There is a term that applies when we sacrifice our happiness at the expense of others. This term is co-dependency. Co-dependency is: a set of maladaptive behaviours learned by family members in order to survive in a family experiencing emotional pain and stress.
I read the email back from my e-counseler and I immediately regret reading it while waiting for the bus at work. Tears fill my eyes as I blink furiously, trying to clear the glaze.
they have been taught in various relationships, perhaps beginning in childhood, that it is not okay to try and get their needs met; somehow the message is that they aren’t worth it.
I can’t stop the tears, realizing that my life, the life I fought so hard for, the life I thought I wanted, might as well have been a figment.
Seeing your life, reduced to sentences you might find in the Self-Help section, and realizing that it’s so very true? Hideous, and demanding and ultimately far too real.
There’s no bad guy here, not really.
I don’t think either side is the devil, full of fire and rage and hurt. Rather, I think we’re two people thrown together, people who love each other, but people who just can’t. My learned behaviours stretch far back, as I long suspected. Having every adult in my life supercede me in some way-by hurting me, by being sick, by dying, by drinking, by the slow hand of turning off, the neglect of grief. The constant “shhh” of living with cancer as a child, the sense that your pain, for all the merits of relativity, is not and will never be as meaningful or important.
Being told, without words, to never talk about any of it. To stare loss in the face, to stare betrayal in it’s vacant black eyes and know that you cannot say the words to make it flesh.
This person can be afraid to ask for what they need, because their needs have never been adequately met by anyone before.
I’ve always been told, in one form or another, that I ask too much. That what I want, that what I crave, the focused attention of love and affection, the warm glow of acknowledgement, is unreasonable. I’ve know this was not true, but I’ve never experienced it, and remember even as a child being so desperate for my father’s love, his attention and gaze.
All I’ve ever wanted was someone on my side-someone who didn’t worry about them, or someone sick or dying or just plain someone else. I wanted someone for me. I want someone for me.
Maybe that’s wrong, and selfish. But there’s a damn pouty little girl who never had anyone listen to her, and she’s stomping on the bone I’ve got left to love with. She’s not asking too much. She’s just asking.