Codependency Part III
Believe it or not there is a lot to say about codependency. Most people do not even realize that they are codependent. They assume that some of their attitudes and behaviors are just who they are as people. They do not understand that codependency can derive from their childhood and the relationships they have as adolescents and adults. One of the most informative and insightful books written about codependency is “Codependent No More” by Melody Beattie. It has shaped many men’s and women’s lives for the better and worse. The realization that one is codependent may seem very daunting and upsetting. It means that you have to make changes in how you interact and react in your relationships with others. It requires an ability to look within ourselves and do what I would call a personal inventory. It is about asking ourselves What is my role and responsibility in this relationship? Is this relationship meeting my needs? Am I willing to set boundaries and limits? Am I willing to take a risk and lose someone so that I am happy? So many people with codependency issues normally put other’s feelings and needs before their own. They do not like or want conflict.
It can also be very exciting to finally have an answer to “Oh so that is why I do that?” and “There is hope for me”. There can be a lot of layers to codependency. The commitment to explore this issue is necessary for short term and long term change. It is important to be realistic about what you want to change and what you can change. First it is about identifying what are your codependent traits and to what degree are they harmful to you and interfering with your life. Second is to make a decision about what trait or traits needs immediate attention. Third is to develop a plan about how to address these issues.
For example if you are someone who can’t say “NO”, it is helpful to say “Let me get back to you.” This allows you time to ask yourself if you want to do whatever it is that is being asked of you. You can list the pros and cons and the should’s and ought too’s. If you ask yourself the question again YES or NO, it will more than likely be NO. So you will be able to call whomever and say I am sorry but I can’t help you out and feel good about it. It is important for codependents to put their needs first. It is very empowering.
My goal is to support my clients in understanding their codependent behaviors and when they are harmful for them and to assist them in setting healthy appropriate boundaries.