In order to have successful relationships, you have to work through your past
Someone who struggles with codependency seeks validation, love, approval, from everywhere except from within themselves.
It is all too easy for someone wrapped up in making everyone else happy that they fail to identify what they need, think, or feel.
The root of codependency stems from the fear of abandonment.
Personally, I have struggled with codependency since I was very young. Due to the broken relationships I had early in my life, I clung on to new ones I had cultivated even if they did not serve me and were quite toxic.
I realized that until I worked through my codependency I would continue to struggle to have a healthy and fulfilling relationship with future romantic interests as well as friends and family.
Therefore I began a very long journey of facing my past and healing from my codependency.
I started to identify how I actually felt
It sounds so simple but when you are codependent you are constantly paying attention to how everyone around you feels and seeking their approval.
If you aren’t identifying how you feel then how would you ever know how to article what you personally need?
There were so many years that I would just say yes to everything without a simple feeling check-in. I would try to fill every second with people, parties, work, and relationships to avoid having a single second alone. That left me confused, depleted, and absolutely exhausted.
Once I tapped into how I felt I realized I was often going against what I wanted to do to make everyone else happy.
I began taking a moment before making my rash decisions. Did I actually want to hang out with that friend? Did I actually want to go to that party?
I began to give my input and share my feelings
After people-pleasing and ensuring that you never step on any toes, you will realize that means constantly filtering everything you do or say.
Although it is good to be aware of what you share with people you also shouldn’t always be scared of offending when it comes to what you believe in.
This is where the fear of abandonment came in for me. I didn’t want to share what I thought because I was afraid people would be offended, laugh at me, or even leave me.
However, the people who love you truly want to hear what you feel and think about things in your life.
I began asking myself: What are you passionate about? What world issues do you truly care about? What legacy do you want to leave in your passing?
I stopped trying to fix everyone’s problems
If you are constantly taking on other people’s problems it is often for an underlying reason tied to codependency.
You want to take on their problems to secure yourself in their lives. You want to make yourself useful and important to them so that they “need” you.
Solving everyone else’s problems aren’t going to ever solve your own.
It also isn’t going to magically make everyone love you and want to stay in your life which is something I had to learn the hard way.
I learned this the hard way when I spent years pouring myself into relationships with people who ended up hurting me because they were just using me to get what they needed.
There is a song I love called “Save Myself” by Ed Sheeran in which he sings:
“So before I save someone else, I’ve got to save myself
And before I blame someone else, I’ve got to save myself
And before I love someone else, I’ve got to love myself”
I began to put time and energy into myself
It is all too easy to put all of our energy into making our loved ones happy until we are completely worn thin.
I did this for years until a thought began to form in my head.
What if you were to give yourself even a fraction of this time and energy that you are choosing to give to everyone else?
Things didn’t magically change overnight but I began to notice small changes.
Because I was giving myself more time I had less time for relationships which helped weed out the toxic people in my life. I found that I was able to rest more and do the things I enjoyed because I wasn’t saying yes to every invitation that appeared.
The rewards that I have seen from taking the time to work on myself and heal from codependency have been life-changing.
I share these tips in the hopes that you will be able to begin the same journey because you are more than worthy of healing and cultivating healthy relationships.
It just has to start from within you.