I’ve allowed myself to be a part of my share of abusive relationships and friendships throughout the bulk of my life. I’ve worn the mantle of my partner’s and friend’s problems in order to shield them from the pain of their personal growth. I’ve willingly been a slave to the whims and calls of others in my life.
A few years ago, I set upon a path to put these codependent tendencies behind me. I rebuilt my life, learned how to center within myself, distinguished between my battles and the struggles of others, and have been on a path to strength ever since.
And then there is Facebook.
There’s a lot about social media that I truly enjoy. I’ve met some amazing people through groups, both local and long distance; there are fellow writers, musicians and momma geeks that I call “friends” who I’d never have known if not for Facebook. I like keeping up with old friends who I’ve known since elementary school, watching their families grow up long-distance. And it’s a very easy communication tool for planning events and keeping abreast of current local happenings.
But there are darker, uglier aspects of Facebook that have worn on me.
The constant political debates that accomplish nothing.
The perpetual one-upmanship.
Bad news. Always with the bad news!
But mostly – it’s the draw. So many updates, and so many messages, and what if I miss something “important”? What if I can offer words of encouragement or sound advice, and I’m not there to do it? What if I miss the chance to say congratulations or happy birthday?
What if… what if I have free time?
Seriously? Is that what I’ve become?!
Part of recovery from codependency is learning to recognize the signs. For me, my Facebook use has become textbook codependency. Life has been rough the past several weeks. The rougher it gets, the more I tend to retreat. The problem is, I’m solving problems for everyone else while severely neglecting myself to my own detriment.
Welcome to codependency, population: me.
I’ve allowed people, jobs and now online social media to trounce all over my emotional state. That’s not how I want to live my life. I know this.
So I broke up with Facebook. I deactivated my account. And I’ll tell you what — just like any good abuser, Facebook laid the guilt on thick. It asks if you’re sure you want to deactivate, and then gives you a list of potential reasons “why” to choose from. That’s not so bad… but it also plasters this page with about half a dozen pictures of some of your more common contacts, and… I shit you not… underneath each it says “So-n-so will miss you!”
After the amount of codependency counseling I’ve endured, an overt guilt trip is the biggest red-flag warning imaginable. It’s a surefire way to make me say, “fuck this shit” and walk away.
It’s only been a day, and I’m already changing my routines for the better.
This morning, I got up and wrote in my journal over a hot cup of coffee.
I’m thinking about how to communicate… did you know that your phone has… *gasp* a CALLING feature? I know, right? I’m just as shocked as you are! And did you know that cards and letters can still be mailed to your friends and family? Pens exist, too. I thought maybe they were extinct. But nope! Turns out I even own a few.
This giant break-through is brought to you by my 30-day screen challenge. It’s tough. But it’s been so worthwhile so far.
I can’t wait to see what I do with all this free time going forward.
In the mean time, if you need to contact me, and you’re not sure how… you can always use the contact form on my website (http://www.shananwinters.com).
And Facebook folks, you’ll have to go on without me. I’m pretty happy with this decision.