Post date: Nov 18, 2016 10:45:27 PM
People have weird thoughts on what it means to be codependent. So I thought I would share what it was like for me as the mother of 5 kids.
What was it like to be a kid in my house? My daughter said she watched the same Disney shows over and over again, alone in her room. They were told, on more than one occasion to "pretend they didn't exist." I rarely hugged my kids and when I did it was awkward. I was so busy trying to do so much, for them, that I wasn't doing anything with them. I worked several jobs, I was never home. The truth is, the busier I was the happier I seemed. I attended my first welcome to school meeting this year. My oldest child is 23 and my youngest is 7. I've missed years of notes from my kids, handwritten on desks, happy thoughts, and excited hopes. I missed writing words of encouragement back. I never had time to do the school things. I was a teacher after all, I had enough of school and didn't need any more. I took NO part in my kids' school life. None. If my kid was in trouble, let me know, otherwise, don't contact me. I'm busy. Can't you see all the things I'm doing for other people?
Codependency is an addiction. It is a high, just like any other drug of choice. My high came from doing things for others. I did anything and everything for others. Codependents are some of the most giving people you will ever meet, to people besides their immediate family. They knew I was doing all of it for them, didn't they? I gave and gave and gave. I did so much, people thought I was so nice, while those in my own home only saw the miserable monster. If I can just help others, it will all be ok. I remember my daughter asking why I never baked for her. Truth be told, it never even crossed my mind. I felt no joy when I cooked for my family. Honestly, I felt nothing at all. I was completely empty. The little bits of happiness I received helping others, made my life worth living.
Codependents don't feel. Feelings, what are those? Whenever my children would ask me how my day was all I thought was, "Why are they asking me about my day, what do they need from me? What do they want from me? Do they not know how much I've already done today?" Conversations were generally one-sided, me telling them what I thought. I was always right, you see. Always. I was empty. I felt nothing. I was always full of rage. I didn't understand why I couldn't be happy, so I made everyone else miserable.
My thoughts were simple, I'm doing all this for you...don't you appreciate it? You deal with my bad moods, I'm paying for your education. You deal with me yelling at you, because well, you should. It was seriously messed up. My home was not a place of safety. It was a place of reaction. Constant reaction. Angry, bitter reactions.
I've let my kids down. My norms almost destroyed my family. As we venture down this journey, together, we are becoming a family.
I'm still searching for what that means. I do know that I feel. I feel happiness. I feel sorrow. I feel guilt, pleasure, pain. I feel anger. I feel love. I feel. I do not have rage living inside of me. It isn't there clouding the world. I can feel. Some days it's scary, because some days I see how badly I have fallen short.
I was a really crappy wife and mother. The world never saw that side of me. Unless you were my husband or child, you thought I was an amazing person. I wasn't. I am getting there, now. I still give to others, but my family comes first. They are the MOST important people in my life. My husband and children are my life. We are healing, together.
I've learned to say no. I've learned to set boundaries. I've learned to be brave. I'm learning to not let people's thoughts and opinions hurt me. I'm learning opinions aren't facts. I'm learning who I am.
I know I am a daughter of God. I know that He loves me. I know that He has a plan for my life and I know that plan is amazing.