Tuesday, October 4, 2005

My name is Ginger...

And I'm a codependent.

Who knew?

Lemme guess.  Y'all knew.

Why didn't you tell me????

So I'm reading this book "Codependent No More" as suggested by my therapist, and I'm seeing myself all over this book.  I don't much care for it, either.

Especially when I have found much righteous indignation in being victimized; it's hard to square things in my head that I, in fact, put myself in that role willingly.



What's worse, I think it's hereditary.  I believe these are traits passed down in my family.

All those things I blame my mother for, I now do - just differently.

But the intent is the same.

For instance, I have long complained that living with three menfolk has tried my patience to the breaking point more than once.

Namely, housekeeping.

Now, I'm no saint in this area - I'm a slob and I know it.

So I especially resent picking up after everyone else when they're sloppy too.  It just feels like if the house is to be clean, really clean, then I'm the one who will have to either do it or tell someone to do it.

Here's how it will happen...

Every few months I'll get manic about needing the house clean... usually during a state of emotional chaos that has resulted in a physical manifestation, like being sick (which is where I am now) 

Being in a clean house makes me feel more in control.  Even if being in control is an illusion (which it is), it certainly makes me feel better.

So I'll clean the house, what I like to call "Mom Clean".  Which means I will attack the nooks and cranies with fervor and get things cleaned that I never noticed were dirty before.  (Cabinet doors for instance)  Sometimes I'll even move furniture, depending on the state of my back, which, unfortunately for me, wasn't so good this past weekend.

Anyway, as I'm cleaning all these places oft overlooked by said menfolk, I will grow increasingly resentful.  I won't say anything, I'll just keep cleaning.   But the more things I find (and look for, mind you), the angrier I get.

Eventually it'll explode into a screaming tirade where I'll berate each and every Testosterone Unit in my house.  They will then try to help me but at that point it's too late and I'm already mad, therefore I will be the martyr who risks life and limb to do what they so carelessly overlooked before... much like I did this weekend - with a bad back and threatened throwing it out again to prove my point.

Instead of making it a family affair and getting everyone involved, I'll feel resentful that I'm being "used" and "taken advantage of".  I'll then start a mental ticker of all the things I do for them without their even having to ask, and they can't even help keep the house clean for me when they know it helps keep my mood stabile.

I've ceased being in control to being a victim, which I always hated to consider myself as.


And it SUCKS.

What's worse, I think I've deliberately set myself up in relationships that either exploit it, or allow for someone else to be codependent of me.

What a sick little circle.

I mentioned in my last blog about having a family bbq in which my diet - which up until then was perfect - got shot to hell.  The first week it was great, those three weeks since the bbq, completely downhill.

But of course it wasn't my fault.  It was theirs for not caring enough about me that they had to center one more family affair around food.  (That's three times now since Sept. 13)

I realized that it was a total reaction to codependent victimization.

I didn't feel I could say no to the bbq, even though I wanted to.  I felt in control of my diet and I didn't feel like I was ready to put myself into a social situation that revolved around food.

But I felt like if I said no, I would hurt my mom and Michelle's feelings and so I went.

And because I felt put upon, doing something I really didn't want to do, I indulged in food because I felt like it was my right to do so.

I haven't gotten back on the wagon since because I have felt so guilty and resentful that I feel entitled to self destruct.

No one else cares about me, so why should I care about myself?

Total victim.

And it SUCKS.

So now that I know what the problems are, what are the solutions?

Well, the book says I must learn detachment first.  I need to detach myself from unhealthy obsessions.  Like worrying if my saying no and being truthful is going to hurt someone else's feelings.

I'm not responsible for someone else's feelings.  All I can do is be truthful to my own.

And I can't allow my self esteem or my self worth to be dependent upon their feelings, their acceptance or approval. 

ie. Boundaries.

I have to detach myself from the emotional triggers that have me reacting, and instead take a moment to think things through so I can make the best decision for me - regardless of how it makes someone else feel.

I can only be responsible for one person's feelings today, and that person is gonna be me.

Self enlightenment.

Who knew?

Yeah, yeah, yeah....


onetoughcookie43 said...

Even though the subject matter is serious, you delivered it with such humor.
I remember the very first book my Therapist gave me was also dealing with Co-Dependency, followed by information on boundaries.

Two other's recommended were: "Learning to Love Yourself" by Sharon Wegscheider-Cruse, and "The Courage to Be Yourself", by Sue Patton Thoele. It's been eye-opening to finally come face to face with the dynamics of my problems not implementing changes and making applications will be the real test.
But we have to believe that we must do these things if we want to get better and make an effort to stay that way.
I hope that all you are discovering will serve as a catalyst to bring you to where you want to be.

I'll be thinking of you. Hang in there Ginger!

dbby67 said...

About the housecleaning thing--I totally relate, and I only have one man making messes.  But, I have come to realize that they really just don't think and see the way we do.  So, instead of being a martyr, I sit at work and make a list of things that need to be done.  Yes, of course I know that we shouldn't have to tell them!  Nobody has to tell me to cook dinner, etc.  But I find having the list available for him is the best way to get him to help.  I still have to go behind him on some things, but at least if he gets it "sorta" clean, it's not as much work for me to finish the job!  It definitely decreases the stress and anger.

yakima127 said...

This reminds me of when I was (recently) diagnosed Bi Polar...no matter who I confided in, the response was the same..."I know"...and no one told me, either!!!  Now that you have recognized this in yourself, you can go about changing it...Good Luck!  JAE