Monday, June 28, 2004

Hi, My Name is Inanna...

And I am a Co-Dependent and an empath. Co-Dependency I hate that word. I hate it! I hate enabler worse. Co-dependency has led me down a path of self-destruction and self-destructive relationships with married men, alcoholics and sometimes, both. I trace this back to a childhood of emotional and physical abuse. Where I was made to feel responsible for someone else's happiness. Where nothing I did was ever good enough. Where I had to be the good child or risk the withdrawal of affection and attention, and still, it was never good enough. Nothing I did was ever good enough, ever. I became an over-achiever while wallowing in a world that seemed to have no place for me. I had super-intelligence which propelled me into the realms of gifted classes. I was the youngest editor of the yearbook, winner of a writing award in which I beat out 200 other students from 55 high schools, I was the first and only exchange student, to date, from my school after winning a scholarship from the United States and Germany's governments, Governor's Honor Academy, Honor Society, soloist on two instruments in the band. Yeah, I did all that. That's me. None of it ever fucking mattered. After the demise of my last relationship with the Drunk Boyfriend, a friend who is a recovering alcoholic gently asked me if perhaps I was co-dependent. I remember reading the characteristics of co-dependents with a sick, sinking feeling. An even deeper pit formed when I read the reasons behind co-dependency. In a nutshell, but far from an entire explanation, is the need to focus on everyone around you and their problems as opposed to facing your own. We make excuses for the people in our life, we anticipate other's needs then wonder why they don't anticipate ours, we say yes when we want to say no, we're afraid of anger, our own and everyone elses, we will do practically anything to avoid confrontation, and we will practically do anything to avoid abandonment. We're obsessing, controlling and manipulative because we constantly feel as though we know what is best for other people. That hurts. But not as much as it used to. First, I let my anger and hate towards my mother go. She was the root of the problem, my dad to a small extent, but mainly it was my mom. I love her and I feel sorry for her that she was raised in an environment that precipitated her feelings and her feelings towards me. I no longer allow her to manipulate me by her whining and crocodile tears. I turn her off. I do a check-up, as I am now, to make sure I'm not backsliding into my old ways. Am I taking on other people's problems instead of working on my own? Who am I saying yes to that I should say no? Am I obsessing? Have I asked for what I want instead of believing people should read my mind or pick up subtle clues as to what my needs are? Most importantly, how am I with Hyper-Boy? Am I allowing him enough freedom? Am I using him as an excuse to not take care of myself? Am I being a hermit? (I'm always a hermit.) Am I okay? Am I happy? What do I need to get there? I'm still getting there. Empathy "Empathic people...have the ability to translate energetic impulses into emotional awareness. They feel their way through life, through decisions, and through relationships in a deepening and life-affirming way." In other words, I can tell what your feeling, draw those feelings out, filter them through myself and send them back to you, supposedly for your betterment. Its hell on Earth when you don't know what you're doing. I've done this for years and never knew what it was. But instead of filtering, which may have helped when I was younger, I absorbed. I absorbed the emotions around me. I never let them go. I didn't know how. Until through chance I found a book that described what I was and how to deal with it. Funerals are absolute Hell. HELL!! So many emotions I can't stand it. And worse, people in pain, in emotional pain, are drawn to me. Empaths are highly sensitive people, in tune to people and animals, plants, hell, you name it. Of course, some empaths are more in tune to one or two things than all things. For me, its people and animals. And don't think you have to be standing in front of me. Empaths can sense your feelings over the phone, through e-mail, chat and personal letters. And don't ever let one of us touch your hand. We will see behind your cover. You can't hide from an empath know how. Co-Dependency & Empathy..OH MY! One of the characteristics of a co-dependent is believing you know how someone else is feeling. I was damned confused for a long time on that. Not surprisingly, an unhealthy empath, one who has not learned to filter emotions instead of accepting them, one who has not learned to turn it off for some peace, has some of the same characteristics of a co-dependent. It may be part of what leads some of us down that path. I don't know. I'm becoming a much better empath and a much worse co-dependent. I'm working on it. Enter the Beaufriend There's nothing better for an empath to have in a relationship than another empath. It didn't take me long to figure out that the Beaufriend was also an empath. And a damn good one too. But by also being an