I always said there had to be something wrong with me because my relationships were pretty much like a storm in the desert. You know what was the speech, right? “No, there is nothing wrong with you, they are the ones who did wrong…”, but now I recognise and I admit that in fact there was something very, very wrong with me. To attract so many unavailable and emotionally abusive men into my life, I have been at least 50% responsible for that to happen. There was never a time in which I probably didn’t act from a place of need, unworthiness, or low self-esteem when already involved with those men.
My first boyfriend, who broke up with me through MSN when I was 17 (this is supposed to make you laugh, by the way), probably understood he could have a girl in his own town, right after he started using his gym membership. He acted accordingly to his own needs and desires. My second boyfriend, who broke up with me after 3 weeks because he was actually in love with another girl who had disappeared and reappeared out of the blue in his life, also probably understood that he could have the girl he actually wanted. He acted accordingly to his own needs and desires. My third boyfriend also let me know in a very awkward time that he was still fixated on his bisexual ex-girlfriend, who had cheated on him with another girl. He acted according to his own needs and desires too. YES, there were a lot of red flags in every and each situation. And I’m not going to even continue the list, because it is pretty obvious by now that I have a special ‘gift’ to feel attracted to the wrong guys and keep myself in trouble.
The problem is that it is not a ‘gift’, it’s a nightmare and an unhealthy behavioural pattern that was learned by me as a survival response to my dysfunctional upbringing. I was basically raised to be a codependent, someone who has such a tiny sense of self-worth and identity that constantly seeks on a partner what wasn’t healthily modelled in childhood – emotional resonance, validation, positive reinforcement. However, this partner is always very similar to mommy, daddy, or both, meaning that the tendency is to pick a partner who simulates the exact same conditions that made us codependent in the first place. As a result, we get triggered, we behave as we learnt to, and we never satisfy the intense need of feeling seen, heard, and loved. Bottom line is – we end up feeling miserable, destroyed, and we somehow reconfirm our ‘victimhood’.
You know what happens when people act like victims and have pity of themselves. I know what happens and I want to stop being one of those people. We repeat the same story over and over again without really addressing the real cause of the suffering and the drama. We never really go deep, because going deeper means to uncover uncomfortable feelings and truths. Going deeper means to have to confront the fact that mommy and daddy didn’t provide us what we needed to evolve as healthy human beings but there is also no point on holding tight to that story either. Crying for the unreceived love and recognition from mommy and daddy as I have been doing all my life won’t heal my wounds and certainly won’t change my terrible ‘gift’ to pick men. It will mostly prevent me from realising my own unhealthy behaviours and responses when I’m in a relationship or about to enter in one.
Nonetheless, I will give myself a tap on the back here (something that codependents don’t do!) because I have been doing progress. Slow progress, a very slow progress but apparently this is something that has abruptly being brought up to surface lately so I can clear it up. I honestly have never been this aware and so disgusted by my own sick behaviours. Here’s a couple of examples:
- I tend to minimise or deny what I truly feel
- I often refuse help from others
- I mask my pain (well, not here!)
- I don’t recognise the unavailability of the people I’m attracted to
- I judge myself very harshly and nothing is ever good enough
- I feel embarrassed to receive compliments, recognition, gifts, or praise
- I am unable to ask others to meet my needs or desires
- I am extremely loyal and thus I remain in harmful situations for too long
- I accept sexual attention when I want love (this is the one I’m most ashamed of!)
- I often offer advice or help without being asked
It’s very hard for me to admit many of these behaviours, even here, where I’m pretty honest and raw all the time. It’s always easier to tell how broken life feels but much harder to be conscious of our own responsibility. No one manages life perfectly though, and what has been most scary is that I know I’m not the only one with this same issue. There is a lot of people who have been raised to shut down their emotions and who have grown up partially invisible to their parents’ eyes. There is a lot of people who was somehow made believe that they needed to become a parent to their own parents and therefore they had to take care of everything, to serve perfectly with the expectation they would then receive small glimpses of affection.
There is a lot of people suffering because of these sick ways of “loving” and there is a lot of hot messes out there looking for love in the wrongest places, only because they never had the chance to learn and experience differently. I want to share with you two books that have been the driving force of my quantic jump on this matter. If you suspect or you know for sure that you are usually codependent in relationships, I strongly recommend you the following works (click on the links below to access the audiobooks for free):
I don’t know when I will ever eradicate these behaviours and tendencies but I know for sure that I’m much more conscious and responsible now for the amount of time I let myself stay in hurtful situations. I also do make the effort to sit down with my feelings more often and to pay attention to red flags. I need to learn to express my needs and desires more clearly to people, and I also need to stop letting my insecurities control my reactions. As I said in a more recent post, I’m programmed to overcome dysfunction and apparently to talk about it too. Today I have more power over this particular chapter of my life and that’s something I should let myself be proud of, at least for today.