Updated: Jan 4, 2021
This is a summation from a topic meeting from a Friday CoDA Next Step Meeting that I felt was worthy to blog about....
Thankfully in CoDA, we have a foundation that is solid in which to build new healthier lives and relationships. It is also healthy to look for solid advice from professionals that understand the dynamics of codependency. I shared this article as a topic for our Friday Night Next Step CoDA Meeting and it was a great success. Here are the main points and our take away from the article and from our forum style discussions:
#1 KNOW YOUR CODEPENDENT BEHAVIOR
"Codependency is a two-sided coin of “give” and “take.”"
In codependent relationships we normally have the "taker" and the "giver", but we as codependents also can be both as well...each relationship is unique and sometimes the partner we are with will either naturally bring out one or the other. We discuss in our groups how different codependent traits are yet, all fall under the umbrella term. This is where its important to see the correlation of the differences in codependent behavior, the intent! If we are doing something (from behaving or not behaving, withdrawing, running way, etc.) in order to manipulate an outcome (trying to keep a lover, to keep someone happy so they aren't mad at you, etc.) we are engaging in codependent behavior. Determine what your patterns and characteristics are, we have our CoDA program and doing the steps will help you find your specific traits which will likely not be like others and that is okay. It won't take long to find a coda friend that shares your traits but I find, many are either the givers or the givers that are really takers...ask me about that later!
#2 Figure out where your relationship expectations are coming from
“Until we can detangle these emotions for ourselves, it will be difficult to grow out of a codependent cycle.”
In CoDA, we address our family of origin issues because codependency is a compulsive behavior that is born out of dysfunctional family systems (regardless the level of severity of the dysfunction...meaning nearly ALL humans have learned some sort of codependent behavior. When you start to work your steps, the patterns of behavior will be easier to identify in step four. This is when we do our fearless moral inventory, and it is a GIFT. Yes, I will say that again, it is a gift. What??? The gift from "objectively" reviewing the old patterns and where, and with whom they started with are the puzzle pieces we have needed to formally disprove that false belief of who we are. We are not children needing to earn the attention and love of our parents or caregivers, we are adults that have the right to shine light on what we took on as "who we are supposed to be" and replace it with "who we ARE". This is how WE correct ourselves...this is why we call it, reparenting ourselves. This is the first step, and the process is ongoing...but this is the start of the important work.
#3 Establish boundaries for yourself in relationships
The nature of codependency is such that it tends to blur the lines between where one self begins and another ends.
This is the hard part, I will not lie. Setting a boundary with people that are used to you responding in a specific way is NOT FUN. Boundary setting is so very important...it keeps you safe and healthy and does the same for the other. It is much like feeding peas to a toddler, WE know its good for them but they want nothing to do with it because its yucky and makes them uncomfortable. Basically, this means adults will be throwing temper tantrums when you set your first boundary, and that is OK. We are NOT required to keep everyone "happy", it is NOT our job. Setting boundaries can be done in healthy and respectful ways and should be. This is specifically what our steps help us to do. Boundaries are not only with other people in our life, it is with ourselves, our mental boundaries, our body (taking care of it), with our higher power...seriously this list is LONG... Every relationship needs boundaries regardless. Trust me, this is where applying these principles in all of our affairs stays super important. That is why we have our program, our community and our skills to have healthy relationships.
#4. Resist the urge to fix, control, or save
Often, codependency feeds off a false sense of control. We may think we know what the other person wants – and that it’s up to us to help them get it.
Well if this doesn't sum up a codependent in three easy steps??? Seriously though it is a rough thing to tackle. When we are triggered to respond in these ways we are attempting to find a feeling of safety and love, however...what we have defined as those words need to be revised immediately. Safety does not mean anything but alone....Love does not mean do anything possible to prove that you love someone...we are inherently worthy of LOVE and SAFETY...we are also CAPABLE of learning to love ourselves. This is the portion of our behavior that is hard to correct but critical...to learn to "love the self". When we love ourselves, we will attract people in our lives that also love themselves, that means we will have healthier people in our lives. When two people love each other and independently love themselves, that creates interdependence instead of codependence. Controlling behaviors tell people something...that you NEED them to do specific things in order to "love you"...they can also tell others that "I dont want you to leave me" if I control you then you wont leave since you will be doing what I want you to do. This is an example of the false thinking and rationalization that internally goes on when we are practicing our codependent patterns. To reiterate, we have to "know our traits" before we can identify them, correct them, and then stand firm with our boundaries.
#5. Prioritize Your Own Growth
At the end of the day, relationships are meant to complement your already awesome life – not be your entire life.
When was the last time you did exactly what you wanted to do without thinking about what everyone else needs first? Selfish...NO its actually extremely healthy when done in the way its intended. No one is saying to blow off everyone and only focus on yourself. What we are saying is that waiting for the "right time" to get that massage, or start that yoga class is NOT selfcare. Many of us as codependents have control issues...this is where that can be channeled into something productive. Set a SCHEDULE for your selfcare. NO its is not ridiculous, its absolutely mandatory. I have been scheduling time for myself for 8 years and I am NOT STOPPING. Why? Because if I don't put it on my schedule that time will get filled with a multitude of things that can still be done at other times. This is me practicing a boundary for myself.
Don't know what to do for yourself? Try closing your eyes and asking yourself what a perfect day would be like? What do you like to do with "others"? Try those solo and see if you "really" like those things or are those things you like with another and not individually? Sponsee's that have issues with selfcare, I will ask them to get a notebook they carry around and use it for their "THIS IS ME" list or their "Likes" list. I wrote down things I immediately recall liking and then added things I thought I would like or would be open to try. I went down the list and crossed off what I did not like and what I actually did...once that list was revised I finally had a starting place to grow from. YOU are worthy of honoring yourself and life is a beautiful discovery to take. You can and should grow everyday, the issue is when we grow only by the light of someone else that we deny our own power. We have the power to grow and to become who God intended us to be "precious and free".
In Service- Kimberly S.
Here is the link to the article... Written by: Kristine Fellizar