empath, I felt his emotional withdrawal from me at the beginning of our relationship and I called him on it. Literally, all is good and then WHAM! he's gone. I hated that. AAAGGHHHHHH!!! I HATED IT!!!! But I also understood why, but it didn't make me like it anymore. He controls his empathy better and gave me tips on how to "turn it off." I guess you could say I mirrored him when I felt like I needed to. I learned from his own withdrawal how to formulate my own. When my grandfather died, I learned from him how to filter other's feelings as he filtered mine. When I'm with the Beaufriend, I feel like I float. Its like two negative charges creating something positive. Literally, we can be in a crowded room full of drunk people, which are the absolute worlds worst to be around because their defenses are down and still find a moment of peace amongst them. But I'm still co-dependent. With that comes a whole host of problems with the Beaufriend. No wonder he turns me off sometimes. Right now, I'm getting itchy. In other words, the dreaded feeling of abandonment is popping up. And I don't think its just me. The Beaufriend is good at turning some feelings off around me but he sucks at it when we're not together. He has the same worries and fears that I do. Just call us Barbie and Q when it comes to past relationships. I try not to let it influence me but sometimes the dread is so intense I just cry because I can't do anything else. Then its back to the list. Am I telling him what I need? Am I keeping my mouth shut so as not to start a fight that I don't want? Am I standing up for myself? Am I expecting him to read my mind? Am I being used? I have faced down some intense moments in my time with the Beaufriend. I lived in absolute fear of telling him that he hurt my feelings. I lived in absolute fear of voiceing what I wanted. Everytime I said something, I waited for the mockery and the withdrawal of affection and the manipulation to start. I steeled myself to break it off if that happened. I REFUSE TO LET SOMEONE TREAT ME LIKE THAT AGAIN!!! Luckily, he hasn't. We discussed before how when you're treated like shit you do one of two things. One, you vow to never treat someone else like that yourself or two, you treat everyone as bad or worse than you've been treated. We made a pact, I guess that's what you call it, to be together because we want to be, not because we're living in fear of what might come after. The Beaufriend has a way of reassuring me without being patronizing. Self-esteem I'm running on half-full here. I worry a lot about things I probably shouldn't. I worry about me and the Beaufriend because I love him dearly. I'm constantly caught in a battle between empathy and co-dependency, questioning always, afraid to fall back into the abyss. Sometimes, its a daily struggle. Today, has been a bad day. I think he's frightened too. I feel it. We're battling against the abyss, against fear. I think we battle too, not to smother each other. Unfortunately, this puts us at odds in love. To love is to suffer in our book. So, its baby steps. Its looking in the mirror and asking, "Am I being an idiot?" I worry about Hyper-Boy too. He's one of the reasons I work so hard at this. While he may be screwed up, it won't be for lack of trying on my part to give him the best I got. His self-esteem sucks too. As I work with him, I work on myself. His father, doesn't help anything. I battle for Hyper-Boy on that front as well. Attempting to undo damage while not dissing his dad. Blogging... Good or Bad? Before anyone read my stuff, I wrote a lot but never posted it. Just like, well, the 5 diaries I keep. I don't write in them everyday and sometimes I write letters to people or to the Beaufriend and never send them, so I keep them as diaries too. Blogging is good. Its good because I've found people that I can relate to and hopefully can relate to me. I get lonesome sometimes, internally lonesome, emotionally lonesome because I tend to hermit (I am a hermit) emotionally and physically. At least emotionally, I don't feel so alone anymore. I'm starting to pick up people's vibes through their posts which is a little... scary. I'll keep those vibes to myself though but not in me. I think blogging helps me sort things out and makes room in my brain for something else. But blogging is addictive. I've felt myself sliding since I started participating in discussions etc. For someone used to puttering along in the Outer Rim, its frightening to be pulled into the galaxy, with so much to see, so much to learn, so much to feel. So much to distract me from me and my problems. But I love people. I love learning about people and reading about them because sometimes, it helps me understand me a little better. It also helps to know I'm not really alone. Perhaps blogging is an exercise in which to help me learn how to filter, but not accept, to care, but not to obsess. "The 7 Jewels of Co-Dependency" says "Its never wrong to love." I really believe that. I just have to remember that love starts within myself, for myself, before I love others. Damned, if that's not the hardest thing of all.
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    Blogger Leese said...

