Can Someone Tell Me If I'm CoDependent?

The title of this blog is really a joke. I just can’t take myself too seriously, and this blog will be mostly serious, so a little levity to start with is nice.

I’ve been doing a lot of ‘life work’ lately. Maybe that’s why I’m so sad today. It’s hard to change. To work on yourself and change your behavior. It can also be exhausting and lonely. It’s good work though, and I hope ultimately, I’ll make it through and be better for it.


I’ve been taking a long, hard look at my life and trying to figure out why the same things keep happening to me.

Why am I stuck in a pattern of heartbreak? Of always feeling like no matter what I do, I’m never enough.

Why do I have troubles in relationships? Why is it hard for me to connect?

Why, in a relationship, do I lose myself, put my partner’s needs and wants above mine, do everything and give everything I can until I’m empty and then angry about having given so much?

Why do I plan and organize big projects, but then ultimately feel unsatisfied at not having done a good enough job?

Why do I organize events and invite groups of people to participate, have a terrific time, but then wait and wait for someone to invite me to an event for once, spiraling into feeling rejected when those invitations don’t come?

Why am I so tired and angry and empty all the time?

This isn’t other people doing this to me. That’s the thing I’ve just figured out. These are my choices. And the things that need to change—it’s not other people. The thing that needs to change…is me.

A Good Girl always smiles!

A Good Girl always smiles!

 

I’ve recently read two books that have been kind of mind-blowing: “The Curse of The Good Girl”by Rachel Simmons…and “Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself”by Melodie Beattie. 

 

A few years ago, I would’ve rolled my eyes at these books, snorted, and turned away. That’s okay. I wasn’t ready then. I’m ready now.


In the first book, Simmons talks about how women are conditioned to be “Good Girls”. A Good Girl is compliant, kind, sweet, soft spoken. A Good Girl thinks about others first. A Good Girl sacrifices and tends to and supports those around her. A Bad Girl, on the other hand, is independent, fierce, sometimes mean, says what she wants. A Bad Girl puts herself first. 

My entire life, I’ve been in a position to be a Good Girl. I’ve been conditioned for it. And I’ve done it a long time. But when I look at the list of what a Good Girl is and what a Bad Girl is…it’s so clear to me. I don’t want to be ‘good’. I want to be downright evil.

A Bad Girl is ready to fight.

A Bad Girl is ready to fight.

I’ve been having relationship struggles. Major ones. Soul-crushing, painful issues. I’m trying not to blame. I’m trying, instead, something new, and that’s to look at myself. A friend (also a Life Coach) brought up the idea of Codependency, of a toxic way of giving of yourself that harms you and ultimately harms the one you’re taking care of. By being a constant caretaker, you’re emptying your soul’s well, but also allowing your partner to not learn and do things for themself. When I understood the definition of co-dependency, I read the second book “Codependent No More”. 

Today I feel like crying. Because it’s so…ME.

Being a caretaker on the surface is being a Good Girl. It’s what all women are conditioned to do. But if you go overboard, it’s also toxic and controlling, exhausting, and unfair. I’m left angry and resentful at all I have given. 

I’m taking a long hard look at why, and how, I got here. 

There’s so much to unpack here.

There are clear reasons how I got here. (I have a memoir written that details it, all stored on my computer.) I had to make it through a childhood that was rife with neglect, and then abuse, and then abandonment. Of a young adulthood where I struggled alone financially and never felt connected to a support system. Of an adulthood where I’ve tried very hard to be perfect. Of being a parent to a child with severe anxiety issues that led to a stay in a hospital. And I’ve been trying to be everything to everyone while also trying to grow my business, have a creative life, and have real connections with others. 
All the reasons are there. I think, maybe, I’ve used them as excuses long enough, and it’s time to just let that shit go. 

I’m writing about this for two reasons: 1) Maybe you can relate to having been so ‘good’ that you’re not honoring yourself. And 2) I’m writing this to be selfish. To acknowledge that I have made so many mistakes in life, but I’m trying, so deeply trying to put things right.

Just as soon as I figure out what that right thing is.

I feel tender right now. Like I have new skin. Emotional. Kind of trembly, as if I’m learning to walk and am about to tumble at any moment. I am learning though.

 I’m trying to think of things as I move forward from a new perspective: What would my life look like if I stopped worrying and controlling everyone else and everything around me? Who would I be if I made choices that were right for me? Who would I look like if I were a Bad Girl?

 I sorta like the image of me as a Bad Girl. She doesn’t care so much about what people think. If she wants something, she finds a way to get it. She’s not waiting for invitations or love or anything to fill her up. She’s got plenty going on in her life that is satisfying. She tells her kids to make their own breakfast, do their laundry, and she tells loved ones to do the work they need to do on their own. She travels and she makes a mean martini. 

My Bad Girl has some attitude…and maybe she wears some leather. Maybe she looks good in it. Maybe it suits her. 

It’s a start. 

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This blog was written by Audie-award winning (and nominated) narrator, Tanya Eby. Tanya is the performer of nearly 700 audiobooks, a USA Today Bestselling author, and you can check her out on Episode 2 “Winter Blunderland” on Netflix’s NAILED IT! HOLIDAY! She is working on healthy avenues for her anger like writing, working out on the treadmill, being authentic, and at times, having great food and drinks with friends.