My A – Z Codependency Challenge – D

Denial, Delusional, Deceit, Debacle 

Oh good grief! When I started this little A-Z challenge I don’t think I really thought it through well. I’m laughing at myself now because it’s only day 4 and who wants to admit these damn words?

Delusional: having false or unrealistic beliefs or opinions – Yep, I had false and unrealistic beliefs of my life. I believed my life was good for the most part. I believed I was truly helping people who needed me. I believed someone loved me when they told me they loved me. I believed I was put here to help others regardless of what it did to me. I believed my needs, wants, hurts, disappointments, even successes were not as important as yours. Oh good Lord was I delusional!

Denial: disbelief in the existence or reality of a thing – Yep, I lived in denial. I did not believe how the hurts and disappointments of my life shaped me and drove every bad decision I made. I did not believe I was worthy of good things in life. I did not believe I created the problems in my life – they did.

Let me tell you one little story (in a nutshell) about my delusional life and the massive denial I clung to when a dear friend tried to point it out to me. You see, at one point in my life, I started writing to a man who was in prison (he was an addict in for drug charges). He told me everything I thought I needed to hear; everything I wanted to hear. He was handsome and intelligent and kind. Our relationship developed quickly and when he proposed, I accepted.

I shared this news with one of my closest friends whose husband was incarcerated in the same prison. She knew of our relationship and, every once in a while, would encourage me to “be careful”. One day she told me straight up, “He’s using you, Terri”, along with all the various ways he was doing it. But no, I could not and would not believe that. I was delusional, thinking he loved and needed me and I was in complete denial when it was pointed out to me that he didn’t.

Deceit: the action or practice of deceiving someone by concealing or misrepresenting the truth – Yep, in my head, I knew that what I was doing was not normal and because I didn’t want to be judged by others or hear their opinions or concerns, I concealed the fact that I was engaged to an inmate (and a drug addict at that). Some people knew I was seeing someone but I lied about who he was, where he lived, etc.

Well, I continued with my delusions, denial and deceit and got married at the prison in March 1999. He was paroled in 2004 at that is when the debacle began.

Debacle: Crushing defeat , a complete failure, disaster – Yep, a crushing defeat, a complete failure and an unimaginable disaster are how I can describe the years of our marriage which was finally ended in March 2006.

There were only two good things that came out of that marriage: I found God and it is what catapulted me into the rooms of recovery and that is where “my life” began.  What I can say today is that I believe in myself and who I am. I can see reality for what it is. I am no longer driven by my emotions but can and do focus myself in reality. I do not try to deceive anyone any longer. My life is my life and it is a wonderful life. If someone does not approve or disagrees about something in my life, that’s okay, they are entitled to their opinion and it does not have to affect me.

Today my life is Delightful, Desirable, Doable, Dulcet. (Had to lift myself up after all that negative:) )

22 replies »

  1. This sure sounds familiar. I didn’t marry my rebound from hell, but I had enough denial to fill that river in Egypt. He was an active alcoholic with a prison history and turned out to be delusional in his jealousy. He called me his angel. Boy was I sick. Sometimes that’s what it takes to wake us up. Thankfully this relationship forced me into recovery. It also taught me to have more compassion for people who stay in unhealthy relationships. Thank God we are wiser and safer now.

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  2. Thank you so much for the story! I married my second husband who was out of prison but have been in prison. Which was a huge, huge, huge mistake! It was disastrous to my kids and me to the point that my daughter barely talks To me! Smart women who make dumb decisions–we could write a book!

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  3. Thanks for this, Terri. I detailed my own struggle with Dependent Personality Disorder in my blogs, “My Suicide,” parts one and two (https://brokenpeople.blog/2016/12/22/my-suicide-part-1/). It nearly destroyed me, but thank God I made it through. The other part of this I found interesting was the fact that it was a prisoner you wrote to and ended up marrying. I am in prison ministry, and completed an 8-month internship at a local prison as part of my graduate work in Criminal Justice, so while I am by no means an expert, I do know a little about the subject. I learned to be “personable” but not “personal.” I learned to be cordial and helpful, but I never tell anyone anything personal. Never let them in; keep them at arm’s length. As my supervisor was so fond of saying, “They call them ‘cons’ for a reason.” This, OF COURSE, does not describe all prisoners, and I am good friends with a few of the inmates I’m in contact with, but there are many who are deceitful and conniving. I appreciate women like you who are brave enough to stand up and warn others to proceed with caution. Within the space of one letter or conversation, many prisoners are experts at being able to spot where a female is vulnerable, and then work that to their own advantage. As you said, they know EXACTLY what you need to hear, and will make you feel loved (even cherished), beautiful and important. One time I ran into an inmate, and just sort of casually said, “Hey, what you up to?” He said, “Oh, just writing this old COW,” and showed me a picture of a heavy-set, middle-age woman with a large (and beautiful) smile. I glanced down at his letter just long enough to see the words “love” and “see you soon.” He laughed and said, “Not much to look at, but hey, she puts money on my account. Gotta do wha’cha gotta do, right, bro?” I just smiled, said, “Yeah, I guess so,” and walked off, knowing if I punched this dude right in the mouth (which was what I was tempted to do), I’d probably end up right there beside him in prison. Anyway, sorry to write so much, but I’ve been through SO MUCH in my life, and try and use all my pain and heartache to encourage others all I can. I sense the same spirit in you. Many blessings, and keep up the good work.

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    • Thank you so much for your comment Rob! I know prison ministry is so extremely important and such a blessing to those who need the encouragement and support! Yeah, I saw the signs but just flat out ignored them. I was sick but did not realize it. I don’t regret my relationship with him (though I am not proud of it) because without going through what I went through with him, I don’t believe I would have been brought to my knees and faced up to the reality of who & what I was. He was the catalyst to my recovery.

      I look forward to reading your story! And yes, I hope to encourage and inspire others who struggle with codependency or lack of self-esteem.

      Bless you on your journey!!

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  4. You describe codependency perfectly. Isn’t it amazing once we have recovered how we can look back at how bizarre our world views were. The time and energy we gave to our self-righteous fixing and saving never resulted in the applause we hoped for. It just made us work harder and never had us question how annoying our neediness was. We are unchallenged in talent when it comes to switching roles between victim and martyr. Thanks for writing this stunning article!

    Liked by 1 person

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