Tag Archives: Codependence

Sharing the Divorce Experience

29 Jan

marriage

My Dad and I are going through a divorce at the same exact time.  He was blind-sided and left, my poor relationship dragged on and on way past its expiration date.  Still, we are using the same lawyer (my recommendation) and navigating some of the same waters at the same time (separation agreements, tax preparation, etc.).

I just spent an hour on the phone with him.  It was really nice to talk to him, even though the subject wasn’t all that pleasant.  He understands how difficult it is not to have control over something that means so much to you.  It’s hard to see someone you used to love (and currently do in my Dad’s case) make decisions that will most likely turn out very poorly for them.  But there’s nothing we can do about it.

We cannot control anyone else.  Their behavior, even the self-destructive kind, is theirs to make.  They want to rack up debt and pay only minimums?  Their decision.  They want to wallow in addiction?  Their decision.  They want to walk away from the best thing they’ve ever had?  Their decision.  They want to lash out in anger and act irrationally?  Their decision.  Nothing we can do about it.

He’s accepting it.  I already have.  It was a difficult journey to get there.  He’s going through that right now.  I wish there was more that I could do to support him.  For now, my words are the only comfort I have to offer him.

support

Advertisements

Baby, It’s a Real Fine Line

3 Nov

On my ride home from my Mom’s birthday party tonight the perfect song popped up on my radio.  It’s called Fine Line by Little Big Town.  Here’s the video:

 

I couldn’t write words more perfect than these…

Fine Line

Completely complacent,
So decidedly vacant
I keep waiting for something to give,
But that something is always me
You consume what you’re able,
I get crumbs from your table
You call this comfortably normal
But I call it getting by

[Chorus]
Baby, it’s a fine line
I’m holding on, you’re holding back
Baby, it’s a fine line
Can’t you hear me knockin at your door?
But you’re taking your sweet time
In love and out of touch, yeah
Baby, it’s a fine line
Baby, it’s a real fine line

Do you feel the distance,
like I feel resistance?
If I pull any farther away,
would you even come after me?
But the one thing I’m fearing
Is that I’m disappearing
How can I keep believing
If you won’t prove me wrong?

[Chorus]

Baby, it’s a fine line, yeah baby,
It’s a real fine line
Baby, it’s a fine line, hey baby, hey baby
Baby, it’s a fine line,
Can’t you hear me knockin’ at your door?
But you’re taking your sweet time,
Always taking your sweet time, yeah
Baby, it’s a fine line,
It’s a real fine, it’s a real fine line
Baby, it’s a fine line

The words of that song seem like they were made for me, for right where I am now.  We’re walking a tight rope, balancing on a very fine line.  I feel like I have been here holding on by my fingertips for so long while he’s been holding back – hiding who he is, lying, keeping his heart and mind from me, being complacent, and consuming everything I have to give.  Now I know that I can’t live that way, and I’m changing – what I will accept, what I know I deserve, and how much I’m willing to take, or better yet, what I know I need from a partner.

This controlled separation has been a great tool so far.  I am gaining confidence.  I am reveling in how wonderful it is to live without constant lies and the up and down, crazy roller-coaster of being in a relationship with someone who isn’t as committed as I am.  It’s like when you have intense pain – a migraine or toothache, for instance – and you finally get relief.  When the pain disappears, nothing has ever felt sweeter than those first amazing, blessed pain free moments.  They always make me more thankful and aware of the gifts that I take for granted.

The separation has been like that for me.  I am rediscovering the things about myself that I love.  I am acknowledging the things that I can do to make myself happy.  I cooked a large part of an amazing dinner tonight.  At one point I had 3 different pots going while I was prepping 2 other things.  I cleaned as I went.  I was a whirling queen of the kitchen.  Everyone said the food was delicious.  It was healthy – using whole wheat and grains and truvia and fresh vegetables.  And it was all me.  Okay, my grandma and brother and sister also contributed courses, so that’s not completely true.  However, I did 2 appetizers and 3 sides including killer macaroni & cheese and made-from-scratch cole slaw.  I’m proud of everything I put out.

I went on a little tangent there, but hopefully you’re still following me.  I believe that I am personally on the cusp of one of the best times of my life.  I am gaining clarity, feeling my inner strength coming out, and getting secure in who I am.  I am confident that I will be okay, no matter what happens with my marriage.

In the last few days it also seems like my husband has shaken some of the cobwebs out of his head.  I can’t speak for him about what has changed, but I have sensed that something is different.  I can’t put my finger on exactly what it is.  Our interactions are closer to what I had hoped they would be.  He seems to be stepping up in a few ways.  It’s what I want.

