How Would You Know? Codependency, Fall Series Part III

Welcome to Part III of Healing from Codependency and its Hidden Charms. The last blog post included a broad definition and some key signs of codependency. I hope you have taken the time to pause, go inside your mind and heart to reflect on any signs that may you relate to. 

For this blog, I chose two signs of codependency to elaborate on so that you can better understand them and start to notice how these may be true for you.  

The Signs

People Experiencing Codependency have Difficulty:

  • Experiencing appropriate levels of self-esteem
  • Setting functional boundaries
  • Owning and expressing their own reality
  • Taking care of their adult needs and wants
  • Experiencing and expressing their reality moderately
When people have trouble owning and expressing their own reality, they tend to emotionally "merge" with someone close to them and take on that persons feelings and reality. This can happen situationally when we have contact with specific people or all the time with people we are close to or live with. 

Initially, we don't notice that we are emotionally merging with them and it may just feel like a close relationship. We may feel a closeness when emotionally merging because that type of behavior is what we are used to and we haven't taken a closer look at it before.

However, when there is codependency, the emotional merging type of closeness, leaves us feeling a bit of anxiety or less esteemed. We tend to feel highly validated and esteemed by the person's presence in our lives, yet worried about what they think as well. 

Pause for a moment, go inside your heart... ask yourself:
  • Do I spend time worrying about what they think about me? 
If this is the case, we worry about if they like us, approve of us and what we do. We don't realize just how much time we spend worrying about what others think about us. This causes anxiety and we unconsciously behave in ways that are not authentic to who we are, in order to please those we have emotionally merged with.
  • Am I always trying to please them, and always please people? 
If this is the case, we unconsciously change ourselves to please others. When we really reflect on this, we realize that we do this so much of the time that we are not sure how we feel or what our reality is? 
If this is the case, we unconsciously take on the other person feelings, opinions and reality...which is the cause of anxiety and feeling less esteemed. We are using others approval to esteem us and that is temporary and risky because they don't always approve. However, this is a lifelong habit, so unconsciously we continue to shove down what we think and who we are, out of fear of rejection from those we have emotionally merged with.
  • Do I consider others feelings first... and forget my own?
Take a closer look at those questions. Ask the questions out loud to yourself. Do they feel like they resonate with you? This can take some time. Give your precious self, the time to reflect on this.

Some religions teach that considering others first is the best way to live. Imagine being on an airplane that is going down and you put the oxygen mask on another person first. You will not be able to breathe and may not survive.  
In the next few weeks, think about that metaphor. Consider keeping a journal and write down when you feel less esteem, when you worry about what others think and when you are not being your true self. This first step is important for moving forward with the change needed to feel better.

Let's continue on this path to take a closer look at codependency, knowing that our collective outcome, is authenticity and joy.