Do you know what co-dependency means?
It comes up in Kinesiology sessions sometimes and often, although my clients have heard the term, they aren’t really sure what it means.
Co-dependency was a term first used to explain relationships in families with an alcoholic, however usage of the word has since become more widespread. Essentially, if you are co-dependent, you take too much responsibility for other people and this affects your interactions with others. It is a boundary problem.
It is often a learned behaviour that is passed down through families and if you have co-dependent traits, you can definitely learn to unwind them and focus more fully on your own path. Worrying about others can be a great distraction from dealing with our own issues!
Do you recognise any of these symptoms?
According to this Psych Central article, symptoms of co-dependency include:
- Low self-esteem
- Poor boundaries
- Caretaking (helping someone else at the expense of yourself)
- Dysfunctional communication (including not knowing what you think and feel)
- Obsessions (particularly about other people and relationships)
- Problems with intimacy
- Painful emotions
When we’re feeling or acting in a co-dependent way, other people’s thoughts, feelings and behaviour will have a big impact on us. We will take excessive responsibility for the lives of others. We may try to “fix” or help other people, without realising that this behaviour not only drains us, it prevents them from becoming more empowered and learning from consequences and effectively stunts THEIR own evolution.
We might think we’re helping, but it’s quite the opposite. Sure we might “help” them on that occasion, but the next time they experience difficulty, they have the exact same set of coping strategies and more than likely will need our help again. Also, if we look at our true motivation, it is probably to avoid our OWN discomfort at seeing this person suffer or struggle.
When we’re 100% in our own energy, we can be witness to someone else’s struggle, empathise with them and talk through possible solutions, without having to dive in and try to do it for them.
Where do you source self?
If you are or have ever been in a relationship with a narcissist, you are likely to have some co-dependent traits. Yes, even if you are outwardly confident and capable! You can read about narcissistic personality disorder and how it tends to present in relationships right here.
People with narcissistic traits will often project a capable, confident, successful, charismatic exterior that can be really attractive to someone with co-dependent traits (“Phew! This person has all the qualities I wish I had! I don’t need to develop them in me!”) Alas, it’s all part of the illusion.
Melanie Tonia Evans’ article suggesting narcissism and co-dependency are two sides of the same coin describes co-dependency this way,
Co-dependency is this: Trying to source self from outside of self.
When we look at the human model, we can understand the entire world is co-dependent to varying degrees.
Every person on the planet – before raising their consciousness is living the egoic mind illusion that we can only be loveable and worthy for ‘what we are doing’ and ‘what we have’ instead of Who We Are.
The more ingrained this illusion is within us – the more separation we suffer from our essential True Selves – the truth that we are adored unconditionally by Source / Life / God (whatever your understanding of a higher power or /and ‘The Field of Lifeforce’ is) simply because we exist…
Until we know that connection to Source / Life / God we can’t accept our own basic goodness, worthiness or wholesomeness and we can’t truly love and accept ourselves.
This grants the ego a foothold – and often a really strong foothold – making us believe that we can only be loveable and worthy when we get a partner, when we have children, when we achieve that degree, when we make enough money, when we secure a prosperous lifestyle, when we finally get our parents to know us and accept us, when that person suffers for what they did to us, when that person atones for what they did to us, or when we have someone new loving us enough to make us feel whole.
ALL of that is conditional love.
That is NOT the energy of Source / Life / God.
That is NOT the energy of our True Self, and…
…it is NOT the TRUTH period.
When we believe that our identity comes from the things we do or our relationships, or that we can only be happy when we achieve or do “x”, or that buying a new course or item of clothing REALLY WILL make us feel better and more complete – we are seeking source outside ourselves. We are trying to fill ourselves up with things outside of ourselves. It is temporary, and what’s more, it’s outside of our control! Talk about stressful.
If you feel you may have some co-dependent traits, recognise it’s now time to show up for yourself.
I think being a source to yourself means filling YOURSELF up with unconditional love, acceptance, peace and a feeling of fulfilment. It DOESN’T mean you don’t have needs, but that your primary source of getting your needs met is internal.
There is no magical formula to learning to seek source from yourself, and no real shortcuts. You have to do the work. Yoga, meditation, Kinesiology are all brilliant for this. Melanie’s excellent NARP program can help if you want specific support you can access anytime to heal relationship issues that may relate to issues of co-dependency and to learn to become a source for yourself.
I am always so incredibly proud of my Kinesiology clients who show up for themselves and keep doing the work even when it’s hard. That’s not to suggest it will always be hard, but often, as we get really deeply honest with ourselves, and address and heal any inner wounds (we ALL have those) we may temporarily experience this as painful and difficult. There is a reason why so many people numb themselves. In the short term, it can seem easier.
Often we will wait until life gives us a big enough wake up call that we can’t avoid our pain and our wounds any longer and we have to go within. However you get there, addressing and healing your wounds and gaining a greater connection to your inner self WILL reap amazing rewards for you.