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Friday, April 27, 2012

Walking through molasses: Codependence can make life more difficult...


I don't exactly know when, but I have at times in relationships--especially when they weren't healthy--felt as if I were not only carrying the weight of my own fears/worries/insecurities, but that I was carrying weight of those of my significant other.  Not only that, but the weight of their opinions too.


For example, in a relationship I had when I was in my 20s, my significant other at the time had a relative who was very smart and successful.  I know it now moreso, but at the time I knew I was smart as well.  A the time, I was reasonably successful, though I hadn't fully "arrived".

Her grandpa was a very status-oriented and judgmental person.   He bragged about her successful relative.  It was obvious, that the relative was a measuring stick upon which others would be measured against.  At the time, I felt her desire to want to brag on her significant other--being me--but I wasn't as successful as the relative.   I already had in my mind my own insecurity about where I was in my career.  So, her 'concern' about her grandpa's opinion was more weight on my shoulders.  

Anyway, at some point in the relationship, I was fired from a job.  So I was unemployed and of course I feeling less worthy.  At the time I was very private--even more so than now--so I wasn't dying to 'brag' about my job status.  But, I got the sense from her that I should just keep my mouth shut about my job situation in front of her family and her grandpa in particular.  Rather than have my back, it felt like she was pushing me protecting her image.  She should have been able to express concern about her significant other without worry about pushback from her family. Secondarily, I should have expected that she'd have the respect for me to stand up for me rather than to 'hide my shame'.  To me that should have been a sign to just walked away from the relationship.

So, I am stressing about being unemployed.  But, I am also stressing about retaining a 'good image' in the family for the sake of the relationship.  Obviously part of that 'good image' is being gainfully employed.   So not only am I feeling the pressure to find decent work, but I am feeling double pressure to do so for the sake of the relationship.  

I describe dealing with the relationship like walking through molasses because I can picture how difficult each step would be if one was doing that.  To me, having my own pressures and the pressures from a significant other in such a codependent relationship was made my steps forward in life more challenging as if I was walking through the "muck or stickiness" of codependence (aka molasses).

* Update 12/29/16.  I've been going back through my old posts to repost where the initial posts had less exposure and to tidy up old posts where it makes sense.  I revised this a bit now, but the essence of this one, I wrote this over 4 1/2 years ago, when I was permanently separated and in the process of a unkind divorce.  So, as you can imagine, I was reflecting upon relationships in my life and things that I'd learned and what not.  I'm in a better place now and I'm not sure I'd write this today.  However, unfortunately some of the clearest thinking occurs when we are pressured by painful circumstances in life.  So, while I rarely if ever consider the situation behind this post now, I see benefit in reposting it where my share could help someone.  Thanks for reading, Rich