How to reclaim yourself from the grips of codependency
Do you easily lose yourself in relationships and make the other person your whole world?
I want to share with you how to reclaim yourself and begin to step into your personal power by honouring your sense of Self even when in love.
Codependency destroys our ability to love selflessly without placing constant pressure and expectation on the Other. It destroys our ability to love ourselves because we are always focusing our attention on the Other. We lose ourselves and confuse devotion for codependency.
This is a huge lesson I learned in my recent trip within. For the last 2 weeks I dove deeply into myself and found some heavy stuff that has been wreaking havoc in my life since childhood. I held space for myself to process this stuff and allowed it to come to the surface with consciousness.
Here is what came up for me:
My parents divorced when I was 9 years old and it was a very hard time for my family. My parents struggled and I watched my mom suffer emotionally for many years. I quickly learned how to focus on the Other and make them my world because it was a distraction from my own pain.
I made my feelings not matter and made others feelings the focal point of my experience. This made me a great counselor and coach but it’s made me develop codependent traits in my relationships due to avoiding Self by being overly focused on the Other.
Up to this point I’ve carried this unconscious pattern into my intimate relationships. I become fixated on my partner and this inhibits me from enjoying the experience of myself and I lose my sense of Self in the relationship.
The pattern I’m playing out is one that keeps tripping me up from stepping into my awesomeness for good because I keep losing momentum with each relationship I have. This is because my partner becomes a distraction from me being in my own energy because I am living too much in their life and not enough in my own.
I am ready to level up and transform my codependency so I can live from a place of being my own reference point rather that needing the Other as a reference to how I need to show up in the relationship.
Here’s how I am going to do it:
First off, it’s important to understand how codependency expresses itself in my life. It tells me I need other people as a reference point to who I am because somewhere along the way I wasn’t enough for myself or didn’t want to experience my feelings so I abandoned myself. I needed validation and reassurance that I was okay and I never got it, but I also didn’t know how to provide it for myself.
Codependency gives me a faux sense of Self that I thought was providing me safety but it has actually been making me step out of my awesomeness by focusing my energy outward when it needs to be focused inward.
Why do we make others our reference point?
Usually this comes from feeling uncertain in who we are, or having an emotionally overbearing parent who became a reference point to our emotional identity and we didn’t develop an identity independent of what our parent was reflecting back to us.
It’s classic co-dependency because it’s message is “I am not okay unless I have someone reflecting back to me my okayness” – when we don’t get it reflected back to us we feel unneeded, unsafe, and uncertain in who we are and this can cause a great deal of anxiety in the relationship.
How do we become the reference point to ourselves?
I talk a lot about “stepping into your awesomeness” in my coaching. This is about stepping into the highest version of yourself rather than focusing your energy on others.
Its about knowing your value and living from that place of self-autonomy and love for everything you represent without requiring anyone or anything to validate or reflect back you all that you are because you already have this inner knowing of your worth.
Here are 8 tips to consider when reclaiming yourself from the grips of codependency:
1. Boundaries are crucial for this process
The codependent fears setting boundaries because we think our needs are unreasonable and that people will leave us if we stand up for what we need. People who lack healthy boundariestend to lack self-worth because they go hand in hand. If you feel worthy, you feel like you have a lot to protect, if you feel worthless, you will allow people to treat you how you treat yourself.
We need to know that boundaries are the tools we use to get our needs met and the only way to break codependent habits is to learn to meet your own needs by setting boundaries. The key to setting boundaries is to be okay with losing someone that cannot respect what you stand for.
We need to go within and provide ourselves what we weren’t capable of providing ourselves when we were a child. This work is crucial because it’s how we make ourselves feel safe now for something that made us feel unsafe in the past that we keep recreating.
Regress back to that unsafe memory and hold space for yourself. Protect yourself and fight back to the person who hurt you when you weren’t able to defend yourself.
Recreate the experience you need to feel okay moving forward without the experience driving fear into all your relationships.
3. Take expectations out of your relationships
Expectations are relationship killers because they are loaded with pressure of making the other person your point of reference for how you will feel and how your needs will be met.
Relationships are not meant to define you, they are meant to compliment you. This doesn’t mean that you should not make requests or set boundaries for how you want your partner to treat you because this is crucial for a fulfilling relationship.
