Co-NNections Recovery Stories

Grieving the Lost Years

My name is Liza and I am a recovering Codependent. I am grieving what I lost. I grew up with a very abusive domineering mother. All my childhood I was in survival mode and when I was 12 she ended up abandoning me. In my early twenties, despite being married to a loving dependable man, her abandonment caused me to live in fear of being abandoned. I did everything I could to control everything in my life. In doing so I was not able to live in the present. I ended up pursuing an education at any cost, I did not listen to any financial advice, I easily got into debt. At that time no one could tell me anything. Every person that tried to talk to me I distrusted. When I began teaching 6th grade I had a mental breakdown. The past had caught up to me. At that time I was full of shame and could not talk about what my mother did to me. In my mind the shame was on me. I had never been able to put the blame where it really belonged. I was told by my mother I was the problem. I internalized this and gave power to everyone. A life where you truly believe that you don’t matter is the loss of self. I never spoke truth.

If I wanted to say “no” it took days of internal struggle. In these struggles I was trying to make sure that the person asking would not dislike me. If I had to make a decision I would always ask someone else their opinion and despite disagreeing would not even think about it anymore. Who was I to make my own decisions?

If someone hurt me I vowed to remind everyone how much pain I was caused. I never sought to reconcile but always intended to destroy that person. In the process I isolated myself. I forgot what it was like to live without replaying the shame I felt about it all. I was unable to live, but in fact I lived two lives. I was lost to bitterness, never being able to live the life I desired, so I lied. I smiled and said yes, but I was dying inside. I had recreated the same painful life I had lived as a child. It was destroying me.

I don’t remember what led me to CoDA, maybe my higher power. From the first meeting I knew I was in the right place. I learned about the patterns one has when they are codependent. I am happy and able to live in the present due to CoDA. I grieve the years I lost. The years I tried to control and please others. I grieve what codependency robbed me of.

Liza D 

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