When you are codependent, your happiness doesn't belong to you. It only exists when other factors are aligned. Your happiness is dependent on a myriad of things, mostly pertaining to relationships, both romantic and not.

I first met my ex boyfriend on a dating site. Being single for a very long time before meeting him, I was naive, excited, and honestly, quite desperate. We talked 24/7 before meeting in person. Texting, phone calls; we were always in contact. It made me feel wanted.

When we finally met, he took a little getting used to. He was manic and all over the place. He made me a little nervous. But he was attracted to me. And that was good enough.

He forgot his wallet on the first date, so he only had a few dollars on him to buy me a beer. I wanted this to work, so I paid the rest of the date.

From that night, we spent three whole days together. Constant closeness, which is what I desired, what I needed. He did not leave my side for three whole days.

When we finally parted, I was sure I would never hear from him again. That was what I was used to. But instead, the communication kept on flowing. I was the happiest I had been in a very long time.

A week later, he told me he was falling in love with me. I returned the statement with utter infatuation. Not necessarily because I felt it, but because I needed it. This was finally it for me.

Fast forward about nine months into the relationship and we have decided to move in together. We spoke of marriage and honeymoons. He was my soulmate.

Right after moving in, my job fell through. Since I had anointed myself the bread winner, I faced a lot of anxiety. I put down all of the money for the new place and he promised he would pay me back. And of course I believed him.

When I found a temporary job and worked 13 hour days to make ends meet, I shuffled home one night to find a guilty look on his face. He had been crying. And my heart sank.

This was the day he told me that he had fallen back into heroin addiction and needed to go to rehab. He would be gone for a month, but he promised he would find a way to pay for the months rent. He always knew the right things to say.

During this period of him being gone, a period where I was only able to speak to him once a week, I started to gain a bit of clarity. Well, he mentioned he has drug problems before. He also had flimsy excuses for missing important events. I also wasn't sure where he worked; he kept saying one place but I found pay-stubs from a different employer... He had quite a few things about him that, while should have been red flags, were just regular flags in my rose colored glasses.

And while my obsession for this human was ever present, my whole life became about exposing who he was from that point on. From digging into emails, texts, Facebook, I did not have a life that was my own. I needed to know what was going on in order to feel happy.

After the second relapse was when I decided to set myself free. He had been home not even a month, and I hacked into his anonymous phone number website profile and found he had been in contact with his dealer again. I sat on my bed, waited for him to come home, and said, with a broken spirit, that it was over.

Needless to say, the drama that arose afterward was not only textbook, but horrifying. With my need to fix him and have him in my life, I couldn't let go. But by putting my foot down, I got a little closer to freedom.

When I said those words, it was a tiny little baby step. As badly as I needed things to go back to "normal," they were so dysfunctional that I would just be riding the same carousel forever if I ignored it. Up until that point, that was normal for me.

Through supportive friends, therapy, Al Anon, yoga, writing, etc. I took my life back. I tried to immerse myself in anything that would take my mind off of him and heal me. And in doing that, I found my heart and soul again.

When you are codependent, you take care of other people to the point of hurting yourself. You become emotionally, physically, and mentally broke. The most important thing you can do for yourself is to take care of yourself first. Its like the instructions on a plane for when you lose cabin pressure. Secure your mask first, and help others after.

It is easy to fall prey to manipulation when you don't care about yourself. It is easy to fall into traps and be taken advantage of. Be strong and take charge of your life. You won't lose anyone worth losing by respecting yourself.

*This post was originally featured on WitchyWisdoms.com; it has been modified for MyTrendingStories*