A dear friend picked me up at the airport when I returned from visiting family out east. Her sister-in-law had come with her for the ride, and the three of us had a great conversation on the 20 minute drive to my house.
At one point I shared that quite a while ago I had paid for an item a mutual friend was selling. I had never received it, no longer needed it and because I didn’t want to hurt her feelings, I wondered if it would be okay to ask for my money back.
The sister-in-law asked, “What kind of a question is that?!”
My friend laughed, “Oh, she’s just like me, an over-achieving co-dependent!” Then the two of us tried to explain what that meant, but we couldn’t quite do it.
About a week later I went online to find a list of co-dependent behaviors. It turns out the list covered just about everything I was taught to do growing up. If there had been a handbook for how to be a nice girl, it would have been the same list. No wonder so many of us are confused. These are behaviors we thought were positive and since they did not come with a warning label, and we had no idea how potentially dangerous they were.
These are just a few questions from this very, very long list.
Do you have difficulty taking compliments or gifts?
Do you have trouble saying “no” when asked for help?
Do you have trouble asking for help?
Do you feel like a “bad person” when you make a mistake?
Do you keep quiet to avoid arguments?
Have you ever felt inadequate?
Are you always worried about others’ opinions of you?
Oh phooey! I had worked so hard on these issues and my answers were all still yes. I had forgotten that my self-esteem needs to be continually nurtured, that developing new behaviors takes lots of practice and that I was going to make lots of mistakes.
I decided to put a new affirmation on my bathroom mirror.
“Be at Peace. You are not supposed to be perfect!”