A letter to you

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Young and naive, confused and alone, the cycle would go on for years. Absorbing my surroundings like a sponge, memorizing words of hate to use decades later in my own personal attacks of those whom I cherished. The chaos continued and here began my addiction of escape and coping mechanisms that allowed me to merely exist in this world- floating through my constant cloud of depression that became so normalized that I had a full out battle with my ego when I later tried to give it up. The safe haven of darkness that was so familiar and cozy- ripped out from under me was enough to give me my first of many mental breakdowns.

It wasn’t until I chose to start doing this increasingly difficult work, that I was able to finally begin to make sense of it all. The process of questioning, unlearning, rewiring and digging up the roots that ran so deep within me and had grown into enormously miserable yet thriving plants of despair and flowers of hopelessness flipped it all around for me. The new self-awareness and hyper sensitivity of becoming a completely different person gave me the much-needed perspective to make sense of it all.

They say that at birth we come into this world having the cumulative trauma of four generations embedded into our DNA, a shockingly simple realization for me now. At the almost age of 30, I squeeze the murky water from my childhood sponge to see its contents spilled out in front of me. Even as adult children it’s difficult for us to remember that our parents are merely humans, like the rest of us. We create unreachable expectations for those around us and collapse to the ground when they aren’t met. I understand that you came from different backgrounds and generations. I understand that you had good intentions all along, but they never matched your expectations because they didn’t align with your values that you had inherited from someone else without question. I see how you did your best, even if it meant showing up empty- because no one ever modeled self-care to you. I know that the invisible line between love and co-dependency is easy to cross- and I’m even more familiar with how that mindset sends you spiraling into the darkness of a victim mentality. It’s easy to be a victim; to be miserable, to blame the world and everyone in it for your mood swings, depression, resentment, self-loathing and failures. That style of life is a much more instinctual pick versus the one where we take responsibility for our problems, reflect and question ourselves and what we put out in this world. The ego is here to protect us and keep us alive, but it also loves labels and identities and it works overtime to construct the resilient pride that refuses to let go of what no longer is working, for fear of its necessary ego-death. Many of us will never be able to admit that we get what we put out.

It’s one thing to finally look in the mirror and realize what you’ve been projecting onto others; seeing the damage you’ve caused and the effect it had on everyone around you- but it’s a much more difficult road to learn the healthy way to behave and think- let alone apply it in real life. Many of us choose the long road of denial- something I had difficulty finding my way out of thanks to those coping mechanisms I mentioned earlier. Material things, escaping with drugs and an exploding social calendar, even romantic comedies were a way to keep my head in the clouds- not noticing how it would bring about the crumbling of many un-sturdy foundations when they didn’t match the fluffy Disney-like happy endings I fantasized my codependency would lead to.

I know that it seems much easier to keep pointing the finger, stonewall and run away than to do what seems impossible- heal. But the healing is exactly what you will be preventing from yourselves if you don’t use this experience wisely- Spirit will only give you so many opportunities for growth before you can no longer live with the regret. Blaming will only lead to worse problems that never get fixed because you are denying yourself the opportunity to take responsibility and make necessary changes. Criticizing, judging and using hate filled words to air out the pressure of pent up resentment is just a mere projection of what is inside- anger and sadness. It’s hard to let go of the entitlement that comes from refusing to accept, or even fathom the idea, that other possible perspectives exist or the fact that other people having opinions and feelings too. The incessant pain that you try to squash with distractions will never dissipate because deep down you know that acknowledging it means admitting defeat and the fact that you can never take back the hurt you caused others.

I close my eyes; my mind’s eye settles in the darkness and I fixate my sight on a little girl-myself. She’s small and seems helpless, with tear-filled eyes she looks up at me. Her hand in mine, trembling with fear and sadness. She is hurt but she knows she will be ok. We walk together to the other side of the room, where two other children are standing. My mother, young and frail looking- scared to death. Her only known purpose is the family she raises- the struggles of motherhood and not knowing how to express her love raveled in a nest of depression and loneliness. My father is thin, with a sad boyish face. His eyes long for more, yet he fears he will never reach it so he constantly and subconsciously does just that. Neither of them feels worthy or deserving- the affection they received only showed glimpses of what true and unconditional love was, so together they would struggle, blindly, until they could learn to love themselves first. My younger self and I forgive you; we understand and we accept what has happened and what is happening. Regardless of the immense pain and trauma that it has caused to resurface, I am grateful for this because it is making me look at what I was running away from for two decades. As Freud said “one day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.” That is the only thing I am certain of.

