My story of self-discovery and figuring out a path to change.
Thought I’d talk about my research into codependence.
Identify the Problem.
I’ve been reading this writer, Kris Gage. Her articles about love are refreshing. They deconstruct love and reassemble it in a new way that actually makes more sense.
Society shows us unhealthy love.
Love as a search for the one, a mystical being that opens you to a whole new world and completes you (personality, intellectual understanding, and physical deficiencies).
That’s an impossible predicament. There’s this one partner that can complete us.
I had a few other theories about love.
Any two people forced together for long enough can fall in love, like a patient falling for her therapist except without the patient/therapist relationship. The way survivors of a tragedy are bonded in a special way.
That view supported the beliefs I had coming in. People have to give up something to be liked and appreciated.
Kris Gage supports an independent kind of love.
Kris Gage’s articles interested me in hopes of learning about blog and fiction writing. I was wondering how Kris Gage had such depth in her articles.
And how she discovered another way to love instead of the scarcity, codependence, and elusivity model that’s at the forefront.
I enjoy reading posts that analyze a topic in-depth.
Like the posts of Emma Lindsey, Zaron Burnett III, or Abby Norman.
Sometimes through meditation I can dissect my own inner mental landscape in the same way these writers analyze their perspective fields.
Getting that in the form of a well thought out or researched article works just as well.
We’re drawn to voices that are familiar to our own.
Kris Gage extensively researches her articles.
Could I replicate that?
Researching that way isn’t something that motivates me.
A recent Kris Gage post refutes the concept of motivation, but I’m not convinced. Motivation can be built by working with motivation or without.
I’ve already chosen a method to live life on my own terms, meditation.
But this article isn’t about writing articles on Medium.
It’s about things I’m trying to change about myself.
Reading one of Gage’s posts got me to this article is Psychology Today about codependence.
I dived into these linked articles from that one.
Identify Associated Thought Patterns
It was revelatory, reading this article.
I am codependent.
Codependence starts with looking for approval instead of love that wasn’t easily accessible. That quest for approval starts with being perfect and hoping for approval.
That never came even when I was perfect, the miniature adult I became in place of my true personality. I followed rules like they were my bible. Telling on others became my pass-time. Getting better grades became my obsession and point of jealousy.
We’re all motivated to be loved as children.
Children in that type of situation subjugate their true self and deny preferences long enough that they barely exist at all.
They simply take on the preferences of those closest to them in hopes of acceptance.
For years, when people asked me my favorite color my answer would be “I don’t have one.” Same for if I liked something. I don’t know. No one told me.
The last part was something I figured out how to hide.
I became frustrated that nothing I did was ever good enough.
Then I learned to protect myself other ways.
Manipulation, Passive-Aggressiveness, and Evasion.
I got away from a situation when it started to deteriorate imperceptibly to most people. I became attuned to other people’s unexpressed emotions and found ways to manage those to protect myself.
I revealed secrets to protect myself from criticism. I blamed other people for everything going wrong.
What could’ve been bad enough to teach me those methods for my own protection?
It was criticism and withholding approval.
That seems innocuous in relation to those responses, but it worked that way.
That’s why I’m such a mess in some areas of my life, my social life being the biggest thing.
Those destructive thought patterns innervate my personality, intellectual understanding of the world, and the way I interact with my environment.
Identify the Cost of stagnation.
I crave approval to such a degree and get hurt from criticism too much.
I try to be so smart all the time so people will want me around.
I have trouble trusting people, because at some level I believe I don’t deserve them to help me if I don’t give up something in the process.
I give up stuff in the belief it’ll make people like me. Invariably that doesn’t work, and I get frustrated.
I think too much about what other people want and deny what I want.
I’ve been doing those things for so long, I have trouble knowing who I am.
Identify the Rewards of Growth
Those were things that I couldn’t have realized without meditation.
Therapy, religious belief, or other forms of meditation would’ve also gotten me there.
Therapy isn’t easily realized given the fact I can’t speak anymore.
Following a religious document isn’t conducive with my rampant trust issues.
I’m working on detangling those systems I developed for protection to find the person I am under it all. It’s a continuation of the path meditation put me on.
This is part of fixing myself, finding the things off with my mental landscape and rectifying those faults and frailties.
I have a skewed perception of my personality.
Something is wrong with me, and I’ve always been trying to fix it in hopes of being loved.
Changing into a better person would fix everything wrong with my life. That’s why I started.
Being a better person will help, but being loved doesn’t hinge on that. I know that now.
Going through with this is terrifying.
I have no idea what exists beneath this artifice erected over all these years.
I feel a sense of loss and growth that doesn’t fit together.
A nice short poem I wrote about how that feels:
I explored Myers-Briggs personality typing.
It helped me figure out who I am inside.
And presented the goal I should strive for.
Kris Gage helped with that as well with this personality typing article that I didn’t understand at first.
Research over months got me to a place where I could understand, with the help of this article.
I’m not sure where this goes, but this seems like the right direction.