Codependency "Blew Up" my tractor
My newer tractor
This is a true story that happened 9 years ago.
After my divorce I found the sweetest little farm in a small community that really felt like home. I felt like my neighbors would be friendly and supportive enough to help me rear my child in the "it takes a village" form. I tried to introduce myself to locals on a consistant basis so I would get to know everyone and not feel quite so alone and on my own.
There is a huge variety of folks out here from very local country folk (born and raised) and then the transplants from all over the country. I was the in between category as I moved to TN over 20 years prior and just have lived in other counties until this home was established. Technically I am not a native but been here quite some time.
With that being said there are certain rules to being a good neighbor and friend. You help out if you can and the favor will usually be returned. What I didn't know about was the neighbor who takes advantage of generosity, kindness and codependency. They can spot someone like me miles away and they fully plan to exploit me in the process. I am responsible for my choices, actions and I am not the victim here. I totally acted out codependently as you will see and my goal is to teach so you don't have to do this for yourself.
My neighbors starting out asking if I would help there daughter increase her time in an event called barrel racing. It is where a horse and rider race around 3 barrels, the one with the fastest time wins. It was fun working with the teenage girl and I didn't mind instructing her and giving her advice. Codependents try to save the world (in my case). I became involved in this girls life and heard about all the drama that was happening in her family and home. It was truly dysfunctional and I felt bad for her. I gave advice when asked but tried to keep some distance.
It wasn't until I went down to see where she lived that my codependency really kicked in. It was a shack of a home in disrepair and they didn't seem to notice. Her horse was out back in the field covered with high weeds and no grass to be found. No wonder the horse was so skinny. Not sure if they were supplementing the field grass with feed but I doubt it. I felt bad for the horse as they didn't seem to notice this huge problem. For those of you who don't know it horses won't just eat anything. They have funny eating habits in that they smell and taste what they need nutritionally. If there is nothing to eat they may eat the weeds but that is a last resort and it can actually harm them depending on the weed.
The young girl was showing this one weekend and asked if she could borrow my barrel saddle which was practically brand new. I being the good codependent said yes just take care of it and return in asap. She road in the competition and did not return my saddle. When I drove down to retrieve it the dogs had used it as a chew toy and destroyed the stirrups which they took no responsibility over. I was upset but being codependent figured somehow it must have been some of my responsibility and just took my saddle home. It was then that I noticed her horse was ever skinnier than before and looked really bad.
Light bulb moment, I would rescue the horse by mowing their fields and then the grass would grow. They had asked me earlier and I didn't do it as I had not seen just how bad it really was. I had at that time a 40 HP Kubota that was in great condition. I had a huge bush hog that would mow over small trees and not miss a beat. I drove my pride and joy down to her fields and started to mow. I was making huge headway, it looked so much better and I just knew I was saving this horses life. Until I noticed the black line trailing behind my tractor. I immediately knew what had happend and shut the engine off. Somehow the weeds being so huge had repeatedly banged against the drainplug until it came out and all my oil drained out while the tractor was running.
This is the worst news for anyone who owns any type of engine from tractor, mower or car. It is crucial that an engine have oil, even I know this stuff. I panicked, ran the 1/2 mile down the road and retrieved oil for the tractor. After finding the drainplug I poured the oil back in and I restarted the tractor. Something did not sound right so I shut it back down. I then went back home called my tractor repair mechanic and told him the news. He came by picked up the tractor and hauled it to his shop. I was in shock and horror at my stupid mistake.
If I had only said NO, if I had only minded my own business. If I had only set better boundaries in the first place my saddle would still be fine and my tractor would be back in the barn where it belonged. I was really hating myself right about then. I got the call from the mechanic a few days later. It would be a minimum of $2500 for the new crankshaft and then with labor on top it was not worth replacing. I had to sell the tractor for $1000 for parts when it was worth well over $5000.
I felt sick to say the least. I beat myself up for the longest time. I had started Codependents Anonymous just the year before and had not quite gotten the message obviously. I was still caretaking everyone, enabling folks to not take responsibility and trying to save the world on the side. Now 11 years down the road I can say I have had way too many of these experiences to not notice when I am about to screw up now. I am more apt to check in with healthy friends who are in recovery before I make a big decision just to double check my motives. I make sure why isit I want to help someone and is it really helping them in the long run.
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