Codependence as Fear of Self

It’s come to my attention in the past few days that there’s something off about my definition and living of the word stability. It’s not actually a new point, I’ve been made aware of it before, it’s been pointed out and described, but it never really sank in, or shall I say I never allowed myself to directly experience it as it is and more so, its consequences. Recently, my daughter, my partner and myself together with others in my life went through quite the bout of flu, a dragged out one that kept jumping around to different parts of the body. At the same time many of us were going through an emotionally challenging time. Many new deep-seated parts of ourselves got unearthed and brought to the surface to be questioned, worked with, understood and changed. Together with this, my daughter started changing her sleeping pattern (as she tends to do during tough times), where she’d be awake all night and asleep during the day, to switch it back to normal for a day or so and then switch it around again. Needless to say... I was Exhausted.

But physical exhaustion is one thing, been there before. This time, there was something else, something more taking a toll. In one of the last days of my illness, I suddenly had these moments of just wanting to cry – out of the blue, for seemingly no apparent reason. My eyes just welled up and tears came, and for the life of me I couldn’t stop, nor did I want to – it needed to come out. My partner saw me and, having seen me just a moment before being ‘normal and fine’ he asked ‘what happened??’, assuming something must have just triggered this reaction, or something must have happened between then and now. But all I could say was ‘I have no idea’.

Rewinding a few weeks, one of the points that had come up for me was a wish for everything in my external reality to remain just as it is now – no sudden changes, no moving to a new place, no life changing decisions, just keep everything exactly the same. After having gone through an uprooting from South Africa to Panama and all the steps in between, the amount of time it took to finally settle in and get to a point of ‘flow’ or ‘routine’ - not even routine really, but a general ‘stability’ in being able to expect kind of what a day or week looks like – I didn’t want to give that up again. With most of my time and attention going to Syntia, I have only snippets here and there to move on other things, to write a blog, to move on projects, to study. Syntia’s day is a surprise every day, we can make plans, but we never really know what the day brings – and that is kind of enough unknowns for me (or so I tell myself). If everything else stays just the way it is, just the same, then at least all I have to do is consider Syntia, my responsibilities, my partner’s schedule and then carve out time here and there to do other things. It’s a careful balance, that JUST works. And I had JUST gotten to establish this again after such a long time of unknowns, changes and ‘make-do solutions’.

Going back to the moment where I tore up for ‘no apparent reason’ - in moving more into that hurt  – because that is all I had to describe it – a hurting – moving into it to really experience it and understand it, something clicked. That wish for stability in wanting everything else to stay the same, stay ‘quiet’ essentially, so it doesn’t take my focus, so it doesn’t require my attention or direction – it’s just there, a supportive background that allows me to focus on the day-to-day unpredictability that needs my attention most and move with, within and through it most effectively – now that version of stability is what I would unconsciously start living whenever I would see someone else go through a rough time. I go quiet, I withdraw, I become part of the background, I try to be one less reason for someone to become upset, challenged, ticked off or unbalanced. I try to be blend with that part of their reality that is just the same, unchanging, steady – thinking it will give them a better chance to sort out what it is they need to understand and go through.

Now there’s nothing wrong with trying to support someone, but there definitely is a red flag when you change who you are in someone’s presence without awareness, where you not just try to put someone else before you, but actively push yourself back and become more of a presence instead of being fully present as yourself. It’s like trying to ‘ooze’ a sense of stability, but not really stability, more a sense of ‘shhhh, I am not here, shhhh, don’t worry about me, don’t look at me, shhhh, you didn’t see me, shhhh, I was never here shhh, shhh’, lol. I bet if I had the power to turn invisible, I would’ve, lol, but this is how I’ve tried to come as close to it as possible.

Writing about this, I’m remembering two specific instances where this design was explained to me.

The first time was Bernard pointing out to me that when there is conflict in my environment, I hold myself stiff and will tend to do something with my hands, hold something or play with something, focus on this one thing and try to blend with the background. He mentioned I’d developed this growing up with my father who had quite a temper, in order to not be noticed in case he would then direct his anger towards me. Essentially, that I had developed this as a coping mechanism in an attempt to stay out of trouble.

The second time was during a resonance discussion with the portal, which was recorded and transcribed and which you can read over here. Here it was in relation to my older brother who was going through a difficult time and how I’d done the same thing of withdrawing in the background to try to be this stability from a distance, yet again with a fear driving it, to stay out of trouble.

