It is the day before Valentine’s day, and what better way to show my appreciation than with a story time about relationships.
As many of you may know, heard or read, I have struggled for the past two decades with being in severely codependent relationships of all kinds. It has been one of the biggest obstacles I’ve created for myself that kept me away from self-love and from having an unshakable foundation rooted in joy.
Let me begin with my definition of co-dependency. What I find to be true is that it means when a person takes on the responsibility of another person’s life through different means, for example: manipulation, control or blame and shaming and thus completely neglects their own life. What I find is that a codependent person forcefully tries to take the steering wheel of life away from another person. What we don’t realize is that even if we have good intentions to “save” or “help” them, we are communicating that we don’t believe they can take control of their own lives, that they shouldn’t be responsible for themselves and that they are incapable of healing and growing on their own. We are literally taking away the opportunity for this person to be able to reach their own epiphanies and learn the lessons from their specific circumstances that leads to growth and becoming the best version of themselves. We are taking away the shadow work that is so valuable for each person to do.
Codependents often find themselves in a vicious cycle with these relationships. They try to “fix” someone, that person is uninterested in their “help” and rejects them, the codependent person lashes out in anger and the other person rebels against them leaving the codependent feeling “used” and “taken advantage of” once again- not realizing that it was none of their business in the first place.
For as long as I can remember I involved myself emotionally, even physically, in the lives of others- taking it extremely personally when they rejected my advice and ultimatums. The more I pushed and shoved my way in, the more people backed away from me. I was also unable to realize the amount of resentment I built up against the people I loved for not changing into who I believed they should be and when they needed to do it. The feeling was mutual of course, my loved ones bottled up more and more anger towards me until we would both explode, creating long-lasting effects that caused our relationships to crumble.
It wasn’t until I was left on my own by my partner and my friendships fell apart that I realized I was suffering from deeply rooted codependency. Through lots of research, reading and reflection I figured out that the only person I had any control over and should assume responsibility over was myself- and I had not been doing that in any way shape or form. As a codependent I was quick to succumb to feeling like a victim and even paraded my victim mentality around town, playing the sad girl woe-is-me card to anyone who would listen- and even to people who didn’t want to! I thought so poorly of myself that I was using the distraction of other people’s problems as a way to avoid facing my own darkness. I had absolutely no sense of self-love, and had placed all of my self-worth in the hands of other people’s approval. Because I had taken control of other people’s lives (or tried to), I believed that other people were responsible for me and my happiness. I didn’t know how to trust myself and always sought for answers externally. I thought that others had to change in order for me to feel love and joy. Man am I glad that I was wrong!
It took my separation for me to finally have no choice but to look at my life- all of it- and plunge head first into the darkness that we call our shadows. I had to literally use all of my will power to move my focus from my partner and even healing for the benefit of our relationship to just myself. I had to accept that I had inherited and experienced trauma, limiting beliefs and god knows what else that had caused me to become the way that I was. And thus, the shadow work began.
I feel like codependency can be like an addiction, especially if we’ve been that way for the majority of our lives so it makes sense that I have relapses every now and then. I have to remember to have compassion for myself, take a step back and take inventory of how I am feeling, behaving and what my intentions are. I remind myself in these moments that I am here to help, inspire and guide those around me, but that it is their responsibility to do the work. I try to remember to have compassion for them when I get angry or frustrated- because I too was once in their position so who am I to judge? We can only make changes when the necessary clicks in our brains have been made and when we are ready to do so. All I can do is bring the focus back to myself and offer my love and support- holding space for their growth.
Thank you for reading my post today. I wish you all a very happy Valentine’s Day, please remember to take the necessary steps to love yourself on this day and every day after. For those of you lovelies who attended my Valentine’s Self-Love Goddess Ceremony, don’t forget to give yourself your card and read the beautiful letter to yourself!