More than an article to provide advice, this blog post comes to you as sort of a realization piece, courtesy of my recent trip and a conversation with my sister. Hopefully this can additionally add insight to someones life who may need it, however, this is meant more to be an exercise in self exploration.
Here at WitchyWisdoms, I write about my relationship with a heroin addict at length. I also use to word “codependent” to often describe myself and my struggles. But reflecting away from the self-help jargon has actually brought me to a different understanding, and it is becoming more and more clear that I am not a definitive codependent, but was one in a vacuum.
Let me elaborate: as a person who has struggled a lot with self love, self acceptance, anxiety, and depression, I have had many instances where I would exhibit reckless behavior to get attention. However, my happiness growing up was not contingent on that of another. My happiness was lost in the shuffle, and I would look for it in many different forms of addiction. Where codependency is more of a trait than an isolated incident, it was not ever something I embodied until recently.
After my rape, I felt used and unwanted. I felt as though I should be discarded because I was tainted. And at that very moment, my knight in shining armor, or rather a sheep in wolf’s clothing, stepped in and made me feel like I was deserving of love. This is where the vacuum begins.
Through a seemingly necessary dependence on him, because I now owed him my life and happiness, I could not risk losing him. And he played the game very well. Rich with manipulation and emotional abuse, he guided me through a very codependent moment in my life. But once I sought out help, did some digging, and did the work, it almost seemed crazy that I ever fell for his games. It seemed like he had dated another person entirely.
And that is what usually happens in recovery. Once you look back at the person who you once were, they seem unrecognizable to you. But in my case, and what my sister, who has seen me grow up in various stages, helped me to realize, is that I didn’t struggle with codependency before him, nor do I now. This isn’t something that is a hurdle for me to jump over. But given my circumstances and a perfect storm of feeling alone and down-trodden, I exhibited text book codependency.
Now this is not to serve to look down on anyone who is codependent. I have my very rich share of troubles that I continue to work on, but this just isn’t recurring. It is helpful to see what your journey looks like from a realistic angle, because spending time working on something that isn’t an issue for you is not beneficial. And while, at the time, group meetings and books on codependency helped me tremendously, it helped the symptom of the underlying issue, which is most certainly trauma from sexual abuse. This year I will be searching out trauma counseling, and I look forward to sharing my progress with you all. Stay healthy and happy witches ( *)