Codependency: Don’t buy a fish.

A loved one recently exited a decades long dynamic with a partner. They were used to constantly neglecting their own needs and care-taking the other because of that other person’s abusive nature. The abusive partner was unpredictable, an alcoholic, and often terrifying but cleverly maintained a benign persona to the public. This loved one was used to pouring heaps of their own energy towards stabilizing this other person. It was always necessary to deny their own self’s needs to do so.

The abusive person would not tolerate truthfulness of self. To express one’s self would mean immeasurable attack behind closed doors. So, this loved one stayed silent. In this silence, they learned to doubt themselves, their feelings, their thoughts. In this silence they began to harm their own self. They felt hopeless, trapped and unsure of reality.

That’s when this loved one of mine had an opportunity not many are so lucky to have, their abuser got caught by others and out of an abundance of shame retreated into the shadows, mostly out of my loved one’s life. What happened next surprised me at first and then made perfect sense.

Now safe, and unpacking years of pain, finding healing, they began having a desperate desire for a fish. They spent hours researching that specific type of fish’s needs and planning how they would arrange their tank to be perfect. I just looked at them dumbfounded wondering where the heck this was coming from. They had never particularly wanted a fish before and they certainly didn’t have the time now to commit to all the intricacies they were planning for this new pet. Then it dawned on me… they weren’t needing the fish… they were needing something to take care of.

The codependent pattern that had solidified over all of those years of sending massive amounts of personal energy towards another being had just been taken away from them, leaving a vacuum. This vacuum left my loved one with so much discomfort. Once they realized this thing, that this vacuum was indeed the root of their drive to find something else to take care of, they wondered, “Well, what do I do with all of this energy? I need something to put it towards.” I answered, “Yourself. It’s time to put it towards yourself. That’s always the only one it was intended for. Now it’s time for YOU to love and care for YOU.” 💝

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *