I’m not sure what finally brought me to this realization but it happened sometime around three weeks ago. It hit me like a ton of bricks
I have always had co-dependent relationships with my best friends
Now, there is a difference between being “there” for each other and being codependent and I believe I crossed the “codependency line” with each best friend I have ever had. This probably also greatly contributed to them becoming my “ex-bestfriend.”
Let me explain
Over the years, I have had at least eight “best friends.” When I say best friend I mean:
- We knew everything about each other
- We knew everything about her momma’s life
- I knew everything about her sex life
- We were partners in crime
- Deep dark secrets aren’t secrets anymore
- Using the bathroom in front of each other was not only necessary but normal and only vaguely gross.
- Binge nights of Halloween movies and Ice Cream
- etcetera etcetera
I know you know what I mean. Best friends. What I didn’t know about these relationships is that we unwittingly became dependent on one another in huge ways. The codependencies have varied over the years and often times the tables have turned but they usually boiled down to:
- One of us being heavily reliant on emotional support
“I have a crazy relationship and shaky self-esteem, make me feel better.”
2. One of us being heavily reliant for social support
“I am on social life-support. Bring me back to life.”
I can honestly say that I have been both of those people and often times, in the same friendship.
I started to realize this when developing friendships in sobriety. I was surrounded by women that were actively working on making themselves better and dealing with all of those demons that she had. She was working on tearing down her walls and lessening the impact her character defects had in her life. She was friends with others but was not reliant on those women. She had become her own support when she was given tools in recovery. She didn’t need someone to carry her anymore.
It was so crazy. Suddenly, when I really clicked with a girl, I no longer wanted to be her best friend and no longer felt the need to cling to that individual quite like I would have before. I didn’t need her support constantly because I had other pillars of support and other resources. Because of my work in self-improvement, I realized that no person was going to fill that hole in me. I didn’t need them to carry that load and they knew that.
What really surprised me about this new found independence was my ability to let go of expectations on the women around me. I no longer expected too much from women. When someone inevitably disappointed me, it wasn’t the blow it would have been before. I wasn’t counting on them to be my emotional support and they didn’t feel the pressure of being that for me.
This really became apparent to me when my closest friend delivered a heavy disappointment. A family member had just passed away and she was nothing short of apathetic. No phone call, no “how can I be there for you,” no nothing. It was during this time that I realized, I could not count on this friend to be supportive during the hard times in my life. I was hurt by this and I stopped talking to her. I stopped counting on her for everything. On those days that I wanted to get lunch with someone, I had no one to call. On those nights that I was bored, I had no one to run to. When I was getting lonely and thinking about my ex, there was no friend to distract me. There I was, this young person, going through quite a bit, realizing her codependency habits, and I didn’t die. Something was different. Something had changed.
Although, I felt hurt and alone at times, it was not heavy like it used to be. This time, when I felt alone, I felt peace and knew that I would make it through. There are many contributions to this but I believe it is because I have built a support system that is much fuller and multi-faceted. I have more people around me that care and I have tools (very, very important) to help me through hard times. What once would have been devastating, turned out to be something that increased faith in myself. I was able to get through this without the support I thought I needed. I was able to be my own best friend through those hard days.
Since then, my best friend and I have made up. I have learned a valuable lesson though, and that is to have tools in my life that will offer support and replace that codependent relationship in my life. Most importantly, it has taught me how to spot codependent friends and relationships, and how to nip them in the bud so that they do not end up being the draining relationship that they often are.
The Curvy Broke Girl
A Body Positive Blog