I went to my very first ever counseling session March 17. It was more to get me started and to assess the situation or my mind, something like that. I already spoke of the disbelief of being told that I’m likely to be a codependent. I’m still chewing on that one. Right in the moment, there was relief because now I know what’s wrong; now I know I can work on it. That still exists but now my brain is getting tied in knots thinking about what this really means for me.
Part of the issue is in the definition of codependency. It’s varied and most definitely vague. As I’m learning by reading this book, “Codependent No More” by Melody Beattie, many of the so-called symptoms can easily apply to virtually everyone. The real difference comes in to what extent these things happen – at least that’s how it looks to me. I’m certainly no expert in this matter. Let me just put a disclaimer on this right now – any time I discuss this matter, it’s strictly my opinion and feelings on it. I’ll try and throw in a bit more actual advice on it on occasion but just know that it’s mostly opinions and feelings from me.
My counselor wants me to read the book but also to be journaling my feelings. I forgot to mention to her that I blog so this is certainly one way of doing that. There are probably a few feelings I’m not sure I’m ready to put out there for the world to see so I am keeping a private journal for that in addition to this. This journaling bit is another aspect that sort of makes me laugh about being told I’m codependent. This entire experience is surreal, like having an out of body experience and watching from afar. I had planned this blog as a means of bettering myself as a writer and to get my thoughts out…in some ways I wanted it to do what I will now need it to do…just for slightly different reasons.
Part of the surrealism for me is also recognizing those attributes that are part of why I’m codependent and yet knowing that at least some of them were things that I had started to become aware of and was trying to fix. For instance, I’ve always known I’ve been a worrier and have made some little attempts to correct that. I’ve also known that I tend to feel guilty about a lot of things and before I even saw a counselor, I’ve started to set boundaries. That word right there is a big deal with codependents – not setting boundaries or at least not keeping to them. I’ve had a tendency to say yes when I really mean no because I want to be nice and help people. I’ve known for a bit that there is a line between being nice and too nice and noticed that I tended to the too nice bit for a while and have been working on that too – apparently not enough though. It’s just odd to me to have recognized some of these things, and trust me, that’s just the tip of the iceberg, and be working on them before even being told I’m codependent.
It was really kind of scary when as part of my required reading, writing and activities that come with the book, that I found of all the typical symptoms of codependency, I can fill four college-ruled paper (or very close to four) with all the things I do sometimes or frequently. Amazing and not in a good way. It’s a real eye-opener. I definitely wasn’t prepared for that one at all. I do feel that my case is not extreme and if it were on a gray scale, I’d be closer to white than black. That doesn’t mean there isn’t still work to do, because this part of it is just part of my process. I haven’t even talked about certain traumas that I really need and want to discuss but that will be coming later. It was determined that it was best to discuss this codependency thing first given that my time with the county is limited and my counselor didn’t want to start in on something that couldn’t be finished. I agreed.
I’m going to keep plugging along, working the problem so to speak. It’s all new to me and feels awkward because there’s always the sense of, “how did this happen to me?” When I say that, it’s not say that somehow I’m better than others or that I’m immune but as you go along through life, you can’t really see how things are spinning out of control. Ironically, typical codependents are constantly trying to control things and people. Go figure. Each codependent is a little bit different; each on has a different story of how they reached that point and what issues plague them, but the commonalities are they’re good people who’ve lost sight of themselves. That’s definitely me. I feel a bit out of control and that’s not a good feeling. I’m hoping this process brings me back to me and maybe, even a little ahead – a better me. Isn’t that what we’re all gunning for? A better version of ourselves so we can contribute to this world in a way we want and in a more productive manner. That doesn’t seem so bad to me.