Several days ago I felt like I had made no progress whatsoever in my journey out of codependence. I felt like I had lost control of everything in my world. During my counseling session with Kate, she seemed a little disappointed in me for feeling this way, especially when she looked back at her notes to the dark place I was in one year ago when I first came to her for help. Kate was disappointed, but not surprised. It's very typical to have peaks and valleys when you are codependent. She reiterated how important she felt it would be for me to re-read "Codependent No More". As I started the book again today, I realized why I loved it so much in the first place. I realized why it inspired me to start this journal.
In the Introduction to the book, Melody Beattie talks about her first encounter with codependents. She was a recovering addict herself and was working as a counselor. She was assigned the task of organizing a support group for wives of addicts.
She found the codependents to be hostile, controlling, manipulative, indirect, guilt producing, difficult to communicate with, and more. She saw people who felt responsible for the entire world, but they refused to take responsibility for leading and living their own lives. She saw people who constantly gave to others, but didn't know how to receive. These people often gave until they were angry, exhausted, and emptied of everything. She saw mere shells of people, racing mindlessly from one activity to another.
They were controlling because everything around and inside them was out of control. Always, the dam of their lives and the lives of those around them threatened to burst, and no one seemed to notice or care. These people thought the were going crazy because they had believed so many lies they didn't know what reality was.
No wonder codependents are so crazy. Who wouldn't be, after living with the people they've lived with?
We are not born codependent. But after we become codependent, it is a monumental task to recover. When you have had to be responsible for everything and everyone around you, it's very hard to let go of that, even when it's time to do so. When you have been hurt over and over again, it's very hard to let down your guard. Recovery from codependence may seem impossible, and relapses often occur. I believe now this is what has happened to me recently. It's not that I haven't made progress, it's that I've had a relapse.
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