    wow intense...i don't really know what to say, but hopefully by leaving a comment you'd sense what i really mean, the stuff that i can't find words for...

    6/28/2004 11:06:00 PM  
    Blogger Seeker said...

    Was looking for an email you directly. But you do not have it posted. If you want i got mine on me site if not then i'll just keep it short and sweet.

    I know exactly what you are talking about and have that gift as well. But most times it seems more like a curse.


    6/29/2004 12:23:00 AM  
    Blogger MercuryRed said...

    Wonderful. I am so much like you. You so much like me. This spoke to me so much. I know I am an empath as well, you have told me this before. In my young age, perhaps I am still learning to filter. I am probably a co-dependent also, but I'm still learning a lot about myself. Last night and tonight were 2 hard evenings for me. Reading your post before bed allowed me to find some innner peace. I thank you kindly wise one.

    6/29/2004 01:23:00 AM  
    Blogger Traci Dolan said...

    Leese -- Yeah, I know. Its helps just that other people know.

    Seeker -- check your inbox

    MercuryRed -- Perhaps this is why we came into each others lives... I don't see any co-dependent tendencies in you frankly. Remember, empaths who can't control it exhibit the same tendencies but there is hope. We'll see each other soon and work our way through this. You're a fantastic person Mercury. You're gonna make it!!

    6/29/2004 07:23:00 AM  
    Blogger jp said...

    All I got out of that is that I still have a shot with you if I'm a married alcoholic. :o)

    Kidding....sort of. ;o)

    6/29/2004 01:06:00 PM  
    Blogger Phoesable said...

    Again -- powerfully relate.

    Have you seen the movie Happy Accidents? It's a weird one --- but there's this great scene in it, where the main female character is crying to her mom about her bad taste in men and how badly they've treated her and how she's let them, and how messed up she is, etc. And how maybe it's her mother's fault for staying with her dad who she knew cheated on her, etc. And her mom says something to the effect of, "what's so messed up about having so much love inside you to share that you love the people who need it most, even when they don't always deserve it?"

    I like that: less pathology, more compassion. Just -- as you said -- the trick is to be as loving and compassionate towards myself as anyone else, to be one of the people I love because I need it most, even when I don't always "deserve" it (or think I do).

    6/29/2004 01:59:00 PM  
    Blogger Traci Dolan said...

    JP - look out, that's my mating call

    Varinbird - WOW!! Thank you so much for that. I will definitely have to find that movie!! That really touched me, thanks so much!

    6/29/2004 02:46:00 PM  
    Blogger jp said...

    You mean what i said didn't touch you? :o(

    6/29/2004 03:09:00 PM  
    Blogger Traci Dolan said...

    I'm so sorry JP, I did overlook the very touching nature of your comment.

    6/29/2004 03:22:00 PM  
    Blogger Phoesable said...

    Well, before you go out to rent it, Inanna, I feel like I should acknowledge in the interests of full disclosure, that it's been several years since I saw the movie, and while I liked it, it is definitely an odd one. (Here's a link to the Ebert review: Happy Accidents) --- Which is really all to say -- that is only how I remember the point of that particular scene with the mom. :-)

    6/29/2004 03:47:00 PM  
    Blogger jp said...

    That's better. Now, where do I tell my travel agent that I'm flying to? :o)

    6/29/2004 04:47:00 PM  
    Blogger Traci Dolan said...

    Its all good Phoebe, I like odd stuff.

    JP -- Tell your travel agent its the stop before "Deliverance" but right after "Wrong Turn" in the Appalachians :o)

    6/29/2004 05:34:00 PM  
    Blogger jp said...

    Well, that settles it. If you like odd stuff, you'll abso-freakin-lutely LOOOOOOVVVVVEEEE me!! Woo Hoo!!!!!

    6/29/2004 06:12:00 PM  
    Blogger Traci Dolan said...

    That's what they all say baby.

    6/29/2004 06:16:00 PM  
    Blogger jp said...

    Yeah, but I'm the only one that means it.

    6/29/2004 07:04:00 PM  
    Blogger Traci Dolan said...


    6/29/2004 09:56:00 PM  
    Blogger Mike said...

    When I read yoar post about being empathetic I actually smilled. My wife and I go see a councilor once a week and she told me I was a very strongly empathetic person. I personally think I am also co-dependant because I hate to be alone. Not in a physical sence so much as that I need some kind of a emotional connection with a girl all the time. Weather it be romance or raw lust. When I was dating, the dry spells killed me. My wife however is a very self sufficient, very independent, and very stubborn person. There lies the problem with me being highly empathetic and co-dependant and the biggest reason we are in counciling. I am very good at hiding my emotions and rather than fight with my wife I've learned to pay attention to what I read from her and steal myself against it. Basically I can feel when somthing is bothering her and she is distant from me, I ask about it because I'm big on confronting a problem, she deny's it because she's stubborn as hell, I give her a sarcastic "ok" and I dont ask again. I become distant and uncaring about the problem or what she may be going through. It hurts me that she dont want to talk about it so I go on the defenceive. What scares me is that its getting easier and easier to both read and dismiss her emotions and I'm afraid that someday I'm going to be a very cold and uncaring person as a result.
    Long comment I got to vent. Maybe you can understandwhere I'm coming from.

    7/02/2004 02:28:00 PM  

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