A codependent relationship is a love addiction where we seek to prove our worth by helping people with broken wings.
We’re drawn to addicts and under-functioners who’ll depend on us emotionally, financially or in some other way.
Many of us who find ourselves in this kind of relationship have a history of neglect, abuse, or family addiction in our childhood.
If we aren’t allowed to show our feelings to the adults around us, or how we felt wasn’t validated, this leads to limiting beliefs around being responsible for how others feel and behave, that if someone is angry then it’s our fault and we need to fix it.
It also affirms to us early on that it’s risky for us to allow others to have their own experience, so we need to do our best to change/fix (control) them.
(Note, if you’re being told by your partner that you’re controlling when you feel you’re only trying to help, this is why).
We turn other people’s pain into our problem, and if we can’t fix them then we feel worthless. On the flip side, we gain self-worth if we feel we’ve helped.
We enable their bad behaviour so there’s no need for them to change it.
Often, this feels great in the early days of a relationship, and leads to challenges later because we have to make sure everyone is ok, usually to the detriment of ourselves because we have shitty boundaries.
There’s chaos, turmoil and instability.
If we are treated badly we assume it’s our fault and we work even harder to win their approval.
We don’t trust ourselves or our instincts when we do this and give our power away.
It’s the ultimate in self-abandonment.
It sets us up to have tired hearts, burned out bodies and empty cups as we are seeking validation from outside of us from people who’ll never really give it to us.
Codependent relationships are generally very dysfunctional, toxic and self-destructive; they stem from a true desire to feel wanted, needed and validated, but often it leads to the opposite.
We feel resentful and angry, burned out and bitter.
We feel alone and unsupported.
We are held in a pattern of trying to “fix” people to try and validate our place in the world and sense of self-worth; ultimately while we are betraying ourselves.
Imagine taking all the energy you’ve poured into helping other people, and instead focusing that energy on healing yourself and becoming the best version of you possible.
What would that look like?
When I started to look into my own codependency issues, I was surprised by what I found.
I remember the “a-ha!” moment I had back in 2011.
It was my first year living in Australia and I was restricted work wise due to the visa I was on; I was tree planting to get my seasonal regional work ticked off so I could get my next visa.
I’d also recently come out of a toxic relationship marred by drama (which seemed to be a pattern for me).
So there I am, in a job where I’m not helping anyone, and not in a relationship where I’m helping anyone, in a new country with less friends to help.
I went really quickly back into depression, which I first went into a few months beforehand after coming out of a seriously toxic and codependent relationship.
I had this lightbulb moment watering plants one day where I realised ALL of my self-worth came from helping others; AND I realised how fucked up that was.
On reflection I still didn’t do too much that focused on increasing self-worth/self-love until years later, instead I focused on self-care (which is still a part of self-worth).
Fast forward to 2017 when I really threw myself into Project Self-Worth; that’s when I really started making the discoveries around the shit I needed to clear (read the blog I wrote at that time here).
The biggest way I’ve found to heal codependency is to love myself more, as well as no longer taking responsibility for other people’s behaviours.
We need to set better boundaries for ourselves too, and practice self-care.
Spend time tuning into your feelings through meditation, journaling, talking with positive people, going for counselling, spending time in nature.
A great question to constantly ask yourself is “am I doing this from a place of self-love, or low self-worth? Am I seeking approval and validation?”
Stop taking how others behave personally and know everyone acts from a place of their own pain, which usually has nothing to do with you.
Recognise that your own needs and boundaries deserve to be met, you are worthy.
Validate your own feelings, trust your instincts and ask for help when you need it.
Only give when it’s not to your detriment, and when your cup is full. Stop giving from an empty cup.
You don’t need to do it alone.
Check out my YouTube playlist Project Self-Worth which has loads of videos including guided meditations, inspirational videos, yoga and LOADS of EFT focused on increasing self-worth.
Give it a nudge and let me know what you think.
To break the cycle of codependency we have to really get to know ourselves; the limiting beliefs holding us back, the past baggage we need to clear, and what WE want for our lives (not what others want for us).
We have to start feeling the hurt underneath our coping mechanism of diving into helping others, release the shame, and have compassion and empathy for ourselves.
This allows us to build a new, upgraded version of ourselves, filled with self-love and boundaries with others that allow us to live our best life.
Remember; true, authentic love will never cost you your boundaries or self respect.
Much love, because you’re worth it 🙂