When you hear the word codependent, what do you think of?
If you’re anything like me, you think of those clingy people who can’t survive without being latched on to another person. In our minds, that’s codependent. And yes, that is most definitely codependent.
But what if I told you that that’s not the only form of codependence according to the dictionary.
Codependency is defined as: excessive emotional or psychological reliance on a partner, typically one who requires support on an account of illness or addiction.
This means that typically the person that we get latched on to are those who struggle with addiction, mental illness or chronic physical illness. Why? Because we have taken care of them so much that we get latched on.
First, we need to recognize that it doesn’t always need to be a romantic partner.
To be completely honest, it’s not always a single person.
If I can be super vulnerable here for a second, I was truly codependent with anyone who gave me attention. If someone so much just gave me a smile, I would do anything for them. Like, I would probably chop off my leg and give it to them if they asked.
The second important point that I really want to make is that reliance is not always “oh my gosh, I need you don’t leave.”
Reliance can also be “I’m going to be hyper independent. Because I can’t handle you being inconvenienced, I’m going to do whatever I can to go above and beyond to make you happy. And I need you to be happy in order for me to be happy. So I have to make sure that you are never uncomfortable ever.”
If you’re like me, you heard that and you felt so called out. You think that I somehow dug into your past life and know everything about you.
Maybe I am just dramatic. But truly, that’s where my brain went. I did not realize the extent of how codependent I was until I learned that hyper independence was also something I needed from others.
I thought that being independent meant that I didn’t need anyone. Heck, I didn’t even realize that I needed everyone around me to be okay just for me to be at my base level.
The moment I felt someone else become uncomfortable, I fell apart.
It was such a need for me that I truly could not even think about myself until they were happy. Do you relate to that? Be super honest with yourself.
Ask yourself – do you relate to that? Have you ever told yourself that you’re not codependent and that you don’t need anyone and yet you find your moods fluctuating based on the moods of others.
If the answer is yes, you’re not alone.
If you identify as the first explanation, as always needing to be grabbed onto somebody, you’re not alone either. Neither of these are wrong. And neither of these are bad or involve any judgment.
I am in no way a codependency expert. But I have found that I am a lot healthier than I used to be. Now that you know these things, regardless of where you fall on the codependency spectrum, what are you supposed to do with this information?
Because frankly, it sounds a little depressing.
Don’t worry, I’m not leaving you hanging. I’m going to give you some homework.
Number one, learn how to set boundaries.
Boundaries are going to help you separate yourself from other people. Remember, boundaries aren’t meant to keep others away from you. They’re just how you teach people including yourself how to treat you. Watch this playlist on my YouTube channel. It walks you through my entire boundaries system.
The second thing I want you to do is play.
Do things that you enjoy simply because you enjoy them, not because someone else wants you to do them. Watch your favorite cringy show on Netflix, spend hours on a video game. Pull out all of your clothes and play some dress up, get into your makeup and put on a lip color that you would never think of wearing in public.
If you don’t know who you are right now, that’s okay, stop beating up on yourself. I know it can be overwhelming. But I promise that you’ve got this. Watch this video for some ideas on how to start.
Number three: build the skill of confidence.
Confidence may seem like the last thing you want to have to deal with but building this skill is going to help you in every single area. It’s going to help you figure out who you are, it’s going to help you set those boundaries because you’re going to recognize your worth.
Once you have that confidence, you’re going to be able to stand up for yourself and recognize that you don’t want this for yourself anymore. I deserve better.
If you don’t really know where to start on your confidence journey, check out my free confidence course. This is a 5 day course that gives you the exact steps you need in order to build the skill of confidence. Click here to check it out and grab your spot.
Lastly, if possible, seek professional help.
If this resonates with you, and you’re in the position to do so, you could really benefit from some therapy or counseling or maybe even a codependency coach, whatever that is.
If you are not in the position to do so, that’s totally fine. Start with the things I discussed here today.
Don’t forget to grab your free confidence course – it really can change your life.