Co-Dependent No more.

       I am 27. My best friend of 24 years is getting married next weekend and my twin sister is getting married the second weekend in July. What is different between me and them? Why is having a marriage something I am so envious of? Do men like theirs really exsist?

       Flashback, two years ago. I, was in a serious relationship myself. He was 'picture perfect' we were or I thought we were a couple to be 'fashioned'. However, the truth was he was emotionally abusive and I was a co-dependent. The relationship ended a year and a half ago. He was taking his 'other' to Turks and Caicos and lied to me that his friend was going because I had just gotten a new job. The relationship ended with him literally 'knocking' the sense out of me.

        It took me a year and a half to get over the lies I subjected myself to, rebuild trust in the opposite sex, and myself. I read several, 'co-dependent' books, drank egregious amounts of wine, and started going to the gym. Now, I am just going to the gym.

        Flashforward, two weeks ago, I ended a relationshp with a younger guy. This is the same younger guy, that I dumped for the abusive boyfriend. Only to find a year and half later, we bumped into each other and everything was more than copesetic.

        He asked me to be 'serious' and I shut down. In retrospect, I wondered why I did this? Why I couldn't be honest and instead said nothing. It didn't occur to me that my roommate brought her mother home to my house to 'recover' from her own abusive situation. She went through a five hour beating, relived it every night and wanted me to talk to her about it. She told me that he wanted to be committed, that he loved only her, that he couldn't live without her. Well, this scared the sheet out of me. She was me, this was my biggest fear, this woman was me. She isn't me, I had to remind myself.

        Also, Yardley Love, a student at VT who was about to graduate, all-star lacrosse player, gorgeous, smart, was murdered by her boyfriend. This was a friend of the guy I was dating. None of this occurred to me as to why I didn't want to be in a happy relationship because I didn't want to let my 'abusive' past terrorize my present.

        Recently, I found it's much easier to deal with the 'present' that's the secret to 'the secret'. I was beginning to  practice living in my best interest acknowleding where feelings came from and more importantly questioning why I felt this way.

        Here, I am with no relationship, again. Then, creeped up all these other things that have caught my attention. Questions like, timing, me being older, his immaturity, where I saw myself in five years,  these were the questions that I wanted to ask? But, that's not living in the present, is it?

        I could watch Sex and the City again to make myself feel empowered, but then...would I have to move to NY? I could think of my parents relationship, but, did I ever see the 'real' parts? I can only look within.

        And in flooded the words my father said to me as a child,'The Truth will set you Free'. This is forever ringing in my ears now. I told myself the truth. This is not the time, you must focus on your career. This is not the time, you are happier by yourself. This is not the time, you don't have enough energy to serve others' insecurities right now. This is not the time, you have to think about your financial future. And guess, what? Because these are my priorities. And guess, why? Because it makes me feel good.

       More often than not, I feel women are more likely to be co-dependent in their ownselves. They have this need to fix things, they feel obligated to do this and that and then take care of themselves. Well, it took me three days, to take care of myself after getting past the hurdles of avoiding my issues and concentrating on others. I created boundaries and know if others' really care about me, then me saying, 'I need to take care of myself' won't offend or hurt them. By saying this, honesty permeates and our friendship is valued by respect. This is what I should have done in this past relationship. I was worried about what he would feel if I couldn't say I need time for myself, because somehow that meant to me that I didn't care. Well, it's not the truth.

       When they say, love and respect can not be given unless you yourself have it for yourself, it's the truth. And it takes time to recognize the love within yourself and the power you have to be happy. It takes nuturing and work like everything else. Some days are easier than others. But, now I understand that I can't fix things unless I know how they work. It was never any of their fault, although they had accountability for themselves, to love me, when i did not love myself. I could not have the very thing I wanted so deeply because I myself could not do it. I learned the value that, to Take time to think about yourself and love yourself will attract love, the one thing I want...'To love oneself is to start a lifelong romance'.

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