When Codependency Masks Itself as Loyalty

I have a little confession to make. Maybe you already know, I’m sure I’ve said it before, but maybe I haven’t.

I have a problem with codependency.

I know, you’re thinking “Whaaaaat? But Dominee, you’ve been a single lady for forever and ever and most of the time you talk about liking it.”

That’s true too. I stay away from relationships because I know what it holds for me. I get addicted to love, to relationships, to being needed by someone. And basically it destroys my life. Okay, that’s a little dramatic, but it destroys my sense of myself, completely. I suddenly stop being me and start being whatever or whoever they need me to be. My every thought revolves around them, I becomeย obsessiveย about it, and it turns me into someone I don’t really like. Relationships are like a drug and I’m addicted.

I’ve spent the last several years being single so that I can focus on what I want and what I need and what makes me happy.

I get to be Dominee, with no one else in my head, telling me that I’ve got to be perfect for someone else. If I ever do get into another relationship I am going to have an unshakable foundation and a true sense of who I am in every aspect. That’s a whole shit ton of work, and maybe one day I’ll get there.

I’m not there now though. I still see my codependent tendencies coming up in my friendships and it makes me sad and frustrated. I am succeeding in baby steps. I’m good at creating boundaries, something I wouldn’t have been able to do five years ago. I’ve stopped givinggivinggiving until I want to keel over because I’ve learned to say no. I’m becoming a better communicator. However, there are still things I need to work on.

I make excuses that I shouldn’t make.

For example, I had a friend and we’d been close for a few years. He went through a really hard time, a mid-life crisis sort of thing, and when it was over, he wasn’t the same, I wasn’t the same, and neither was our friendship. I was constantly feeling like he didn’t want to be around me and that we were only friends because he was just as bad at letting go as I was and I didn’t want to be alone.

I told myself that it was being disloyal to want to let go. For someone who has been ‘abandoned’ as much as I have, loyalty is something that I value almost more than anything, because loyalty means they aren’t going to leave me.

When I want to leave a friendship or relationship I tell myself that I have to be loyal. You stick through the tough times, you don’t just throw people and relationships away when it gets hard. You don’t just give up, you fix what’s broken.

It is so hard to walk the line between loyalty and dependency.

It’s hard to know when you ought to let go and when those excuses in your head are just that, excuses.

Letting go is hard to do, but so is holding on to something that isn’t nourishing, that doesn’t fill your heart up, just for the sake of a loyalty that doesn’t do anyone any good.

One step at a time, I’m learning.