Being "in love" was always pretty inconvenient for me...
And I seemed to fall in love all the time. I thought that I never had a type because the men I dated really didn't have all that much in common (except the fact that they all were normally deep in the throes of some kind of full-life crisis or an extreme addiction, and I was doing an expert job of "saving" them). I was never completely sold on any of these guys from the beginning, in fact, many times there were things about them I found really unattractive, yet somehow the chase would always turn to sex, and once sex was involved I was "in love", and it sucked.
No matter how often they texted me, it wasn't enough. I thought about them all day long. I couldn't focus on work, couldn't focus on anything actually. If I felt ignored or rejected, I would berate myself for being too needy, too fat (!?!), too tattooed, WHATEVER! I stalked them and their exes to the bottom of the internet.
I found it so strange that men I hadn't even been interested in in the first place had the power to make me so insecure, and jealous! They would treat me badly, I would react, and if they left (me, the room, the conversation, anything) I would A: freak out and B: throw my needs out the window, and beg and plead with them to take me back, promising the world, of course. I would catch myself wondering when I had lost my power, and why I was begging these guys I NEVER EVEN LIKED to please accept me.
I knew that the fact that I couldn't stay single was starting to become a little suspicious, as I had always had a boyfriend/fuckbuddy/sext buddy since I was about fourteen, and I'm twenty eight now. Getting sober helped me realize that destructive patterns normally are connected to an untreated condition, and I realized that my relationships were very much destructive patterns hiding my biggest addiction, and the hardest one to boot so far - codependency. Here's five things I always said as a struggling codependent, maybe some of these will sound familiar to you too!
1: "I CAN'T BE A CODEPENDENT BECAUSE I'M NOT NEEDY, RIGHT?!"
I associated codependency with weakness, neediness, with hiding behind a partner. The reality is that codependents are more often the powerhouse, Type A, control freak that is always "helping" other people. The reason why this is so is that codependents need other people to "fix" because it's easier than taking a long, hard look in the mirror and accepting that "I do have problems. I do need help.". A codependent needs someone else to focus on who seems weaker than them, so that they can immerse themselves in "fixing" them and sidestep that look in the mirror for one more day.
2: "HOW DO THESE CRAZY PEOPLE KEEP FINDING ME?"
They're not. You're finding them. Even if they technically talked to you first, you gave them your number. No one can steal your time and energy from you, you have to give it away. How much help did your current project actually ask for, and how much unsolicited help/advice are you subjecting them to on a daily basis?Do you get offended when they don't take your advice? Are you so frustrated because they would be so successful/happy/healed if they just took your action steps you had laid out for them so clearly? This is your issue, not theirs. Totally sucks to hear, for sure, but to accept it means you can stop wasting your time on people that don't want to change and start healing yourself.
3. "BUT WHAT IF I LEAVE THEM AND THEY WERE "THE ONE?"
Because codependents focus on other people instead of themselves, they've never taken the time to heal the self-worth issues that lie beneath all the addiction. Inside each codependent is a person who believes they are unworthy of unconditional love, so they put up with poor behavior because they're under the illusion that each person is the best they're ever going to have, and they'll never be loved again if they leave.
4. "I CAN ONLY DATE PEOPLE WHO ARE MESSED UP, NORMAL PEOPLE DON'T UNDERSTAND ME."
This comes back to your sense of self worth again. Because a codependent hasn't established that solid self worth, they think they have to earn everyone's love. This is a very conditional lifestyle, which leaves no room for unconditional love. When a codependent dates someone who isn't in some stage of distress, they feel useless and unwanted. A codependent will often find some other avenue to immerse themselves in to get their control fix. When the relationship is good, a codependent might find their work or family life simultaneously "becoming" very dramatic.
5. "THIS IS THE LAST TIME..."
You're an addict, love. You've been saying this for a long time now. It's going to take some time to kick this addiction, but you can do it. Just like an alcoholic wouldn't go hang out at a bar when they're first getting sober, you're going to have to avoid some people for a while as you're trying to get clear. Just like any other detox, it's going to get ugly before it gets better. You're going to have to actually deal and be with yourself when you're bored and alone instead of texting some whodat to get that hit of attention. You're going to realize that even that guy on the back burner that you chat with on FB late night is feeding your addiction. This won't be a ripping-off-a-band-aid scenario, it's a slow burn. So why do it? Because you'll be able to find some sustainable happiness in your life for the first time. Instead of focusing the entire weight of your happiness on someone who can never fulfil the expectations, you'll find it within you and the need for constant validation will go right out the window. You'll find out a lot of weird things about yourself, and if you can stand in the middle of the fire and make it through to the other side, you'll have all the answers and all the love you've been looking for this whole time.