Codependent at Starbucks

So I am at Starbucks the other day and as I am ordering my non fat, 2 and half pump, no whip, extra hot, mocha…(what? If its OK for Meg Ryan  to be specific, so can I. )  when I lightly touch the pastry case. At the  exact same time as I touch the case, the lights in the case go out.  A coincidence I am sure, but I begin my apology dance.  “I am so sorry , did I do that?  I feel so bad, let me pay double for my coffee. Let me watch your kids for the next four Saturday nights. Seriously, I will pay for your first born’s wedding!”  Here is the worst part.  That was two weeks ago and the lights in the case are still out.  Every time I go into the store I am faced with my co-dependence issues.  I wish there was a confessional in the Starbucks so I could offer my confession for creating darkness in the pastry display case and hindering people’s ability to make the right, unhealthy choice.

So, why do I make everything my fault? Why do I feel the need to be responsible for everything that is not perfect in the world? Why do I rescue and enable?  Until my years of living with an alcoholic, I never knew this was something I struggled with. I had never even heard of the word codependent, but apparently I was their poster child.

Where is the balance between being kind, compassionate, and forgiving, and letting people face the pain and consequences of their own bad choices?  Where is the line between being responsible for our  own actions and feeling responsible for others and things outside of our control?  (like a pastry case light going out)    The following is a sample codependency identification test:

Denial Patterns:

  • I have difficulty identifying what I am feeling.
  • I minimize, alter or deny how I truly feel.
  • I perceive myself as completely unselfish and dedicated to the well being of others.

Low Self Esteem Patterns:

  • I have difficulty making decisions.
  • I judge everything I think, say or do harshly, as never “good enough.”
  • I am embarrassed to receive recognition and praise or gifts.
  • I do not ask others to meet my needs or desires.
  • I value others’ approval of my thinking, feelings and behavior over my own

Compliance Patterns:

  • I compromise my own values and integrity to avoid rejection or others’ anger.
  • I am very sensitive to how others are feeling and feel the same.
  • I am extremely loyal, remaining in harmful situations too long.
  • I value others’ opinions and feelings more than my own and am afraid to express differing opinions and feelings of my own.
  • I put aside my own interests and hobbies in order to do what others want

Control Patterns:

  • I believe most other people are incapable of taking care of themselves.
  • I become resentful when others will not let me help them
  • I lavish gifts and favors on those I care about.
  • I have to be “needed” in order to have a relationship with others.

Sadly, it was  some of these very behaviors that allowed me to lose a business and a marriage.  I really don’t have regrets, but I wonder how differently things  would have turned out if I hadn’t been so loyal.  If I had spoken my mind and not denied, minimized, or dismissed my  true thoughts and feelings. If I had not compromised my values and integrity to avoid rejection and  someone’s anger.  Would my ex have gotten help sooner; before  things had reached  such a crisis level?  Would the business have survived if I had been more assertive and confrontational?  I may never know the answer to those questions.  But I certainly now know the answer to the question, am I codependent?….YES!  How about you? Here is a link that had an interesting perspective on co-dependence.  At first it angered me, then it validated me.  I agree, outside of a relationship with an alcoholic, some of the codependent traits are qualities that one would actually want to be part of one’s behavior.


About splitpease

I am a mom of three teenage boys who used to be a teacher, who became a personal trainer, who had to sell my share of a personal training studio, who had to take a job running a swim and racquet club, who hopes to one day be able to do what I love and still keep a roof over my head.
This entry was posted in alcoholhism, codependent, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Codependent at Starbucks

  1. Don says:

    Ouch, Suzi! You hit me right between the eyes. I have some of the same issues. I credit my addiction to approval with my failed bid to be a pastor. I am working on some of these things in my life. I overwork, can’t say no, do stuff I hate all to appease others and to get their approval. Hopefully some of the steps I am taking are helping me to deal with these things. I have a wife who is a good role model and helps me with it too.

    Thanks for the inspiring thoughts. What a great writer you are too!

    • splitpease says:

      Thanks Don. I think we all struggle with it to some degree, and a lot of times it is in the name of “trying to please God and do the right thing” Your wife is a great role model! I have always respected her for her ability to speak honestly and be firm in her thoughts and convictions!

  2. eddie says:

    It seems to me that we all have our own issues and problems to overcome. How we handle them makes us who we are. I think your troubles have made you a very strong and special woman Suzi.


  3. Rob says:

    Let’s see, you made commitments to people out of love and trust and did everything you could to stick by them. Yep, that’s bad alright!
    As for the pastry lighting, you should tell them to get the damn thing fixed, the more they sell the more potential clients for personal training!

  4. Lynne says:

    I think you’re descibing a good portion of the population – especially women. Long ago, I had to start thinking of this analogy whenever I was questioning how I was being treated; You knock on someone’s door, they open the door and find you standing there smiling and they slam the door in your face. You try again another day – go back and knock on the door, they open the door and see you there and slam the door in your face…you try again….it took me a while to figure out that when that happens, there is a point where you need to walk away and not come back…and the sooner you figure that out the better. (A maturity issue maybe?)
    I think as a mom, many of us will do anything and everything to keep our family together for the sake of our kids. It took a great amount of courage for you to leave your marriage…and the longer you stayed the harder it was and the more courage you needed. You were a victim, your children were victims, and above all else your job is to protect your children. You are one of the strongest women I know and your faith in God will carry you through the hardest of times. No one guaranteed us an easy life. Our gift is life – the hardships make us who we are, and our continued faith through these hardships brings us closer to God. You would not be the strong, independent woman you are today had you not been through your trials. And your children are learning to be strong and independent and these lessons will serve them well.

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