Codependence is a learned program that is often passed down in a family and supported widely by our culture. It’s like the flu, once you’ve caught it, you’ve caught it. Once you have it, it’s your problem and the responsibility of curing it is yours. Once you’re aware of it, you already start to release the stranglehold it can have on a person in enmeshed relationships. Ideally, each person finds their own recovery or healing process and can begin practicing the new way of thinking and acting in relationships. But first, an understanding of the problem.
What is Codependence?
Codependence often starts when we are children and grownups gave us ‘you’ messages. Comments like, “You’re making me angry.” “You’re upsetting me.” The problem with ‘you messages’ is that it implies that the child created an emotional experience in the parent, teacher or child care provider. The kid wasn’t, they were just acting like a child. Children are, by nature, egocentric and want what they want. This belief that someone made us feel something is not reasonable, nor accurate. Do we influence others’ emotions? Absolutely. But that is the key, others may influence us, but we can learn to have emotional self-control. If we truly believe that others are causing our experience then we are either driven to control or at least try to manipulate our environment or potential victims that the environment/another is able to mess with. This is what was modeled to us, as kids, on how to behave in relationships.
Codependence lacks personal accountability. You hear messages like, “I wouldn’t be mad if you hadn’t done (fill in the blank).” Now compound this problem by dealing with troubled, excessively needy or dependent people. It causes inauthentic relationships. Nice people don’t speak their truth because “it might hurt your feelings or make you mad.” Relationships are one of the hardest things we’ll do. It takes a desire to work at it and healthy habits to maintain it.
Codependence doesn’t ask a person to learn healthy habits. People will either:
- Escape using self-medication such as alcohol, prescription pills or illicit drugs
- Leave the situation or environment
- Try to change the other person indirectly or manipulate toward what they want
- Issue ultimatums to try to force a change
- Tell yourself it isn’t that bad and try to increase your tolerance level
- Try to ignore what stresses you
So it’s been defined as an emotional, cognitive and behavioral condition that develops as a result of prolonged exposure to and the practice of a set of oppressive rules or conditions which prevents the open expression of feelings and a discussion of personal and interpersonal problems. These self-defeating, learned behaviors result in a diminished capacity to initiate and participate in truly honest conversations and relationships.
If you have questions or are unsure if you are codependent or not, call me at (509) 448-5660. I have been counseling and guiding individuals and couples for nearly two decades. Help is available and more affordable than you may think. I accept most insurances and having a sliding fee schedule for those uninsured. Call today.
Who is codependent?
Most of us are. Many of us were raised with ‘you’ messages and we saw one partner in our parent’s relationship be predominantly dominant and the other partner mostly passive. Or some people raised themselves given that their parents were both addicts or alcoholics. Children aren’t the power holders generally so it was that silent code of not talking about the problem or not disclosing about it outside the home. Over 80 million people are estimated to be chemically dependent or are in a relationship with someone who is. They are probably codependent. It is a dependency on people, on their moods, behaviors, sickness or well-being and their love. It is a paradoxical dependency.
Humans learn easier and faster with support and accomplished teachers. Call me and let’s start your road to recovery.
Recovery From Codependence
Recovery from codependence can be exciting if we choose to see it as:
- Liberating by freeing up energy previously used to stuff our true feelings.
- Allows us to be who we are!
- Empowers us to own our power and think, feel and act authentically.
- Promotes loving others for who they really are, which is what most people truly want.
- Allows us to ask/negotiate for what we want promoting a more satisfying life.
- Stops the practice of victimization you dealt with as a powerless child.
- Provides a healthy, reasonable way to be honest in relationships and a safer environment to model to children.
Change can be hard for many of us. It sometimes seems easier to just do relationships the way we learned to do them in our families of origin (or the opposite of how they were done). Maybe you swore, when you were younger, that you would never treat your partner or kids the way you were. Maybe you’ve been surprised the old phrases your parents used coming out of your mouth. You have the right to learn a better way of relating and have it become the predominant habit for you. My clients move easily into their desired change by working with their unconscious mind, which houses all of our ‘auto-pilot.’ You can too!
Let’s get started! It’s easier than you think!
Call me today at (509) 448-5660