Relationships can be extremely complicated. It doesn’t matter if we are referring to romantic partnerships, friendships, family, or work relationships, it seems that the relationships we have with those closest to us are full of complicated dynamics that can often make even the healthiest of us turn into someone we no longer recognize.
And while most of us who are on a personal development quest know that the those people who are the toughest to deal with are our greatest teachers, it doesn’t make the inner workings of our relationships with these people any easier to deal with. The fact of the matter is, the number one indicator as to how “well” we are doing in our emotional evolution process is how well our relationships with others are going.
If we realize that every person in our life represents another part of our own self, how well we get along with these people tells us how unconditionally we are loving our own self. The more harmonious our personal relationships are can only indicate how in tune we are with our own self and life in general.
And the more rooted in ego we are the more our relationships will be based on co-dependent tendencies and egoic attachments. There comes a time where we must make the discernment between what should be considered “healthy” and “unhealthy” in our relationships with others.
A fine line exists between unconditional love and allowing ourselves to be mistreated or disrespected by another person. So how exactly do we go about recognizing when we are in an unhealthy co-dependent relationship with someone while at the same time practicing being a loving, accepting person who doesn’t attempt to manipulate others into being the person WE want them to be?
“A man who loves himself takes the first step towards real love.” ~ Osho
How to recognise codependency
Co-dependent relationships are characterized by a number of things, the main ones being addiction to trying to “fix” someone, depending on another person to be happy, and a feeling of “needing” someone vs. just wanting to be around them, etc. When our fear of losing someone outweighs our fear of losing our own self into them, we can be sure that we are co-dependent.
For example, when we have found ourselves forgiving someone time after time, having to “get over” constant feelings of disappointment or frustration out of fear that the person will leave us if we don’t. We are letting fear be the motivator of the relationship which means we have completely become prisoner to their behavior.
Roles have been established, and the more we are attached to these roles, the more dependent we are on the other person to reinforce the one we are playing. They need us to reinforce their role and we need them for the same reason. At the point of this happening we are able to establish the boundary between healthy and unhealthy, unconditional love and co-dependency.
As our feelings take a back seat in order to appease the other one, we see how fear of upsetting another person (which goes hand in hand with fear of losing them) sneakily disguises itself as unconditional love and forgiveness. The most important thing to realize here is that another person cannot make us feel worthy, validated, accepted or loved unless we have unconditionally accepted and loved our own self first.
Another person cannot make us feel secure, confident, respected or important if we have not done these things for our own self first. Often, after we have realized that we are not always completely confident, or independent, or fearless we make a mistake that actually ensures we remain a prisoner in a co-dependent relationship. We try and become who we think we “should” be in order to try and prove to ourselves and the other person that we can be who they want us to be.
Unfortunately, this tactic never works for long because to deny a part of our own self is to allow it to persist. What we try to avoid, deny and pretend will continue to pop up in the most inappropriate of times, which becomes another red flag telling us that the relationship is co-dependent. Healthy relationships need no “strategies.” Loving people that respect themselves and respect one another do not need “tactics” in order to get the other one to act how they want them to.
Rewire your Dysfunctional beliefs
To recover from codependency, we need to recognise that dysfunctional beliefs exist and we need to replace them with healthier ones. Instead of trying to be “perfect”, we must focus on our natural emotions (which are only appearing in our reality to be embraced and loved like the scared child inside our hearts) we will start to notice a miraculous thing. We are respecting ourselves, naturally. We are accepting and loving ourselves, naturally.
We are not beating ourselves up for not living up to an image of how we think we are supposed to be and instead are just completely being ok with who or what we are. We are not scared to have emotions and we trust that they are there to show us something. At the point that we start trusting our own emotions, we begin to form an intimate relationship with our own heart which begins to shift everything. Fear based relationships can no longer exist in this environment.
When we are looking out for our own best interest, people who don’t match up with this will no longer feel “right”. At this point, co-dependent relationships drop out of our life naturally or they heal themselves because one person is no longer playing the part they had previously been playing. With one person no longer afraid to lose the other one and having an authentic relationship with his or her self, the other person is forced to rise to the occasion, or forced to leave the partnership (if that is an option).
Once again all roads lead back to love. Loving our self no matter what and embracing our feelings and emotions is the only thing that will ensure we remain true to ourselves and maintain healthy, positive relationships that are promoting growth and maturity. Healthy relationships are just the natural by-product of how well we treat our own selves, and how much we listen to the feelings of our own hearts.