SELF LOVE, ME TOO, AND WHAT IT HAS TO DO WITH HEALING CODEPENDENCE #SELFLOVERAF [RECOGNIZE AFFIRM FULFILL]
GOT CODEPENDENCE? Find out.
If you are reading this article chances are you already possess a lot of emotional maturity. There are parts of your life where you have fruitful relationships and where you feel sourced and happy. And yet something attracted you to this article. I believe most women in the US have some form of codependency in their relationships. In this article I will help you identify if this dynamic is part of your makeup so that you can begin to shift it.
Do you feel like the people in your life take advantage of you? Do you find yourself helping others fix their problems but feel helpless to fix your own? Do you feel like your needs don't matter? Do you feel like your partner doesn't respond or gets overwhelmed with your needs or worse shames you for them? Is it hard for you to identify what you need?
If you have any of the underlying energetic structure of codependency it will crop up in your life because your soul wants to bring it to consciousness. In my life it cropped up in my partnership and my primary relationships, close friends particularly in new motherhood, and work relationships. The closer the relationship the more intense the dynamic would show up. Writing this article I am recognizing how much healing I’ve done over the past decade to be here and ready to even talk about this. It is with deep gratitude for my experience and for those who were in these relationships with me that I share what I now understand both intellectually and in my heart and have shifted in my daily experience.
The root cause of co-dependence is looking outside of yourself for someone else to recognize, affirm, and meet your needs. This may be a new concept to you but stick with me. If you've been codependent most of your life chances are you've pushed your needs so far to the background that you don't even know what they are anymore. And if someone wrote them out and handed them to you on paper you would deny them like and indictment for murder.
Here are the best indicators of a codependency pattern in your life. You feel overextended and underpaid or appreciated. You find yourself frustrated with those closest to you. You find certain people have a magnetic pull over you that you feel helpless to say no to. You feel helpless to fix your problems and yet ready to take on the world for someone else. And your bank account is lackluster. That’s a huge indicator.
All of these feelings are a product of a cycle that you have control of. But the frustrations listed here may feel like they are everyone’s fault in your life. Guess what. Being able to fix your problems is a basic need. If you are in the habit of denying your basic needs even this will be something you put on others to do. You may find yourself obsessing about what your partner needs to fix before your relationship can work or complaining to friends about what your partner did this week that was hurtful. I know this one personally from so much experience and it can heal!
In order to heal this dynamic in your life and transform your relationships you need to make the switch in your mind so you can take back responsibility for your needs and flow in the benign circle. It’s way more fun I promise!
It is possible to begin a benign cycle of knowing your needs, acknowledging them, and then saying yes to yourself by meeting them.
A quick note about where this shows up in your life: it may not be so obvious in your partnership but at work it's crazy intense, likewise it could be no biggie at work but with your mother it's impossible! Use the pattern indicators to assess every area of your life because this pattern is tricky and can slide by unnoticed wreaking havoc on your happiness.
THE BASICS OF THE PATTERN: Care taking is an indicator
Key #1 Codependence is based on projecting your needs onto others which => makes you want to take care of them which => gives you a false sense of power which => leaves you still feeling needy and => ultimately resentful of your closest loved ones. This resentment may turn to hatred and or giving up on the relationships in your life because they don’t feel good to you anymore. But shifting this dynamic can transform your relationships.
Key #2 When you project your needs you often appear to be a very caring person who serves others. And you may even believe that yourself. But if you are feeling needy and aren't getting your own needs met I challenge you to check in with yourself and see if you feel some sense of power when you care for others. Does it feel like a bit of a rush? Does it make your world okay for a minute until your needs come crashing back in? That is a sure sign you are projecting your needs. Engaging with this pattern will only lead to dissatisfaction.
One of the hallmarks of being a female in America today is care taking the feelings of the men in our lives. We do it collectively so its a pretty hard pattern to break but it is possible and the rewards are AWESOME. Notice when you are protecting someone’s feelings. I’ll bet you anything it’s because you don’t want to deal with the emotional fall out of being honest about your needs which could cause upset and feel like lack of security to you. But what if you could provide that security for yourself?
It took me years to unwind this pattern and some pretty major life upsets to shift it with my partner. It would be easy for me to say he's the exception but I believe that would perpetuate the pattern of codependence because it holds the men in our world to a different standard of emotional maturity than women and I believe that is a major part of the consequences of this pattern. This is a dynamic we can shift and we must if we are truly going to honor the brave women in the #metoo movement who risked everything to share their stories.
In my relationship I told myself that I needed to be more gentle with my partner, that I couldn’t rock the boat, that he was too overwhelmed right now for me to be completely honest. He perpetuated this by threatening to leave and never come back. I perpetuated this by believing his threat rather than trusting his true essence.
Our dynamic shifted enormously when I decided to meet my own need for security, financial support and emotional connection. I no longer needed to feed the immature part of him that was threatening to cut and run. Thus began a benign circle of honesty and self sourcing which allowed the dynamic to shift and him to face his immaturity without my contribution of reinforcing it.
We became able to have conversations without threats because I had decided to meet my own needs. I could ask him to communicate with me without threats. I could communicate without the demand to feel secure about his commitment to our relationship. I no longer needed him to feel unthreatened which I believed would prevent him from taking away my security. I was no longer relying on him for that security. It changed everything.
This didn't mean I was completely financially independent. It just meant I was completely willing to be independent. No holds barred I was willing to live on welfare and begin life again in order to meet that need for myself. That willingness is huge and creates a clarity that can be felt and will change your dynamic.
