Columnist Writes About CodependencyPosted by brianna-albers on April 21, 2020 at 11:00 am
I don’t know about you, but I barely know what day it is! Quarantine is really starting to get to me.
This week’s column is on the heavier side. One of our editors, Dave, said I’m putting my M.A. to good use by writing about different mental health topics, even when it’s difficult. I was inspired by an Instagram post to write about codependency. Specifically, I thought about how codependency affects my relationships with my caregivers. I suspect this might be relevant to many people with SMA.
Can you relate to what I wrote about codependency and putting my caregivers’ needs before my own?
MemberApril 21, 2020 at 5:23 pm
<p class=”p1″>Very very interesting topic! And very well written (like all your articles btw)</p>
<p class=”p2″><span class=”s2″>Experienced kinda the same thing especially with my parents. When you’re so used to time everything according to their schedule, their moods, their well being while trying to also fulfill your needs wow what an emotional and mental charge. (Sometimes i feel like an emotional sponge) « Okay so my mother turned me twice this night so to equilibrate between them i’ll go to the bathroom at 2 with my father so I don’t have to go again when he works but for this i have to only drink 3 cups of water but since bathroom is the hardest i’ll ask my mom for the next thing» or « My mom had a really bad day at work and just wants to go to sleep but i just started a great skin routine that takes 15min and I really wanted to wash my hair tonight because i’m seeing friends tomorrow ugh well i’ll skip it today or tomorrow night is the same i want her to rest» Sometimes it’s easy decisions that can be a little bit frustrating sometimes it’s really really big calculations with so many unpredictable variables that it gets exhausting. </span></p>
<p class=”p2″><span class=”s2″>One thing that really changed the whole dynamic for me is being my own employer. When I moved out, and I employed caregivers. Caregivers also came before at my parents house, but it was different they came in like a family setting, engaged with my family, helped us out, and often became family friends which is great and also happened really naturally, but i knew that when i started living alone things would be different and it was SO SCARY. This different came with more challenges but also took off a lot of the good old burden feeling. The relation employee-employer really relieved me of this feeling and this permanent overthinking. I found great people who work at my place, it’s their job, they have a job description, a manager, schedules, they are professional. They signed for it, they’re payed for it (sadly not enough) and they actually like what they’re doing also maybe because it’s only a job. Takes a lot of weight on all shoulders. It doesn’t mean that relationships are more easy to juggle, I mean I work in HR i know how difficult work relations can be and i’m always learning about how i can be better in this field and how complex it is. But it really allowed me to shift the dynamic from « a daily codependant relationship with my family filled with history, love, closeness that is not always easy» to « organizing my life how i want with always but different restrictions, in relationships that from their start are based on a work exchange » </span></p>
<p class=”p2″><span class=”s2″>Now when I see my parents it’s like my imaginary board i have is clean, the scores are empty, the equations and calculs have disapeared, but the close bond is still there.</span></p>
<p class=”p2″><span class=”s2″>I know i’m talking about one of the most challenging thing for us which is independant life and that it can be hard and long to build, i just wanted to share that this feeling of burden and codependancy is not written in stone forever and that even though we’ll always be dependant of others, the context of the relation can have a huge impact on it. I think i found a solution that gave me a sense of relief like i removed the weight i had myself attached to me, but to each their own. </span></p>
<p class=”p2″><span class=”s2″>But does the feeling of burden really disappear? I mean when I’m thinking 2sec about it my brain always find a way back to it. I’m no longer a burden right now for my parents but who will give them back the years spend existing around my care? Am I a burden for the state when they give me money to pay for my caregivers? When my friends lift my ice tea to help me drink?? ugh i should have lied and said i’m not thirsty. </span><span class=”s2″>I think the society programmed us to question the validity of our existence as disabled persons, a mix of the impact of capitalism and individualism i guess. </span></p>
<p class=”p2″><span class=”s2″>Anyway, I don’t think the solution is don’t rely on persons we love. Because whereas it’s going to the bathroom or helping with a homework or just listening, SMA or not we all rely and count on others. People are there for us but we are also there for them. We all give to others i think that sometimes we can forget this because we feel like all we do is asking.</span></p>
MemberApril 21, 2020 at 8:58 pm
Brianna, I absolutely love this one! You’ve put these feeling into words so beautifully! I also have, as you called it, “the superpower of empathy.” I feel other peoples’ feelings with an intensity that anyone who doesn’t experience it can’t understand. I also use this “superpower” to gage when and how I will ask for things. I’ll try to direct request only to people who are in a good mood. If moods switch, I switch up who I ask. If someone is in a bad mood, I try to limit how many times I ask for help.
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