Just two months ago, I reached my breaking point in therapy. What was my final lesson? I'm addicted to love.
I haven't quite figured out the real reason why I am addicted to love, but I get the concept and that is all that really matters.
As I learned in The Five Love Languages, we all have a love tank. Much like the water coolers shown here. Throughout our days, months, and years people fill our love coolers. Sometimes they fill them with Kool-Aid, or water, or maybe sometimes they attempt tea, even though you don't drink tea. Many people have learned to fill their own water cooler and some people are so good at it, it's as if their water cooler is located directly beneath a broken spigot.
Well, my spout has a leak. No matter what people fill me with, it has never been enough. In technical terms, I am a codependent. "Hi my name is Alice, and I am addicted to love." This is a hard lesson to learn about oneself. Nobody wants to be broken. And more than anything I never wanted to be needy.
But, codependence is sneaky. While one is so busy keeping up the facade that they are strong and courageous, on the inside, their mind and emotional well-being is subconsciously in warfare. A co-dependent IS the person who takes care of everybody else. They won't admit it, but their drive in caring for others is to somehow to gain approval and love. A co-dependent needs to be needed. Being needed somehow makes them relevant. As a lifelong codependent I have a really hard time even identifying my feelings at times because I have trained my mind to believe something that isn't true. I have trained myself to think I am strong when really I am just this little wounded girl who needs extra attention. Well, guess what? It's fine time I grew up. I don't need extra attention and I also don't need to be strong for everyone else.
The problem is that co-dependents don't know it but they drain the people close to them. The people close to them get sick and tired of trying to meet a need that can't be filled and they turn away. If the co-dependents loved one is not healthy or strong enough lots of times they will turn to an addiction. If you know an addict, trust me, you will soon come to know the co-dependents that surround them. Every addict needs an enabler. I can't say that I blame them. I understand because my mother is also a co-dependent. In fact, I think my dad might be too. It is exhausting to try and give someone something that they really can only give them self.
The blogosphere is a great place for co-dependents. If you are addicted to your comments, you may want to ask yourself why.
So, every day of my life is now spent in trying to fight this insatiable need. I try to combat it in many ways. One, I try to love myself. Another thing that I have found essential is always self-talking. I use the phrase, "You don't need to be loved". I also catch myself doing silly things every day and I try to stop them.
I can NOT volunteer for a millionth thing this week. I can not fish for that compliment. I can be content NOT knowing every last detail about my spouse. I can laugh if they are talking bad about me. I can quit trying to be perfect. I can quit trying to make my husband and children perfect. I can admit that I have needs. I can try to make my needs healthy. I can quit clinging to people. In jest, I can let go.
I know I've got you thinking. I am happy to have this newfound knowledge about myself because I am happier then I have ever been. It's o.k. that I'm addicted to love, as long as I am in recovery.
Let love go and if it doesn't come back to you, it was never yours in the first place. If it does come back, hold on to it forever.