I want to address gender here. My statements are not a commentary on what is good or bad and are not based on gender norms but on behavioral norms. I'm speaking here of pattens of behavior or dynamics I see frequently and have experienced myself not of the gender binary.
LEARNING HOW TO SAY YES MOMENT BY MOMENT
Key #3 You can learn to say yes to yourself without anyone else’s permission. I heard myself saying to someone this week: "if you are against yourself it will feel like everyone is against you." The converse is also true. If you are for yourself it will feel like everyone is for you. But in the the codependent pattern the process isn't flowing properly. The process is that you are looking outside for affirmation that your needs are real and you are looking outside for others to meet them. Both of these are a set up to affirm that you can't meet your own needs and that others are denying them and won't help you meet your needs. Which is a further set up for dishonest relationships where we caretake the feelings of those who we believe can't handle our needs. In truth it is us who believe we can't handle our needs.
For many of us saying yes to ourselves is a foreign concept. We are so ingrained in the pattern of ignoring and suppressing our needs even verbally denying them to ourselves and others that it can take a while to get to the point of saying yes to ourselves consistently by fulfilling our own needs.
Key #4 Meeting your own needs and saying yes to yourself is moment by moment. Fall off the wagon? NO problem! The next moment you can start again. Use the hashtag #SELFLOVERAF to share these moments and build community and momentum with us.
HOW TO KNOW YOU'VE FALLEN OFF THE WAGON
Key #5 You'll know you've fallen off the wagon when you get to the point of desperation. You may blame others for not noticing your needs or you may feel like your need list is so long that it can never be fulfilled. Both are signs that you've been saying no to yourself and your inner being is pissed. You’re way off the wagon and deep in the cycle if you’re to the point of resenting or even hating your closest loved ones. It’s time for some straight talk and support.
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Key #6 Anger is an indicator that your inner being is feeling denied, abused, and ignored. As you become accustomed to regular care your innermost being will become more upset when you fall back into old patterns. It's voice will become much louder. Don't mistake this for failure. This is real success! You are building a relationship of trust with yourself and your inner being feels safe enough to be honest about how it really feels. That's HUGE!
the false power of helping others leaves you empty, resentful and even hateful
Key #7 If you are living in the codependent pattern you feel powerful by fixing other people’s problems. Not knowing how to recognize, affirm and meet your own needs is a completely disempowering experience. I know this personally very well. When identifying my need feels so far away the idea of meeting my own need feels even further. And for you it may be even acknowledging that you have needs at all putting you even further from the benign circle. This makes you feel really powerless leaving us vulnerable to projecting and fixing.
In order to feel some semblance of dignity we project our needs onto others and we feel powerful. This leads to over extending ourselves and to deep resentment. If you don’t know you are resentful I encourage you to think about any times you’ve gossiped in the last 24 hours. Chances are it was a moment of venting frustration rooted in resentment that your own needs aren’t being met. I’ve done this so many times. It’s a great way to know your needs are being met actually. If you have no impulse to judge or gossip it’s likely because you are content because your needs are met and that my friend is gold.
What’s the difference between generosity and projecting/fixing? When you project your needs you often appear to be a very caring person who serves others so how do you know the difference? If you are feeling needy and aren't getting your own needs met I challenge you to check in with yourself and see if you feel some sense of power when you care for others. Does it feel like a bit of a rush? Does it make your world okay for a minute until your needs come crashing back in? That is a sure sign you are projecting your needs. Engaging with this pattern will only lead to dissatisfaction.
When I’m feeling needy I experience a compulsion to help others. This has become a huge indicator for me to slow down and take care of myself.
Generosity feels different. It is sharing from abundance. It is sharing from the enoughness that flows from having your own needs met and feeling powerful enough to fix your own problems. This is the core of abundance and is a powerful way to shift the balance upward in your bank account.
THE BENIGN CIRCLE WILL MAKE YOU A POWERHOUSE
Key #8 Create a benign circle starting right now. If you are in the habit of ignoring your needs chances are you will benefit from a jumpstart in terms of understanding what your needs truly are. When I first began this process I mistakenly thought that all my needs were material. Combined with the collapse of feeling like my needs were unending I became a nightmare of unending need, anger, blame and frustration. This played out in binge spending that came no where near meeting my true needs. I want to help you start on the benign path of fulfillment so you won’t be kept me in the vicious cycle with yourself and your relationships.
Bonus super charged key to life: our primary need in life is to give and receive love. When this need is filled our other needs find their appropriate place in the hierarchy. You will naturally prioritize meeting your needs in a mature way. You will fee patient to meet those needs that are less urgent and feeling fulfilled when you begin to say yes to yourself moment by moment. I know you have experienced maturity in some area of your life where a natural order occurs without much effort. That is what it feels like with your needs when you trust yourself to recognize, affirm, and meet them.
START NOW AND SHARE WITH US
The great news is that the thing you can control in life is that you can love yourself. You can say yes to yourself. You can identify your own needs. You can affirm them. You can fulfill them. I know this from personal experience and invite you to join me. Please post your successes and reach out for support with the hashtag #SELFLOVERAF (recognize, affirm, fulfill) so we can share in your joy and success. Momentum helps us all heal and creates a benign circle even wider and around the globe.
When you're beginning to assess your needs consider this list as a place to begin saying yes to yourself.
I am so grateful that this process of healing has brought me peace and fulfillment and that you are here reading this right now. Please comment and share and tag me so we can connect. I love being part of our collective healing. Remember to post #SELFLOVERAF !
Janelle is a vibrational healer, circle maker, and artist. She lives in the Western North Carolina mountains with her family.
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