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Taking Care of Someone while being Resentful? It’s Codependency Behavior

If you act like a martyr, taking care of everyone and everything but resentful that nobody else seems to care about you, I want to first extend compassion to you. If this is you as an adult I want to pause it right there before I go in and I want to share a little bit of insight and compassion. Because here’s the thing. This phenomenon in your life did not happen with the mental illness or the addiction of your child. I want to rewind the tape to when you were a child or you were an adolescent, and you were vulnerable. You probably came from a dysfunctional family in which you needed to take care of something or someone else in order to survive at that time in your life. When you were innocent and vulnerable you had to leave your experience and you had to take care of someone else.

The Story of Omar

For example, I had this little kid, his name was Omar. I’m gonna share with you guys right here. I’m going to tell you guys this. Oh I need you to know this one, this is good. I have this kid named Omar. Okay what I’m talking about right here is acting like a martyr, taking care of everyone else. No one takes care of you and this is how it manifested. So if this is you in life right now I want to share this with you. I’m not going to be too hard on you if that’s what you’re doing right now because I know at some point in your life this was an adaptation to what was happening. So are you ready for this? I had this kid named Omar and he had gotten DUI because he was underage and he got caught drinking beer and smoking weed and he got a DUI at 17 years old. I got to know Omar a little bit. I’m allowed to talk about him because this kid’s a phenomenal kid. He became an engineer. So I was able to talk to Omar and do his counseling and I said, “What’s going on with you, man? What happened here?” And Omar told me that “Hey, you know I was actually an honors student at my school in Costa Mesa.” He was a 4.4 GPA student. A little Hispanic kid, first generation to even try to finish high school. 4.4 GPA and his mom had four other siblings and he was the oldest of the siblings. At the age of 16 years old Omar decided to drop out of high school so he can be a financial supporter of the house. He had to get a job to help provide for the family. His mom went to work in hotels and do some cleaning stuff and he would go work in a restaurant, in a kitchen. He would ride his bike there and he would wash dishes and come home and stuff like that. When his mom was at work Omar would take care of the other three children. He would change diapers, he would feed them, he’d clean the house, he’d do whatever he had to do. When his mom would come home he would go to work and be the man of the house. 16 years old and he did this for a while. But he’s getting upset. He sacrificed everything for this family. He did everything for the world and no one was doing anything for him. And then he told me when he smoked weed or he drank alcohol he said “the weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders.” What type of a world was this little kid carrying that the weight of the world was lifted off his shoulders? I had so much compassion for that kid. I felt so bad for that kid. He was a 4.4 GPA kid, about to be the first kid to graduate from high school from his entire generation, and he had to drop out to be a man. Thank God I got to work with this kid at that point in his life because through the process of working with him during a nine-month program I was able to just make this kid understand that he’s not responsible for all that stuff. He can do his best to show up and support any way he can but he’s got to show up for himself. And this little kid, after he got his DUI, got his license taken away for an entire year, went to community college, went to OCC Orange Coast Community College, got his associate degree, transferred to Cal State Fullerton, became an engineer, a civil engineer. He got a job and when he got that job he was able to support his family and support his siblings and stuff like that. You see, if this kid wouldn’t have woken up and understood that he matters his whole life he would have been taking care of other people, resentful that no one else takes care of him. And that’s what it is for a lot of people. 

A lot of you family members that just are taking care of the world, but you don’t take care of yourself, and you also get resentful that no one does it for you. Why? What compels you to do so? Where’s the urge coming from? Why do you think that’s the way your world is going to get better? It’s because you probably come from a world in which you had to do all that, like the younger ones that had to take care of dysfunctional parents. Parents with addiction or mental illness that you’re just going to repeat later on. So eventually this whole martyr thing, even though it sounds like it’s an honorable thing, self-sacrificial, it’s a horrible, horrible way to live life.

