There are times when I hate the disease so much that I also start to hate myself for ever being around it. Then I realize that what hasn’t killed me might have helped me. I am better for having endured and learned and found a solution. Nonetheless, if given the choice, I would rather have not spent so many years on unequal terms with another.
Mary wrote recently on her blog:
".....people who are not codependent ...... have healthy boundaries and a strong sense of self and they don’t want to rescue or redeem troubled lovers. They want partners in the true sense of the word. Strong independent-minded people don’t come out of families where they have grown up colluding in secrets and compliance. They don’t locate self-worth in being needed or in pointless self-sacrifice. They want to meet with others on equal terms."
Today, I had a sponsee meeting on Step 12. After a year of working the steps, we have come to the point where as sponsor and sponsee we can talk in depth about practicing the principles of the program in our lives. He has been involved in several relationships in which he gave much more than the other person. There was no equality, but the assigned roles of giver and a taker. I too have been the giver for many years, but I am now seeing that to continually give from the well depletes and eventually dries up the well spring within.
What was the point of my pointless self-sacrifice? Did I think that if I would stay the course that somehow the other person would magically change for me? Maybe that was part of it. But in my example, I shared that the self-sacrifice only dries and burns up one person--me. I am much better off today with having more equality in my relationships with others. I no longer have to be the giver. It is not a role that has been assigned for life.
For every person who is struggling with a loved one who is taking, it is best to ask "what am I getting from all the giving that I do?" If I inventory the situation, I will no doubt find that I thought that I did not deserve to be on equal terms. But my life matters, my health of mind and body matters, and the time has come that my partner and I can meet each other in the middle. And that, my friends, is what recovery has done.