How have I never heard the term Interdependent until recently?! (two marriages later). I’ve discovered that most people are somewhat familiar with the term codependent but not interdependent, just like me. It’s taken me two marriages and a whole lot of legal battles, losses, and lessons learned to understand that I am a codependent (unhealthy) with no clue how to exist in an interdependent (healthy) relationship.
Endless givers (typically co-dependants) will naturally attract endless takers (typically narcissists). A recipe for disaster and a dynamic I can relate to as I learn more about it. Ross Rosenberg published a great book on this called “The Human Magnet Syndrome”.
I took the valiant approach in both of my marriages…. was going to “save” them. Together we would heal and be better people… as a Team! Instead, things only got worse and both attempts ended in disaster. A sponsee of mine once referred to himself as “Captain Save a Ho”. I can relate to the mentality and now that I’m back fully in recovery mode, running a sober living, sponsoring guys and doing the deal I refer to myself as “Captain Save a Bro”. It’s working out much better this way! Although, I’m still not sure if my “Save the World” complex is going to be the key to my success, or to my destruction…. TBD
Why is this not taught in school? I am baffled at how ignorant our society is to the common dysfunctions in the home. So many massive cultural issues could be solved if content and education like this were made available to families. Things like Gaslighting, Projecting, Mind Reading, Narcissism and so many other behaviors (both good and bad).
I remember sitting in a member of the clergy’s office begging him to help me and keep my family together. I explained the emotional outbursts and unpredictability we were subjected to with my wife. The abuse… emotionally and physically. The extent of which I could not begin to explain. It was a daily nightmare! Yet he was clueless. I was fortunate enough to find a good counselor who made some diagnoses that helped identify the origin of her (and our) suffering, but ultimately she chose divorce over his recommended treatments.
The betrayal I felt from not only her but so many in my circle at that time. I mean, she had actual enablers and I had to do a lot of praying to forgive them, but the others (including the members of the clergy) were simply ignorant and just didn’t know what to do. They all watched my family dissipate, as I did, clueless as to what the exact issues were.
I have since been consuming psychology, specifically as it relates to relationships like it’s a food group. I have been so enlighted by my education through people like the ones I mentioned and many other recommendations you will see as you start down the rabbit hole. I’m amazed at how much information is available to us these days! No excuses… it’s all on youtube – for free!!!
I can summarize my relationship journey with an understanding now that I was a victim of abuse as a child. That the relationship with my Mother (and Father) is/was very toxic and filled with neglect, confusion, frustration and other things I’ve had to come to grips with and work through. The cyclical nature of our existence continued and I re-created this dynamic in my relationships. As I educate myself on what is healthy and what is not, I have a chance at breaking the cycle.
The relationship I have with my children is amazing. I have had full custody of my daughter since she was 3 (she’s 13 now). Even with continuing issues with her Mother and her inability to stay clean/sober for an elongated period of time, she’s doing okay. Even with the abuse from her stepmother, she’s okay. She has a Dad who is learning how to do it right. I take ownership of my mistakes, listen to her, practice what I preach and most importantly – I’m here for her (dedicated to her). I actually have court in the morning regarding my son (from the second wife) and odds are very good that I will have a full custody situation with him as well – currently, it’s 50/50.
I’m grateful for the feedback and lessons in this area even though it’s been very disruptive and destructive to my children and me. We have survived and are now thriving. I’m able to connect with other men (and women) from this experience and help them from a place of empathy. I hope to grow that and make the world a better place in any way I can. That’s really what it’s all about, right?
Thanks for reading! I hope this helps you.