So last Monday, I started going to counseling again. Actually, this time it is me and the kiddos. However, being our first session, it was mostly about me and the kids had to sit in the waiting room most of the time. They were not happy but mama has got to get her head fixed first.
I got a ton of great info and support from it. I feel such a relief. I huge weight lifted.
But, I guess one of the most freeing things I got from it was the information he gave me about codependency. This was something I was very worried about when I started dating. I know myself and I know I can be very codependent and very clingy.... and really aren't they pretty much the same thing. (at least to guys)
So anyway, talking with him, he gave me a hand out about codependency. I was so surprised to see the characteristics and the signs of being codependent. That used to be me! I felt so awesome as I read through the list.
Signs of Being stuck in codependent patterns are:
1. Focus only on the behavioral needs of partners, rather than our own.
2. We elicit behaviors from our partners which reinforce our belief that they need us.
3. We constantly misinterpret their needs, their wants and their feelings for our own.
4. We consistently behave toward our partners in ways which maintain their neediness.
5. We misinterpret our own behavior as loving, when we are actually manipulating and controlling.
6. We interact with our partners in codependent ways rather than interdependent ways.
This next part is the part I really see myself in. Almost every single one of the below, I can say yes, oh yes, Definitely me.... or I really mean "old" me.... Not at all me now.
Then Codependent Characteristics are:
1. Come from dysfunctional home where emotional needs were not met.
2. Received little real nurturing and tries to fill unmet need by becoming a caregiver.
3. Terrified of abandonment and do whatever is necessary to keep a relationship going.
4. Nothing is too much trouble or takes too much time if it will "help" the one you love.
5. Accustomed to a lack of love, willing to wait, hope and try harder to please.
6. Taking on far more responsibility, guilt or blame in the relationship than the partner does.
7. Low self-esteem and feel undeserving of happiness.
8. Little security growing up with a consequent need to control partner.
9. Much more aware of the dream of how relationship "could be" rather than the reality of "what is".
10. Addicted to partner and to emotional pain.
11. Possible abuse of food, alcohol, drugs.
12. Drawn to people who need "fixing" thereby avoiding focus on self.
13. Clinging to excitement of unstable relationship helps avoiddepressive episodes.
14. Often find kind, stable, reliable persons who are interested in the person, boring.
Some people might argue that I still fit many of these, but I just don't feel it, don't see it. Not like I used to be anyway. I mean I won't argue that to some degree I still could fit some of the characteristics. However, I feel like I get farther and farther from this codependent behavior everyday. I plan to just keep working on it too.
I go back to counseling on this next Monday. I am looking forward to it and I have a list that I am working on of things I would like to discuss. I do still feel a huge burden as a single mom.... but I am feeling the burden shrink. It just took admitting that I couldn't handle it alone anymore.