The definition of “codependent” has grown, over the years, to include any person who is in an unhealthy, mutually satisfactory relationship. A co-dependent cannot be the individual they really are but must fulfill a role their partner has for them. (Read as walking on eggshells to please the narcissist) That role is to provide unbending love and security. The co-dependent comes in when there is not enough love. Because of low self-esteem and deep-seated insecurity, the co-dependent cannot be the person they really are. Instead, they work to please the other person in order to ensure they will be loved. Therefore, a co-dependent submerges their needs for those of the other person.
It’s strange, because before I met my narcissist I was a very confident person with a good self-esteem. Even as a teenager. I was always helping someone or doing things for people, but not because I needed love but because people need each other. Slowly, that part of me began to unravel and it became a jumbled pile of insecurity and loss as the lines intertwined with each other. I was still helping others for the right reasons, but I was also seeking acceptance from my narcissist. Soon my helping others kept me going. I knew I wouldn’t be told I failed them but at home, I was failing in his eyes all the time. While I do not believe I was co-dependent on others for approval, I do believe I was very co-dependent with the narcissist.
It is a fine line. There are many tributaries to co-dependency and I have worked hard to work through them. It started about 5 years ago and it was the equivalent of yarn barf. You know, when you crochet or knit and the yarn gets so tangled up it takes you hours to untangle it? We who crochet or knit call it yarn barf. I found the end and I slowly started to untangle this mess and it took me a long time. I sorted through the whole Co-dependency issue over the course of 3 years. What I found is those I cared about, I genuinely wanted to be there for because I loved them, I was helping for the right reasons and those I did not and who I felt were taking advantage of me, I eliminated from my life. That included the narcissist and some family members who had taken advantage of me for years who have narcissistic traits. I unraveled my life, my emotions. I cut out what wasn’t needed, knotted it back together and smoothed it over and put the rest in the trash. Because ultimately, when you knot yarn together, it doesn’t show in the fabric you crochet or knit and those knots don’t show in the fabric of my life.
I still help those I love but I am not dependent on them to feel good..never was. I was just being myself. Giving of myself freely and openly with a pure heart.