Co-NNections Recovery Stories

Sarah – 5/7/19

In my journey to sever my codependency, I’ve searched deep into who I was when I first married and now, 20 years later, broken and beautiful.

I’ve learned the difference between trust and the benefit of doubt. For the longest time they were interchangeable in speech; I rarely gave either. I came from a family where trust was rare and self-preservation was necessary. Over the years I have learned to give the benefit of doubt but it is difficult, even to competent adults. It takes effort even after 40 years. I have learned how fragile trust is. I have learned that when trust is absent, fear resides. I have developed a deep fear that consumes me. When I fear, I seek control of others, losing control over myself and ultimately feeling worthless.

I am a codependent. I control others through manipulation and force, because I fear. I offer unsolicited advice, and when it is not accepted, I persist. I have difficulty letting competent adults take care of themselves and I do things for them that they are capable of doing instead of taking care of myself. This leads to me being resentful because they don’t reciprocate. I take care of my husband better than I do for my children. Emotionally, I am consumed with fixing my husband, and I have left my children emotionally abandoned. I accept sex when when I want love. I use sex to gain approval and acceptance. I believed that the more I gave of myself, physically, emotionally and sexually, my husband would change. I believed that love could conquer all and that if you loved someone enough, they would be happy. I believed that I was worth changing for and when they didn’t change, I felt worthless. I do not ask my husband to meet my needs or desires because I fear rejection, mitigation, or lies masked as excuses on why he cannot serve me. I have learned that these codependent patterns were ingrained in me and my relationships were just a way to bring them out. I am learning how to say “No” when I mean it and “Yes” when I mean it, and not to acquiesce. I am learning to not abandon myself. I also have emotional abandonment trauma and I cope by controlling others close to me, to avoid being hurt more, not realizing that by doing so, I cause more hurt to myself than I prevent. I am learning how to self-appreciate.

I have a testimony of God’s power, my Higher Power. I understand that only I can build me, and I also understand that being in an emotionally abandoning relationship can tear down my self-worth. Progressing alone spiritually is not something that I choose in a new relationship, but with God I am not alone. I have become aware of how much my worth was tied up in my marriage covenants and when those were broken, it broke me. I am rebuilding myself through my covenants with my Higher Power.

Only through my Higher Power can I feel safe.

I understand the need to make a full inventory of one’s life to a loved one or trusted person. When I was naive and newly married I didn’t feel this was necessary. I believed that if one had left past wrongs in the past, then one should never speak of it again. I was wrong. Healing is crucial. I have learned that this inventory is part of the healing process and one will never feel the full effects of the healing from Higher Power until a full inventory has been made. I have learned that making a full inventory is time consuming and painful…and it is liberating, empowering and spiritually awakening.

I am striving to abide by this: The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.

Most importantly I am learning to let go and let God.

Sarah G – 2/19

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