This Valentine’s Day I want to celebrate self love, self care, and practicing healthy relationship habits. I feel like now is the right time to speak out publicly about my divorce and dealing with unhealthy relationships.
I was with my husband for the past 11 years 4 of which we were married and 9 of which we were business partners. Everything in my life revolved around my husband. I always put every single need of his above my own. His career, his mental and physical health, his addiction, and anything else he needed I gave. I gave so much to the point of exhaustion and put my own physical and mental health in jeopardy. Putting that much energy into another person for so many years caused me to lose my self identity. I had no idea who I was without my husband. I only found self worth in being the best wife and manager I could be.
The best way to describe being in my relationship was being on a constant rollercoaster of cleaning up messes and putting out fires. Constantly lying and covering up for his drinking, abusive tendencies, and the extreme situations it created. I thought that was my job, not just as his wife but my actual job as his manager. I thought I was protecting our best interest, both of our careers and wellbeing. I didn’t know how either of us would survive unless I constantly stepped in and regulated ever predicament he got us into. It wasn’t until I sought out professional help that I realized I was the biggest problem. I was his enabler and codependent. The moment I became self aware of my role in the situation I Immediately stoped. I soon realized the only way to save him and myself was to leave him. It is the single bravest thing I’ve ever done but leaving was just the beginning.
I then had to embark on my biggest journey yet, the journey inwards. Yes I left my husband, so does that make me free from being codependent? Unfortunately I’ve learned the hard way the answer is no. It’s something I continue to work on everyday. Putting myself first, rediscovering what I want and need to be happy. Learning to say no and setting healthy boundaries instead of people pleasing. Finding self worth outside of my relationship status. I’ve had to unlearn all my bad habits from the past 11 years.
But all that hard work and self care is paying off. This year I got the chance to finally peruse my own passions and dreams for myself. I started my own business. I was able to be honest for the first time with family and friends and in turn build close meaningful REAL relationships. I wouldn’t say I’m now free from being codependent. I still have my struggles but the more self aware I become the easier it is to find my happiness.
So why am I sharing this now? I want to help open up the floor for talking about mental health and possibly shed some light for people going through a similar situation because it’s not a easy one. Codependency does not just effect those who are in a relationship with an addict. Most people don’t even know what codependency is or that their relationship displays signs of it.
Here are 10 signs you could be in a codependent relationships
1- Does your sense of purpose involve making extreme sacrifices to satisfy your partner’s needs?
2- Do you find it difficult to say no
3- Do you cover up your partner’s problems with abuse, drugs, alcohol, or the law?
4- Having difficulties communicating, making decisions, and identifying your feelings in a relationship.
5- A need to always be in a relationship
6- Feeling trapped in your relationship
7- Keeping quiet to avoid arguments
8- Having an exaggerated sense of responsibility for the actions of others
9- Denying your own needs, thoughts, and feelings
10- Having fears of abandonment or an obsessive need for approval
If you feel like any of these describes your relationship you could be struggling with codependency. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help. The best advice I can give anyone is to educate yourself on the topic as much as possible. I’ve recently read the book Codependent No More written by Melody Beattie and it has really helped me to understand and identify what codependency is and how to brake the pattern. You can also find support by attending a local CoDA or Al-Anon meeting in your area. For more information visit CoDA- http://coda.org Al-Anon- https://al-anon.org
Love yourself more, happy Valentine’s Day!