It’s a lazy Sunday morning and I’ve walked the dog, brewed some coffee and settled back in bed for some internet surfing (do they still say that?) and catching up on Social Media. One of the things I like to do is catch up on some of the codependent recovery Facebook pages I belong to. Usually the moderator will pose a question to the group to get the dialogue started because those pages can lean towards the woe is me side, and I think the purpose of those pages is meant to be growth and recovery support, not moaning and groaning. So I try to reply honestly to the questions, but still glaze it with some positive, hopeful spin. I’d rather be a source of inspiration, rather than a receptacle of pity.
Today’s question went something like “What type of partners do you attract and why?” And it got me thinking….I’m well aware of the type of men I’ve attracted over my lifetime. The addicts, the emotionally broken, the abusive, the strays, or as I’ve said in every blog “The Broken Toys”. The WHY is trickier. I was raised to learn that caregiving and praise will get me love and attention. I also discovered about 15 years ago that I’m a sensitive empath, and I come by it honestly, my father is an empath, and maybe a little codependent too. He will do anything and everything to make the people he loves happy.
Something significant changed for me almost 11 years ago. I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was 35 years old, with two young children ages 6 & 14. I underwent a double mastectomy, reconstruction and chemotherapy. After my chemo was over, I needed to talk to others who had been through what I’d been through, I needed war buddies. So due to a lack of other options, I started a breast cancer support group. I found through the support group that one of my gifts is being able to help those who are grieving. I’m a good listener and I don’t get uncomfortable in the face of pain and suffering. I get calm, I become empathetic and an able to allow that grieving person to just….be. Which, as I’ve come to learn is a form of “fixing” because not many people are able to be in the presence of grief, pain and suffering without wanting to high-tail it out of there.
So fast forward to 2010 and I accepted a job in the field of Victim Services, specifically working with victim’s of violent crime. Sit with that a moment….victims of violent crime. This includes victims and survivors of sexual assault, child sexual assault, family violence, gang violence, survivors of homicide victims, family of murder/suicide victims, and everything in between. This is a codependent fixer’s frigging playground!!! It took me a long time to adjust to the extreme suffering I encountered every day, but 7 years later, I can say that this career choice is filling the need to fix, provide support, and be a caregiver. I credit my career in helping me to see what a manipulator my ex husband was and see though the lies and the fog of narcissism that he had surrounded me with. I credit my career with helping me find the courage to say NO MORE and finally kick him out eight months ago. I credit my career with helping me see so many have it so much worse than I do, and I don’t need to be belly-aching about how bad life has kicked me in the teeth, because most people could easily go there in my situation.
So I guess this rambling post is more about me exploring the idea that the needs I have to be codependent and a caregiver, a healer and a fixer are being met through my career. Like a junkie getting a fix on a daily basis. My hopes are that someday when I desire to have a partner in my life, I can choose someone who has their shit together, someone who is respectful of themselves, has worked out their issues and is ready to be in a healthy relationship. Is that really recovery though? Is that really getting beyond codependency? Or once I retire in the next five to ten years and I don’t have that constant drip of the emotionally broken victims in my veins every day, will I revert once again to toxic relationships? Or is my career going to prove to be more of a vaccine against toxic relationships? I hope it’s the latter, of course.
One great thing I get from being in Victim Services is I see what asshats people can be to one another and it keeps me happy as can be to remain single and selfish. I am perfectly content to focus singularly on myself for the foreseeable future and do what I want, when I want.
So with that said, it’s almost 11:30 on this Sunday morning and by golly I’m going to go pour myself another cup of coffee, climb back into this comfy bed and fall down the YouTube beauty video rabbit hole, because that’s what I want to do….damnit!
Oh…one last thing. I had to hand over the reigns to the breast cancer support group a couple of years into working in victim services. There just wasn’t enough of me to provide support to both passions and I had to choose. I chose the one that paid the bills. Sadly, the person who took over the group wasn’t able to keep it going and my city currently doesn’t have any source of cancer support. Talk about a trigger for my codependency, but…..that’s a topic for a different blog.