I recently discovered that I am codependent as a result of my mother not allowing me to express my feelings and emotions because she could not handle them. She was dramatic and often cried about her situation (her mother had died from cancer, she missed her native country and was depressed her life wasn’t what she wanted it to be).
I married someone much worse than my mother. Someone who had street smarts to my naivety, strong opinions and very dominating and controlling. It allowed me to remain a child and give my judgement and decisions away so I wasn’t responsible if I made a mistake. I believed he loved me more than my mother ever did, until he started blaming me for everything he was unhappy with and punishing me for not obeying his commands. He is a narcissist and after 21 years together and having 2 children together he left me for a “better” woman (who happened to be my daughters Godmother).
Fast forward 10 years and I’m back on my feet financially and in a 12 step program (Al-Anon) as I usually date narcissists or drinkers/alcoholics. I do have a therapist, but wanted some examples of how you moved past living with a narcissist and finally started dating emotionally healthy people. I’ve met a mature man that seems lovely and I don’t want past fears to get in the way of this relationship. How have you left the past in the past, but properly paced a new relationship so it remains healthy and you don’t act too needy.
My experience with leaving “the past in the past” is nothing I used to think it would be like. I used to think that it was possible to do so by an act of will, following a decision. Not so. The past gets reactivated in our brain in the present. It takes a long healing process to slowly re-wire the brain, that is, insert new core beliefs in there so to change the mapping of the brain.
To have my first healthy relationship it took couple psychotherapy to start. My therapist at the time taught me/ us interpersonal skills. It was the psychoeducation part of therapy. He also taught me emotional regulations skills: I learned, over time, to endure emotional distress without reacting any which way so to relieve it. I learned to choose my behavior.
It took a whole lot more but these two items are big.
I am also working on detachment and it’s really freeing me from the thought that I need to do everything for everyone. It’s helping my children mature, my employees grow and me to have more time for myself.
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