There are times when I wonder if I'm actually codependent. If you do a search for codependent or codependency it will spit out a great number of results that paint this as an emotional disorder. Here are a few examples I copied/pasted from the search results:
"Codependency is characterized by a person belonging to a dysfunctional, one-sided relationship where one person relies on the other for meeting nearly all of their emotional and self-esteem needs."
"Co-dependency is a learned behavior that can be passed down from one generation to another. It is an emotional and behavioral condition that affects an individual’s ability to have a healthy, mutually satisfying relationship. It is also known as 'relationship addiction' because people with codependency often form or maintain relationships that are one-sided, emotionally destructive and/or abusive."
"If you find yourself making lots of sacrifices for your partner's happiness but don't get much in return, you might be in a codependent relationship."
I remember when the term codependent first gained popularity back in the 80's. It seemed like the new fits all label to describe people who got lost in relationships as well as a way to put them down.
It is strange to try to balance this idea between my submissive and vanilla selves. During the times that I am single or in the absence of D/s I am a fully capable human being that pursues interests and goals. I socialize and find things to do. I fill my time in an attempt to be fulfilled. I make goals for each day and find meaning in their pursuit. This sounds anything like codependency.
My submissive self is a different creature. It exists to make her happy. It is constantly overflowing with love and finding new ways to express it. It is odd because those quotes on codependency seem to play off some of the highlights of D/s but then steer them as a bad thing.
I absolutely love the feelings that I get through submission. I feel good. I feel useful. I feel desirable. I feel like my place is earned on the merits of my actions. I love her for it... so very much that it hurts.
I think a lot of views of codependency are that the codependent is not aware that they function this way and has no means of existing in a beneficial way in the absence of a relationship. I also think this is why the vanilla world struggles with the idea of D/s. As a submissive I am very aware of how this works inside of me. In my relationships, it is what we agree upon.
I find the complimentary nature of D/s to be sublimely beautiful. I am the yang to her yin. I am the moon to her sun. The roles are well-defined and known at all times. I sacrifice my freedom, my leisure time, my choices, and my selfishness for her happiness. In return I receive fulfillment in knowing that I have made her happy. I feel happy at being given the chance to love and serve her. I feel satisfaction at enduring the suffering she throws my way.
I find it absolutely beautiful to look into her eyes and see her desire to control, use, and abuse me as she sees fit. It makes me tingle knowing she uses her creativity to twist up my emotions and make me unable to resist her will. It makes me feel warm to know that she will correct me and work to sculpt me to her perfect form. It fills me with love. It makes me feel loved.
To be honest, I don't really see what I "give up" as sacrifices. They are part of the complimentary nature of D/s. This is what blurs the lines in such a special way. Do I offer or does she take? Is she being selfish for her or does that selfishness help us both? Is she strict because she enjoys it or because it makes me love her more? Does she make me dependent upon her or was I dependent all along?
I just find the whole thing beautiful. I love her and offer all of myself. She loves me and makes use of all that I am. I don't want it any other way.
Does this make me codependent or do I just know what I want?