When I cried, and moved into this hurt more, I could feel how old it was, it wasn’t just about the recent events and how I’d lived it out this time and the toll it had taken on me now, but a hurting over all the times I’ve done it, over how it’s become such a part of me, how I so automatically go into it and don’t even see what it is I’m doing to myself until afterwards, if even then. And it is a doing unto myself, it’s like a shutting down, a self-denial and self-suppression, a wishing myself away, a putting myself on hold, all under the guise of support and stability. But underneath it all is that fear.. not only that I’ll be on the receiving end of someone’s emotional outburst, that I’ll become the receptacle in which another decides to deposit their emotional poop, but even more, fearing that I am the cause of it in the first place. I don’t want to be noticed, I don’t want to be seen, because maybe if they do they will put two and two together, that their experience is all my fault. And when they do realize I am the cause, I don’t want to be around to bear the consequence of it.

Great, so now what? Lol, I had an idea of where this writing would go and how it was all going to be about stability and redefining and specifying it, which I suppose in part it still is. But here now a deeper dimension of fear and self-interest opened up. It was never just about wanting to be stable and supportive for others and compromising myself as a result. It wasn’t all good intentions, it was plain old fear. But where this fear specifically comes from, this assumption that it’s my fault when someone else is dealing with emotional upheaval, I can’t put my finger on it. I don’t see what to write from here, so self-forgiveness it is.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to every time I see another go into intense emotional conflict or upheaval, particularly if I sense a tinge of anger, go stiff within myself and think ‘oh no, what did I do this time? what did I miss?’.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to assume that when another, but in particular someone close to me, goes into emotional conflict or upheaval, it is my fault and I am the cause of it.

I forgive myself for not accepting and allowing myself to realize that I’ve made the decision to be responsible for other people’s internal stability or instability.

I forgive myself for not accepting and allowing myself to realize that in wanting to live a peaceful life, one without conflict and emotional baggage and damage, I’ve taken it upon myself as a child to be and do whatever I considered necessary to prevent anyone from going into emotional conflict, trying to do everything ‘right’, trying to make it so that no one would ever have a reason to become upset, and become upset with me in particular.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to assume that if someone does get upset, that it means I somehow didn’t try hard enough, that I missed something or that I did something that allowed that conflict to still build.

Hu, it’s interesting because the way I had been looking at this point was that I was just trying to be a stable point for others, but in reality, I was trying to be what I thought was necessary in order for others to be stable for me.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to go into/give into shame, judgment, disappointment, anger and feeling disheartened at the realization of the role of self-interest in my attempts to be a stable point for other people.

I forgive myself that I’ve never accepted and allowed myself to face this point head-on and see it for what it is, experiencing it directly as well as its consequences, but have continued to live out the same old pattern with yes chipping away at it and investigating parts of it, but never with the actual brutal self-honesty needed to change it.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to build an experience of loneliness, aloneness, not being seen and understood in what I go through when I shut down ‘for’ other people, as well as building resentment and blame towards those I ‘support’ this way because of what I apparently ‘give up for them’.

I forgive myself for not accepting and allowing myself to realize that my experience of feeling distraught at my ‘sacrifices’ not being seen or acknowledged is really stemming from me not seeing what I am actually doing to myself and for what reasons, which I’ve then projected on others as being the apparent cause/origin of disregard, when it is and has always been me disregarding me.

I forgive myself for not accepting and allowing myself to realize that in the way I have approached and lived the word stability, I’ve never lived it for myself – and have always played a game of trying to be stable for others while simultaneously wanting others to be stable for me, and making everything and everyone else in my life responsible for the extent to which I move, direct and support myself – because ‘if there is no stability, I am but at the mercy of the ebs and flows of reactions and happenings and have no real power to direct anything’.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to have made my ability to support, direct and take responsibility for myself entirely contingent on the level of ‘stability’ that I experienced in and from my external reality.

During a discussion on redefining words on the farm, we looked at the word ‘stable’ - one of those in the moment discussions of bringing a point here, walking it, clarifying it and there it is, done. In the case of the word stability the sounds that opened up were ‘stay’ and ‘able’ and the redefinition that flowed from here was: ‘to STAY here so that I am ABLE to direct myself and my reality effectively.’ The simplicity of this redefinition was so elegant and on-point, it always stuck with me. Looking at it now it’s interesting that it holds two dimensions – on the one hand there is the grounding of yourself in the here moment, but it goes hand in hand with moving and directing yourself. In my living of the word stability, I’ve split these two parts of the word – I’ve made one party responsible for the grounding and staying – and made another party responsible for the moving and directing. Here is how I have lived it:

“Stability is for others and my external reality to remain grounded/here, so that I can move and direct myself effectively”.

Or, the other way around:

“Stability is for me to stay the same/stay put, so that others can move and direct themselves effectively.”… and in fine print: “ that they can be grounded again and allow me to move and direct myself again”

But when it comes to living the words stability, both dimensions are about self – for me to ground myself in the here moment, so that I am able to direct and move myself. Yes, I can use my external reality as a support to help ground me if need be, but the movement, the action still occurs within me. And it’s within me that the grounded here presence needs to be created and from which the movement and direction needs to spring.

