Freedom from codependency

Do you find yourself focused on the needs of others before ensuring your own needs are met? Do you feel over-aware of what others are thinking in order to please them and avoid conflict or rejection? Are you someone who agrees to do things or attend events that you'd really rather not? When you say "no" do you feel guilty?

What is codependency?
When these tendencies become a pattern, we find ourselves highly skilled at knowing and meeting the needs of everyone but ourselves. We focus on others so much that we lose connection with our own sensations, values, and identity in the process. Those struggling with codependency tend to be highly loyal, often raised in family contexts in which putting needs of others became necessary for physical or emotional survival. Though traits of codependency were savvy survival skills in childhood, as adults these tendencies no longer serve us and ironically prevent us from getting the connection, acceptance, care, and sense of belonging that we genuinely desire and need. We are so familiar with reacting to situations and sacrificing our true desires for the acceptance of others that these habits seem to take on a life of their own and we feel "stuck", constantly attempting to please everyone and never truly achieving a sense of inner peace for ourselves.

How do we break free?
The good news? Though we were helpless and had no choice as children; as adults we no longer have to live this way. We can increasingly gain awareness of our own undesirable tendencies and notice opportunities to make intentional choices rather than react in the same old ways. We become in touch with our inner sensations, feelings, desires and values, becoming skillful with communicating with ourselves and others in ways that honor and protect those values. In time, we learn to reclaim our lost authentic selves and no longer feel controlled by fear of the opinions of others. We  learn to see ourselves as equal to others, making true intimacy, support, and loving relationships possible. We finally get what we need and are capable of truly loving and caring for others without the sense of burden and fear we know all too well from our upbringing. We become thriving as adults making choices rather than as grown-up children reacting out of survival.

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