My depression is flattening out. I just looked out my window and the sun is making the chain ferry luminous in the late sun. The harbour is so blue.
So I’m doing a bit better. My friends and I are passing silly videos and memes on WhatsApp which brings laughter into the day.
I came across a flat with a wrap around terrace. But the kitchen is in the living room and I really dislike that. Then I found a ground floor flat what is in a converted church. I love it. It’s in Penzance, so very impractical.
I don’t want to move but I’d love to be closer to my cousin, who’s in Sunderland, very far from Cornwall.
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of cutting my daughter’s hair. It seems like ages since I did that. I did it all her life, stating at age 31/2.
The clouds are pink now, turning coral. And fading into grey/blue.
I continue to write articles. I sleep later though.
My friend down the road came for distance cup of tea. My cleaner came. The police could stop him and fine him. But I said he should them to phone me.
I’m grateful that people have reached out to me while the depression was bad. I’m so glad I’m not an alcoholic. Just think, drinking until you’re numb, with with no purpose in life, living a lie like Mike Ebsworth.
So jubilant the neighbours are gone. I celebrate each day.
Connection with others is important to all of us, and this is particularly true in our romantic relationships. Without connection, it’s hard or even impossible to create intimacy with our partner. Any long-term relationship requires us to grow and develop our emotional connection with each other.
We’re hardwired for connection. There’s no arguing with the bioscience. But we can want it so badly, we’re trying to hot-wire it. — Brene Brown
I’ve certainly had to teach myself the delicate art of intimacy based on mutual interdependence. At first, I was disastrously lost. Thinking back to my childhood and previous experiences, I wasn’t sure that I’d observed a healthy relationship in my entire life. You only know what you learn and seek out, but it didn’t seem like a big issue at the time.
Then I got married, and a relationship built on mutual interdependence became far more important than it had ever been. Independence? I have plenty of that — perhaps too much. Codependence? That was certainly the model that I witnessed growing up. And like most of the things that I experienced growing up, I’d learned to abhor codependency and to do just the opposite as an adult. Independence was great for self-sufficiency, but not so great for healthy, loving relationships based on trust and mutual admiration.
Cling to my partner? Not me.
Expect someone else to fulfill my every whim and desire? Not likely.
Forgo my independence for a relationship? No thanks. I’d much sooner keep my independence and my self-constructed walls of safety and security.
But then I realized that I was missing the whole point of a loving, intimate relationship. It didn’t work to simply let my walls down when I felt like it. So I sat down with a few books, research studies, and manuals to help divulge the mystery: how to build a relationship based on interdependence.
So how do we build an interdependent relationship, one that makes us feel steady, safe, seen, and valued? One that gives us the space to grow while supporting the authenticity of each partner, allowing us to be together while fully being ourselves?
Here’s what I learned:
First, what is an interdependent relationship?
An interdependent relationship is when two people, both strong individuals, are involved with each other, but without sacrificing themselves or compromising their values. Each person values their own sense of self and can fully be themselves. These couples find a balance between time spent on individual pursuits and time spent together doing things that they both love.
In this type of relationship, both people recognize and value the bond that they share. Each partner can support the other when needed, yet they can maintain their individuality.
An interdependent relationship also recognizes that vulnerability leads to emotional intimacy, and both are needed for a healthy relationship.
The term dependency can seem unhealthy and daunting. After all, many of us were taught to only rely on ourselves and to prize independence at all costs.
Interdependence is not the same as independence. Everyone needs emotional support, and it’s nearly impossible to have healthy interdependence if our focus is too heavily on independence, as the latter often stops us from connecting with others on a deep level. Being emotionally intimate can be hard for those of us who have survived by being independent, but this fallback is not unlearnable.
Interdependence is not codependence
Interdependence is also very different from being codependent. Someone who is codependent usually relies on others for their sense of well-being, self, and fulfillment.
When we are codependent, we tend to be heavily dependent on others for our emotional needs. We need someone else to make us feel OK to be who we are.
