I believed I developed codependency behaviors to cope with my fathers drinking, which resulted in constant fighting between my father and mother for twenty years until they divorced. I never felt safe to express my thoughts and feelings so I retreated inward and became invisible, the lost child. I wore a stoic stone face as a mask as if I were okay. My heart also became as numb as a stone.
It has been said that a persona with codependency has a compulsive need to control an otherwise out of control life. This may be true as I experienced an out of control family life because of the unpredictability of my father’s drinking and anger outbursts. I took control by withdrawing and numbing all my feelings. I hid my thoughts even from my mother who assumed I was okay because I never expressed anything.
I always felt ashamed of my family and my father’s drinking. I felt so bad I didn’t even want to have the family name. I also identified with two other boys’ at school who also had alcoholic fathers.
As an adult, my relationships involved codependency behaviors, which I remained unaware of until my early 40’s. In these relationships, I avoided expressing any feelings for fear of rejection. The women in my life criticized me for lack of feeling. I felt like something was wrong with me. I questioned if I even had the capacity to love.
In addition, I tended to take care of my partners financial needs even though they were not my responsibility. I had poor boundaries as I had no idea where my personal boundaries ended and other persons began. Finally, I maintained silence when conflict arose for up to a week until one of my partners said, “We need to talk.”
I began my codependency recovery in the late 80’s when my partner mentioned seeing a therapist for healing her inner child. I read John Bradshaw, Homecoming: Reclaiming and Championing Your Inner Child and Melody Beattie, Codependent No More.
I recognized my codependency and for the next twenty years had less and less codependency behavior. Like other addictions you may be in codependency recovery for the rest of your life. I, however, am no longer codependent.
I can see codependency as an addiction because I relied on my female partners to feel for me rather than knowing and expressing my own feelings. Codependents crave and expect a temporary boost of their self-esteem when they care take some need for their partner. Like any addiction the outer boost only lasts for a short time and then the codependent looks for another fix.
I now love myself, I accept others as they are, I am in touch with and express my feelings, I validate myself rather than searching out side myself for a relationship to feel okay, and I trust trustworthy people. Most important, I am in a relationship, which allows me to grow into all I am capable of being.
Read Also Do You Suffer Symptoms of Codependency Behavior? https://www.emotionalhealthtips.com/2010/09/02/codependency-symptoms-recovery
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michael David Lawrience is the author of Emotional Health: The Secret from Drama, Trauma, and Pain His book provides ways for improving emotional health, easing pain and stress, healing physical and emotional abuse, and spiritual awakening. See book on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Emotional-Health-Secret-Freedom-Trauma-ebook/dp/B004CLYO00
Michael as a previous Residential and Self-Esteem Coach and Mentor has over 15 years’ experience teaching teen’s self-awareness, self-esteem, and self-reliance. See eBook Self Esteem- A Teen’s Guide for Girls This book is valuable for women also. https://www.amazon.com/Self-Esteem-Teens-Guide-Michael-Lawrience-ebook/dp/B009L4JLMO
Michael offers Bowen Therapy in person in Sedona, Arizona for easing physical and emotional pain. See http://emotionalhealthtips.com/bowen-therapy
Michael also conducts personalized hiking tours in Sedona for emotional and spiritual breakthroughs. http://www.sedonamysticaltours.com/company/michael-david-lawrience/