A Long Winter’s Nap

Call it what you wish: codependency, self-love deficit disorder, or love addiction. I simply call it my history of Pollyanna-ism. You see, I slept my way through my marriage—foolishly [and willingly] under the spell of two very powerful and very hypnotic drugs—love and undying devotion. Love that was undeservedly unconditional. And devotion that never waned, no matter how badly my I was treated. That was, until I woke up from my dream world and discovered that I had squandered them both on someone who never deserved either.

In my codependency, I gave away 100% of my power in our love and marriage relationship. Power that my husband was all too happy to grab. Power that I willingly gave to him. Power that, in the end, allowed him to wound me so mortally.

Have You Seen My Keys?

When I said “I do”, I handed over the keys to the control room of my psyche—without so much as a second thought. But then that’s what fools do when they’re in love, isn’t that right?  It’s the stuff that love stories [and tragedies by the way] are made of.

Ultimate power is having control over the things that other people need and want—as well as over having control over what they fear. In relationships, the one that cares the least, has the most power.

The Game Changer

Fast forward to present day, post D-Day apocalypse, here in high-def reality. I’m no longer steeped in my former romantic-comedy ridiculousness. I’m no longer a female version of Rip Van Winkle, sleeping my life away in a love-induced winter’s nap.

My Long Overdue Wake Up Call

A defining moment in my recovery from my misplaced love-addiction came when I read an article entitled The Power Struggle Of Relationships, by Ian Robertson, PhD, in Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-winner-effect/201211/the-power-struggle-relationships.

It was a bittersweet moment for me. I sat in stone cold silence after I finished reading it. I was stunned—yet somewhat strangely relieved. The Lord works in mysterious ways. He let me find yet another valuable aid to open my eyes to who my ex really always had been—further enabling me to see my situation for what it really was.

As I sat there reflecting, I felt as if I was the woman in that song made popular by Rita Flack in 1996, who concluded that the man singing on stage was: ‘Killing me softly with his words … telling my whole life …”

Described in the paragraphs of Dr. Robertson’s article were the very things I’d been struggling with and for which I wanted and needed explanation. I had lived the life of the person in the article [named Chris] with the exception that I never drank any alcohol, nor had marital relations been a factor. My husband, with no exceptions, perfectly fit the behavior of the ‘Karen’ person in this article.

Dr. Robertson Answered All My Nagging Questions

That one article answered so many questions. It explained why he had such contempt for me—and why he expressed it in the manner that he did when he left. I needed to look nor further for my answer.

Everything my husband had done in his leaving was about wielding power—plain and simple. He knew that he held all the power in our relationship. When it was to his benefit, he callously and unconscionably used it.

Being such a codependent Pollyanna—and being so steeped in denial!—I needed to hold on to some part of our relationship for as long as possible, even after he was long gone. I falsely comforted myself by saying that my husband would never intentionally hurt me. In essence, I became an apologist for his horrendous behavior.

In some sick and twisted way, holding on to my grief and unanswered questions rather than working on myself and moving on, was my way of maintaining an attachment to him. With no job, no health insurance, and no income of any kind, I was making my way through the recovery process solo, acting as my on therapist. [Not recommended, I know.] However, this article was a like having a wonderful [but stern] therapist to reach over and slap the stupid out of me.

I was finally seeing my ex husband for who/what he is, rather than what I projected and wanted him to be. This was one of many doses of good medicine that helped me see that my own delusion and neediness was delaying the healing of my pain.

The facts were [are] that my runaway husband wasn’t [isn’t] a poor, misled, confused man being bewitched by some opportunistic Black Widow. She may, indeed, be a Black Widow in her own right, but my husband was simply a power junkie and I had been a modern day Rip Van Winkle, deeply asleep at the switch.