Days 98 - 102
Post date: Oct 6, 2016 1:05:12 PM
SUNDAY - THURSDAY
I'm really not a nice person to be around, when you aren't doing what I think you should be doing. I'm mean. I'm manipulative. I'm angry. I'm condescending. I'm cruel. I think I'm right and you are just worthless, stupid, and unable to make any decisions, in fact, the fact you even have socks on is an Act of God. Codependency sucks.
I was working in the testing center, we had a full house. 40+ kids in a single classroom, standing in line waiting to take tests. I called out, "If you are talking, leave." "When the first test goes out, all talking stops." Well, by the second warning, all talking should have stopped. I did, after all, tell them to leave if they were talking. So I handed out the first test and said, "The first test is out, no talking." and a girl laughed. So I kicked her out. She broke a rule and I was the one who felt terrible. I spent the whole night worrying if she was mad at me. If I would get a nasty email from her parents. It was awful. Then my husband made the comment, "Why does it bother you?" Good question. Why did it bother me?
As a codependent, I would like everyone to like me. In the words of a fellow codependent, "If I'm in a room with 100 people and 99 of them think I'm great, I'll spend the entire night trying to get that 1 person to like me." Why? There are 99 people who would love to talk to me. Does it really matter if one doesn't? What have I lost? I'm not Christ. I'm not out to find the lost sheep. I'm out to take care of myself and love those within my sphere of reach. Now this may sound blasphemous. But if the sheep doesn't like me, there's not much I can do about it. I can bring them a piece of cake, say "hello", and then move on.
My happiness does NOT depend on people liking me.
The next day, the student returned to the testing center. I told her that if she had said, "I'm sorry, I'll be quiet." she could have stayed. She was shocked she hadn't apologized and then apologized. While she was taking her test, two girls started talking. Again, the same rules were pronounced at the beginning. I said, "Girls, leave" and out they went. She smiled. It wasn't just her. I wasn't picking on just her, it was a rule and it didn't matter who broke it.
It didn't matter that she was mad at me. I just needed to be fair.
I have to learn to take criticism. I have to think of it as a way to make me better, if I want, or something to just ignore. It is, after all, someone's opinion. I usually get defensive and pull away when people offer words of "advice." I shut down, become offended and stop listening. I make it virtually impossible for anyone to talk to me, beyond shallow conversations. The only way to build trust is to have a relationship in which all parties feel free to express themselves. Remember, codependents think they are right. It's kind of hard to have a meaningful conversation when the person you are talking to is always wrong, stupid, or just lacking.
The first instance of me just listening was the first family meeting. The second was the other night with my husband. I let him talk. Things he said upset me, but I just listened. I didn't need to react, he just needed to talk. He had things he needed to say. I didn't react at all. In fact, I just held him and let him talk.
The next day, something amazing happened. I'm pretty bad at communicating. My brain knows what I'm doing, but the rest of me, well, sometimes the thoughts just live in my brain. I had signed up to feed the missionaries two weeks before and TOTALLY forgot. As it is Elders, Jared would need to be home so they could come over. So around 10:00 a.m. I texted Jared and asked if he could pick up the missionaries for dinner. Generally, this sort of question upsets Jared. He has to rework his schedule and it's a pain. But he said ok, he could go at 7. So I contacted the missionaries, I had mentioned maybe going to Waffle House, but if Brother Likes could pick them up then they could come to our house for pork chops. So I told them Brother Likes was picking them up at 7. Somehow that translated to Brother Likes was picking them up at Waffle House at 7.
After several calls and texts, the missionaries biked back to the apartment and were spirited off to our house. I was expecting Jared to be extremely upset. On edge. Mad I had disrupted his night. Surprisingly, he wasn't. No sign of anger at all. It was wonderful. A weird thought occurred to me. What I had expected from Jared was how I would have acted in a fit of codependency. Life doesn't always happen the way it is scheduled to happen. Adapt. You will survive.
Being on edge all the time is just setting you up to fall over the edge. BACK AWAY. Find solid ground and live there.
There is peace again at my house. I know that my unhappiness is me trying to control people. I can't control people. I can set reasonable rules and expect those rules to be followed. Setting boundaries is a good thing. Respect is a good thing.
A family friend, in trying to understand codependency sent me this, "Okay... So forgive me if I'm being too nosy. It's okay to tell me it's none of my business, but I just want to understand: I thought co-dependent behavior was displayed by relying too much on someone or needing someone too much."
Codependency does NOT mean I need or rely on anyone. It means I'm trying to control them, live their lives for them. Make them be the person I think they should be. All the while, forgetting to take care of myself. I don't need any of the people I am codependent with. I want them in my life, but I can survive without them. And that is a good thing. I can walk on my own two feet and as a codependent, I realize that they, ALSO must walk on their OWN two feet and are capable of doing so.