Finding yourself in a codependent relationship, whether it’s your first one or a repeating pattern, can certainly be filled with confusion, uncertainties, regrets, and even shame.
When you finally see that you’re in one, you usually realize that you want to get out of this codependency spiral and into a healthy relationship but you don’t know how to do it.
Codependency might be described as excessive reliance on others for approval and a sense of identity.
Now we all are codependent on others to a certain extent.
We all like the approval of those we love. It’s part of the human condition.
But where it gets sticky is when we bend over backwards to try to get that approval in ways that are not honest with who we are and are damaging to the relationship.
We can’t say “no” when we need to do so.
Sometimes we don’t even see the codependency habit until it threatens our relationships.
An overly codependent relationship can look different ways…
- Lying or withholding the truth to avoid an argument
- Trying to “fix” circumstances or situations for the other person without being asked
- Giving, giving, giving to the other person at your own expense
- Withholding your truth because of fear of saying or doing the “wrong” thing
- Hiding behind someone who you perceive as stronger, smarter, or more whatever
And the list could go on and on…
But once you see it, how do you fix a codependent relationship?
One of the tricks is to see it for what it is…
A failed strategy that will not ultimately give you the love, safety, or security you want.
Somehow amnesia sets in every time you go on auto-pilot and say or do what really diminishes you.
When you actually see that your strategy doesn’t work, you can choose a different path.
We love how the Buddhist nun Pema Chodron talks about “staying” with the emotion instead of acting on it.
This takes slowing down so that you don’t go on autopilot and so you can see something new.
When you’re in a codependent relationship, there are often feelings that you are trying to avoid so you avoid them with codepenent behaviors.
The truth is when you don’t act but actually allow the feeling to be there, it will move on out.
In its place will be clarity of what your next move is or your next right action.
The truth is that you can stop being codependent when you stop believing that it’s a strategy that will bring you what you want.
There is a way out if you will slow down and look in a different direction.
When you see safety, security, and love are all from the inside-out and has nothing to do with out there and the other person–you can build a healthy, loving relationship.