Wednesday 13 June 2018

Frustration and Codependency: Getting It Wrong Is Okay

When Fran and I were developing the ideas for our book I kept a series of “Scrapbook” documents. In them I recorded anything that occurred in our lives which seemed relevant and might prove useful or helpful. Excerpts from our conversations, social media chat, and emails; snippets from my personal journal; ideas and questions; links to websites, books, and other reference material. This post is taken from notes made in December 2012, with a few minor edits for clarity.

Frustration and Codependency: Getting It Wrong Is Okay

Thursday December 13, 2012

Last night at 11 p.m. I was waiting for Fran to get home and come online. She messaged me to say she was home and was going to send [her friend] a happy birthday message. I was happy to hear that and thought she wouldn’t be long ... then she messaged that she was going to check my Facebook Wall. I started to get impatient. I felt Fran could have come on cam with me while she did that. But I put on some gentle music and did some meditative breathing while I was waiting.

Fran came on cam a little later around 11:25 or 11:30 and the first thing she said was that she had found the “two minutes of calm” video I’d posted and had meditated to that (and in fact rather longer than two minutes). I did feel pissed off then, partly because I had thought Fran and I could have done that together (which we did, later, once I had regained my composure).

Part of me recognised that — of course — Fran was and is free to do whatever she wants to do before coming online to meet with me, and she’d been out all day and must have wanted and needed a little space to herself first… But another part of me was feeling aggrieved, thinking that she knew I was waiting for her and would be eager to see her. It was a classic pouty moment!

Of course, it didn’t last too long! Fran was great with me and allowed me to feel what I was feeling, until I was ready to let go of it. THAT is why we work so well together. We understand how these things work. The day before she had been all uptight about not having heard back from [her friend] about accommodation for their trip to Barcelona and I gave her space to feel and express that so she was ready later to talk with [her friend] and get things sorted. That is what we do for each other.

All that led onto something else that is really important regarding our book.

Fran said the book needs to include difficulties the well one (caregiver) experiences as the ill one moves towards wellness: the shifts in role, the sense of abandonment. The sense that all this care has been given and what is the caregiver going to get back in return? It fit what had just happened: me feeling Fran should want to be with me as much as I wanted to be with her, whereas in fact she was taking care of herself and paying attention to what she needed in a very healthy way.

It also fit with my abandonment responses at different times, when Fran has wanted and needed to find her own space. We have plenty of examples to draw on! This is a really important topic.


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