A Non-Funny Post About Codependency, Marriage, and Feeling Invisible

Even though I’m not a mom and have no desire to be, my freelance work often requires me to bend the rules a bit and write about topics on which I am no expert. This, on my end, requires a decent amount of “mommy blog” reading. Honestly, most of them are dull and whiney and poorly written (IMO), but I can see how women going through that particular experience could find them relatable and helpful. Come to think of it, my blog is dull and whiney and poorly written so, fuck it, they’re great and God bless them.

I recently read a “mommy blog”-esque article about a new mother who took one of her earrings out for 7 months and no one noticed. She wrote that becoming a mom had made her invisible, that her entire identity had been sort of taken over by this new life, and everything about who she was and what she was revolved around the child. I feel pretty certain that this is a feeling shared by many moms, and it was one, I have to admit, I was jealous of.

Since my separation from my husband after only 1 year of marriage, I have begged to be invisible. If I could somehow disappear from the radar of the world and be left alone for a year, I would probably take it. Sure, I could stop writing this blog and get the fuck off social media and go volunteer in Zimbabwe or something but what do I look like, Angelina Jolie?

It took me multiple therapy appointments and a few months of crying in solitude to grasp how strong of a codependent relationship I was in. Before you freak out and think I’m dissing my ex all over again, relax. I am the one with codependency issues of the highest degree. My identity became reliant on my role as his wife, and how people treated me because of it. I didn’t care about the Kalee (Kaley) I was before I met him, I didn’t care about what kind of issues I may have individually, my sole purpose was now to be this person’s wife- and I loved it. I loved it because in comparison, I seemed very together, very loving, very involved, very compassionate, and very kind. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not really any of those things, at least not in excess.

I could measure my greatness by the areas in which my husband lacked. Every time he fell short, I stepped up. Every time he felt lost, I was the compass. This would be cute and sweet if it wasn’t so insanely selfish. I relished in the moments where I was the shining star because of someone else’s inadequacies. Every opportunity presented that allowed me to save the day, I took it.

It is almost as if I willed the failure of our marriage into existence, as if to say: SEE EVERYONE- LOOK HOW HARD I TRIED, LOOK HOW MUCH I WENT THROUGH. I WAS THE WIFE WHO SACRIFICED HERSELF FOR THE GREATER GOOD.

But fuck that, because that’s what I signed up for. I didn’t know the extent of the wounds that would be created in such a short year, but I probably could have guessed. However, my selfish need to be the rescuer, the shoulder to lean on- overcame my need to protect myself.

When the time came that I actually did need help, and was not just filling the role of giving it, I was finally invisible. All the people that claimed to love me, and be so grateful for me, were nowhere to be found. In fact, they only came out of their own hiding to urge me to become even more quiet and less visible. And of course, to blame me more, which I already do everyday.

But that didn’t last long. I don’t know what it’s like to not feel like all eyes are on me now, wondering what kind of meltdown I’m going to have next. People want to know my business without getting close to me, share their opinions of my ex without seeing me tear up, and want me to “move on” and “let it go” without having one ounce of understanding of what actually happened. Did I do this to myself for getting married so fast? For taking on this sick, damaging role of codependency towards someone who would ultimately take advantage (even subconsciously?).

I’d prefer to be invisible, I’d prefer to not be humiliated. I’d love to not be reminded daily that I am no longer a wife, that I’m no longer needed, and my efforts are better spent on rescue pets who can pretty much fend for themselves. I don’t want to date, I don’t want to make new friends. I felt like if I walked around for 7 months with one earring in everyone would point it out and then ask me “how I’m dealing with everything”.

The Kalee (Kaley) I was so eager to leave behind isn’t even here anymore either. I am now this weird, lost, paper mache version of who I used to be, mixed with who I thought I could be. I have no witty words about it, I have nothing brave to say. Congrats to everyone who found the strength to become themselves again after a failed relationship? I wish I was more like you.


One thought on “A Non-Funny Post About Codependency, Marriage, and Feeling Invisible

  1. It took a lot of time and tears to untangle myself from the life I had with my ex-husband. There’s this entire second guessing thing happening in ways I had never considered. Like, did I stop doing x thing because I wasn’t interested in it or because he wasn’t? That’s a relatively insignificant example but it’s the same for deeper things. Who was I without him, independently of him?

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