“Paradoxically, interdependency requires two people capable of autonomy (the ability to function independently). When couples love each other, it’s normal to feel attached, to desire closeness, to be concerned for each another, and to depend upon each other. Their lives are intertwined, and they’re affected by and need each other. However, they share power equally and take responsibility for their own feelings, actions, and contributions to the relationship.” — Darlene Lancer
Characteristics of a codependent relationship can include:
Placing blame on each other Not respecting boundaries Excessive people-pleasing Reacting vs. responding Unhealthy communication Manipulation Difficulties with emotional intimacy Controlling actions Low self-esteem of one or both partners (Lancer, 2016; Mental Health America)
The pitfalls of codependent relationships
When a relationship becomes codependent, it rapidly becomes unhealthy, with a diminished sense of autonomy and authenticity. According to licensed psychotherapist Renae Helms, the problems start to creep in when we’ve crossed the line from caring to codependent and the relationship turns into one that is founded on fear.
This type of relationship makes growth impossible and pushes each partner away from the other. When we lose our sense of self, we can no longer be ourselves, and instead, our focus is placed on the external world to provide our sense of self and worth.
Codependency research suggests that “a codependent’s very destructive behavior of putting others’ needs in front of their own needs will disrupt healthy mental and emotional growth in both participants. Codependency can result in depression, withdrawal, anxiety, or even the furthering of the dependent codependent cycle.” (Waughfield, 2002)
Why healthy interdependence is needed in relationships
The healthiest way we can interact with those close to us is by being truly interdependent. This is where two people, both strong individuals, are involved with each other, but without sacrificing themselves or compromising their values. What they have is a balanced relationship, and it is attainable with just a little awareness and understanding.
Healthy interdependence distinguishes between the needs of both partners and helping to meet the needs of each partner in a meaningful and supportive way.
In an interdependent relationship, both partners make an effort to support each other’s emotional and physical needs without demanding or controlling the other. Each partner brings their own feelings and sense of worth to the relationship. This allows each person the freedom to make their own decisions and maintain autonomy while leaning on each other in times of crisis.
Characteristics of a healthy interdependent relationship can include:
Finding time for personal interests Clear, consistent communication Taking personal responsibility for actions Respecting healthy boundaries Empathetic listening Vulnerability while still feeling safe Healthy self-esteem
When these qualities are present, a relationship becomes a safe place of respite, where each partner is able to exist interdependently, secure and supported within and outside of the relationship.
How to build an interdependent relationship
The best place to start building a healthy relationship is by developing a strong sense of self.
Sometimes people start relationships to avoid loneliness, without thinking about what they value and where their overall goals are. But take heart that even if we’ve done this in the past, we can chart a healthier future based on self-awareness, healthy self-esteem, and critical internal reflection.
Making the time to think and be aware of our needs and emotions, makes it simpler to enter into and maintain a healthy interdependent relationship.
We can maintain our sense of self in a relationship by:
Partaking in our own hobbies Staying true to our values Speaking up for what we want Saying “no” when necessary Being authentic Letting go of people-pleasing
Make it a habit
Establishing a habit of interdependence is a great way to ensure that your relationship will have what it needs to grow and bloom for both of you. In addition, it gives you both what you need in order to keep your dynamic in check which will help give you both what it is that you need.
To create this new habit, take a close look at where the relationship is and how you both have contributed to its successes and issues. After you know where you stand, begin to ask questions such as, “How did this start?” Is this the type of relationship I/we want?” and “How can we improve?” Getting clarity before embarking on a journey of change is imperative.
Why it works
In this type of relationship, both people recognize and value the bond that they share.
Each partner can support the other when needed, yet they can maintain their individuality. According to licensed counselor Brittni Fudge, partners “recognize the importance of maintaining their identity and are confident expressing their opinions but can still be sensitive to the other person.” If we want a healthy interdependent relationship, it’s critical that we allow our partner the same freedom and opportunity to explore themselves autonomously.
Because an interdependent relationship is when two people, both healthy individuals, are involved with each other, but without compromising their values or sacrificing themselves.
Each person values their sense of self and can completely be themselves. Couples can find a balance between time spent on individual activities and time spent together doing things they both enjoy.
An interdependent relationship leaves space for each partner to be themselves, but then coming together for support and greater strength. Being aware of this makes it simpler to establish healthy habits and boundaries from the beginning and in the future.
