5.14.2012

Friendship Vs. Codependency

You don't feel worthy of peoples' friendship, so you go out of your way to make them dependent on you. Because if they don't NEED you, they may not WANT you. And then you won't have any friends.

Sound familiar? If it doesn't, then none of this applies to you. You can safely close the browser window now. But if it does, let's you and I have a little chat.

You're a giver. You give. Give give give. That's you. Giving makes you a good friend. It's who you are. Your heart is open and you give freely of yourself to those you love and care for. But what happens when they don't give in return?

You probably won't believe it's true. "They're my friend," you say. "I like giving. I like going out of my way for them. I love them."

This may not have gotten you hurt yet... But you need to trust me when I tell you, it will. I guarantee it. You may or may not be familiar with the term codependency. I'm not a psychiatrist or a psychologist, but I can tell you that's what is going on, and you need to face it.

It takes two people to be "friends." Friendship is, by its very nature, give AND take. Each party gives equally.  If one person is continually giving and the other isn't reciprocating, what you have is not friendship. What you have is codependence.

You will NEVER have an honest friendship until you learn to respect and value yourself enough to take as much as you give. You will have users. You will have abusers. You will have passers-by that like you, that you perceive as caring far more about you than they actually do -- because you like them that much, so they have to like you that much.

You'll go so far out of your way for them, and you have. Time and again. And when asked why they haven't done that for you, you will reply "Well, I've never needed it" or "I couldn't let them do that, I can handle myself" or something that sounds similar. And to be honest, it's true. Those aren't lies. But they are justifications.

I tell you this because maybe you keep getting hurt, or maybe you keep feeling used, or maybe you just plain need to hear why it is you end up in the gutter so often. It's because you keep laying down in it and letting people walk on your back over the muck and the mud.

When they don't reach down and pull you up after your great sacrifice, ask yourself -- did they ever ask you to do it in the first place? Because if they didn't, they don't actually owe you anything. You chose to do that. That's your call. To expect the same from them is natural, but it IS unfair.

I'm not saying that you shouldn't go out of your way for the people you love. I'm just saying that, should you find yourself doing so constantly and ending up unrewarded for your valiant efforts, maybe you should ask yourself why you're doing it. I'm willing to bet everything I own that the answer, after a tremendous amount of digging, will end up being what I said above: you feel like the only way people WANT to be with you is if they NEED you.

And that's not healthy. Worse, it's GOING to end up in pain. Over and over again. There is no other way for it to end, because no matter what happens, you're pouring more energy into being needed than they could ever reciprocate.

Because you have no sense of self. Because there's no "you" in you. That's an infinite hole that cannot be filled by anyone except you. And the more of you you keep pouring out, the less likely it will ever be that you can begin filling that hole and becoming a whole person. You deserve to receive as much as you give. Start by giving a little to yourself.