Today’s blog addresses the issue of co-dependency – the tendency to believe it is our job to make other people happy and that it is their job to make us happy in return. Specifically, we explore the ways in which we are willing to give ourselves away in the hopes of earning another person’s love.
As human beings, we are hardwired to seek out connection and companionship. We have learned that in order to survive and to thrive, we need each other. Unfortunately, a distortion often arises in the way we learn to make connections and that distortion is co-dependency. Co-dependency arises out of the false perception that we are not love – that love has to be earned and can be taken away. As such, in our search for connection, we try to make other people happy so that they will “love” us. In our attempts to make other people happy, we give parts of ourselves away. Additionally, we unconsciously agree to carry the burden of their fears, anxieties, insecurities, and the unhealed wounds of their past. We know that we have done this when we jump at the first sign of another’s distress and rush toward them hoping to make it better, all the while believing that somehow the other person’s distress is somehow our fault.
Not Our Fault
The truth is, in these situations, the other person’s distress is not our fault at all – we have simply been conditioned to take responsibility for other people’s fears. When your partner is working on a project and breaks a piece of glass and begins hollering and cursing and you feel the pull in the center of your gut to run toward them in the hopes of making it better, you have taken on THEIR anxiety and frustration. Their anxiety is NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. When you share our dreams or experience a great success and a friend drops a doubt bomb on you, this is a reflection of their jealousy and the guilt they are feeling for not pursuing their own dreams, and yet, you agree to carry their jealousy and guilt by feeling doubtful and unsure about your dreams. Their jealousy and guilt are not your fault. When our child has anxiety about fitting in and believes this anxiety will be quelled with a new wardrobe that we know they don’t really need and is outside our budget, yet we agree to go anyway – we have given into another’s fears. Their anxiety about fitting in is not our fault and will not be healed by blowing our budget on the “latest trends.”
Healing These Patterns
The reason we give into other people’s anxieties and fears is because there is a tiny part of ourselves that has forgotten that we are love(d). In order to change these patterns, we need to heal the part of ourselves that have forgotten that they are love. First we become our own witness. We pay attention to every situation where we are tempted to take on the burden of someone else’s guilt, fear, jealousy, weakness, anxiety, unhappiness, frustration, anger, hatred, ignorance, etc. etc. etc. Then we STOP doing it. We stop giving ourselves away and instead take responsibility ONLY for our own fear, anxiety, doubt, weakness, etc. etc. etc. Finally we initiate a great act of love toward ourselves. In tomorrow’s Superhero Report, I will share a simple spiritual practice to help you do just this – conquer co-dependency while learning to love yourself. In the meantime, here is a poem to help prime the pump:
I Did Nothing Wrong
Tired of carrying the burden of your unacknowledged guilt.
I did nothing wrong.
Your unhealed wounds and unacknowledged fears,
The way my presence awakens in you the truths you’ve spent a lifetime avoiding,
The overwhelming weakness you feel yet refuse to acknowledge ,
Your inability to acknowledge, let alone, manage your anxiety,
The insecurities that make you crave co-dependency…
Are not my fault.
I did nothing wrong.
I know you know the web you’ve woven and the bed you’ve recently made –
These also, are not my fault,
Neither is the shame you feel in knowing that I know.
I did nothing wrong!
For years, I agreed to carry your guilt, your shame, your unhealed wounds
and unacknowledged fears –
The scapegoat for every fear my presence, lifestyle and choices trigger in you.
It’s not my fault.
I did nothing wrong.
And now…I give it back to you.
copyright 2014 Lauri Ann Lumby
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