Struggling with codependency? Check out these resources:
Codependency from Mental Health America This 6-page PDF serves as an all-in-one worksheet for codependency. It includes information on how people develop codependent behaviors, what codependency looks like, a questionnaire that one can use to evaluate codependent behaviors in their own life, and suggestions on how to overcome codependency.
Codependency For Dummies Cheat Sheet This resource comes from Codependency For Dummies and is a good all-in-one worksheet for people looking for more information on codependency.
Codependency Checklist Finally, this worksheet is a codependency checklist that includes some resources for further information on codependency, and lists support groups for codependence
I had a self-inflicted bad day as I hate this lockdown although I know the logic. I feel better since I got an amusing WhatsApp message from a friend.
I have been writing and am feeling the love from the community here. I feel sorry for my friends in the US, as that is the current epicenter of Corvid19, and all Trump wants to do is lift restrictions so the economy can recover.
If I had known my previous neighbours would move because they thought they had been mentioned in my blog, I would have mentioned them a year ago. Just think, I put up with their windchime and all their nuisance behaviour for a year and all I had to do was mention them!!!
I still can’t find where they think they are mentioned. I’m just happy they are gone.
The weather has been lovely but still cool. Spring. I need to trim a few growths from my jasmine so that the energy goes into the upright and wall hugging branches.
My clematis has grown tremendously too. It needs a bit of pinning to the fence.
My hair still feels great and hopefully looks great, and my smoke alarm is still bleeping in spite of being dismantled. Still no well ripped fireman, even if I wanted one.
At 8pm on Thursday, the nation is going to applaud our medical staff from our front doors, windows and balconies. I’m looking forward to that.
It has been Mothering Sunday here. My daughter came over with plants for my garden and chocolates.
She made some great choices, and I’m very pleased and happy. She loved my hair too, so that was really nice to hear.
It has been sunny all day and I was sitting in the sun when she arrived. It so wonderful to see her in sunshine.
I found this, which I wrote about my Dad, 8 years ago.
Saw my Dad today, as it was his birthday yesterday. He was shuffling (but I’m hoping he was tired) and clutching my hand for dear life. (My right hand under his elbow and my left holding his left hand.) I tried to be more helpful when we reached his armchair, but he reacted with fear, verbally and physically. So I moved the chair to him. I am learning new thing about my Dad, or seeing them from another angle. His acceptance of his fear, his patience. That my hero is now slowly dying and needs me in a different way. He is courageous as ever, and I cry, for when I was dying, he carried me
I remember that day.
It’s now evening and I still feel like I want to be somewhere. I feel so good.
My visit to my hairdresser has left me feeling great. It’s amazing what a good hair cut can do to a woman.
But every where is shut. No cafe or pub to meet friends at.
My garden is full of life. My jasmine is full of buds, daffodils are everywhere, forget-me-nots, primroses, salvia, are all blooming.
Today has been sunny, but the wind has been cold. I long for it to warm up.
I’ve found myself in an episode of Friends. The one where Phoebe’s smoke alarm goes off. I managed t stop mine for 24 hours and then it started again. It is now buried under cushions. I can still hear it bleeping. No well ripped fireman has arrived though.
My pain is considerably less since my neighbours moved. I am so grateful. I no longer hear it’s awful noise and can leave my house and be in the garden without screaming in pain. It is heavenly.
I’ve been made an editor for a publication on medium.com. But since the guy publishes everyone who submits, I’m feeling very redundant. It’s a strange set up.
Today is three years since my Dad died. Last year was the first time I felt able to grieve. I still miss him so much.
It has continued to be cold after a glorious day on Monday. I really am desperate for sunshine.
My hair salon phoned me yesterday to bring forward my hair appointment. So I shall go tomorrow instead of next week.
I am so happy that my previous neighbours are gone. It’s like a vicious dog being moved away. No one liked them because of the pain caused by their wind chimes. No one could believe they would keep them there, knowing it caused me pain.
The peace in my garden now is blissful, and I can actually enjoy being in it.
Does anyone know what ecan.org is??Maybe Jim knows?
So all is well, although I’ve been waking up two hours after falling asleep. It’s not really a problem, as I go to sleep again fairly easily.