Rev. Michielle DJ Beck, RM with Marcus A. Lindemann, MSW, CH
Key Themes: autobiography, love, relationships, recovery, empowerment
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As an undiagnosed codependent relationship addict growing up in a time when mental health issues were largely ignored, the author struggled through her childhood and early adult life. After a first marriage at seventeen and a fifth divorce by the age of thirty-four, she had truly reached rock bottom. Finally putting a name to her condition brought her the courage to find the right way to regain her life - and gave her the desire to help others who were suffering the same or a similar fate. With this book she brings her raw, emotional tale to the reader and pairs it with information from a professional in the field, to show how anyone struggling as she has struggled can recover, reclaim life, and move forward in health, happiness, peace, and immeasurable joy.
About the Author
Michielle DJ "Michi" Beck was born in 1971 in the Southwestern United States and has been a professional freelance writer and editor since 1994. During her childhood and young adult years, mental health problems were still heavily stigmatized and not well understood. Fortunately for the millions who struggle with mental and emotional health issues, that is beginning to change. As more people like Michi speak out about their own struggles, more sufferers develop the courage to seek help. The message of this work is clear: anyone suffering from relationship addiction, codependence, or related conditions such as anxiety and depression can learn to be whole and happy once again. Treatment is important, and it is available. Michi lives in Navarre, Florida. You can visit her on the web at http://www.authormichibeck.blogspot.com.
I don't lie when people ask me my marital status. I'm brave enough to say I'm divorced. After all, it's much more common today and I'm no longer a social pariah. Really, though, my response is just a partial truth. I don't generally talk about how many times I've been married or offer that information unless I have no choice in the matter, or I find an important reason to do so. If it helps someone else I'll do it, even if it makes me uncomfortable. Otherwise, I'd rather not have people judge me, because they probably wouldn't understand and it takes too long to explain. When I'd been divorced only a couple of times it was still a little funny, and I found it easy to make jokes with other people who had also gotten married too young and realized they'd made a mistake – and there seemed to be a lot of us.
But after five failed marriages by the age of thirty-four, joking about my latest divorce lost its amusement value very quickly. And that didn't even consider the countless relationships that didn't go as far as the altar – everything from broken engagements to a couple of one-night stands. I'm not proud of the 'romantic' side of the social life I led for over twenty years, but there it is. Ignoring it won't make it go away. Talking about it here won't make it go away, either, but it might let someone else know that I (and a lot of other people) understand what he or she's dealing with.
If you're facing a lot of failed relationships – whether they're divorces or just break-ups – you're not alone in this. I promise. Ditto if you have poor, strained, or unhealthy relationships with co-workers, friends, or family members. There are more of us than you think, but we hide our pasts (and sometimes part of our present) a lot of the time because we're embarrassed. We're convinced that there's something 'wrong with us.' We ask ourselves why we're such screw-ups, why we can't do anything right, and why we don't feel like we have value and worth. The bottom line is that we aren't screw-ups. We have value and worth – to the people who care about us and to God. We do a lot of things right, we just spend too much time focused on the things we do wrong. Everyone makes mistakes, and when you're an addict, you tend to make the same ones, in the same area of life, over and over again until something helps you (or forces you) to break that pattern.
In my life, divorce wasn't the only issue. I wish I could say it was. I drank. I smoked. I didn't work very hard and couldn't hold a job. I panicked and shook and trembled and cried – a lot. And I hurt myself and sabotaged myself at every turn, for years. The worst part of it was that I didn't know what was wrong with me. All through my life, in the back of my mind, I'd wondered about that. What was wrong with me? I tried to get some help when I was young, but my parents were raised around the time of the Great Depression and I grew up in a time when mental health problems were still basically ignored – or even laughed at. You didn't ask for help, and you didn't spend money on 'mental health.' You sucked it up, and you dealt with it. There was nothing wrong with me. I just needed to 'get over it.' Except I couldn't. I just pretended to, and it made me unhappy, on the inside, for all those years.
It all started early – as early as I can remember – and it only got worse as I got older. Finally, after many long and confusing years I stumbled, completely by accident, onto a path of research and self-discovery, and today I can finally put a name to the main problem that has tormented me since my earliest memories: I am a codependent relationship addict. I didn't even know what that was when I came across the terms that make it up, and I didn't know there could be a lot more of my issues related to it. Have you ever had one of those moments where you see, hear, or read something, and all of a sudden you think "Holy cow! That's ME!"? Reading about codependency and relationship addiction gave me just that feeling. I remember thinking exactly that phrase. Well, maybe not exactly that phrase, but something pretty close to it, anyway.
This product was added to our catalog on Tuesday 07 June, 2011.