Codependency is My Addiction


By. Jenny Ravikumar

Codependency is what kept me in my abusive marriage. Each morning after a verbally abusive, alcohol fueled evening prior, I would write my ex-husband a note. In short the note read: “I love you with every fiber of my being. Please, let’s get you help and solve this together. If you ask for help, I promise I will never leave you.”

I continued to write, he continued to yell and in the morning we both replaced our hurt with a hug and an expensive dinner. He would say “I forgive you” —a darling gas-lighting technique to make me believe it was my fault that he had been so abusive the evening prior.

During one of his text messages months after I left, he said, “I wish you lived through the holocaust or hurricane Katrina so you could realize our life wasn’t so bad. I drank and yelled a little, get over it and come home.”

By that point I was far gone, far past my addiction to him and yet not quite over my addiction to codependency. As I watched the continual text messages roll in, so many that they eventually broke my cell phone. I would distract myself with everything— I went on first dates, had evenings out with girlfriends, created my non-profit, and spent plenty of family time with the people I love and my baby boy. I would do literally anything I could do to devote time to someone else who needed me. Codependency and ignoring my own healing was the name of my game.

Codependency is defined as “excessive emotional or psychological reliance on a partner, typically a partner who requires support due to an illness or addiction.”

I ached for codependency. I needed someone to need me. I stretched so far one time as to go on a second date with a cop who drank too much on our first date. I overrode my “danger alert” red flags and risked another date and then another, then just one more. Finally when we were in his car and he reached for a flask while we were driving, I flipped out and asked him to drive me back to my car. He turned around and said “what’s the big deal?” I reminded him the reason I left my marriage was because my ex husband was an abuse alcoholic. He laughed it off and I let him take me on another date two months later.

Said police officer got an OUI a month after our final date and was released from his job; hello to ignoring my intuition.

I craved being wanted. Anyone who paid attention to me. Anyone I could save; friends very much included. I love one of my best friends very dearly, but when she first got sick a number of years ago, I crawled into her hospital bed and slept beside her. I realize only now, it was partially because I loved her and partially because I felt needed.

Anything to feel needed. After I left my ex-husband, my codependency didn’t get better and in some ways it got even worse. I didn’t have an addict who needed me every day and me every attention. I had my son who needed me, but putting my energy into him was natural and unconditional, not unhealthy, so I didn’t crave it in the same way.

I awoke to this realization during one of my last dates. I was stood up an hour prior to our date, after asking for help with childcare and rearranging my entire day to spend time with this man I’d been speaking to for a few weeks. My weak heart kept telling me I needed someone, my ex-husband’s voice buried somewhere deep inside me telling me I would never make it without a man and my insecurities of not finding someone to love yet—All of it wrapped into a giant emotional mess.

And when he said he couldn’t see me, something inside of me snapped. I boxed that day and continued to heal the best I could. We reconnected a few days later and eventually went on our date. It was lovely and I had myself fantasizing our life together— his sunflowers and my chickens, all three of children playing in the backyard. And then I could feel him pull away, saying he still wasn’t looking for a relationship. I’m not sure what it was about him, maybe nothing. Perhaps it was just my feminine energy finally pulling her shoulders back and saying fucking no more, thank you; or perhaps it was his energy mixing into mine and reminding me, gently, that I wasn’t truly ready either. Whatever it was, it broke my soul open and reminded me that I too needed healing. It was time for my healing, my writing and my love to come pouring back to me.

In the weeks and months since then, I have been back on my yoga mat, went scuba diving for the first time in four years and I cannot seem to stop writing. My soul, the one that was severed from me so many years ago in a tangle of abuse, came home.

Codependency is a drug, my loves. It is an addiction to an addict. It is why so many of us stay in abusive relationships, difficult situations and impossible friendships. I’m here to remind you that you’re stronger than any addiction and any drug. You too can find your soul again. Just keep searching. Release the distractions. Dig deep into healing. And know you are supported. Keep calling her name, for she misses you as much as you miss her. I promise she isn’t lost forever.