If I may be Codependent, what can I do to become healthier?
Visit www.coda.org for more information on codependency.
Attend a CODA meeting in Dubai.
Anyone is welcome to attend meetings, even if they are unsure if they are codependent. Listening to other people's stories and sharing may help you find out.
Determine if you are codependent
1 Do I control others to relieve my fears?
2 Do I let others control me for fear of their abuse or neglect?
3 Do I adapt or change my behaviour for others?
4 Do I validate my value and worth as a person through them?
5 Do I avoid others in order to feel safe?
Often, codependents have these thoughts
1 If he/she changed, everything would be all right.
2 I can't control this pain, these people and what's happening.
3 It's all my fault
4 I keep getting into the same bad relationships.
5 I feel so empty and lost
6 Who am I?
7 What's wrong with me?
Summary of patterns and characteristics to aid in self evaluation
1 Denial - Codependents minimize, alter or deny their feelings.
2 Denial - Codependents perceive themselves as being completely unselfish, dedicated to the wellbeing of others.
3 Low Self- Esteem - Codependents are unable to ask others to meet their needs or wants.
4 Low Self-Esteem - Codependents judge their thoughts, words and actions harshly, as never being good enough.
5 Compliance - are extremely loyal, remaining in harmful situations too long.
6 Compliance - Codependents compromise their values and integrity to avoid rejection and other people's anger.
7 Control - attempt to convince others what they should think or feel.
8 Control - Codependents believe most others are incapable of taking care of themselves.
CoDA Blue Book
by Helen Williams Dubai
Codependency is a term that originated in work with addicts, however it has become a cultural phenomena, way beyond relationships with addicts or alcoholics. It would be hard to know someone today who isn't involved in a codependent relationship in some way.
Codependency is about being unhappily enmeshed with someone else's agenda. Codependency means that you have a lack of attention toward yourself and you are too focused on others - their emotions, their behaviour, their thoughts.
It's important to recognize that interrupting co-dependent behaviour requires that you define yourself and your wants. So many people scramble to fill the empty hole within, by focusing on the caretaking of others while ignoring themselves. So where does someone begin, to build their own identity?
Fill the emptiness with more and more layers of authenticity. Risk disagreement which makes things more interesting. Practice the truth with your therapist or your best friend. Stop swallowing your real opinions. Instead of always being a pushover make choices for yourself. Speak up and make sure you are one of the balls you juggle in life, instead of leaving yourself out.
Growing up emotionally is about learning to move from external supports to creating true internal strength. Determine your own curiosities as a beginning to learning more about your own wants. Understand the differences between yourself and someone else (whether it is mother, lover, sister, or best friend).
The best cure for codependence is authentic disagreement. Healthy conflict is not a betrayal of trust and niceness as is so often believed in this culture. Healthy conflict keeps dialogue intact and trust can build based on a more real relationship. The work of understanding differences is worth it.
Those who are codependent are very afraid of being alone; there is a scramble to stuff someone else into the emptiness within when a relationship breaks up. People who are codependent mistake enmeshment for love and can't bear to be without it. We should all recognize the old saying "you can't love someone else unless you love yourself" as true. Being alone is one way to learn how to love yourself. Face your fears and try learning to enjoy life alone without the safety factor of a built-in partner.
Give up the people-pleasing and hiding behind the false 150 watt smile. Risk more disagreement. Be willing to not be liked instead of being a chameleon. This rings true: "25% of the people like you, 25% of the people don't like you, and 50% are indifferent." Keep this refreshing perspective in mind and learn to live with the reality.
Ultimately, people who are codependent have done themselves the greatest injustice by losing track of who they are. Pay attention to being annoyed. Underneath feeling grumpy is a buried want that you are ignoring and swallowing too easily. Speak up to undo the legacy of co-dependency.
The following are most indicative or common to a co-dependent.
Has ill-defined boundaries; he/she is not aware of where he/she stops and another begins (enmeshment).
Has not learned to set limits.
Has learned to meet their needs through being concerned about other people.
Perceives him/herself as a victim and may become martyr-like or an overachiever.
Confuses intimacy with dependency.
Gets addicted to destructive relationships (chemically dependent relationships?).
Keeps someone "sick," weak, or dependent by not letting them accept responsibility
Lives from crisis to crisis/does emotional bingeing in a compulsive way.
Reacts instead of acts.
Focuses in on what the other wants instead of what he/she wants for him/herself.
Blocks what he/she doesn't want to see and picks up what they want to perceive.
Experiences anxiety with accompanying physical symptom.
How Co-dependency is Often Experienced
My good feelings about who I am stem from receiving approval from you.
MY attention focuses on solving YOUR problems, relieving YOUR pain and pleasing YOU.
My own hobbies and interests are put aside to spend my time sharing YOUR interests and hobbies.
I AM NOT AWARE OF HOW I FEEL. I am aware of how YOU feel.
The dreams that I have for MY future are linked to YOU.
My fear of rejection and of YOUR anger determines what I say or do.
My social circle diminishes as I involve myself with YOU.
I put MY values aside in order to connect with YOU.
I value YOUR opinion and way of doing things MORE THAN MY OWN.
By Helen Williams
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