This point has been a part of me for such a long time I can see how it would extend further than just in tough emotional/turbulent times. Let’s say if someone close to me in my life decides to take on a new endeavor and shares it with me, it’s like I immediately internally sigh and become heavy. Because with new endeavors come new challenges, and many opportunities for turmoil and ‘instability’ - so from the get-go, I’ll try to take responsibility for their endeavor within me. I anticipate being a sounding board for them, I carve out a ‘space’ for this new endeavor within myself and make it a point to start considering different dimensions of it. I look at what parts of it I am not familiar with and already make a list of things I will need to educate myself on. And it’s not necessarily like I am ‘doing anything’ - it’s more an internal ‘taking on’ where I try to ‘help carry’ a point of responsibility of another, in me. And no, that was never asked of me, and no it’s not necessary – but I’ve come to do it automatically, and then inevitably come to a point of feeling like it’s ‘too crowded’ within me in carrying/looking at too many points and not having the internal space to consider myself, my own projects and responsibilities effectively.

When I close my eyes and just hold myself and my life, my responsibilities, projects and let go of everyone else and their points, I suddenly have so much space inside, it’s like I can BREATHE. But at the same time, there’s a fear in this aloneness, because who’s going to be my backup now? Am I actually capable of taking full responsibility for myself, do I have that in me? This again showing the hidden ‘quid pro quo’ terms and conditions in my way of ‘supporting’ others – I do it for them in the assumption that they’d do it for me. And all the ideas and beliefs that ‘I have to do this for them’, that ‘they need me to do it’, is only a reflection of my own beliefs that I can’t take full responsibility for myself and my life.

Understand, I’m not talking about living in absolute separation of other people and that each one should be able to handle everything on their own with no support from others whatsoever. Asking others for help in a project that you’re taking responsibility for, is something you do on a practical level. In that case the other takes responsibility for the help they offer, but it does not mean they take on responsibility for the entirety of the project. And that’s the distinction, whether or not I end up offering support on a practical level or not, on an internal level I try to take responsibility for the whole thing within me, without them asking to, without them necessarily knowing that I’m in some way investing a part of myself in it. And this is what I want from other people – I want others to take responsibility for me, my life and my projects – so that I don’t have to be the ultimate point of responsibility. So that if I fall in any way, there will automatically be someone to step in for me, to catch me and the pieces of my life that are in disarray until I can pick them up again.

The words that come up are: not trusting myself to be able to stand on my own two feet in life. And ‘life’ here really referring to ‘the world out there’. I imagine myself standing alone in the world and just  choking at the fear of all that might go wrong, all I might have to face, come to terms with and all that I might not know how to direct or take responsibility for. And what is the world but a reflection of myself? So here the inevitable realization that yes, all fear in the end is fear of self – a realization that’s part of a quote Bernard once shared and to which I’d often stare with a blank face – understanding it on an intellectual level, but not really seeing how that practically works. And here it is, clear as day.

Since having opened up this writing, I’ve felt quite unstable, lol. With putting into question such a foundational word as stability and how I have lived it, it feels like I have no anchor or can’t trust any way I am attempting to anchor and stabilize myself – I keep asking myself, ‘if not how I have been doing it, then how???’. Here I also have to be careful to not chuck out the baby with the bathwater, because it’s not like I’ve never effectively lived the word stability, it’s not that I must scratch all stability from me and completely start over. But there are scenarios, especially when it comes to emotional turbulence and life changing decisions, that I slip into this co-dependent version of stability. So, here it’s for me to expand my level of responsibility within the word stability to extend also to those more challenging scenarios, as well as to take on those fears of standing on my own two feet, of independence in terms of taking full responsibility for myself and my life. This fear being really the driving/origin point and the co-dependent stability as the outflow consequence. Both have been ingrained and a part of ‘who I am’ over the years and so it is not sufficient to only tackle the fear, both have to be addressed in my application of forgiveness and real-time change.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to fear being alone in the world.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to fear taking full responsibility for myself, my experiences, my challenges, my weaknesses, my vulnerabilities and accept that the task of understanding and changing the parts of me that are as yet underdeveloped, mismanaged and misaligned, into effective expressions in alignment with what is best for me as what’s best for all is mine and for me to walk.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to accept and live the belief that there are just some parts of myself that I am incapable of changing or taking responsibility for, where I feel completely out of my depth, where I feel completely powerless and where I feel like there’s no point in even trying to understand and let alone change them.

I forgive myself for not accepting and allowing myself to be patient with myself and realize that it’s not about changing everything NOW – but to continue looking, investigating, understanding and changing as I go.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to believe that if I cannot make other people responsible for my stability in relation to points that I consider weaknesses and vulnerabilities in which I don’t have the capacity to stand yet, that I’ll completely collapse and fear not being able to get up again.

