There are many books and discussion all over regarding the hot topic of codependency. For some, the more you study it or discuss it the more confusing one gets. I’ve come to learn that we are all codependent in an unhealthy way to some degree or another. When it comes to my addiction and the addictions of the clients we work with, codependency plays a major role in it, in fact, I feel strongly we are addicted to being codependent in our relationships. That’s right, codependency itself is an addiction. The reason it becomes this way is because it helps us meet our emotional needs and helps us cope.
Many professionals and researchers would agree with this. So with this said, what do we do about it. For me, first and foremost, similar to many 12 step programs, we admit it; we become intensely aware of it. Once we can own it, we will be able to recognize it on a daily basis and make the necessary changes to combat it, just like with a substance addiction. I also don’t think we should be ashamed of it or judge ourselves or others because of our codependency, because why should we? Remember we all have it and do it anyways!
THOUGHTS we may have that tell us we are acting too co-dependently:
- “If you are happy, then I’m happy”
- “Oh, you are sad or mad, I need to do something to fix that, as quickly as possibly”. Then we may continue to say or do something to help save this person from feeling.
- “You are feeling pain, how can I take that away from you?”
- “I need to fix myself so that you can be happy”
- “I’d like to be able to solve your problems”
It comes down to the ultimate solution, SELF LOVE and COMPASSION. When we are working towards loving ourselves more, we become less and less codependent. When we think loving others is the main goal, we tend to want to fix others and then others well being becomes a main factor of how our well being is. In reality if we are loving ourselves, it puts us in better situation to become interdependent with others and they’ll feel love from us more efficiently. It sounds paradoxical, but if we can learn to connect with and love ourselves more, than we, in return are better suited to love and connect with those around us.
Colby Hassard, MSWi
Mens Outpatient Therapist