But now I feel uneasy.  I wonder why things are different.  I wonder if this will be just another temporary change.  I wonder how we can repair this thing we have.  I have never been a worrier, and somehow that’s what I find myself doing now.  Then I remember why I have always hated worrying.  It is crazy-making, and it doesn’t accomplish anything.  I hate not accomplishing anything.

So when I feel my mind wandering down that path, I refocus myself on something productive.  Sometimes it’s reading.  Sometimes it’s cleaning.  Sometimes it’s writing.  Sometimes it’s opening up my S-Anon daily devotional.  Sometimes it’s calling someone to talk through my thoughts.  Whatever I do, I try to keep perspective on the growth I am making and remind myself that this is a long journey.  There are at least 9 more weeks of this controlled separation and years and years of my life left.  I don’t have to do it all now.  I CAN’T do it all now.  What I can do now is keep balancing on this fine line between being married and not called separation.

Codependent Behavior or Simply Trusting My Gut?

16 Oct

To start with, I really appreciate the insight that several people gave me about what I thought was codependent/ co-addict behavior.  There is a fine line between that and trusting myself.  I believe in this case I was following my gut.  I think calling it a “knowing” is very fitting.  That’s what it feels like when I get that kind of intuitive premonition that something is off.

I really haven’t been checking on him otherwise – I swear I can’t even remember the last time I checked that computer history.  There have been plenty of times he has been out of the house or even in it when I’ve had the chance – we agreed to full transparency with electronic devices, after all.  He always gets home before me.  He almost exclusively uses that desktop computer now that I have a work laptop and tablet.  He is in there all the time when I get home from work.  Still, I haven’t felt the need to look.  Until that day.

It sounds weird, I’m sure.  I don’t think I’m psychic or anything.  I just know that we all pick up things that we don’t consciously process.  Little perceptions, changes in speech or behavior or even the air in our environments.  I can’t explain it, but sometimes I do just have a strong feelings that something isn’t right.  I have come to rely on those “knowings” (I really like that term).  I don’t really have to go looking for things, my instinct will tell me when something is wrong.

Similarly, I usually know when I’m feeling a need to control or an urge to “check up” on him in an unhealthy way.  It is then that I can remind myself to focus on the things that I can change – that which is in my control.  I think I have to do more to fine-tune my self-perception on this issue.  I need to find a way to ask myself is this codependent behavior or simply listening to my gut?

So, on to the challenging questions in my next post…

Poked, Prodded and Cracking…

15 Oct

Last night I took a look down my throat with a flashlight and did NOT like what I saw…  This morning I got up and made my way immediately to the doctor’s office.  I was poked, prodded, and swabbed everywhere imaginable.  They did a strep test on my throat, diagnosed an ear infection, and I had them go ahead and run the full panel of STD tests while they were at it.  I could have gone to Planned Parenthood and probably saved some money in the long run.  I don’t care.  I just wanted it over and done with.

Only an hour later, I was walking out with antibiotics, a prescription for a yeast infection, and a little more peace of mind.  I still don’t have the STD results back yet, obviously, but having it taken care of is a relief.

On my (short) ride home I called my Mom.  She said something that really struck home.  She said as women and as wives we do our best to remain vulnerable, to give our husbands the opportunity to protect us.  We let ourselves need them.  We give them the chance to take care of us.  When they blow that chance or squander that opportunity we have to pack up that vulnerability and be strong for ourselves.  When we take that next step to care for ourselves we also end up not needing them anymore.

I tried to need him.  I tried to give him the opportunity to step up for me.  I wanted him to be a man, to protect me, to make my health and safety a top priority.  He didn’t, so I had to take the bull by the horns and take care of myself.  Once I found out he hadn’t gotten tested, it took me only until the next business day to get tested myself.  Those tests, plus the extra ones because I’m so sick, took only an hour.  One hour.

In that hour I stopped needing him.  I stopped being vulnerable.  I took back my independence.

At the same time, I feel my resolve cracking.  Last night was the first time I really started wanting him here badly.  My codependence started peeking through.  For most of the weekend after his big lie was revealed we had only minor contact.  Last night he texted me with:

Im not sure what things from the kitchen are mine to take.  I know the new cook ware is yours just wondering about the things i was given as gifts.  If you want them they are yours.

My first reaction was something like – Seriously?!?  That is what he’s worried about right now?  Then I realized that I should have been prepared for this.  It’s what I asked for.  Here are some of the other thoughts I jotted down in my journal:

  • I’m weak.  I want him here in bed with me.  I want to touch him, hold him.
  • I find myself considering an in-home separation.  I just know I can’t do that.  I’m not strong enough.  I would talk to him, laugh with him, fall into those old patterns…
  • I want to call him an ass for sticking to business (what he wants, when he can get it), but that’s what separation IS.  He is doing me a favor, really.
  • I want him to fight for me, for us, but I want him to be well first!
  • I can’t have it both ways – him now & him better because he is obviously not better.
  • I HATE THIS!!!!