The difference between a boundary and an expectation is:
Boundaries are teaching someone how to treat you by how you treat yourself. They are actions followed by words that solidify that this is what you need to have a positive relationship experience.
Expectations are telling someone how to treat you without necessarily treating yourself that way. They are words that lack the actions to follow it up because you’re expecting the action to come from the Other to meet the needs that you are neglecting to meet for yourself. How can someone treat you in a way that you can’t treat yourself? Its like filling a bucket with a hole in it, it will never feel like enough.
4. Learn to meet your own needs
Ask yourself what do I need to feel good? Let go of this idea that it’s selfish to put yourself first. When you make someone your reference point you always focus on them first when making a decision. This needs to change if you want to liberate yourself from codependency because you’re not living your life, you’re living your life in relativity to the Other.
The danger in codependency is losing your purpose and passion in life because what makes your heart sing isn’t necessarily what makes your partners heart sing.
Your holding on so tightly in fear of loss of Other but you’re actually losing you in the process and this is what is causing the fear – your inner child is screaming at you to stop abandoning him/her. Find space and separation for you to be you so you can tend to your inner you.
5. Grieve the loss of the reference point
Grieving the loss of the reference point to the Other and the illusion of safety this was giving you. In actuality, the reference point was perpetuating you to feel unsafe and uncertain because you were leaking your energy and personal power to the Other by saying “I am not okay unless you tell me I am okay”.
Allow yourself to experience the anger that may be associated from abandoning yourself by giving the Other your personal power. It may feel daunting to claim your independence and you may feel unsure of yourself but it’s about going within and raising/parenting this part of yourself that didn’t get to feel safe being independent as a child.
6. Let love songs be about you sometimes
We all want to fantasize about the perfect person swooping in to save us and make us feel amazing, but this becomes pathological and additive. Sometimes I listen to love songs and send the lyrics to myself and it really fosters a unique self-love experience. You are enough to save you and it all starts with letting go of this idea that we need someone to complete us.
7. Release cords that breed codependency
Energetic cords are built when we unhealthily attach to the Other in codependent ways. The cords literally carry energy between you and your partner via chakras. If you want to set yourself free of the shackles of codependency, you need to muster up the courage to surrender and let go of your need to control the Other with your energetic cords.
In actuality you aren’t really setting them free, you’re setting yourself free by freeing up the leaking energy that you’re confusing as love. This energy needs to be turned inward on the Self so you can feel a sense of personal empowerment.
Think of it as taking back control over yourself and your feelings. Codependents often feel very deeply and tend to blame others for making them feel so much but really we are making ourselves feel poorly by not tending to our own needs.
No one wants to have a partnership that is smothering and controlling but this is what happens when we don’t trust the process of the relationship. You need to trust that when you release the grip, your partner will stay because they want to, not because you controlled them to or made them need you.
Making someone need you is like making yourself a drug and trying to get them addicted to you. You will always feel at any moment the person will want to quit using you and make you dispensable and this leaves you hustling for your worth in the relationship.
I promise you there is a better way to go about attracting someone to you. You do this by making yourself valuable to you, not to them. Think about what you bring to the table for you and this will naturally attract them to you without all the games, anxieties and expectations of codependency.
The healing process for me is about reclaiming my power and turning my attention inward when I feel like I need something outside myself.
It’s about making the switch that perhaps wasn’t smoothly transitioned from childhood into adulthood where I went from having my needs met by my parents to having to meet these needs for myself. Somewhere along the way I didn’t learn a healthy separation and this has been the fuel to my codependency.
I now understand that in order to step into my awesomeness and be in the type of love that feels safe and certain, it starts with me. I am the only person who can make me feel 100% safe and certain and as I make myself my own reference point, I stop leaking my energy and turn it inward where it can be turn into personal power that breeds independence.
Reclaim your sense of Self by knowing that no one is your be all end all. The only constant in your life is you and this is why it’s important to make yourself a reference point to the person you are now and the person you are becoming.
If you need support on the healing journey from codependency to learning how to develop a secure attachment style, this is an area I specialize in. You can reach out and set up an initial consult for coaching.
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