As I continue to re-read "Codependent No More", I am now sure that I have indeed come a long way in my recovery.
Here are some of the lessons that I feel I have put under my belt:
I no longer believe that "fixing" my husband will make me feel better. Clearly I have learned that not only will I never fix him, but these problems are mine to deal with, and mine alone. Checkmark. I can't fix him. I've got to find a way to feel better on my own.
Codependents love to keep all eyes on the alcoholic. Most people, even those who are very close to them, have no idea what goes on inside the codependent person's head. As people have read this journal, they say to me, "I had no idea you were going through this. I never saw any signs that you felt so much anxiety and depression. You always seemed so "together" to me!". Codpenedents are masters of manipulation. Also, for years I thought everything that was wrong with me and my marriage was all my husband's fault. He's the one with the problem. I don't go around making big messes and expecting someone to clean up after me. I was so responsible, so dependable. I knew I felt miserable, but put all the blame on my husband. So all eyes were focused on him and his "wrong doings". Once I identified the problems with me, I was able to focus on myself, and stop focusing on my husband's behaviors. Checkmark. I stopped putting everyone's eyes on him, and started working on healing myself.
Codpendents are controlling because everything around them is out of control. They are manipulative because manipulation appears to be the only way to get things done. They feel they are crazy because they have believed so many lies they don't know what reality is. Checkmark. I'm not crazy! I'm not crazy!! This one is huge for me, because for years, I genuinely felt that I was. I still have lots of work to do on control issues, but I understand why I am the way I am, and why I feel the way I feel. And I'm not crazy.
So with those lessons learned, I will share a great Sunday fable from the Introduction of the book.
Once upon a time, a woman moved to a cave in the mountains to study with a guru. She wanted to learn everything there was to know. The guru supplied her with stacks of books and left her. Every morning he returned and every morning he asked her, "Have you learned everything there is to know yet?" Each morning her answer was the same. "No, I haven't". The guru would then strike her over the head with his wooden cane and leave.
This went on for months. One day the guru entered the cave, asked the same question, heard the same answer, and raised his cane to hit her the same way, but the woman grabbed the cane, stopping his assault in midair.
Relieved to end the daily batterings, but fearing reprisal, the woman looked up at the guru. To her surprise, the guru smiled. "Congratulations," he said, "you have graduated. You now know everything you need to know."
"How's that?" the woman asked.
"You have learned that you will never learn everything there is to know. And you have learned how to stop the pain."
A codependent person is one who has let another person's behavior affect him or her, and who is obsessed with controlling that person's behavior.
The following two "Detach" journal entries will give you a crash course:
"An Answer to a Prayer" dated Nov 1, 2008 "How Did We Wind Up Here?" dated Nov 2, 2008
About This Journal
In 2008 I had the life changing realization that there was a name for what I'd always felt was "wrong" with me. After 20 years of thumbing through various self-help books. I learned about codependence.
I began writing this journal to document my journey out. Over time, it's evolved into something more. While I still talk about codependence (I know now, it will never totally leave me), this blog has turned into the thumbprint of my life; a therapeutic journal for me to sort out a lifetime of thoughts and memories. I believe in being honest with myself and others, and when something is bothering me, I reach out. With a support team of strong, smart women surrounding us, we can all continue to grow. I'm trying to live my best life, in pursuit of a Healthy Mind, a Healthy Body.