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Codependency In The Dark

Relationships thrive when both parties are deeply rooted individuals.

By Leah EllaPublished 3 years ago 5 min read
In the beginning I called him My Shadow

It’s been two and a half months... I finally turned on the light. Let me explain. You know how some people liken relationships to a dance? When I move you move just like that 🎵 (Ludacris-Stand Up, song reference) Well, try moving together while not knowing the song or the rhythm, in the dark. This was my first taste of codependency. A fumble, a misstep, a turn in the “wrong” direction... Can someone hire a choreographer already!? Ok... All jokes aside, codependency is real and living in the time of coronavirus, it’s exasperated. I’m much more confident free-styling my dance moves anyway.

Emotions can be likened to a rocky sea, a storm, or just a stuck record that you keep playing on repeat... Enter another person... Me, am I good swimmer? How many storms have I survived? Do my emotions consume me? What we don’t realize is that each individual has their own emotions to regulate on a daily basis so sucking another person into your vortex is only going to feel like the blind leading the blind...

As I mentioned, I found myself in a relationship that was filled with this dynamic. I’m all for helping someone feel better but when I’m expected to do so at my own emotional expense that’s when I have to take a step back or away... Change course, new dance move if you may... No one should be responsible for moderating your moods, blamed for your emotions or be the bud of your anger. Especially when it’s impossible for you to hold accountability for something that you have not done. Enter emotional baggage, projection and trauma dumping or bonding... The perfect storm. Just thinking of it is making my stomach hurt.

I personally have a big problem with a victim mentality. I believe you give your power away to be victimized. Everyone can’t be an oppressor, eventually you have got to realize that you’re the common denominator in these “toxic” relationships. To whom it may apply...

This person started to feel like a storm that was coming and I needed to brace myself with each interaction. This was hard for me to come to terms with. It got to the point where I would feel anxiety even being in the same car as this person. I didn’t know what to expect or when I would be blamed for the slightest thing just because they didn’t know how to process their sadness or frustrations. I was accused of not being a good listener. Something I’ve been praised for as my strong point throughout my entire life. The truth is, I had a filter when it came to listening to them. It’s called victimhood. I have a mental block to sob stories. I mean let’s face it, no one ever listened to mine. The first time, sure, I’ll be sympathetic but to use the same sob story every single time just sounded like a stuck record. How long would the song loop around on repeat? It was nauseating.

The L word was also used simultaneously with the words “I’m sorry.” Now, I’ve never been in an emotionally abusive, romantic relationship but this felt like abuse. I never had to be ok with “I’m sorry.” I didn’t ask for your love, they were used to pacify me, every moment of every day. Like it was just expected that the moment I heard those words, I would develop amnesia to everything that preceded them. I couldn’t keep swallowing the way I felt and if I tried to express how I felt, the conversation would always circle back around to their sob story. I was not being heard. My feelings did not matter. Their feelings were the only ones that mattered. I started getting triggered because I had felt that way when I was younger. Finally I started overreacting just to be seen and heard. This is a toxic cycle that I never dreamt I would be apart of. I’m not a doctor but there are countless Dr’s who describe this as vulnerable narcissism. When one person, the instigator, pushes buttons to elicit a response from you so that you can get on their level. Another Dr called it their way of keeping you “below the veil of consciousness.” I call it keeping you in the dark with them.

No matter how many times I tried to explain that “love has to be felt for it to be real,” “I don’t feel loved,” this person would just continue telling me they loved me. Staring at me, waiting for me to reciprocate. I use those words very carefully. It’s like forcing someone to eat something that will make them sick because you love the taste. How is that fair? I don’t think I’ve ever fell in love with anyone within 7-14 days or 75 days and it just seemed like the more they said it, the more it pushed me away from ever feeling it in return.

When one person in a relationship prioritizes their feelings over yours, just know that it’s not your fault. This person would not hear me when I asked for us to take it slower and focus on our friendship and similar goals. You know? Like actually work on building something concrete or growing together? No, it was just empty talk. I had to abruptly, turn on the lights. Thanks to my cousin who has also had her share of narcissistic relationships, she said, “I can’t see this going on another month. This isn’t healthy.” My mind was made up, my heart? Had to catch up.

Here we were stuck in a dark room for 2.5 months. Feeling around, pushing, pulling, tugging, holding onto, breaking away from the grasp, trying to find the light switch but not being able to, or, being obstructed from getting to the switch. Who’s going to turn on the lights so we can see what’s really going on? Things are just so much clearer in the light. It’s impossible for me to love someone who doesn’t allow me to express myself or even the time or space to miss them, process my emotions and feelings towards them. What was the rush?

Mother’s Day rolled around and the person was ready to make a baby with me. Are you kidding me? It wasn’t until the morning when he said, “how am I supposed to trust you to control my whole life, if you can’t tell me what time it is?” That didn’t even make sense to me. First of all, I’m not trying to control anyone and I thought I made my views on love very clear over the past 2 months but guess what? They didn’t hear that either. If you view love as possession chances are you can’t date me. Love is beautiful, not everyone deserves to feel loved by you and above all else, it is a choice. A choice that I was not allowed to make. Secondly, why can’t you look at your phone like everyone else does to see what time it is? Why fight with the person you supposedly love for 45 minutes when you both wake up because they didn’t answer when you asked what time it is? I find it so fitting. I knew exactly what time it was. Time for you to go codependency.

By Steve Johnson on Unsplash


About the Creator

Leah Ella

Caribbean-American(she/her)+Actor+Life Coach student.

Welcome! Get to know me here:

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    Leah EllaWritten by Leah Ella

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