I have filled my mind up and my friend’s ears with this processing lately. Codependence vs. Interdependence. It started with a dizzy spell and a realization that I have been living in a state of codependency most of my life (wait….ALL of my life). Don’t get me wrong, it has been a very comfortable way of life and I am not complaining. It’s just that I am finally ready to go on a journey of an interdependent exploration!! I want to feel alive. Be happy. Inspire. Feel new and satisfied. But I was having conflicted beliefs based on what I wanted now, and what has been serving me in my comfort zones.
What I uncovered about Codependence….there’s an energy loss for at least one of the participants…check! Looking for someone else or something as a source of validation, acceptance or safety….check! Looks at relationships as an investment (if I do this, then I will get that…check! It’s an unconscious (yet creative) reaction that ultimately drains or frustrates…check!!
Every so often (consistently) Jake and I would come up against the same friction conversation (always with diff triggers), and it would end in the same spiral on my part…”Something is off. I’m not feeling validated or appreciated. I’m just a stay-at-home mom. Why can’t I just be the awesome wife and mom that cooks and cleans all day?! Why can’t I just be like my mom?” Clearly that sounded ridiculous to both of us, but I couldn’t stop it from always surfacing! Jake loves my passionate side that feels the need to connect deeply with others and inspire. I was tired of this spiral. He was tired of the spiral. And yet, it happened one last time a month or so ago. I reached the same point of discontent and let it brew long enough that I could pin it on something being wrong with us…me! This is how it played out…
Jake and I took the kids to the beach and I continue to voice and probe at the idea that there is something off with Jake and I and the kids for that matter…our path. I couldn’t pinpoint it and that means that Jake couldn’t wrap his head around fixing it, so it leaves us both in a state of frustration. It was a quiet trip and there was even intense conversation that finally led Jake to a cracking point of frustration. We go about our day trip being buddies and awesome teammates, but there is clearly disconnect between us. We get home and I know enough that I just have to sit on his lap so we can have a connected conversation instead of side by side in the car. It was a very vulnerable move because of the tension, but it broke the flood gate. It finally comes out that I am afraid to change, and I’m afraid to do anything without the comfort of my family! He is feeling like a failure (changed jobs again, can’t catch his kids a fish, and can’t fix the uneasiness between us) and this is not a side that I have ever allowed him to show. I’ve needed him to be the strong one, with no doubts, and no emotions (unconsciously of course). My life was off balance inside and I didn’t clue in that it was a fear of change since I had changed so much. I tell Tré that night that likely, his fever is not about him. That Mom and Dad were frustrated in the car on the ride home and he probably picked up on it ‘energetically’, as they all had earphones on watching a movie). Sure enough, the fever was gone in the morning. But, I felt like I needed to explain to him more about the argument.
“You see, Dad and I are like this right now…(hands intertwined)
The clincher came when I was telling Tré the next night that I was suppose to go to a concert, but I kind of just wanted to stay home. He takes one look at me and cocks his head and says, “Mom, we are gunna move from this (intertwined-codependent hand gesture) to this (prayer hands).” I lost it, laughing with awe, joy and laughter. He heard me!!! His encouragement so so soft and WISE, and just what I needed!
So now for a few words on where this relationship has re-routed…INTERDEPENDENCE…it is usually an energy gain (or at least neutrality) for all persons involved…check! It’s when a person looks within themselves first but welcomes external sources (of the same) as a healthy compliment to life….check! It is a creative and conscious response to life that energizes and fulfills…CHECK!! Knows that a relationships are alive and require nurturance, boundaries and above all, a healthy dose of self-respect…check! And finally…it’s being in service, but not over-extending yourself to depletion-doing so with consciousness,, compassion (not martyrdom) and knowing when to pull back before it negatively affects your own healthy family or financial state…Check!
I have awareness that I have shifted, but it is a daily practice to get out of my comfort zone and fill myself up with possibilities instead of all the reasons I could fail. I am committed to feeling alive and in love with myself, so that I can continue to be that resource for my family to lean on in new ways.