Healing From Codependency

Nov 26, 2021

Codependency is a relationship where one person loses their sense of self and independence, and believes that they need to help someone else to find their worth. It is someone who gives and gives and has difficulty setting and enforcing boundaries. People who are codependent tend to self-sacrifice, focus on others, and have difficulty recognizing and expressing their emotions. With Codependency, it is easy to get so wrapped up in what is best for everyone else, that we never think of what we could do for ourselves. 

When we're children, we definitely codependent in the sense that we're seeking approval. We want to gain mom and dad's love, and mom and dad are supposed to mirror all those things back to us. This relationship with our parents, our caregivers, is supposed to create the healthy inner dialogue within ourselves that we will have for the rest of our lives. Unfortunately, a lot of us didn't get the support or care that should have been shown. It doesn't necessarily mean that our parents were abusive or neglectful. Just that they weren't able to emotionally connect with us in the way that we were needing. So instead, we're codependent and unconsciously seeking validation. 

Some signs of Codependency include:

  • Deep-seated need for approval
  • Conflict avoidance
  • Tendency to apologize or take the blame
  • Guilt or anxiety when doing something for themselves
  • An overwhelming fear of rejection or abandonment

 

In order to be healthy adults, we need to be able to have a positive inner dialogue with ourselves. We need to be able to motivate ourselves and fill ourselves up inside. That takes us to the three steps to healing from Codependency. 

Step 1: Acknowledge

Acknowledge your fear and your feelings. Acknowledge your fear of abandonment, fear of someone not meeting your needs or respecting your boundaries. You're hurting, and part of the battle is to understand why you're hurting and what you need. The other part is being able to give that stuff to yourself.  

One thing I always tell my clients is that regardless of what you're feeling, you have to validate it. Acknowledging your feelings and your emotional needs has to do with your internal dialog and being able to self-soothe. If a feeling pops up suddenly, you just need to say, "Okay, I feel sad" or "I feel angry."  

Step 2: Moving through your emotions

Once we acknowledge our feelings, the next step is to begin working through them in a healthy way. Make it okay to feel what you're feeling and not judge yourself for it. This is how you can start taking responsibility for your life and happiness. Be okay with what you are thinking and feeling, and understand that not everyone has to agree with the way that you feel. It's a very liberating feeling to live in a world where your happiness comes from you. 

Step 3: Honor what you feel

Then finally, you want to honor yourself and honor how you are feeling. You want to be able to stand up for yourself and stand up for your boundaries. You have to be able to take care of yourself first before you can start taking care of other people. 

 

When working towards real recovery, it is important to know when you're tiptoeing that line of Codependency. It is okay to help people; just be aware of how you're feeling. Whenever a person wants your help, ask yourself why am I helping this person? Should I be doing this? And is it okay for me to help this person right now? What your trying to figure out with these types of questions is when you are going too far with helping. You have to take responsibility for your own life and happiness. It is okay to express yourself, and it is okay to set and enforce boundaries. When you're healing, it is okay to be a little bit selfish with your time and energy and focus on your needs. It can be a difficult journey at first, especially with the anxiety and guilt when putting ourselves first. But we do this so we can eventually gain the skills and the balance in our life to have healthier relationships. So we can be there and help the people we care about without sacrificing ourselves. 

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