Codependency can be a difficult concept to navigate, largely because it is often difficult to initially acknowledge that this is your experience!
Living a codependent life can be extremely difficult – emotionally and otherwise – for a number of reasons. Doing so can put a strain on your mental health and your ability to enjoy functional relationships. It may also cause you to steer your life in a direction that may not be the path that you truly want to take.
Today I want to talk more about codependency and explore how anyone affected by relationships of this nature can begin to make positive changes.
What is Codependency
When we talk about codependency, we are talking about the loss of the self, and the dependence on others – usually one person in particular.
This is something that may present in a relationship where one person becomes reliant on the other, both emotionally and psychologically.
Signs of Codependency
It isn't always easy to be self-aware, and this is often especially the case when you are a codependent person. You may not be immediately aware of your behaviour being an issue, and therefore be resistant to working through the problem.
If you find that you are always looking for the approval and validation of other people, and that you struggle to feel fulfilled without these things, then this is an indication of codependency.
Additionally, tolerating relationships that you know to be unhealthy for fear of being alone is one of the most alarming signs. When you do this, then you are putting your long-term happiness at risk in order to sustain yourself emotionally in the short-term.
Feelings of loneliness are unpleasant and can stir up all kinds of other negative emotions. However, that should never mean that we continue to give our time and energy to people who have no intention of lifting us up in return!
If you are someone who other people often come to to talk about their problems and seek advice, then this can also be a sign that you aren't prioritising your own independence. Putting yourself into situations where you are busy taking care of others so that you can avoid thinking about your own life, is a sign that you aren't comfortable in your own mind or within yourself.
You may also find that when these people do not follow your advice or adhere to the emotional guidance that you are giving them, that you then become irritable and perhaps even behave irrationally towards them.
If you often feel selfish, or as though you aren't doing enough to support those you love, then this too is a sign that the balance in your relationships isn't healthy. If those you care for leave you feeling as though you haven't done enough, or that what you have done isn't good enough, then these are not healthy or mutually satisfying relationships!
Why is this Harmful?
If you are in a codependent relationship then it simply isn't possible for this relationship to be mutually fulfilling and totally emotionally satisfying. It can in fact be incredibly damaging to your own sense of autonomy and independence.
This need to be needed, which is the very essence of codependence, is likely connected to a deep fear of being alone, or being abandoned. This could be rooted in a past trauma or a distressing incident, but can also simply be born of underlying irrational fears.
It is not uncommon for codependent people to fall into the cycle of abusive and unhappy relationships. This, of course, can be extremely damaging and perhaps even dangerous.
Furthermore, self-sabotage is something that can easily happen when you are a codependent person.
Your natural inclination is to put yourself down, normally because this is the way that you are treated by one or more other people. You start to believe that you aren't good enough to achieve your dreams and goals, and eventually give up working towards them at all.
Moving Towards Independence
Codependent relationships can be difficult to break away from, especially if the other person is (knowingly or unknowingly) enabling the codependent person.
It is imperative that we all receive kindness, love, and compassion from others if we are to enjoy healthy and happy relationships. It is not enough to always be the person giving these things to other people, and it is natural to expect that you receive them in return.
The fear of being alone can be a huge factor in finally making the break from these unhealthy relationships, and it can be very difficult to see that this is an unfounded concern. When you take the leap towards independence, you are making a huge declaration to yourself and to the world that you are choosing self-love and putting yourself first.
When you do this, you can instigate all kinds of further positive changes in your life and naturally begin inviting abundance in!
You will start to realise how you can live a life full of joy and happiness, and you will inevitably start to attract the types of relationships that you deserve. You will learn how to say no to unreasonable demands and expectations that someone may try to place upon you, and you will begin to say yes to your own needs and wants.
Get Your Confidence Back
Rebuilding your confidence and self-esteem is a great first step to breaking away from a codependent way of life. You must acknowledge the importance of putting yourself first, and giving yourself the care and support that you deserve!
Confidence is one of those things that we can all feel as though we don't have enough of. And what's more, we can often feel super alone with these thoughts because people don't tend to want to talk about how they aren't feeling confident!
Nobody likes to admit that they simply don't have the confidence to do something, and that can make it seem as though everyone else has loads of it when you feel like yours is dwindling.
Click here to learn more about working on your own confidence!