Continuing a Relationship After Being Hurt

If you continue a relationship even after the other person has repeatedly hurt you, it’s a sign of codependency. Now this one again is a little bit tough when it comes to someone you love, someone that shares the same last name with you, someone who is near and dear to your heart. Because we’re taught that when you love somebody or someone is your child, that even when they hurt you, you got to turn the other cheek, or you got to try anyways. And like I said, I think there’s a line. Continuum of age is very important here. Because when somebody’s really young and small and they don’t know any better and they’re just learning life for the first time and they make mistakes and they hurt you, you show up as a human, as a parent, as a compassionate soul, and just let them know that everyone makes mistakes, it’s okay. Like, “Why did you do it? What led you to it?” You kind of have a dialogue, a conversation, you educate, you learn together. But again, when that person’s like 20, 30, 40, 50 years old, or you’re in a relationship with them for 10 – 15 years and they’re continuously doing it, please stop pointing the finger at them and saying, “you keep doing this to me.” Start asking yourself, “Why do I allow them to continue doing this to me?” Once you get clear with that, once you understand that, once you realize that, you have a part in what it is that’s happening to you. You will begin to understand that you can free yourself of needless suffering in that relationship. Needless suffering doesn’t need to happen but you bring it on. By the way, people get good at telling you that it’s different or manipulating or finding reasons that make you feel like it was different. But once, twice, three times, five times, 10 times, 17 times, 20 times, 50 times, how many times does it take to do it? I’ll give everybody some grace in the early stages of a relationship, when people are getting to know each other, people are growing up, people in early stages of recovery. Nobody knows what’s happening. There’s going to be some trial and tribulation and some people are going to say things and do other things, and some people are not going to know how to respond or react. That’s okay. But a couple years later, come on, get true with yourself.

Afraid of Being Rejected, Criticized or Abandoned

This goes down to the roots of codependency. If you’re afraid of being rejected, criticized or abandoned, you probably got some roots of codependency in you. And guess what? This didn’t happen with the addiction of your loved one either. Nope, it didn’t. At some point in your life you were rejected. At some point in your life you were criticized, probably over criticized, or critiqued. You weren’t good enough. And at some point in your life you potentially were abandoned. And the fear of all of that is so intense that later in life when you get into relationships yourself, when you have children yourself, the thought of any of those happening again terrifies you to the point that you are willing to do all of those things we talked about in order to not lose it. 

But I will give you a challenge, that if you have a fear of abandonment and you’ll do whatever it takes not to be abandoned, when you do whatever it takes you actually do something. You abandon yourself. So you have this fear of abandoning and yet you are the one that abandoned yourself. Now can you see the dilemma? When you leave your own experience it means you abandon your own experience. When you leave your own experience, attend to the experiences of others there is no longer you home. You no longer exist. You no longer are present. So in that relationship, in that dynamic, in that world you’re trying to hold on to so dearly, who’s the one holding on? Because it’s not you. You abandoned you. It’s this shell of who you think you are that thinks completely delusionally, that they’re holding everything together. To all the codependents out there and all your attempts to hold things together have they ever been held together? These are serious questions that I really hope that you answer honestly.

Call Buckeye Recovery Today!

Are you in recovery but not making progress? Recovery is not only possible but attainable, and it all begins with reaching out for assistance. By addressing both addiction and mental health issues, individuals can break free from the cycle of despair and embark on a path to a healthier, more fulfilling life. Contact Buckeye Recovery Network today and initiate your journey to recovery and improved mental health. Our dedicated team of professionals is here to guide and support you every step of the way.

Today is going to be the best day of your life.

Kelsey Gearhart

Director of Business Development

Kelsey carries multiple years of experience working in the substance abuse and mental health treatment field. Her passion for this field comes from her personally knowing recovery from addiction.

Prior to Buckeye she held titles of Recovery Coach, Operations Director, and Admissions Director. Kelsey was brought on at Buckeye Recovery as the Director of Business Development. She has a passion for ensuring every individual gets the help that they need, and does so by developing relationships with other providers.

Kelsey also oversees our women’s sober living environments – The Chadwick House for Women. She is committed to creating a safe, nurturing, and conducive environment for all women that walk through the doors of Chadwick.