Dating codependent man
I could give someone nice jewelry, but when they tried to buy me a two-dollar coffee I would resist to the point of it getting awkward.
And if someone gave me a gift, I viewed it like a grenade.
As my friend Kevin says, "When you get healthy, the sick get angry." I still panic that mitigating my codependent impulses will make me less successful professionally, since needing people's approval is historically what propelled me to work so hard.
If I actually had self-esteem, would I ever work as hard again? Over the past five years, I've worked my ass off to re-parent myself and change the neural pathways that were crystallized as a child.
I.e., if you're not going to make me feel bad, I'm going to be so nice to you that in comparison, you seem like you're an asshole. When my parents fought, I would put on improvised performances or fashion shows in our living room to try to distract them.
Fussing over narcissistic people was how I kept in their good graces and how I felt safe.
After being in recovery for codependence, I still get to be nice, but my motives have had to change.
Today, my struggle is to do only 50 percent in my relationships.
I lost some friends who preferred me when I was a doormat.
Right now, the only person's approval I need is that of Lenny's editor, which means I have to end this.
In closing, the bad news about all this is that if we ever meet, I won't sleep with you out of guilt.
Worrying about other people's problems (or perceived problems) was a habit I developed very early on.
It worked as a child, but once I grew up, this coping device was a weapon I kept using even though I was no longer at war.
I'll Instagram them looking resplendent under the Nashville filter and tag her, send her photos of me wearing them so she didn't think I was lying, and yet I still felt a pang of guilt that I didn't deserve such kindness.