I am constantly amazed at the interwoven mind hive that exists among kindred spirit writers. This tempting tidbit of wisdom emerged from my friend; a creative soul named Courtney A. Walsh who also penned the viral phenom called Dear Human. When I read it, my first thought was, “Holy shit! She nailed it.” and that immediately morphed into a ‘holy shift.’ I will tell you why on the other side of what she shared.
Codependent love says:
“I’m going to love all your broken parts whole again. I’m going to kiss your pain away. Make you feel worthy. Treat you better than all the ones who hurt you.”
It’s an absurdly unhealthy trainwreck of an experience. For both parties and all who have to witness it.
Interdependent love says:
“I refuse to ever see either of us as damaged, broken, lost, incomplete, or beyond redemption. We don’t need to fix each other. Just love each other with radical truth and shared presence.”
It’s rare. But worth it. It’s what we are all growing up into now. It takes courage. It’s the real thing. Not roles and programs. Not habit. Conscious choice. Again and again.
Wait until you feel that deep, inner soul click realization that genuine happiness is more of a priority in intimacy than the angsty, self-indulgent addiction to old wounds.”
As a recovering co-dependent who spent 5 1/2 days in an inpatient co-dependency program in 1993 and then another five years attending CODA (Co-dependents Anonymous), I have practiced what I call ‘savior behavior’ by which I want to (and too often have) fix, heal and kiss all the boo-boos to make them better for those in my life. Makes no difference whether they are family, friends, lovers, clients or even strangers.
Lest you think it is a purely altruistic inclination….uh uh. You see, being the indispensible, essential, everybody’s sweetheart, earns me brownie points. Not just any…but decadent dark chocolate with nuts and a bit of sweet frosting on top brownie points. Who wouldn’t love a caregiver? The caregiver herself. No matter how much praise I might incur as a result, it doesn’t feed my own sense of self-doubt. Have I earned my place in the world and in the lives of those I love? Can I possibly do enough to feel like I AM enough?
When I have swooped in and been the healer-the Goddess-the mystical-magical-one-who-knows being, it has felt good temporarily, but it diminishes the person I am attempting to ‘help’. Intimacy has nowhere to sink in roots if enmeshment and enabling supersede it. How can there be true mutuality
It also puts me in a pseudo-safe position because it doesn’t allow for vulnerability on my part. I have long ago realized that when someone is the co-dependent caregiver, they are pretty damn arrogant. “You need me, but I don’t need you,” has been a silent mantra. The truth is, I do need love and support as much as anyone. I just make it appear that I don’t at times.
We hear the saying, “It is better to give than to receive.” The truth is, it’s easier to give than to receive since when we are the giver, we get to be in charge. We decide what to give, how much to give, and to whom. When we are on the receiving end, we are vulnerable. Who wants to feel that way?
Although we have all faced drama and trauma and emerged with some ruffled edges and sometimes at our core, we are none of us irredeemably damaged. Think about the line in the Leonard Cohen song called Anthem, “ “There’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”
We are all a little bit cracked.
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