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:
- 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
- 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
- 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?
http://www.marriagebuilders.com/graphic/mbi8110_cod.html 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.