Its been months now since it dawned on me that the depth of my lack of self-love was, well, really deep.
Reaching this realization was a downward spiral, and sometimes, the drop was too much to take in. The good thing for anyone going through this is that the fall may be brutal, leaving you sore all over, but it’s survivable.
As I tried to understand why things happened the way they did, I stumbled upon the term codependency, and countless videos, blogs, and articles. And I got hold of books by Melody Beattie, Codependent No More and Beyond Codependency. And for a time they became my constant companion. Her books are still with me and every once in a while, when I felt like I was forgetting what I have learned, I would pull her book out of the little shelf at the foot of my bed and read a chapter or two.
Then recently, I came across a video post by Lisa Romano and Ross Rosenberg. Ross had coined the term self-love deficit disorder. I found the term perfect for what the condition was. Adults who grew up in chaotic homes at times do not learn how to take care of themselves, what is their responsibility and what isn’t, how to love and accept themselves and their emotions fully. Moreover, the term helps us focus on the core of our healing, which, at least for me, was truly learning about healthy self-love. I had to learn that it was necessary, not selfish, to do so, and that this is actually my responsibility and not somebody else’s.
Written this way, it sounded simple. But anyone who had been, or is in, this journey knows it’s difficult. It’s not easy to unlearn patterns of thinking and behavior that you developed as a child to protect yourself and survive. These things have been ingrained in your psyche. It was like realizing you had blinders on all your life, and decades after you are only starting to realize and grieve the losses, see through the lies. There was actually no way of escaping grief. But I can honestly tell you that once something has been properly grieved and finally accepted, you’d feel so much lighter.
If this journey resonates with you, I hope you can find time to sit with your emotions, read more about the topic, or find a good therapist who can handle cases such as this. There is a wealth of information online, but there are a few I keep revisiting whenever I need a reminder.
- Melody Beattie’s blog and books such as Codependent No More and Beyond Codependency
- Videos by and interviews with Ross Rosenberg (such as Codependency Recovery Stages and You Can’t See Problems in Others if You Can’t See the Problem in Yourself)
- Videos by Lisa Romano
- Books by Charles L. Whitfield such as Boundaries and Relationships: Knowing, Protecting and Enjoying the Self
To us in recovery, may we find more beauty along this journey of recovery, and may we always receive the strength to push forward even if it seems like the cards are stacked against us. Many have recovered–and so can we.