Pas De Deux
Every time, I started with a new psychotherapist; I would receive the same diagnosis. Codependent Personality Disorder. It is and always will be – my sickness. But as the years went by, I would sometimes wonder if it had just become my mental frame go-to.
What if a therapist had labelled me with ‘Big Hearted Empath” or even “Super Supportive Lover” – might I have changed my behaviors and choices in my relationships quicker? Or would I still have carried around the sense of shame that occasionally haunts me to this day. Is it possible that I would have started making wiser decisions in my relationships earlier?
In 1914, Freud introduced the concept of repetition compulsion. His theory stated that a person who has been traumatized will repeatedly put themselves into similar situations, in order to “master” the original trauma. I learned about this concept in my first psychology class in high school. In coaching, it is discussed that our relationships are mirrors holding up to us the work that we need to do on ourselves. These theories might easily define my consistently poor choices in relationships.
If there were a list of adjectives to describe the men I have allowed into my life, it would include the following: creative, sensitive, moody, substance ab(user), abused, angry, powerless, needy or some combination thereof. I certainly did not consciously sign up for the Women Who Want to Fix Men Club. However, I found myself a consistent position there.
I had also located a very comfortable spot in the offices of many psychotherapists. Under the guise of my own psychoanalytic training and “transition issues”; I have spent a lifetime in psychotherapy trying to analyze this repetitive dance out of my life. Why did I consistently make poor choices in seeking a life partner? Perhaps it was due to my “sensitivity” that drove my parents crazy as I was growing up. Maybe my low self-esteem made me feel as though I had to provide a service to a man in order for him to invest in a lifetime with me – as if my presence, being and body were not enough.
I wondered about my innate ability to detect anger, anxiety or depression in others and in turn, adjust my energy. If I were truly honest maybe I would have admitted that being the caregiver in a relationship allowed me the controlling position and control was actually what I was seeking. It’s probably a combination of any of the above. But clearly I was in training for it right from my first breaths of air. When the child turns into an adult who is out on her own relying on these outdated schemas; it makes life very tricky.
Here is where coaching saved my life. Because you see, codependency is not just a cute little word that describes somebody who is hyper needy of their relationships. It is a real condition that can often lead to not only a lifetime of mental anguish, but also real physical illness. My Business Coach – yes, that’s right (no fancy pants psychoanalyst) CONFRONTED MY BEHAVIORS! He threw out words like SELF SABOTAGE, POOR CHOICES, MIND SET TRAPS AND LOVE MAPS.
It was exactly what I needed! To put me back in the drivers’ seat of my life. Therapy was allowing me to wallow in my victimhood but coaching pushed me forward in an effective way.
NOTHING. . and I mean NOTHING will erase my dysfunctional childhood, years of traumatic relationships and self doubt. The ONLY THING I got in my pocket now is remaining in control of my decisions and being wiser moving forward. Have I avoided all narcissists? NOPE. But I identify and evict them quicker – before the severe damage comes.
EVERYDAY I have to remind myself to. . – Live in my Integrity – Value my self – Behave in accordance with what I desire in my life – Vulnerability shown selectively – Single does not equal lonely
EVERY DAMN DAY!