I learned two very, very important life lessons in my first marriage.
The first is that when you’re in the path of a tornado and the voice in your head tells you to get out of the car, do not–under any circumstances– ignore it to listen to dude in the backseat when he yells that you have to keep driving to get under the bridge that’s nearly a mile away.
The second is that when you’re playing basketball and you want the guy under the net to take a shot and win the game, do not pass the ball to him and say, “Do whatever you want with it,” because when the buzzer sounds and he’s perfecting his dribble, you’re going to be pissed off.
We lived because I listened to my intuition in that tornado and I am sane today, at least in large part, because he told me the latter is what it was like to live with me. We didn’t know about codependency then, and we hadn’t yet been to that one therapy appointment. We both knew he was going off the deep end but had vastly different opinions about the cause.
Finally, there was this one moment… a divine kiss of inspiration, where he had the gift of the basketball metaphor to explain that I don’t ask for what I need and it made it impossible for him to be a good partner to me.
The undeniable truth of it took my breath away.
Welcome to the world of codependency. Describing it, as I’ve said before, is like nailing Jell-O to the wall. I’ve written much about it and long before me, there was a thriving industry offering explanations and support to those who wish to be free from these patterns. My interest, for now at least, is to make it so codependent behaviors don’t have to suck the life out of this holiday season.
During Thanksgiving week, I wrote about how we can enjoy a Codependency-Free holiday season (Cody-Free for fun) by employing Rule One: Protect yourself from mean people. And in honor of the aforementioned dude, I offer you the following additional guideline.
Rule Two: Ask for what you need.