For the past few months, life hasn't been so grand. No, not complaining. I'm trying to figure my life out, figure out the conflicts in my head, in my relationships, keep a job and many other things all at once. To top it all off, I did not so much come to the realization that I'm codependent, but was essentially told what my issue was by someone else. Some of you may say 'So what! Why do you care what someone else says?!' Ah, but that is just it. I am codependent. After looking at the 'symptoms' I am...I'm not denying it. It was just the harsh little blow of someone who I didn't think knew me very well, hitting the nail on the head so to speak. How did I not know this about myself? How did I, after XX years, living in my own skin, not know that I had this problem, this disease, this addiction?
I think I was a bit shell shocked to finally understand this. It all came after my relationship with my fiancee practically imploded after almost 8 years...
We had a good relationship up until around April, but it was March when we delved into the real life world of BDSM and D/s relationships a bit further. I have to keep this PG, so no intimate details of course (not that I was going to share that with you anyway - read my other writing for that ;p ). We started going to the local BDSM dungeon, met people, went out for coffee, started making friends in the 'community.' We had both always been kinky. We were finally thinking of exploring it a bit further, letting a little more out - to ourselves and maybe...maybe a play partner. This was what was discussed.
Now, my fiancee is my Dom. Has been for many years now. It's always worked, our relationship has always been a good, happy one. The thought of having even more fun with a third person or maybe more - well, it's a thought many people out there had. We'd each had three in bed once before, but there was never more than that and never with the two of us combined. Well, it happened at one of our coffee outings. We met another woman. We liked her on the surface - we didn't know much about her and it seemed she was in a relationship already, so we assumed she was off limits until said guy went away (he was leaving the state in a few months). Fine...we were patient. There happened to be no waiting though, things started up between us and she essentially dumped her little slave boi who she treated badly anyway.
Warning...warning...Yeah...I noticed the red flashing alarm lights, but apparently no one else did, but I didn't say anything. It's part of being codependent. You have all these thoughts, but you don't say them. You keep them bottled inside - you might hurt someone with what you say, what you do or how you react, so you look for ways and reasons to just stay quiet, or judge from how others are acting on how you should act and react.
Things progressed quickly between the three of us - from an immediate friendship to my Dom sending pictures of me to her while I couldn't do anything to stop him. He'd taken pictures before of me (yes, those kinds of pictures) and it bothered me (because of my own body issues), but not like it bothered me when he sent them to her. I was a submissive though. He knew better than me, right? He wouldn't hurt me, right? It progressed to audio while during a heavy session of edge play, flogging and sex.
Within about a week I'd say, she had more than moved on from her ex/boi who was left feeling odd around the rest of us (and us feeling the same) - and her feeding us and the community all kinds of crap about their relationship (which I would later find out was untrue). Ah, warning number two...If she talks about him...she'll talk about you when her time is done, right? Yep...Ignored once again. The two people who were in bed with me were all smiles, happy talk and telling me this was what was right (especially her...it was a constant stream of 'I'm your missing puzzle piece' or 'I'm what you need to complete your relationship). Well, the submissive me was in high gear. Especially after repeated trips to the local dungeon every weekend. I was getting more and more comfortable with my fiancee and I doing things in front of others. I have horrible body issues and no matter what anyone says, it's what I see and what I think in my head that stops me from doing a lot of things in life. It's the core of codependency. When paired with the thoughts that I as a submissive have, oh, what a bad combination....
In my writing on E, I've almost always played submissive characters. There have only been two times I didn't. The first time was fine. I was in the midst of that second time during this three-way relationship. The RP crashed and burned because I couldn't think outside of that little itty-bitty submissive box I'd stuffed myself into during this relationship. In the outside world I was learning about the poly world. I'd had friends who did the poly thing for years. Most with very limited success. This thought did not elude me. I wasn't comfortable with this new woman. When they started talking about telling people on the outside - friends, family, our next door neighbors, those loud alarm bells were going off again. I actually said 'I'm not comfortable with this.' And I was ignored. My fiancee said 'I need to talk to someone about what's going on - I need to tell people.' I didn't quite understand this mentality. I spent my entire life in my head. Who do you need to tell outside of our 'community' and why? Why do the vanilla neighbors need to find out about what is going on in our bedroom?? Why do your friends? To me it was akin to bragging. Each time one of them opened their mouths to tell someone 'oh, yeah, I've got a fiancee...and a girlfriend as well' or her saying 'oh, yeah, he's my boyfriend...and she's my girlfriend' it bothered me. I wasn't comfortable. No one cared though. To me I was simply becoming a buzzkill and who wants to be that, right? So, I shut up, I let it happen.
