Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Receiving End

This journal is about my life, and my journey with codependence. This week my journey took me to uncharted territory, and to say the least, it was eye opening. I know what it's like to be codependent. For most of my life, I have allowed other people's actions to determine if I am happy or sad. I tend to become obsessed with the actions and behaviors of certain other people, particularly someone I may be romantically involved with. I've written volumes about this behavior, and how it has affected me, but I've written very little about how my codependence has affected the people I'm fixed on.

Last week Sally had an experience that she felt the need to share with me. Sally has a friend who can be a lot of fun to be around, but is very needy and very codependent. We'll call her Deb. Deb flits in and out of Sally's life based on whether or not she has a partner at the time. If she has a boyfriend, he becomes the object of her obsession. If she does not, she becomes fixed on Sally. Several weeks ago Deb's boyfriend dumped her. It only took a few days for her to track down Sally and ask her to go out for coffee. A few days later, Deb asked Sally to go to dinner. Sally had obligations and declined. It didn't happen overnight, but after a few weeks, Deb was calling and texting Sally multiple times a day. If Sally didn't answer her back immediately, Deb was leaving messages insinuating Sally was ignoring her. It got to the point where Sally felt she was being expected to explain her every move to Deb. This past Saturday, Deb asked Sally to do something and Sally said she had other plans. This sent Deb into a downward spiral. She started pouting, and sending texts about feeling "dissed" and left out. She made a few smart alec comments. She even questioned Sally about who she was with and where she was going. If you know Sally, you know this did not fly. Sally got on the phone with Deb and they worked things out, but having Sally point this out to me really hit home.

Sally told me how exhausting it was to feel she was responsible for Deb's happiness. She also told me what a turn off it was when Deb sent pitiful texts and showed her extreme neediness and her massive insecurities. Sally was amazed how much worse this had become since she had last seen Deb, about a year ago.

I know Sally told me this in love, but it made a big impression. Strong and independent is attractive. Needy is not. Codependent is not. Jealous is not. The behaviors I have exhibited my whole life are not becoming. They are annoying.

I am so thankful that Sally cares enough about me to show me how it feels to be on the receiving end of a codependent person. It hurt at first, but it sure did hit home. Thank you Sally.

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