Friday, May 20, 2016

One is the loneliest step

I have co-dependent personality disorder.  There. I've said it and I've written it.  I realized this a few months ago. Once I identified why this came to be, I needed to figure out what to do. I am now trying to get a grip on my life.

Like many other disorders, the road to recovery involves a 12-step program.  I have zero experience with these programs.  I really thought they were only for addicts. But isn't that what I am in a way?  I'm addicted to destructive behavior. Behavior that is destructive to me and to my relationships with others. 

I had to start somewhere if I was to ever find peace. So a couple of weeks ago, I started working on Step 1. Step 1 goes like this:

We admitted we were powerless over others - that our lives had become unmanageable.  

I thought this sounded so easy.  And I was so wrong.   Because it's about trying to manipulative and control others with our words and actions. These are things I've been doing my entire adult like.  For me, this is like breathing.  Now I no longer trust my own thoughts or words.  I feel like I have to examine everything for ulterior motives. But in the heat of the moment, I'm prone to forgetting, and I revert back to what comes naturally to me.  A part of me wishes I could just go away somewhere and practice on total strangers for however long it takes me to get it right.  I'm being too hard on myself, I'm sure.  I've only been at this for a couple of weeks, and it might take years.  Why did I think I could just flip a switch?

"When we love others too much, when we so desperately want and need what they have - whether that is acceptance, approval, love or friendship - we forfeit our ability to take care of ourselves with them, out of fear that we may not get what we need.  We may hope that if we hold things in place by willpower, we will finally be safe and get what we need.

We won't."

This is wretchedly difficult. I never thought that something that sounds so easy could be ... to this extreme, not.  Because I am no longer sure if my words are born of opinion, concern, advice or manipulation. And this makes me feel very scared and alone.   To be clear, I know I'm not alone.  But being alone and feeling alone are very different.

What I've read is that some of us are completely ready for Step 1 because we are "tired".   Tired. Tired of fighting, I guess or of mental agony of constant self doubt?  It is tiring, but somehow it isn't that black and white for me.  When I examine my relationship with my spouse, I feel as though I'm on the cusp of surrendering to this Step. Because I've been trying to manipulate him for such a long time, and because I see the positive results lately in those instances when I've just let go.  But he's just one person.  What about everyone else?

A few years ago, I put myself in the position of being the "great communicator" in one of my volunteer positions.  It just dawned on me that, in my current condition, I must be insane to continue in this position.  What's coming around the bend for me and the people I serve?  Should I view this as "good practice"?  Or maybe as self-help exercises?  It doesn't seem quite fair to the people who find themselves having to put up with me.

I've had a couple of minor victories at home and elsewhere but for every step forward there seems to be three steps back. I guess the fact that I'm even aware is a step forward - instead of stomping through life like a wrecking ball.

I've also read that co-dependents have a habit of apologizing all the time for things that they shouldn't be apologizing for. Yes, there is truth in that.  Somehow I have to get control over Step 1 before I deal with extraneous apologies. I'm having a hard enough time categorizing my communications properly before, during and after I issue them without wondering if I should or should not be apologizing for miscues. 

I guess I really do need a support group. Because I have no idea if I'm on the right track or not. And in those moments when I think I'm on the wrong track .... I just want to go off and curl up in a ball and cry. Sometimes I just need someone to put their arms around me and tell me that eventually it will be alright.  How in the world did I, someone who was deprived of physical and emotional affection as a child, end up married to an emotionally challenged man who doesn't like to be touched?  I suppose that's a subject for a different post and a different time.

Right at this moment I don't know if this is better than the black hole I was looking into last month. If I knew that someday I might be able to just communicate like a normal person if I were to stay on this track, I'd say it's worth it. That day seems awfully far into the future. I just hope when it finally arrives, I'll have someone to communicate with. 

No comments:

Post a Comment