Category Archives: co dependent

Living as a Chattel

Freedom not ownership

The other day I realised that living as a Chattel gave me certain freedoms, ironically as a Chattel by definition is being someone’s property/slave. 

Let’s be clear I do not want to be a Chattel and hate this Victorian law that labels me as my ex husbands property until I remarry, he settles or either of us die (although he can do what he likes).

However there are certain perks, the primary one is I don’t have to be anyone else’s chattel, I can not make the same mistake again. No rushing into marriage or co-habitation for me. My codependent and romantic nature cries out to be some bodies ‘the one’, but my chattel status removes my ability to form a committed relationship, so I don’t have to commit, or worry if I’m sure or doing the right thing and neither does a lover. The stakes are so high I can live in a permanent state of never having to risk being owned by anyone else.

I could remarry and lose the stake in a business I helped set up but I’m not going to give away what’s rightfully mine for a marriage that despite my commitment could be thrown away by someone else’s wandering cock, like last time. I don’t have young children and won’t have more, so the need for marriage isn’t there. I admit my conditioned nature of social norms sometimes dreams of marriage and happy ever after but my chattel status squashes that down to an uncomfortable niggle. People change and I’m not sure if I want to or need to take that risk again. My chattel status gives me (and any lover I have) the perfect excuse to never address the future, to live in the moment. 

When your options are reduced life becomes simpler, freedom? Why would I want that? 

rejection

My son spends more and more time with his rich narcissist dad. He doesn’t bring friends home to me, I can tell he’s embarrassed. I see pictures of him on Facebook with his friends partying at his dad’s house. I’ve got to the point where it hurts so much I just want to say to him go.

It’s money, his dad has a city centre mansion, loads of parking, a hot tub, all I can afford is a home in a town half an hour away with a bad reputation next door to the pub. Of course he is embarrassed.

I’m crying because I know I have to let him go, his dad can give him so much convenience and luxury. Abu Dhabi formula one with a pass to the Pits… I watch as he checks the sell-by dates of things in my fridge, my poverty means you eat things a few days past but he’s proud to admit he’s a foodo, he only eats the best. I had a chance for a few days away from a kind friend but refused as my son was home, now he’s off to dads as it’s just more convenient more logical. I missed that chance.

He’s got a few days at half term with me, but he’s in college doing extra classes, because he missed so much with holidays with his dad, I’m sure he’d have stayed with his dad but he’s away on his second ski holiday this year with his new family.

I am fed up, upset, crying, my ex sent me an email telling me he had won a year ago. He was right. I hadn’t even realised it was a war but I see now, he who has the money to buy what they want wins and I am a peasant squirminly accepting what crumbs my kids offer. What if I say NO? What if I live a life where I do what I want?  It doesn’t matter I take what’s offered but should I be brave and say to my son, it’s fine stay with your dad, it’s much more logical not to have the commute as your exams approach? It’s a sticking plaster, I’m hurting so much it might be easier to let him go with one last rip.

 

Freedom is scary

Four years ago my life as I knew it ended, he left and ended my love, my children’s childhoods, my sense of where I was in my world, my home, my job, my security, my ability to trust. I survived and slowly I’m rebuilding but now I face another period of endings.

My youngest will soon leave home, my poor dog is on her last legs and the cat not far behind, even my dear mum is struggling. My menopause is here and I’m losing my youth and probably my libido too. My partner is moving to the other side of the country.

With the loss of things In the past I gained freedom, but it’s scary stuff. I can move to almost anywhere, start again except I’m starting as a middle aged person, not a mum with kids in the same school. It’s going to be hard to break into the inevitable middle class, middle age cliques, a place I don’t fit at the best of times, but, I can reinvent myself – Madonna style. I don’t think I have the energy to be anyone other than me though.

My last enforced freedom had me jumping out of planes and into bed with near strangers, luckily one of those strangers saw through all that and had the patience and understanding to hold me.

I’m worried I’ll have the strength to face the next set of endings that seem to be converging, beyond my control to the same few days in my near future, a real punch to my belly. Can I face the horrors of loss and stand up again somewhere new, I won’t be alone this time but my gallant knight has a few rust spots and belly wounds as well, that’s why he was so understanding.

It’s a chance to move away from the pain, but the pain has a certain familiarity.

Dependence of a codependent – moving away from pain.

My son was telling me of a horrific psychology experiment where a dog is in a cage, one half of the floor is electrocuted. The dog moves to the other side pretty quickly. They then locked the dog in the electrocuted side, after a while they remove the partition but the dog doesn’t move to the non painful side – it stays in pain. 

