Hey friend, in this post I’m going to be talking about codependency, what it means to be codependent and why it isn’t such a bad thing after all! Ultimately, most relationships are codependent and I don’t think we need to pathologize it.
I want to bring a “fresh” approach to the subject and help you to see that having a longing for intimacy and love is part of the human condition. So, be prepared to be inspired and uplifted!
However, I don’t want to deny your pain so I am going to share with you insight on how you can recover from codependency so that you can live a life of love and wholeness. Therefore, my aim is to give you a balanced view of codependency so that you can understand it and cultivate more secure relationships. I hope it helps!
Related: 10 signs you’re codependent and how to honour your value
But before we go any further I just wanted to give you a big bear hug.
I hear you. I see you and you have my support even though I’m not physically with you.
So, what does it mean to be codependent?
“Codependent” or “codependency” are words that get tossed around a lot these days.
However, codependency is not a word I like to use too often because in my opinion, we don’t need to pathologize the human condition.
In my view, the pain of not having love or having a longing for love is more of a gift than a weakness. (So, let’s just agree that it isn’t a weakness, you’re not broken but you have a gift! Right?)
If you think about it, we’re not meant to be alone and self sufficient. Intimacy is our o-x-y-g-e-n and we function so much better in relationships. So, we don’t need to feel shame about our longing for love.
Instead, we need to honour it!
But if you’re still asking: what is codependency?
Codependency is a word that is used to refer to having a neurotic desire to merge our thoughts, feelings and desires with another person. In other words, our sense of wellbeing and happiness is dependent on others.
This might show up in a few ways and you:
- Feel like you have to say yes to everything
- Look for other people’s approval
- Have a hard time saying no and you have the need to explain and justify yourself
- Lack personal boundaries and you often feel taken advantage of
Where does codependency stem from?
Sadly, codependency is rooted in childhood trauma or the lack of having a parent who emotionally comforted us when we needed them.
If we didn’t lovingly bond with our primary caregiver in the early stages of life (aka our mum, dad or foster carer) then most likely we developed codependent patterns or tendencies.
For example, when we were children we were helpless and reliant on our parents to survive. So, we learned that in order to survive we had to be “nice” or be a “good girl” to purchase their love.
As a result, we grow up thinking that we need to put other people’s needs before our own. So, we lose ourselves because most of our life has been based on making other people happy.
The good news is that with AWARENESS and a willingness to change we can break those patterns. Oh yeahh, by cultivating healthy habits and behaviors we can move away from codependency to more secure and stable relationships.
And after going through this journey myself, here’s 5 ways you can recover from codependency.
It starts with you. This means adopting new behaviors and boundaries that cultivate a new sense of self-love, self-worth and confidence.
And after going through this journey myself, here’s 5 ways you can recover from codependency.
Honor your longing for love
Do you ever think that you’re broken?
Or that you have a “weakness” that stops you from having loving relationships?
Perhaps you feel so much heartbreak after a guy ghosted you after a couple of dates and the pain KILLS you?
And you go to bed at night feeling so lonely because of your longing for love?
But…the reality is, there is NOTHING wrong with you.
It’s just that you care about love the most and the more you dignify your longing for love, the less codependent you are because you value yourself.
And moving forward, you can focus on people who respect you, value you, and appreciate you.
Most likely you’ve got more compassion, generosity and insight than the average person. And these traits can make you think that you’re codependent because you give too much to others and you feel taken advantage of.
But when you honor and dignify your gifts, you’re not attached to people who take advantage so you don’t feel codependent.
And in future, instead of using your generosity or compassion to purchase love that isn’t there, you can save it for people who appreciate you and reciprocate with you. Wooahhh mind blown!
Focus on your self-growth
When you’re codependent you experience an intense responsibility to help other people before yourself.
If you spend your energy fixing others, not only does this keep you stuck but it holds other people back too. It makes people more dependent on you and sends them the message that they’re not capable of overcoming their problems.
Instead, focus on yourself and take 100% responsibility for your life. Think about your own self-growth and what areas of personal development you’d like to focus on so that you can become the best version of yourself.
These might be:
- Finding who you are so that you can answer the question “who am I?”
- Finding your purpose
- Exploring your creativity
- Seeking psychotherapy or hypnotherapy to heal childhood wounds and triggers
- Practicing self-love
- Learning about meditation and reiki
- Decluttering your home and creating space for new energy and experiences
- Attending a workshop on conscious relationships
- Reading about sexual trauma and exploring tantra
There is an abundance of resources, books, podcasts, workshops and online courses that can help you cultivate more joy, meaning and creativity in you life. So, go and explore!
Instead of wasting your energy chasing people or trying to get people to love you, become the person that you want to attract.
When you focus on your own self-growth, you’ll inspire people to take responsibility for their own lives.
So, do yourself a favour and save yourself first.
Validate your emotions
In order to recover from codependency we need to cultivate self-love.
Self-love is being free from shame.
It’s being able to honor and dignify our emotions when they come up.
So, if an emotion comes up don’t beat yourself up with “I shouldn’t feel like that” or “this isn’t right”.
Validate your emotions and give yourself the space to feel them.
As soon as you can validate your emotions, your inner child feels seen and heard.
Ultimately, you give yourself a safe space to acknowledge your emotions and comfort them.
And when you can validate your own emotions, the emotional charge goes away.
Practice crystal clear communication
Finding friendships and relationships that have emotional comfort will help you so much and your emotions will lose their charge.
If this is the case, make it your mission to find a tribe of people who are like-minded and who are interested in self-growth. These people are more likely to practice self-love, meaning that they’ll be able to hold the space for you, listen to you and acknowledge your pain.
Another important step to break codependent patterns and tendencies is crystal clear communication.
Once you’re able to acknowledge, understand and comfort your own emotions, the next challenge is to communicate them to other people.
If you have feelings of shame, guilt, anxiety or sadness, reach out to people that you trust and express your feelings to them.
If people respond with “don’t feel like that” or “you shouldn’t feel like that” then it might be that they don’t know how to validate their own emotions. In other words, because they can’t comfort their own emotions, they don’t know how to comfort you.
It’s likely that in times of solitude, you’ve reflected on how people have influenced you or manipulated you in ways that you didn’t notice previously.
Challenging people come into our lives to teach us lessons.
These challenges are opportunities to behave differently so that we honor ourselves to cultivate more love, wholeness and meaning in our lives.
So, I invite you to look back on your relationships and the painful experiences that you’ve had and ask these questions:
- How was I overgiving?
- Why did I stay in that relationship for as long as I did?
- What fears made me stay in that relationship?
- Where was I using generosity to purchase love when it wasn’t there?
- What pain or suffering was I holding onto?
- How did I let them take advantage of me?
- Why did I stay with them when they didn’t emotionally comfort me?
- Why did I continue the relationship when they were emotionally unavailable?
- What boundaries was I lacking?
- What will I do and not do in relationships moving forward?
When you say no to people, you not only honor your value but you raise it. So, draw a line in the sand today and make a firm commitment to honor your boundaries.
You’re not responsible for somebody else’s behavior and you have a choice to set the limits on how people treat you.
Remember, you have an infinite love to give to the world and that makes you precious.
Honor your gifts. Honor your longing for love. Know your value.
And set your standards for how people treat you.
I can’t wait to hear about your growth! Let me know one thing that you’re going to focus on moving forward.