When is enough, enough?
It erodes your sense of self.
It squelches the life force within you.
It circumvents your intuition.
It turns you into a ghost to yourself and to others.
It leaves you vulnerable to narcissists, emotional and physical violence, or becoming the passenger to a drunk driver.
Do you suffer from any of these:
An inability to make decisions
Confusion about your personal needs, goals, feelings
Feelings of emptiness
Extreme worry, stress, and/or anxiety
Low self esteem
Preoccupation with the opinions of others
A strong need to make others happy
Fear of being alone
Being angry often
Not being assertive in communication with others
How do you turn codependency, the loss of self, into opportunities to create a stronger sense of self?
Understand where you end and another begins. Detach. When you consistently focus on the needs, desires, or agendas of others, you stop relating to yourself. The voice in you that can name your preferences, claim your spot in a conversation, and assert your emotional and physical space is lost. Ask yourself, “If I were the most important person on the planet right now, what would I think, feel, or do?” Put yourself first and break the habit of putting yourself last.
Take control of you and release control of others. Practice self care. Is your body speaking your mind? Do you have symptoms like fatigue, headaches, or something more serious? Pay attention and respond. Let go of the need to control the well being of others so that you can be “okay” and go direct to yourself. Self care is a rigorous practice of self inquiry. What does your body need right now? How are you feeling? What ways can you restore yourself to stillness? Self care leads to self awareness.
Interrupt the negative self talk. At the heart of codependency is the fear of being abandoned. You focus on another’s needs at the expense of your own so that you can survive by staying connected to another person or situation. Even if it’s bad, the alternative is worse. Heal your nervous system with one single message that will interrupt the stress response: “I am safe, and I am loved.” It’s that simple, and that difficult. What you tell yourself will become the reality you perceive, and your choices will follow. Practice this daily.
Codependency is a condition. A human condition that you may find yourself in from time to time to varying degrees. You are the giver and someone or something it the taker. For instance, perhaps it’s your needy lover, an intimidating neighbor, an overly dependent adult child, or a non-profit you started that is sucking the life force from you. Assess how you are participating in that relationship and make adjustments. Turn your loss of self into an opportunity to restore yourself.
In psyche and spirit,