Answer 7 Questions to Discover if You’re in a CoDependent Relationship (with an Asshat!)
Hi Guys — I’m thrilled to announce I’ll be speaking at my first relationship seminar in April! Come see me there! Onward now:
Welcome back to my #AsshatRecoveryProgram and happy 2015!
In the new year I want to take on that soul-sucking, heart-crushing, ego-bashing little monster named Codependency.
Web MD says you’re in a codependent relationship if:
1. You are unable to find satisfaction in your life outside of a specific person.
Example: When my former Asshat decided at the last minute not to come to my best friend’s wedding with me (and I was a bridesmaid!) because he’d just returned from a boys’ Vegas trip where he’d probably slept with too many hookers, I forced myself to go anyway. But I was miserable the whole time, even whilst joining in that whimsical line dance, La Macarena.
2. You recognize unhealthy behaviors in your partner, but stay with him or her in spite of them.
Example: When my Asshat said he was working overtimes at the fire station and was actually stepping out with different women (and making his co-workers lie to me), I still moved in with him and tried to get him to marry me.
3. You give support to your partner at the cost of your own mental, emotional, and physical health.
Example: When my Asshat showed up several times unexpectedly before I had a work shift and begged me to type up and print out papers he had due for his college courses, I’d be late for work scrambling to help him out.
4. People around you have given you feedback that you are too dependent on your partner.
Example: Whenever I inadvertently slipped and told family members all of the shenanigans my Asshat pulled, they desperately wanted to kidnap and send me to an undisclosed rehabilitation center under a mountain in Utah.
(And no, they aren’t Scientologists so I didn’t run into David Miscavige’s rebellious, missing wife, Shelly, whom Tom Cruise is probably reprogramming with a dog’s shock collar as I type this.)
5. If you have a desire, at times, for more independence but feel an even stronger conflict when you attempt to separate in any way.
Example: Logically I knew my treatment at the hands of my Asshat was emotionally abusive, but every time I tried to walk away I was in excruciating emotional, mental and even physical pain. I suspect it felt much like coming off of drugs.
(Which makes me empathize with Sid and Nancy.)
6. You feel anxiety more consistently than any other emotion in your relationship.
Example: My Asshat was unpredictable. I never knew if he’d keep his plans with me and I never knew when he might betray me with another woman. So I spent much of my time stalking him and attempting to control and guard him. I was as anxious as a Selena Gomez with a Justin Bieber.
7. If you spend a great deal of time and energy either trying to change your partner or trying to conform to your partner’s wishes.
Example: I twisted myself like a pretzel in order to get my Asshat to change, even attempting to pretend I wasn’t codependent, which I could manage in a sixty second burst over the course of five years.
The reason I can write all of this down and not be utterly humiliated in sharing it is that I was addicted to codependent relationships for a reason. I inherited the addiction.
Mental Health America says of Codependency (which I consider to be cancer of the spirit):
“Codependency is a learned behavior that can be passed down from one generation to another. It is an emotional and behavioral condition that affects an individual’s ability to have a healthy, mutually satisfying relationship.
“It is also known as ‘relationship addiction’ because people with codependency often form or maintain relationships that are one-sided, emotionally destructive and/or abusive. The disorder was first identified about ten years ago as the result of years of studying interpersonal relationships in families of alcoholics.
“Co-dependent behavior is learned by watching and imitating other family members who display this type of behavior.”
Growing up my mom modeled the codependent relationship for me with her second husband, who was exactly like my last Asshat. And because my mom was a relationship addict she wasn’t reliable and had to send me to live with my dad when I was ten.
I then developed a codependent relationship with her, because I never knew when I would see her, depending on where she was with her addiction and the volatility it caused in her life.
I have a lot of empathy for my mom, because she experienced much the same treatment in her own childhood with parents who divorced when she was young, and an attractive mother who had her own codependent relationship addictions.
I’ve worked incredibly hard at breaking the generational cycle of codependency and have been free of it for over sixteen years now. I’m more proud of that accomplishment than any other in my life.
So ask yourself if any of these symptoms ring true to you and just keep coming back.
Also, I’ll be rolling out my first Asshat Recovery Webinar this summer to take you step-by-step through the way I conquered my codependent relationship addiction.
I’ll also be inviting participants to join a private Asshat Recovery Facebook group, which I’ll moderate, since group settings can be incredibly powerful.
(I will not allow John Travolta to participate. He’ll just try to turn us all into Scientologist Thetan)
In the meantime, are you suffering from addiction to codependent relationships and how does it show up in your life? I’d be happy to moderate the discussion that stems from any comments.