The actress Andie MacDowell recently said in an interview that she’s easy to get along with because she’s co-dependent. A trait she developed growing up in an alcoholic home.
Co-dependence is its own particular symptom of a deep rooted disease. And, it is hard to stop the cycle of co-depedence.
Mine was derived from a mother with rage issues from an inability to control her emotions. I was told to not upset my mother. I tried desperately to read her emotions and tip toe around her insanity blaming myself for her violent mood swings. If I would just make her happy, her inexplicable rage would stop.
I wish someone would have told me it doesn’t work that way before I hit my mid-forties.
In the past six years, I’ve been trying to detangle myself from my co-dependency issues. I’ve read numerous books, discussed it in support groups and picked it apart with my therapist.
Then, suddenly it hit me.
Trying to control another person’s emotions is like trying to control the wind. I can’t control how the wind blows, where it blows or with what ferocity. Just ask the people that are being pummeled right now by Hurricane Dorian if they can control the disastrous onslaught.
I was brainwashed that I had some sort magical power, influence, pull, coercion over my mother’s emotions. That somehow it was my fault.
How can the direction of the wind be my fault? It isn’t.
Sometimes the wind is a refreshing breeze and I can sit and languish in its warmth. Other times it whips at me with pelting rain and I can see shelter or escape from it entirely. There are times the wind is perfectly still and it feels like I am walking through a dream. Still other times it is bitter and cold, biting at my nostrils.
But, however the wind blows, I can’t control it. I can’t control other people’s emotions. I don’t have that power. Now, I can influence some people but ultimately how they react is entirely out of my control.
That’s my go to statement now. When I feel pulled into other people’s emotional insanity, I remember that their emotions are like the wind. I can’t control it. I can either choose to be affected by it or I can seek shelter from it.
One step closer to healing from co-dependence.