Reading about codependent relationships and realizing that what I was reading very much described me and my (first) marriage was not easy to absorb. At first I wanted it to be someone else’s fault that I had been this way. If he had just been more loving then I wouldn’t have had to be like that… Or if as a child I hadn’t been taught that pleasing was more important than listening to what I wanted then maybe things would have been different. But I also realized that this kind of thinking just made me a victim to circumstances and wasn’t helping me heal nor would it help me avoid another dysfunctional relationship in the future.
While I worked with a therapist and coach the first year after the marriage ended I learned the incredibly value in reflection and understanding the why and how of my choices and his. Learning what I did and taking responsibility for my side of the relationship made it a lot easier to be compassionate with myself and him. I was able to forgive, let go of anger, heal and get really really happy 🙂 For the first time in my life I knew what joy feels like!!
Here’s a simple definition of codependency: When you are dependent on another for your sense of worth and you use various forms of deliberate (at times controlling) behaviour to attempt to get their love and approval in order to feel worthy. I will be explaining this in much more detail in an upcoming Masterclass on exactly this.
Wow, did that hit home for me. No question I would make myself responsible for my partner’s feelings and try to guide or influence them so that I could feel loved and appreciated. I would use various strategies ranging from tears, begging, blaming (myself) and so on. When I thought about this I honestly felt so stupid and pathetic at first. And yes, I wondered if I had been different, could our marriage have been more successful. Then, as I learned more, healed and started to love myself I learned some pretty awesome things like:
- Love and caring was not given freely in my marriage and in fact was withheld as punishment which is not my fault. That behaviour was his choice. My response however is on me.
- Him not loving me as I needed was not my fault. Not his either – it just was what it was.
- His own issues caused him to treat me badly – also not mine to carry, but rather his responsibility. Again, my responsibility lies with my response.
- My lack of boundaries (with regards to what I mentioned just above) were my responsibility.
- It wasn’t my job to take care of him. But it is my job to take care of myself. This was huge.
- Learning to love myself is the single most wonderful experience of my life (other than becoming a mom to my four beautiful boys).
Years have passed and I in now way spend even a second beating myself up about these things from the past. I am grateful for the lessons and even more grateful for the healthy relationship/marriage I have now. Every now and then the old patterns try to creep in, but because of the work I did I now see it happening and can stop it quickly in it’s tracks.
This is the work I do with my clients every day and will be teaching in the Masterclass next week. If anything here intrigued you then I encourage you to join us for this interactive group coaching session. And if the date has passed then know that you can watch the replay of this and many other Masterclasses by joining The Club today.
Being part of my client’s journeys and guiding them through their healing and inner growth is truly my greatest pleasure and honour. Watching them evolve and start to love themselves as they create new lives and futures is what gets me bouncing out of bed every day. And when they experience true inner connection and joy then I get to relive my own moment over and over again. It’s like watching little kids on Christmas morning 😍. What can I say – I love my job!
I’ll see you in the club 🌻🥰