The 8th Promise of ACOA is "We will chose to love people who can love and be responsible for themselves."
For me this promise isn’t just an ACOA issue. It is an issue of my codependency as well as my alcoholism. As a child, I equated love to lying and manipulating. I lied and manipulated to protect mom from beatings and to also stop brothers from arguing. I lied for mom because I loved her and I lied for a brother because I loved him.
This belief I carried into my relationships. I would lie for a wife to protect her from the mean world. I did this for a couple of reasons. First I wanted to show her that I would protect her and I was doing it because I loved her.
The more I did it… the more she demanded and the more I gave… just to show my love. But by doing it, I was assuming all responsibility for her actions. She couldn’t do right… or wrong… only I could. That had to be love… wasn’t it?
The sad part is I finally saw the light that this love I was giving was hatred for myself. I made my wife my Higher Power and I felt nothing for myself… except disgust.
So, I get a divorce and learn to love myself and start life again. All seems right and what do I do? I marry another woman and end up with the same results.
This time though I saw what was going on and tried to change it… maybe a better word would be stop it. To make this wife responsible for her actions and me responsible solely just for mine.
Taking this action wasn’t easy because while being done out of love, it was taken as an act of hatred and meanness. For the codependent nothing is worse then being told that you will be responsible for your own actions and for this codependent it was very painful to say I can no longer accept your responsibilities as my own.
Today, if I want to find love with someone who is responsible, I first need to love myself and be responsible for myself.