I have been bothered by this for days. Has the dogs will been broken, is it getting something from the pain? Why doesn’t it move? Am I the dog who had got so used to pain that that’s what I chose? After more than 45 years of codependency am I unable to even freely choose to move away? If they moved the dog away from the pain would it crawl back to it? Can it be saved? 

Advice to my twenty year old self

As we start a new year I was reflecting what I would tell my twenty year old self inspired by the blogger named twentysomething.

The obvious stuff has pit falls – don’t marry him, but then I wouldn’t have my two lovely children and being what I was, I’d probably have married someone similar. So I’ll try to write advice supporting rather than just say no!

I would tell the young me, you are an adult now, every decision now should be your own, take responsibility for it.

No one else knows what they are doing either.

Don’t let your partners career succeed to the detriment of yours.

He isn’t always right just because he dominates.

Take control of the family finances – even more so if it’s his area of expertise.

When children arrive leave them in his sole care often.

If you think he is having an affair he probably is.

Don’t worry about no sex for five years as you will have an amazing time exploring that area very soon, yes even though you are over forty, men will still find you attractive and you will be amazed at how it feels to make love with someone who loves you.

When he leaves it will be the start, not the end of your life in many ways. Stop crying and play with your children.

Are you a codependent and are you in a bad relationship – a checklist

I am a codependent but I strive not to be in a codependent relationship. I believe my nature (DNA) is codependent reinforced by an abusive childhood and hammered home by marrying a narcissist. No medical training just my experience talking. Better not Broken blogged about a checklist with some very strong ‘tells’ such as ‘does your partner use the choke hold in sex, does he own a gun’ and I felt my personal checklist was a little more subtle and promised I’d try to write it. I do hope I can separate the two things, although I will always be a codependent, I am trying very hard to not be in a codependent relationship so there are two checklists. So here goes.

Are you a codependent?
Are you told often you are too nice?
Do you love to solve people’s problems?
Do you shrink if people around you get angry – even if it’s not at you?
Are you always offering to help and then wondering why you did because it will make things difficult for you?
If anything goes wrong even if not your fault do you take the blame?
When you book tickets for friends do you pay the booking fee?
Do you find your days todo list is mostly what other people have asked you to do?
Are you unable to let yourself go and think about what you really want to do?
Do you have time for hobbies? Do you think your lack of hobbies makes you boring?
Would you give up your meal for someone else and hide the fact you haven’t been able to eat?
When someone lets you down do you strive to make them feel ok about it?
Do you excuse and defend others their bad behaviour?
Do you pick up the dog poo on a dog walk?

Are you in a subtle codependent relationship?
It was a whirlwind romance and you were swept off your feet.
If you are doing something together like cooking and it goes wrong, you take the blame and he lets you.
When you try to help with something they should be doing and it isn’t perfect they have a tantrum and make it your fault.
If you book a holiday on orders to their chosen destination you get anger and derision at your spending when the bill arrives.
Money, you are given an allowance it’s not equal despite your partnership.
They are not open about their income.
They hide things from you.
They have more than one mobile phone.
Your codependency is assumed – ‘I’m going out Friday’ Not ‘can you look after the kids please’
They conflict, in that they want a stay at home mum for kids but also a wife with a great job and respect.
When you get a job it is undermined.
If your boss is kind and you enjoy your job you must be having an affair.
They talk of support but they don’t do it.

They talk love but they don’t do it.

You are ostracised from your family.
You get the silent treatment.
They don’t feel the need to explain why they are late, you just have to accept.
If you try to ask (you suspect an affair) the response is if you ask again I will have an affair.
The home is never clean enough.
You are made to feel stupid, you watch the wrong tv.
You start looking into plastic surgery to make yourself better for them.
You are scared to get counselling because underneath you know the councillor will see what you are, and your partner doesn’t want you to.
They suggest you are depressed and you start to believe them.
They withdraw from sex.
You find the occasional sex is only ever about their pleasure, and if you fail to make them come it’s your fault.
They withdraw completely physically.
They tell you you are too needy.
You are always defending them, to your kids, family and friends.
They are too important to do menial tasks.
You have to sign documents without reading them.
You have to entertain all their important people and do all the work but they take the credit.

You feel small.

By no means an exhaustive checklist and entirely from personal experience. I am so hopeful that by knowing what I am I can change how I behave. Happy, healthy new year everyone!

 

I was a broken chair

Sometimes a broken thing can be fixed to be stronger and more beautiful.

My new partners parents had an old painted dining chair in their bathroom. It had a metal plate quite crudely screwed on where the back had previously been broken and I couldn’t help reflect as I lay in the bath that I was that chair.

Sat upon for years, part of a set, then broken and cast off on my own, then some very kind person saw something in me, took the time to mend me so that I was stronger than ever before, if a little scarred, but standing on my own and doing what I needed to do in life.