How the hell did I even get here? Was it watching too many romantic comedies? Listening to too much 90s R&B? Alexa Play “ Anything” by Jaheim…"You can have anything I own, work my fingers all the way to the bone. All of me right on the spot." Yep, that’s how I show up in romantic relationships, work, and family (at times). I will give my all until you show me otherwise and then,when you show me otherwise, I will still give in the hopes of getting some form of love/acceptance in return. Sheesh…issa lot and I’ve been through a lot as a result of this habit.
Through my therapy sessions I have come into the realization this behavior that I exhibit has a name…Codependency. Now, I am not a stranger to this word..who hasn’t watched an episode of Intervention or My 600lb Life and watched as the therapists on the show called out family members and expressed concern about their behavior in supporting the addict’s bad habits. I just didn’t realize how I was exhibiting the same actions in my life and how it is continually showing up in my relationships. At the beginning of 2022, I joined SHYNE as a suggestion from my therapist and during one of our first meetings we took a close look into the root of CoDependency and that is where I started peeling back the layers to find out what was at the core. What made me this way? What am I fearful of? Is it not being loved/accepted just as I am?
According to one of the SASS resources: “CoDependency is an overindulgence of self neglect in order to be affirmed and/or validated through another person or identity." For me, I tend to embody codependency through obsession, caretaking, and denial in the form of escapism." I repeat this pattern in romantic relationships, it shows up in my family dynamics, and even how I relate to people at my job. As I deepened my look into what was driving me into this pattern, I was challenged to look at my self worth and that’s when things got really DEEP. I had to examine parts of my existence where I let my self worthiness slip, what narratives I believed about myself, and alchemize them into healing.
Being diagnosed as morbidly obese at a very early age, going to Weight Watchers in Elementary school, and having to wear boy clothes sometimes because back in the 80's there was no such thing as “plus size” clothes for little girls, all these experiences laid a foundation of my self-worth. Seeing how my family loved those who suffered with addiction showed me how to have “unconditional love." Family secrets that no one talked about showed me how to move on through life and “act” a certain way and you will be okay. Yeah right. Those things that I learned sat somewhere in my body, in my energy, and how I showed up in the world.
It wasn’t until a few months ago that I really started to understand my codependency and, if it wasn’t for SHYNE and Therapy, I would still be in this world thugin' it out, taking what I can get other than what I deserve, and not knowing who I wanted to be. I had to examine those heartaches, pay attention to what I was eating and drinking, journal, and examine my dreams all within a safe space that allowed me to verbalize and share and imagine. In this container, I committed to peeling back layers of myself and coming to grips with some hard truths. I had to learn what I was doing that contributed to my own codependence and all is not lost.
That’s the beauty of it all. I can have codependent tendencies AND I can still honor my self-worth by: acknowledging what I am worthy of, knowing what I need to become the woman I desire to be, and creating boundaries that are firm because when I embody what I need and what I deserve, and how I can provide that for myself. I don’t need to look for validation from others because I have an intimate, loving relationship with myself. That’s the key. I may not ever “get rid of” codependent behavior, what I’m noticing is that the more tools I have to honor myself the less I feel like I have to caretake for others, the less I obsess over things that I don’t have control over, and the more I want to be present with Self and ask myself questions so that I don’t slip into denial or escape from reality. I’m still a work in progress, however, I am committed to this healing journey and doing the work that will continue to honor the Creator, my Highest Self, and my Ancestors.