With in two weeks of a 'relationship' between the three of us, I was really starting to see the crazy in her. Now...Here is where I can equate relationships to figuring out who you want to write with on E...When I first started on E, I got my acceptance and free reign on the boards. I posted my request thread and BOOM! A ton of guys (and women) flooding my inbox with requests. I was flattered. I was excited. Something new, bright and shiny and people wanted to write with me. Within days I had a ton of threads going. All but one died out immediately. (That one...still going strong and enjoyable!) I hadn't vetted anyone. I didn't know how - had never done it before. I went through a few weeks, a few months on here, trying to figure out what to look for in a partner to write with. I SHOULD have done the same thing with this relationship. Held her at arms distance and been a friend more than anything else before letting her into our lives and our bed, but...how do you say 'no' to two people who are laughing and smiling and saying this is what's right? How do you tell your Dom 'no' when all you keep hearing from her is 'isn't it cute when she says no...you know she means yes.' Warning...warning lights galore...
Within two weeks, this woman, who had a five year old that we were essentially instant parents to...was talking about us moving in together, looking at houses for rent, going to her kid's baseball games and karate matches, vacationing together, how her role in our WEDDING would go! Even down to including herself in the wedding itself (though she didn't want to get married again she said...she certainly was talking a lot about it...) I'd seen this kind of crazy before...I'm a woman. No, I hadn't done things like this, but...I'd seen it. Before I could gain the strength to say anything, do anything from my submissive, codependent little core, things kinda imploded.
I had fallen asleep. I wasn't feeling well. I was in a dark room, in bed with a migraine. The last thing I remembered was talking to my fiancee and him saying he was on his way home. Next thing I knew, this woman was in my bedroom and she was telling me 'I love you.' Remember kids, this was after TWO WHOLE WEEKS. Ladies, take note...most people don't want to hear those words after just a few dates, after just a few weeks. Keep your crazy in check and they'll stick around longer...Advice from one woman to another. Well, all I was trying to do was get dressed and figure out where my fiancee was. Was he in an accident? Why wasn't he home? Was he okay? The only thing I said to her - quite groggily, was 'No....No.' and went out to the main part of the apartment to find my fiancee, her kid and their over night stuff!! My guy was making dinner, her kid was on the couch along with their overnight bags - which neither one had ever stayed over night before. I was confused, tired, still had a migraine. She was pissed she didn't get the response she wanted and went and sat on the couch. Needless to say, dinner was quiet and stressful with her kid whining up a freaking storm. She essentially jerked him out of the chair, grabbed their stuff and left.
He and I talked after she left. I tried explaining that she was off her rocker, that I don't feel that way about her. That I didn't want this poly relationship they were both so keen on. He said I told him, told them, it was okay, that this was what I wanted. At some point during the relationship, I'd woken up only to find they had changed not only their status on FetLife, but he had changed mine as well to include her. I didn't get to make a choice in many of these things, but I was also too scared to speak up. I say scared, but I wouldn't have been physically hurt by either one of them (her maybe, but I have a bit of height on her and can hold my own with her I think had things gotten to that point). I wasn't scared of physical harm. I was scared of displeasing my Dom. As a sub, I am always afraid of this. Submissives want nothing more than to please their partner, their Dom, and usually, others around them as well. Codependents do the same damn thing. We please until it hurts. We please people until they become accustomed to it, expect it. There is no more graciousness in their acceptance of what we may or may not do. It is now expected. Then it sometimes becomes a resentment. No more 'thank you's' or kind words or looks. No. It's just expected of us. A job instead of something nice we are doing. A job without benefits, without a healthy place to work.
It took a lot of conversation, a LOT of crying, and him telling me he was 'in LOVE' with both of us. To me that didn't compute. Are you telling me you equate her with me? You equate a relationship of two weeks with one of almost 8 YEARS?! I asked him point blank if it was because of her kid - was he in love with the thought of an instant family (since he can't have kids anymore - something I knew, something I stayed with him despite of from the beginning). He denied that. She came back over the following day and he let her in. He let her in and he sat on the other couch and watched her confront, belittle, yell, and touch me despite my not wanting to be touched. Despite my not wanting her there. My Dom was no longer protecting me. He sat idly by and let her essentially abuse me because she didn't get her way. All of a sudden I was a liar, I used people, I was horrible and uncaring. This went on for at least a half hour. I honestly don't know how long it was until I finally broke down so bad, sobbing that she grinned and walked out. She got her revenge. She left me broken and him with all this swirling in his head.
