A Big Shout Out to Deirdre for completing our “Black Belt Codependent Interview Series”! In her interview, Deirde mentions laughing and I would like to say how much I appreciate that. Recovery is sometimes a hard and painful journey but there are also times of joy and laughter. Don’t miss out on them because you are too focused on the pain and difficulties. Some people need to learn to laugh again and know that it is okay to laugh even in the valley.
Tell us about yourself.
Single mom of 2 kids. Exhausting journey till I sought help for depression.
How did you know you were codependent?
It was brought up In a council session. I was exhausted, overwhelmed and suicidal. Once coda was explained a weight lift. I sought out as much information as I could find. Then I started watching my friends and coworkers trying to see what behaviors they did that I did not. It was eyes opening.
How do you think you became a codependent?
The humble shall inherit the earth. MISINTERPRETATION OF RELIGIOUS BELIEFS.
Describe codependency in one word?
Do you find being a codependent an embarrassing label? If so, why?
I did at first. It meant I was not capable of caring for myself. Today I do not feel the same about the label. I know I am not alone and I can laugh at some of my behaviors.
What were your biggest fears relating to your codependency?
That I could not be the role model I wanted to be for my kids. I also feared finding more and more abusive partners.
Do you feel that your codependency controlled you?
It controlled me. The fear of displeasing or making any one put out because I needed something. As simple as dinner was never what I wanted or needed. Others preference always came first. To the extreme of my health. My medication was not as important as my partners. At one point when food was scant, everyone else ate normal and I pretended to eat, while skipping most meals.
What was the turning point that caused you to seek help or learn more about codependency?
I was suicidal.
Who did you hurt the most with your codependency?
I hurt myself and my children.
What does “detachment” mean to you?
Allow people to have their own journeys while I follow mine.
What does, “Stay on your side of the street” mean to you?
Check my own self-care against anything I want to do or fix.
What does, “Get off the dance floor” mean to you?
I haven’t heard that phrase.
How did you deal with boundaries in the past and how do you deal with them today?
In the past I would take over and try to help/fix other’s problems, even if it hurt me . Today I try to practice my own care first.
Example: My ex-husband and I were out of work. I started looking at openings for him only. After the groceries were almost gone, it dawned on me that no one was looking for a job for me. Today, my needs come first. Can’t help anyone till I help myself was a mantra to care for myself. Still codependent thinking but it started the path. Today my happiness is dependent on the question “is it my problem or is it theirs?”
Have there been any dramatic changes in you, your attitude, or your life since starting your journey of recovery?
I am so much happier. Eating well, exercising, laughing. I am physically healthy again.
What is the hardest part of staying focused on yourself and your recovery?
To always be asking if it’s my problem. And keeping that boundary when others think it’s for me to solve their challenge.
What is the easiest part of staying focused on yourself and your recovery?
Without all the drama that codependency brings, do you find life, work, and relationships boring now?
No not at all. Quite the opposite!
What are some of the tools you use to help you stay in your recovery?
Journaling. Reading. Meditation. Support groups online and in person. Therapist
Do you have a favorite saying, quote or mantra that helps to keep you going?
Life is not about finding yourself but creating yourself.
What words of encouragement or advice do you have for others who are seeking information or beginning their journey of recovering and healing from their issues of codependency?
Others can solve their own problems…there is more time to laugh now!
Do you have anything else you would like to share about your recovery from codependency?
I thought I had this down. Stopped what I knew I should be doing and landed in yet another toxic relationship. That’s where I stayed for 6 years. I am back now, doing better than I ever had before. I am not beating myself up as bad this time. I guess I needed the lesson. I am also proud I walked away, took time but I did!