Over the years of active healing and loving awareness I have managed to address many aspects of my CPTSD.
My inner critic has quietened, the flashbacks are non-existent now, and my substance abuse is a thing of the past.
Codependent patterns however, although much less present, are still popping up here and there.
I wrote about my codependency reparenting process here last year, and still I discover more and more coping mechanisms I hadn’t even been aware of.
Once you have made peace with being codependent, how do you address it on a daily basis?
“I don’t know why I worry so much about what other people think of me.
It’s like I need to know what they think so I can base my own opinion of myself on theirs.”
– a friend
My therapist defines codependency on an over-reliance on an external person or object to the detriment of our own feelings.
For example, I used to put the happiness of my partner over my own well-being.
It is tempting to then focus on this external factor and try to control our behaviour with it.
I observed how often I drove over, how much I texted, how I panicked when I didn’t receive a reply.
But the focal point here is still outside of ourselves.
Instead, I try to ask this:
“What is it within me that tries to be soothed by these behaviours?
What am I afraid will happen if my fears come true?”
Codependent patterns were formed often in childhood to help us survive.
By becoming hyper-vigilant of other people’s emotions, we were then able to safeguard our own.
If our primary caretakers are unable to self-regulate, this tasks falls on the children.
So when I now panic of my loved ones becoming bored of me, all this past trauma comes up too – not just the fear of losing a partner.
It can feel like my entire safety net and worth as a person is at risk of falling apart.
Telling myself this is irrational won’t do much. I need to address the root of the problem.
“There are two questions a man must ask himself: The first is ‘Where am I going?’ and the second is ‘Who will go with me?’
If you ever get these questions in the wrong order you are in trouble.”
– Sam Keen
We are not any less complete when people reject us.
I used to spent years trying to please the most critical people I could find to validate myself.
Now, I’ve flipped the rulebook. I may still not know exactly what I want, but I know that it has to come from within me.
Healing codependency is a slow, but worthy journey.
They say we are a product of the energy of the five people we surround ourselves most with.
One relationship, one friendship, one job, one day at a time we learn better.
With each disappointment we learn that the world does not go under, but we come up with a stronger self-image.
“Cause there were pages turned with the bridges burned
Everything you lose is a step you take”
– Taylor Swift
Being self-dependent is painful and scary.
It means letting go of what makes us feel safe.
We will be hurt. We will relapse to old ways.
But how proud we will be of each heartbreak we have dared to feel!