I didn't know it at the time but my fiancee was still talking to her, still going over and seeing her. He knew what I considered cheating, but because 'he had feelings for her' it was apparently alright for him to continue sleeping with her. He's part of a 12-step group - has been for almost 8 years now. His sponsor was the one, after he spoke with him, to point out that I was codependent. I had my own addiction, my own disease. He, as an addict, couldn't be angry with another addict for having a disease of addiction. I had heard of codependency, never understood it before then though. I didn't know it was me. Now that I was broken though, he needed space, time to process everything that happened. He walked out on me after all of this...He lied saying he was going to stay at his grandmother's house. He, instead, ran to her. She was now 'the other woman.'
I'd dealt with cheating boyfriends before. He knew my past. I say dealt with like I actually did anything but stay with them and let it slide. I was afraid of not being needed. I was afraid of letting them down somehow if I left. I couldn't be the one to leave. It was a sickness I didn't even know I had. Addicted to love, addicted to the people I was in relationships with. Willing to put up with mental and emotional abuse for the sake of being 'us' still. Doing anything, everything I could think of to make them happy. Cooking, cleaning, deferring to them with every question or request. 'Whatever you'd like.' is a normal phrase. Why not 'this is what I want?' Because...he may not like what I want. If he doesn't like it he will either say no, or will start to dislike me because I don't want the same things. Our minds are pretty screwed up.
The same goes or submissives. This is why we have safe words though, right? When things get so painful, so hard that we simply can't take it any longer, then we safe-word. There's no safe-word for life though. You can't just say 'Purple' and have everything around you stop. When the Dominant makes all the decisions - financial, planning, household, down to what you eat and watch on tv, and you are used to it....it doesn't look so bad, and honestly, it wasn't. We enjoyed many of the same things. He had his hobbies and I had mine (though many of mine took a back seat or were ridiculed when I now stop to look back at it. Money was spent on his hobby, but not on mine, because well...mine wasn't worthwhile...or at least my messed up head told me so). We liked many of the same tv shows, the same foods, going to the same places. We had fun, before HER. We had a great life, before HER.
Now we're in the aftermath. There's tension and no talking, and tiptoeing around. There's angry words from him and me taking them. There's angry, hateful sex and me...taking it. All the while, trying not to trigger him into a bad mood. It was never like this. Before HER.
He came back after a week away from me. Said he came to a realization and that he wanted me and not her. That he loved me. We still had a lot to work on, a lot to talk about, but he came back to me. That submissive, codependent side cheered. During that week I'd started reading as much as I could about codependency. I'd started eating again and better food. I'd started taking care of myself and not just him. Then he came back. Slowly, all those good things I was doing for myself stopped. I returned to living in my shell and listening to the angry words, the spiteful things he would say. We talked at first, but no longer. He admitted he kept sleeping with her. He admitted that he realized that the one question I'd asked of him - was he in love with the thought of an instant family - that was why he was having an issue with this. He missed his kids and all of a sudden not only did he have two women who wanted to sleep with him, but he also had *poof* a child. Everything was happy and easy and going so well until I made the train crash and burn. He also admitted that she showed just how crazy she was. He wouldn't explain what that meant. I'd tried to tell him she was crazy and now he finally understood. He was happy when he first came back, but I needed time now - to process the realization that what I'd worried about - that he ran to her - was true. He cheated. His response to that was 'I told you I had feelings for her still' as if that made everything better. What separates adults from children is your instinct to act on your feelings. A five year old wants candy - they bargain, whine, cry, throw a tantrum until you, the adult give in. They have no impulse control. They do what they want when they want because they haven't learned impulse control. They haven't learned to control their feelings yet. As an adult, you have this capability. You use it everyday. You may want to NOT stop for red lights, but you do it anyway. You understand the consequences. You may want to eat everything at the buffet, but you know the consequences. A little of this, a little of that, until you are full. Babies and puppies will eat until they are sick. They don't know any better. Adults know better. For the first time I didn't accept his answer to me. I slept on the couch while he slept in our bed. I made him shower before he touched me or kissed me. I abhorred the idea that she might still be on his body in some way. I now hated this woman who claimed to be my friend, to 'love' me. She had given him an ultimatum. It was her or me. She didn't want to be stuck in the middle when she couldn't get her way. I came to find out she had just done this to another couple only a few months before us.
Now, the BDSM community is relatively small here. I say small but there are hundreds if not thousands of people here in it, but our little community - the people that we see regularly at the dungeon, at coffee - we had become friends. Now...Could we show up? Would SHE be there? What would happen? Her ex/boi was still there. He still didn't realize what she had been saying about him and I wanted to tell him, but I didn't. I let him go on thinking that she was still his 'friend' through all of this. I wanted to go back to coffee with my Dom and ignore the little bitch if she showed up. Apparently all he could see happening was a catfight. He kept saying I was not to 'cause a scene.' I'm a pretty laid back, easy-going person I think. On the outside. I'm an introvert - keep all my thoughts inside my head as well as my actions. I have pretty good impulse control.