I forgive myself for not accepting and allowing myself to realize that I’ve many times collapsed, many times faced points and parts of myself that I thought unchangeable, out of my reach to understand and grasp, and yes, have collapsed, but each time, have also stood up again – and this of me I can trust, that I will get up again, no matter how ingrained the point, no matter how ‘big’ it seems, the heart of the matter is that I will find myself within it and move myself forward to the best of my ability – even if at first it goes bumpy, even if I make many more mistakes, I continue to learn, grow and change.

I forgive myself for not accepting and allowing myself to realize that the fear of the big wide world is really a fear of the parts of myself I have yet to take responsibility for or get to know, explore and understand.

I forgive myself for not accepting and allowing myself to realize that my co-dependent version of stability, where I try to be stable for others but more importantly want others to be stable for me, has been a way for me to hide from myself, a way I’ve used to hold myself back, to not have to see the fullness of me and the extent of my responsibility within it.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to believe that I cannot trust myself to stand on my own two feet.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to believe I should only stand on my own two feet when I am fully ‘developed’, fully ‘matured’, where all of me is trustworthy and I can trust myself to no longer make mistakes – when in fact, taking this approach prevents me from creating myself as that in fact – where I first require to take full responsibility for myself, accept that yes, I have much support in this life from others, but who I am and my life is 100% my responsibility and no one else’s and accept that in this sense I am alone – in order to reveal the parts of myself that need work, that need changing, that need developing and maturing, and so actually do it.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to feel like a child wanting to hold on to my mom’s hand just a while longer, feeling not ready to let go of support that I have defined in others, assuming that if I do, nothing but trouble will come my way, and forgetting that every time I as a child or young girl was faced with this fear, and wanted to back down the last moment when it came to doing something on my own, outside the ‘comfort’ and ‘secuirty’ of my family, yet when I did, I ended up learning and discovering so much of myself that I hadn’t previously seen or allowed myself to live.

I forgive myself for not accepting and allowing myself to realize that in trying to hold back ‘the worst’ of me, I am holding myself back fully, including undiscovered, forgotten and suppressed expressions that are waiting for me to be lived.

I forgive myself for not accepting and allowing myself to realize that in trying to protect me from myself, I am also preventing me from getting to know me and preventing me from receiving the gift that is me.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to have stubbornly held on to the perception and belief that I am inadequate, incapable, immature, and most of all ‘not ready’ - which is not even clearly defined in terms of what I am not ready for or in what ways I am not ready, but has been this blanket experience that has come up and that I’ve always simply accepted as valid and real and have used as a reason to hold back and back down.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to, as a first reaction to seeing or hearing another’s emotional state of mind, take it personally and go into a defensive mode of shutting myself down and/or starting to race in my mind to build up all the arguments/reasons why I am not to blame or what I could say in defense of myself if someone points to me as the reason for their state of mind.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to exist in constant anxiety and guilt whenever another in my life is going through inner conflict or instability, due to the assumption that I am at fault and will be found out.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to try to ‘support’ someone in my reality that is going through emotional upheaval/internal instability by trying to be stable for them, to try to make up for my guilt in the belief that I am responsible for their instability, experiencing that if I go ‘all the way’ now in trying to keep everything as stable as possible for them, maybe it will stave off some kind of emotional explosion or disaster that I perceive would equally wreak havoc on me.

I forgive myself for not having accepted and allowed myself to take full responsibility for my inner reality every time I have any sort of emotional reaction or movement within me, and so equally have accepted and allowed the belief that others are not fully responsible for their own state of mind and state of being.

I forgive myself for not accepting and allowing myself to, in seeing or hearing another’s emotional state of mind and reacting to it, live the word stability for me, in assessing what within me is being triggered by another’s presence/state of mind/state of being that I need to work with, look at or sort out,   to then do so right away, or make a note of it, for a moment let it go and then assess the here moment in seeing if there is anything for me to do or say in relation to the other, or not, within the realization and understanding that I am fully responsible for my reactions/state of being/state of mind and they are for their own and that yes, I can be a support for another in moments, but this does not entail taking responsibility for who they are, nor to make them responsible for who I am.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to, as a first reaction to someone sharing about a new point or venture or idea that they would like to start, panic inside myself and feel overwhelmed and forced to now take responsibility for this idea/point/venture with them and start looking at all the ways I need to be a part of or support somehow with making sure this idea/point/venture works out, under the guise of wanting to maintain stability for myself and others, instead of living stability in first slowing myself down and asking myself what was triggered within me about me, my life, my projects, my responsibilities by another sharing about their idea, to make a note of what I need to look at for me, let it go for a moment, and then simply hear another in this here moment and reply as here, without attempting to or feeling the need to take on or invest myself in their point/venture/idea from start to finish.