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Co-NNections Weekly Readings
 

' I LOVE YOU BUT...'

Over the past 50 years most of my relationships have come with conditions. In order to be loved, I would have to change something about myself to make another person feel comfortable or happy.  I would bend to their will desperate for love and approval. Nothing I did would yield the desired effect and it was never good enough or appreciated,  So I would try harder to fit into the mold they wanted me to and many times I wound up being an extension of them. I would twist myself up this way and that trying to fit into their idea of who I should be in order to receive love from them, yet I was to fully accept who they were and love them for it. Which, when I think about it, that is really what love is. Acceptance of who a person is while loving and respecting them, even if I don't agree or even accept their various views and ways.
 
Many times throughout my life I would hear " I love you, but..." The "I Love You Buts" led to me having low self-esteem and feelings of inadequacy in society and dealings with others. So in an attempt to avoid this, I did the only thing I knew how to do. I walled myself off using pain as the bricks and alcohol as the mortar. I was killing myself people-pleasing and indulging the insatiable energy vampires. I attracted users, abusers, and narcissistic people and, being so desperate to please them, I became someone I didn't recognize, know or like. Alcohol had become my support and like my other relationships it came with conditions. Alcohol would help me as long as I would die for it and that is just what I almost did last year in the ICU. After many months of fighting for my life and determined to get help, I went through the necessary steps of recovery. I began rehab therapy, 12 Step meetings, met with therapists and sponsors and finally walked into CoDA.  
 
I felt that all that I was in dire need of was right in that room. It was all right there in CoDA's 12 Steps and 12 Promises. I began going to meetings and working on the dysfunctions that nearly killed me. I finally was able to talk about issues without being judged or told how to think. I felt as if I had found my tribe and realized I was not alone and there were others who struggled with codependency just like I did. 
 
I can feel a certain alchemy at work in my life. I am setting boundaries and those who respect my boundaries stay, while those who do not get mad and leave. This part was hard for me because my setting of boundaries was met with anger and resentment. I began to realize that was their issues and not mine to worry about. I felt like a newborn bird in a nest nurturing myself so that I could fly and not splatter once again on the pavement below. I was doing really well until someone I held in high esteem blocked me on a social network because a post of mine contained a word they thought was offensive. Never mind freedom of speech or the ability to scroll on if a certain post doesn't set right. Posts have nothing to do with me unless I take it personally and make it about me. I was warned by his person who I felt was positive and inspirational to not post that word or I would be blocked. I refused to remove the word and was blocked.  
 
I wasn't mad but I felt saddened because I am a person, and I felt like a word took precedence over love. It was an '' I Love You But...'' moment and I was being taught a lesson. Well, I have come too far in my recovery over codependency to turn back now. So the person told me they blocked me but they still love me and want to know how I am doing so send them a message from time to time. Therein lies the second condition of keeping in touch on their terms. After giving it a lot of thought I could see that fear was controlling the person and if my choice of word could upset their carefully guarded world then that is something they may want to look at and it has nothing to do with me personally. So I sent no reply to them about sending a message once in a while to let them know I'm okay.  I am at peace with that decision and proud that I took a stand for me and my recovery. CoDA has given me a life where I love and like myself. I know I'm far from perfect but I am progressing each day and I am grateful to CoDA for allowing me a safe space to share my experience, strengths, hopes, and desires. Doing so has allowed me to finally meet the real me for the first time in my life. So the next time I hear, ''I Love You But'' my immediate thought will be,

"Yes I know, But I'm Fabulous! "

Thanks!     Pamela W. 3/12/19


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