I am the daughter of you two beautiful beings and I will never stop being that, I am not here to choose sides- I see the pain behind both of your experiences. I just wish you the best of luck and I hope you find your way back home-wherever that may be.

 

Love always,

Mabelyn

 

 

 

 

 

My Codependent Valentine

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It is the day before Valentine’s day, and what better way to show my appreciation than with a story time about relationships.

As many of you may know, heard or read, I have struggled for the past two decades with being in severely codependent relationships of all kinds. It has been one of the biggest obstacles I’ve created for myself that kept me away from self-love and from having an unshakable foundation rooted in joy.

Let me begin with my definition of co-dependency. What I find to be true is that it means when a person takes on the responsibility of another person’s life through different means, for example: manipulation, control or blame and shaming and thus completely neglects their own life. What I find is that a codependent person forcefully tries to take the steering wheel of life away from another person. What we don’t realize is that even if we have good intentions to “save” or “help” them, we are communicating that we don’t believe they can take control of their own lives, that they shouldn’t be responsible for themselves and that they are incapable of healing and growing on their own. We are literally taking away the opportunity for this person to be able to reach their own epiphanies and learn the lessons from their specific circumstances that leads to growth and becoming the best version of themselves. We are taking away the shadow work that is so valuable for each person to do.

Codependents often find themselves in a vicious cycle with these relationships. They try to “fix” someone, that person is uninterested in their “help” and rejects them, the codependent person lashes out in anger and the other person rebels against them leaving the codependent feeling “used” and “taken advantage of” once again- not realizing that it was none of their business in the first place.

For as long as I can remember I involved myself emotionally, even physically, in the lives of others- taking it extremely personally when they rejected my advice and ultimatums. The more I pushed and shoved my way in, the more people backed away from me. I was also unable to realize the amount of resentment I built up against the people I loved for not changing into who I believed they should be and when they needed to do it. The feeling was mutual of course, my loved ones bottled up more and more anger towards me until we would both explode, creating long-lasting effects that caused our relationships to crumble.

It wasn’t until I was left on my own by my partner and my friendships fell apart that I realized I was suffering from deeply rooted codependency. Through lots of research, reading and reflection I figured out that the only person I had any control over and should assume responsibility over was myself- and I had not been doing that in any way shape or form. As a codependent I was quick to succumb to feeling like a victim and even paraded my victim mentality around town, playing the sad girl woe-is-me card to anyone who would listen- and even to people who didn’t want to! I thought so poorly of myself that I was using the distraction of other people’s problems as a way to avoid facing my own darkness. I had absolutely no sense of self-love, and had placed all of my self-worth in the hands of other people’s approval. Because I had taken control of other people’s lives (or tried to), I believed that other people were responsible for me and my happiness. I didn’t know how to trust myself and always sought for answers externally. I thought that others had to change in order for me to feel love and joy. Man am I glad that I was wrong!

It took my separation for me to finally have no choice but to look at my life- all of it- and plunge head first into the darkness that we call our shadows. I had to literally use all of my will power to move my focus from my partner and even healing for the benefit of our relationship to just myself. I had to accept that I had inherited and experienced trauma, limiting beliefs and god knows what else that had caused me to become the way that I was. And thus, the shadow work began.

I feel like codependency can be like an addiction, especially if we’ve been that way for the majority of our lives so it makes sense that I have relapses every now and then. I have to remember to have compassion for myself, take a step back and take inventory of how I am feeling, behaving and what my intentions are. I remind myself in these moments that I am here to help, inspire and guide those around me, but that it is their responsibility to do the work. I try to remember to have compassion for them when I get angry or frustrated- because I too was once in their position so who am I to judge? We can only make changes when the necessary clicks in our brains have been made and when we are ready to do so. All I can do is bring the focus back to myself and offer my love and support- holding space for their growth.

 

 

Thank you for reading my post today. I wish you all a very happy Valentine’s Day, please remember to take the necessary steps to love yourself on this day and every day after. For those of you lovelies who attended my Valentine’s Self-Love Goddess Ceremony, don’t forget to give yourself your card and read the beautiful letter to yourself!

 

Love always,

Mabes