By the time you read this, whoever be drawn in, it is safe to say that I will be in Four Winds Mental Hospital for the second time. This was not typed up soon before you read it – know that I’ll be home soon. The topic matter, however, is not time sensitive.
What I want to talk to you about today is what is commonly referred to as ‘caretaker codependency’. A blessing, and a curse. It is shining armor, lined with inward facing thorns.
So, what is it? What the hell does that even mean? Well, this is a form of codependency in which the codependent person tries to fix everyone’s problems, usually out of worry or self-proclaimed responsibility. This behavior is most commonly seen in those close to an alcoholic, particularly family members. Shoutout to Dad for the new set of armor.
Time and time again, coworkers and affiliates otherwise have noted the behavior. I do well in retail, love to host parties, and make sure my loved ones are well cared for as best I can. The people around me are my focus, and if an atmosphere or mood of a room changes, I’ll be the first one to tell you.
Seems great, right? Well, not exactly.
On the bright side of things, yes, caretaker codependency breeds selfless and passionate people, and “paying it forward” is not occasion to them, it’s a daily ritual. But the behavior has its negatives, and doesn’t come without a price.
Those who struggle with caretaker codependency rely on others’ happiness to find purpose, which, I’m sure you know, simply isn’t sustainable. Those who find themselves in this position have an extremely tough time letting go of people, and easily feel like a failure when they cannot deliver. Worst of all, they try to please everyone. We’ve all learned from a young age that this simply isn’t possible.
Don’t be alarmed. Try and be patient. We mean well.
For those of us who are in touch with our problem that is caretaker codependency, we know that sometimes, our attempt to please everyone has hurt another, which truthfully makes us feel worse. Again, we wish everyone could be happy, even if some of those people have wronged us.
It’s a tough case, all in all. It’s a fine line between pathological, and normal human behavior. Everyone wants to make people happy. Everyone wants to deliver. But it’s when you don’t take care of yourself as a result of pleasing others.
Here, to those who still read, is my confession. I don’t know if I’m writing this more for you or me, but I’m writing it, and that’s what matters. When I went to Four Winds for the first time, I absorbed knowledge. I listened, learned, and even raised my hands frequently. All until the codependency group. I reared, and huffed and puffed, and told my friends and family that there was nothing wrong with this behavior, that I was passionate and that people wish they could find people who love with their whole heart. Part of that is true, passion is good. But the truth is, this is a problem for me, and, in an indirect way, is a way of me putting my emotional weight on people.
In owning up to my flaws, as I always seek to as it’s necessary for growth and development, I want you to know that there is likely a case in which I have done this to you. It’s not fair, and I’m sorry.
This may be my last article to you, it may not. Right now, I’m going to focus on making me better, and giving the world the William Pattee it deserves.