Those were just my cliff notes version of the things going through my head.  I wasn’t going to respond to his earlier text.  In fact, I held out for quite a while.  Until after midnight.  Yeah… bad decision.  Nothing good comes from texting someone that late.  I engaged in a few back and forth texts, told him the gifts belong to him, and let him know about my strep.

In the morning light I realized that I need to disconnect myself from him emotionally.  Letting go of my expectations for him, his recovery, his health, his therapy, etc. is my job now.  I can’t control him.

He’s going to be coming by at some point today to pick up a few more things.  I don’t know how I’m going to react.  I don’t know if he will even try to talk to me.  I don’t even know if I want him to.

On a completely unrelated note, I now have a Twitter and Facebook account for my blog.  Check them out if you want.  I could use a little distraction.

Enjoying Myself

7 Aug

This is just a quick little update.  Yesterday was rocky.  Mr. Mess was home after working overnight Sunday into the wee hours of Monday.  I won’t go into details, but things got off to a rough start immediately when I found a 2:30 am call from an unknown number and he was cagey and secretive about it before finally admitting 6 questions in that it was a woman at work.  His inability to be up-front and honest caused a blow out (which mainly consisted of him yelling, cursing at me, and being an all-around sarcastic ass).  This all culminated with the discovery that he hasn’t been taking his mood stabilizing medications since the end of May!

Yesterday I admit that I got too caught up in all of HIS mess.  Not today.  After a night sleeping apart and a wonderful waking time of 9 am, I felt good as new.  My Mom called and said she had tickets to an Indian exhibit at the Museum of Fine Art, and I headed over to meet her.  We had a nice lunch, spent over an hour in the special exhibit, then a few more wandering through the rest of the building.  We saw tons of stuff, from ancient Greece civilizations to a real Mummy to Civil War relics and Renaissance art.  They have paintings, sculptures, furniture, and a solid silver carriage that an Indian king rode in.  I have to admit that I don’t get a lot of the modern pieces.  There was one that I swear was literally a bunch of junk from a dumpster and scrap yard piled on top of each other.  Weird and ugly.

Ok, so we didn’t go here… Still, it was a great time.

We also spent a fairly significant amount of time in the gift shop, which is almost like a museum of sorts itself.  I picked out fantasy decorations for my future dream home (once I have millions, since this stuff was expensive!).  I discovered that I have very good, very pricey taste.  🙂   I also saw some really cool pieces, like a purse made from soda can tabs and string.  So fun and cute!  I would own an adorable one with teal accents if it weren’t $250.  Eeek!!  I did, however, purchase myself a journal with an intricate, beautiful blue and silver cover and a girly, white onyx and pearl ring.

I spent some time on myself today, and it was amazing!  I’m looking forward to the rest of my vacation, including a haircut and shopping tomorrow.  Yay!!  I have already gotten a manicure and pedicure with gorgeous fuchsia polish that has a glimmer of purple when it moves in the light.  I’m afraid I’m going to get hooked on this because I already don’t want to go back to work next week.

Making My Own Happiness

27 Jul

This post will probably be a mishmash of lots of things.  First, I realize that even though I posted twice yesterday I never mentioned what I did for myself.  The answer is that I dressed up for absolutely no reason.  I wore a pretty floral dress, did my hair and make-up, and put on my pearls.  I wore these adorable new high-heeled Crocs I have that are brown with pink insoles.  I felt gorgeous all day.  Now if only I could find my sparkly silver nail polish!

Today I’m not sure what I’m going to do for myself.  I already downloaded the Thompson Square CD (actually MP3), and have been listening to it at my desk and in my car.  I will be sharing my current obsession with you later in this post.  I also officially put in for a vacation week today.  I will be taking a full week to do nothing except relax, have fun, and take care of myself.  I’m planning a haircut, possibly a new tattoo, plenty of sleeping-in, and maybe a shopping trip or day adventure somewhere.  It’s Friday, though, so I’m going to do at least one more thing for myself today.  🙂

This week I have started realizing the real value in focusing on me.  This past Saturday I went to my first ever S-Anon meeting.  It was a really great experience.  In our area SA and S-Anon meet at the same time in the same location.  The Saturday morning meeting is one that my husband has decided to go to, and last week I made the leap and decided to go along.  Since starting Codependent No More I have a completely different perspective on myself.  It shined a light on the fact that I have plenty to work on, too.

So, back to last Saturday.  The SA meeting seemed to be pretty packed judging by the number of men I saw coming into the building and slipping into the room where Mr. Mess went.  They all seemed to be fairly early, too.  Yet, here I was, the lone woman.  We were pretty early ourselves, so I wandered down the hall to a table with information and brochures.  It seems like this place has a group, 12-step meeting for everything.  Everything, I tell you!  They have SA, S-Anon, AA, Al-Anon, Overeaters Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Debtors Anonymous (never seen that one before), Gambling Anonymous, and maybe even a few others that I can’t remember.

