Codependency is often characterized by a chronic inability to determine our feelings. It is followed by a tendency to look to others to determine how we should or should not be feeling. We can become so disconnected from our internal experiences as a result of time spent placing other’s needs before our own. We might be looking for emotional safety and validation through others because we may not have the tools to find it ourselves.
An understanding of codependency
We tend to get confused between codependency and empathy. There are some major differences between both of these. Some of these include:
- Rescuing people from their feelings and circumstances
- Becoming deregulated by taking on other people’s emotions
- Looking to others for validation
- Indicating that you hear their pain without offering solutions
- Taking responsibility for your own emotions and regulations
- Witnessing and holding space for the full range of human emotion
You can be empathetic without being codependent. For those who grew up with codependent or narcissistic parents, it can be hard to make a distinction. Letting go of codependency doesn’t mean becoming hardened or unwilling to support. It’s quite the opposite in fact. Un-leaning codependency means learning how to offer to someone else without losing yourself. We will experience connection with others while maintaining a connection to our self.
How do we self-sabotage our relationships
The expression “you are your worst enemy” rings true for most of us. Self sabotaging thoughts and behaviors are perpetuated by an inner critic we all possess. The critical inner voices that we carry over time often lead us to recreate dynamics from early to our adult life. We tend to play our negative, old behavior patterns with the people we get close to. We often form self sabotaging relationships by indulging in our crucial inner voices. In all of this, we fail to challenge our core defenses.
If you felt abandoned as a child, you may have the tendency to become insecure in relationships. You may hear voices towards yourself like “how can I trust them” or “they are just going to leave you.” If we had a parent who acted overbearing or intrusive, we might feel easily suffocated by our romantic parent. Our critical inner voices often hold us back from getting what we really want. It will instill fears in us that we will be hurt in the same ways we were hurt as children.
Codependency says, “others decide how I should or should not feel”. Healing says, “when I struggle to identify my feelings, I no longer look to others to validate my internal world.”
- Become self responsible
- Detach emotionally
- Stop reacting, tormenting, and doubting yourself
- Trust yourself and feel your feelings
- Stop living like a victim
- Prioritize your needs and wants
- Face reality
- Practice communication
- Live your life in recovery
Wrapping it up
Once we start to recognize and add our own meaning to our emotions, we will stop needing others to dictate how we feel. We will be an advocate for noticing how feelings sit in our body, being curious for their meaning but not judgmental. In the moments of codependency, visualize an open space for the unknown and for what might be uncertain. We don’t have to know how we feel right away. Be curious and ask yourself about what you might be feeling without judgment. If you find that you have a weak emotional, mental state, that’s okay. Be gentle with yourself. Its all going to be okay. Don’t be too hard on yourself.