The codependency dance is a dance of fear, insecurity, shame, and resentment. These difficult feelings develop as the result of childhood experiences, and we carry them with us into adulthood. Becoming a healthy adult means letting go of all the toxic lessons from childhood and learning how to live independently so that you can one day live interdependently.
Codependents seek someone to nurture them the way their parents never did. Their desperate fear of rejection stemmed from their childhood spills onto their adult life. As a result, they try to cling to their partner. Their goal is to make someone so dependent on them that they will never be able to leave. Consequently, they attract self-centered partners—people who don’t want to put any effort into a relationship.
What happens in a codependent relationship?
In a codependent relationship, neither person will ever get what they need. One person is trying to control the relationship by doing everything, and the other is trying to control the relationship by being passive and threatening to leave if they don’t get their way. There is no dignity for either if both partners are unable to disengage when it is obvious the relationship is no longer working. Neither is being authentic; both are twisting themselves into who they think they need to be to keep the relationship going.
Releasing codependency is all about unearthing your authentic self that has been shrouded in shame and fear. By releasing the wounds of childhood, you release the need to control others—and their ability to control you. You can never actually remake someone into the person you want them to be, not even if you do everything for them. When you release your old wounds, you release the need to try.
Your partner can never give you everything you didn’t get as a child. It’s important to acknowledge the neglect or abandonment that you faced in your childhood, but at the same time to let go of that child-like part of yourself. Think about accepting and healing those early wounds, rather than using them as an impetus to seek or stay in an unhealthy relationship.
Realizing your own worth to chuck codependent tendencies
We need to teach ourselves the dance of power, courage, and determination. It’s a dance about honoring your own values and letting the desperation go; when you know your own worth, you are more able to be autonomous and less vulnerable to falling into a codependent relationship.
Related: Recognizing and Overcoming Codependency in Relationships
The goal is to seek an open, honest, and compassionate relationship with healthy boundaries where both people take care of their own needs and the needs of their partner.
Positive affirmations can really help with this process. Affirmations are statements that describe the good things you want to happen in your life. You frame them as a positive statement that is already happening now. Then you repeat them over and over.
They’re effective because the stories you tell yourself (consciously or unconsciously) are the truths you believe in. Positive affirmations are a tool to consciously change the way you think about yourself and your life. That’s because the way you describe something has a huge effect on how you experience it.
These positive affirmations can help you feel powerful and worthy enough to begin to let go of those toxic childhood lessons.
- The only thing I lose when I let go is fear.
- I am more powerful than anything that frightens me.
- I let go of my codependent past and am free to live positively in the present.
- I am not my codependent past.
- Letting go doesn’t mean giving up.
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More by Sherry Gaba