I started going to Codependency Anonymous meetings (CODA) here in town. I found a good group and the first night I was there, the chairperson said something that resonated with me about forgiveness. It was like something clicked in my head. I could forgive him. I could feel better in doing this. Not forget it, but forgive him. There was a difference. In my head before that meeting, there was no difference. Now I understood a little better. That night our relationship healed a little. I've kept going to meetings - in person and online. He however, seemed to stagnate, get angrier, there were more and more hateful spiteful words to come during the following month where I tried to work on myself, deal with work problems, and keep things going at home.
His relationship with my mother is now gone after what happened. She doesn't know about HER. She hopefully never will. My family has no business knowing what goes on in our bedroom. This however, has added another facet of stress and problems to our relationship. Their relationship was better than that of my mother and myself. I'm now realizing that the bulk of my codependency has stemmed directly from my bad relationship with my mother. I don't know how to deal with it though. I don't want to cut her out of my life but I don't know how to tell her I need space from her. Not just distance, but the phone. She needs to stop calling constantly, texting, messaging me on Facebook. I need time to work on my relationship with my fiancee - get our lives back on track before I can deal with her. I don't know how to speak to her and let her down nice. I acquiesce to everything she wants, even though she is the main cause of my problems growing up. Mothers are like that in therapy - the main root of problems it seems. Smothering, overwhelming, degrading, judgmental, obstinate, guilting you, shaming you. Yes, I can check all these and more off that psychological inventory. Absent father, bad relationship models, angry words, emotional abuse, yes, yes and more yeses. All of a sudden I'm told that 'I've grown during the time of our relationship - and you haven't...perhaps we've simply grown apart because you don't work on yourself and I have.' Well, this is because I was too busy trying to be there for you - through custody battles, legal battles and problems, watching my credit go down the drain because I couldn't say 'no' to anything you wanted or 'needed.' You as an addict, used me until you thought you were in a better place and now you're ready to leave me in your wake. You've taken everything you wanted and now...you can simply move on. Apparently I was supposed to be bettering myself along with him. He has resentments because he didn't tell me he wanted me to be at certain things, so I wasn't there and I can't turn back the clock to please him in those instances. If becoming someone who spews hateful words, who can beat me as hard as possible while upset...call it BDSM and be okay with it, is called growing and bettering yourself, you can keep it. His sponsor says he has plenty of work to do on himself.
Over the past three days now, things had evened out - he has started acting like he used to be before HER. When it was still US. He noticed the other day that I've gone back to cutting. When he noticed he made a snide remark before I had to leave for work. Once again I was back in my shell. I answered his question and left. He surprised me later by picking me up at work and later talking with me about it at home. Once again he brought up maybe this just wasn't working - maybe we were done. In the same breath he said he'd be willing to go to counseling. We talked about what had been going on over the past month since everything imploded. I told him he'd been the worst to me he'd been in almost 8 years - spiteful, mean, uncaring and yes, I'd gone back to cutting. It was the only way for me to release the pain. To watch the blood drift my my skin, become one with the water as I lay in the bathtub, line after line blossoming on my skin in a beautiful red. Let my pain go just like that blood mingled with the water. Each time I thought about him, each time he said something to me I could hit that spot - remind myself of the pain he'd caused me. Don't listen to that nice phrase, those cute words. In five minutes he could be a totally different person. Build the shell around myself again so I couldn't be hurt. Build up that wall and don't let him see the cracks.
The forms have been filled out for counseling. Hopefully we'll get accepted (it's a special program to deal with all of this) and get help to move us past this. I'm pretty much ready and willing to get past it, but he's having hang ups and apparently needs to talk them out with someone. He says he wants us to work out, but he isn't willing to make promises (and I've not asked for any). We haven't returned to coffee or the dungeon - we're giving ourselves time with that.
Being submissive is hard enough without dealing with codependency. The questions of 'Isn't this what being submissive is?' is a really hard one. It's hard to differentiate between the two. They are so very similar. I've only shared once at my group meeting and had to choose my words very carefully because I don't feel safe and I still feel very much like an 'outsider' because of the way all this came about - the sexual aspect of it. It's why I feel safer here sharing on a blog on E among people who understand a bit better about BDSM and D/s and poly relationships (or at least have a more open mind to those things). I look like a 'good girl' and very much a young girl despite my age. I get treated like a child more often than not because of how I look. It would surprise the hell out of the group if I shared about all this, but I'll get there eventually I hope. I need someone to talk to there, someone who understands both codependency and submission - and I don't think there is anyone there who does. It's all very....vanilla lol. (No, nothing wrong with it, but therapy wise...hard to bridge the gap.)