Pruning Codependency From My Life

Having lived for 70 years at doing what I thought was serving others, I have had to learn how to relate to everyone from a position of not offering myself as a servant.

For six years now, I have been pruning codependency from my life. I view codependency as giving too much. How do I judge when I am giving too much? I have two ways to tell. (1) If I am helping someone solve a problem, and they “yes, but” me several times. (2) If I am helping someone and after 2-3 times of helping, they don’t reciprocate then I know I am in the old giver/user game.

1.From Soul in Training:  “Decluttering“:

Last Tuesday I had a little breakdown. My phone was ringing all day, so many friends with so many problems. I felt so exhausted of listening that I started crying.

Where is my time? What is happening with my life? So many things I have on my to do list and all I do is being on the phone listening to other people’s problems.

I always wanted to declutter my apartment with Konmari method, because I need to breath . I live in small studio apartment and so much stuff has been cluttering my life, because I never know where to put it.

I always wanted to start yoga, but every time I try to get on that mat, my phone rings…

I always wanted to start taking singing lessons again, but no time, no time…

And let’s not even start with the 60 pounds I have to lose.

Let’s put it like this, I have been abandoning me and all the things which help me or would bring me joy and I am sick of it.

Codependency has been hard on me, always helping others, so they get better and I sit here in all this stuff I am not doing or getting done.

So my therapist made a suggestion that I am not talking on the phone any longer than 10 minutes with fellows, friends and family.

I have been only doing it for three days and it has been amazing. So much free time. I started reading the books I always wanted to read, already decluttered and cleaned my entrance of the apartment and one of my closets with shoes and it is so freeing!

But then I feel guilty that I always say “ok I need to hang up the phone now. Bye.” It sounds so strange, but I feel so guilty.

My therapist said a great sentence though: everything can be dealt with in 10 minutes. All the rest is complaining.

This helped me, because I know that also for AA fellows complaining is not helpful. We can talk about the problem and then check for a solution and then it is enough. I don’t have to listen to anyone complain for hours. How will they get to rock bottom with whatever they are dealing with???

Well 50 minutes later…

My mom called me crying and told me she needs to talk to me, because I am the only one who can help her.

And this happens to me all the time. How can I hang up the phone after 10 minutes if someone is crying on the other side.

My plan was to finish writing this post and then go on a hike. 50 minutes later I am still sitting here and writing this post and I feel too tired to go on the hike.

I even feel to tired too continue writing.

MORE.

2. From Simply Aubrey Elaine; “Love, Life & Codependency”:

“People have come and gone in my life, triggering abandonment issues left and right, but these days I just don’t care. I realized recently that I’ve spent more time concerning myself with issues and relationships outside of myself and my immediate family for far too long. I have wasted so much energy trying to be the person ‘people needed me to be,’ that I never learned how important it is to lean in and love those who are the top priorities in my life. After God, Ed and Tristan are my number one priorities. If we, as a family haven’t mastered what is to live and love openly and honestly in our little slice of the world, how are we supposed to navigate the issues and burdens of the outside world? We aren’t!

I see now that people will continue to come and go, a necessary part of this beautiful journey, and I accept that. No longer will I feel slighted by the disappearance or disappointment of another, friends and acquaintances alike. I accept that people will walk away, and I will do the same. I will remain forever mindful that I need not seek an abundance of friendships nor acceptance from anyone other than God. The truth is, we cannot know who another is unless we invest the time to do so, which is a double-edged sword of vulnerability and expectation. In the end, there’s always a chance that the person you thought you could have a relationship with isn’t a good fit in your life. I imagine this to be true of a few people who have walked out of my life, and I get it. We either spend our lives hiding from the pain and anguish of disappointment, or we invest the time and energy in the relationships we see fit. I choose the latter.”

3 comments

  1. I heard of codependency when I got sober. I was confused by all the shifting definitions and just decided to basically ignore. Boundaries hit my radar at about 8 years sober and that one resonated. I must say that my first attempts to enforce my boundaries was a bit rough. Eventually, I learned a word “NO” and how to politely but firmly say it, mean it and stick to it. Soon after, I became aware of a liberating byproduct of my NO consciousness. I am not responsible for other people’s feelings. Wow, what a difference that has made in my life. I also have become keenly aware of how vulnerable you can become to abandoning this when you’re in a HALT situation. All said, I believe my newly learned tools have largely addressed the codependency dimensions in my life. Thank you for your post.

    • It took me years of recovery to understand that codependency had been sidetracked to the support members. In reality, we are a very codependent society in all aspects of our lives.I believe power to be at the center of all relationships. We are all codep–either givers or takers. What I call top dog–bottom dog. You could do much to write about your experiences. Do you have a blog?

  2. Hello Kathy a pleasure to talk to you. I am glad I’m reaching out to you via this format. Yes the blahs of hit me and the need to stir things up like the good addict that I am are ever lurking but instead I reach out to you. I I’m in the need for Hobby and I will do so as instructed by my sponsor as well. You are a true gift to me!

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