobody needs you, except you. Tough pill to swallow. Your codependent addict will most likely replace you with another person willing to fill your role, worst case they will go down the path they were headed before you stepped in to take control, best case, that’s rock bottom and they start actually getting coping skills and learn how to be responsible.
10. The path to hell is paved with good intentions.
You aren’t helping your addict. You’re stunting them further. Your ego is telling you that you know best. You don’t. If you can’t control your life and behavior, you have no right to controlling or being responsible for anyone else’s life (if you have kids, get help if you’re codependent) you can offer friendship, or advice or find sources for help for your addict, but you can’t make them change. Period.
11. You don’t like your situation. You love them, you aren’t ready, you don’t have the resources, the list can go on, but it boils down to you aren’t happy…. do things that make you happy and feel secure. If you want to go to counseling, do it. Ask your addict to come, if they don’t want to, that’s where they are. It isn’t your problem.
12. Love languages work for reasonably functional couples. If your relationship is a train wreck, subtle things like love languages mean nothing. And really still puts the onus of your happiness on your partner and vice versa.
13. Be a whole human, be loving and compassionate to yourself, all those shitty things you say to yourself daily: catch yourself doing it, and make an effort to apologize to yourself and reframe it. Talk to yourself like you are a 5 year old.