Anyway…  The scheduled time of the meeting 9:30 am quickly approached, then passed with no other women appearing.  I was fairly certain I had the right room, and I knew I had the right place and time since I was staring right at the schedule on one of the flyers.  There was really only one entrance, so I was also pretty confident I didn’t miss anyone.  Conveniently, the number for the group contact person was on said flyer.  I gave her a call at that number, and the answering machine listed another number (her cell) as the best place to reach her.  I called that, and a cheerful woman answered and quickly assured me that she was in the parking lot, and she just caught sight of a few other women walking in.  Leave it to women to be fashionably late for their own support group!

Sure enough, within a few seconds two women walked in.  We made our way to the designated room (the one I thought it was), and quickly turned on the A/C to try and combat the humid stickiness in the air.  Not too long after a third woman appeared.  It was the one I had talked to on the phone.  We started chatting a bit as everyone got settled.  Funny enough, I wasn’t the only newbie.  There was one other first-timer in the room as well.

Since there were just as many newcomers as old-timers at this meeting, they decided to do a welcome meeting.  They didn’t have any extra white books with them, but I had brought my own 12 steps and the women were very willing to share for readings.  Another lady came in during the initial introduction and reading of the 12 steps and 12 traditions.

I won’t bore you with all of the minute details, but I will say that everything really resonated with me.  Some of the readings had some hard truths that I will have to dig into more before I really know how I feel, but overall it was a comfortable, uplifting experience.  Each of the women shared some of their story, what brought them there, how long they have been in recovery, where they are on their personal journey, and that sort of thing.  Their stories all touched some part of my experience.  The other newbie was in tears basically the entire time.

Another woman showed up about half-way through, and shared her story as well.  Both of us first-timers also shared, although we didn’t have to.  Everyone was extremely supportive.  I could tell immediately that this was a group of women who wouldn’t let each other get caught up with the addict.  Crying, anger, and other emotions are definitely welcomed, but wallowing, blaming, and focusing on the sexaholic instead of ourselves is a no-no.  No one really had to say that, it was just the vibe in the room.  We are here for us.  We can’t change them.  But we can strengthen ourselves, set boundaries, decode our codependent behavior, and change our own patterns.  It was empowering.

I got a list of other women in the program with their email, phone numbers, and whether they text or not.  I supplied them with all of my information.  At the end there were hugs all around.  I didn’t know these women, but already I felt connected.  They can understand me.  They are me, in some ways.  All it took was one meeting, and I know this is where I belong.  I am already encouraged that I will be going with another person to their first meeting on Monday.

I was resistant to the idea that there was anything I needed to do, since this is “his problem.”  Now I know differently.  I know that there are things I can do – for me.  To get healthy.  To have a better response.  To feel complete, worthy, and lovable.  To stop making the same bad choices, to get off the roller-coaster, to feel at peace.  I can do it.  I also read something yesterday that I understand in a way I couldn’t have at the beginning of this process:

“I know now that I can’t choose to love or not love DH [dear husband] but I can choose to have him in my life or not.”

It’s true.  I don’t have control over what he does.  I don’t have control over his commitment to me.  I don’t have control over whether he cheats on me again.  I don’t have control over whether he lies to me.  I also don’t have control over the fact that I love him.  It’s just a fact at this point.  I do, however, have control over whether I accept his behavior and allow it in my life.  Everything else is up to me – my happiness, my boundaries, my self-esteem, my mental and physical health.  He can’t control those things, either.

So, today I am feeling encouraged and inspired.  I am smiling, tapping my foot, and jamming to wonderful music right now.  That is how I want to go through life.  Speaking of fantastic music, I promised earlier that I would share the song I can’t stop singing along to all day.  Here’s the video:

And here are the beautiful lyrics that are really speaking to me today:

Tryin’ to live and love
With a heart that can’t be broken
Is like tryin’ to see the light
With eyes that can’t be opened

I think I am finally realizing this.  I have to put my heart out there to possibly be broken again, no matter what course my life takes. 

I’ll let you look inside me
Through the stains and through the cracks
And in the darkness of this moment
You see the good in that

I have just as many issues and problems.  They aren’t the same because we have taken different paths to get here.  I have to be just as open about my stains and cracks, and work on mine.

We may shine, we may shatter
We may be pickin’ up the pieces here on after
We are fragile, we are human
We are shaped by the light we let through us
But we break fast ’cause we are glass

True and very profound.  We are shaped by the light we let through us, so I’m going to let as much light through me as possible.  I’m going to stay positive.  I’m going to remind myself that I am human.

%d bloggers like this: