Codependency series: Unit 2 External Validation
This second installment of the codependency series discusses the main issue that codependency focuses on, which is removing all energy and focus of the self and putting it into and onto other people. The constant need to save, rescue and fix other people leaves us feeling depleted. At times we lose ourselves in the other person in hopes that we will be rewarded or finally unburdened or recognized by them through achieving this unrealistic expectation that we have of the other person/people, or receiving some sort of recognition or reward from the person/people for all that we have done or some sense of relief, happiness, success the list is endless literally giving away all of our power over to this other person or people.
Codependency shows up as we mentioned as many trauma responses such as complaining, gossiping, blaming, projecting, needing to save/fix others, unworthiness, comparing, hypervigilance, hyper independence, control issues, the list is endless, however the main issue of codependency is deflection. Everything that you are doing is deflecting the main issue which is with yourself. You are abandoning yourself whenever you are blaming someone else for your problems. You put too much power onto the other person that it is their fault you are where you are because you failed to show up for yourself. This is one of the most difficult pills to swallow when realizing that you are in fact a codependent person.
The dependent person is simply mirroring back to you the areas in which you are not addressing within yourself. You are looking for external validation from others to gauge your emotions, your status, your worthiness, etc. instead of learning how to process your own emotions not regulated upon another, learning how to give yourself your power back to take your rightful place within a dynamic (a whole and complete loveable person) your worth is not dependent upon another person because you know you are worthy. These are the staple issues we find ourselves in when dealing with other people of why our relationships hit walls or why relationships are so hard for us. The fact that they are so hard is because we have completely given away our power to another person and fail to show up fully for ourselves.
We will examine a common theme of friends, family and romantic dynamics of how this shows up, how to understand what might be happening for you, how to go within to find the answers that you are seeking and then different ways that might help you find the solution to the issues that you are having in these codependent dynamics.
With friends, we get to choose them generally speaking so it allows us the ability to gravitate towards whoever we feel the draw to. Sometimes these however are based upon superficial reasonings, maybe you want to be popular, maybe you want to network and move up the ladder, maybe you want to be more adventurous or whatever it might be, instead of aligning with people who care about you, share the same values as you, are able to connect with you on a deep, emotional level and are able to help you learn and grow, etc. Perhaps you are wanting to find these friends because you feel alone, you don’t feel good about yourself, you lack direction, you lack control, you aren’t aware of your needs, boundaries, feelings, etc. so then you end up going into these friendships with false expectations. Most people from the beginning of their life don’t think about friendships in this way, they just meet someone, talk to them and then vibe with them and just see what happens. This is organic and great the only issue we find later down the road is that we didn’t know who we were when we showed up, or maybe you did but weren’t the best version of yourself that you hoped to be thus creating a connection that is based upon expectations and false foundations.
This can be the same in romantic connections. How many times have you caught yourself saying phrases like, “oh man my partner needs a lot of help”, “my partner requires a lot of attention”, “my partner is very insecure”, “my partner isn’t on my level”, or “my partner is always doing this or that.” These statements are complaints, insults and judgments. We tend to not see our partners clearly because we are failing to see ourselves clearly. Why is your job to help your partner all the time? Who told you to help them? Even if they did ask for help I guarantee you, you’re projecting onto them that they need more help than they actually do, or you think that you know best, or that your way is better. That’s pretty fucked up and hypocrital and down right degrading to your partner. A better perspective might be why do I feel the need to constantly help my partner out? Why do I feel the need to interject on helping them? Why do I feel they are incapable of figuring or doing things on their own? When you start to answer these questions you’ll tend to find a part of you in those answers. You realize oh, it is easier for me to help my partner because it takes the focus off of myself and I feel better helping them because I don’t know how to help myself. Or I have control issues because I don’t trust myself so if I can control the people around me I feel safer. The list is endless when we can finally turn the mirror around and go within when we start to blame others for our problems or that they need saving, fixing and rescuing all the time.
There are people who are “helpless” but that’s not your job. You can only lead the horse to water you cannot force it to drink. When you begin to overstep your boundaries of doing too much when someone never asked you to or you feel like it is a burden you know you have gone too far. Whenever these situations come up it is asking for you to go within and see why you are doing this? Where are you not giving to yourself, what are you avoiding, what do you not like about yourself or your current situation. Where are you unfulfilled, where are you feeling unfulfilled and unsatisfied in your life? The more you start to go within and find those answers, you realize it has nothing to do with anyone else but yourself. To get to this level of clarity is humbling and takes a lot of work. To tell someone to see themselves clearly is really hard, especially when people have done really hurtful things to us, it is almost impossible at times to see it as everyone else’s fault but your own. It’s not wrong to be mad or upset that people hurt you, but staying hurt is your problem, no one else’s. Codependency requires you to reprogram yourself to take full responsibility and accountability for your own suffering, removing other people from the equation entirely and realizing your happiness is only dependent on yourself.
The more that you can train yourself to go within and realize you are your own worst enemy you can begin to remove yourself from needing to get something from other people. Codependency is really rooted in external validation because you are completely abandoning yourself in all aspects when you are entering into codependent relationships. Each relationship is unique and different but the underlying conditioning, programming, beliefs and foundations are the same. So you have to go within and see where you are operating from to be able to address the issues and see yourself clearly. Look within and see where you might have felt abandoned, unloved, not seen or heard and honor that part of yourself who desires to be seen, who desires to be loved and start to give that to yourself. The only way to feel that healing and that wholeness is to give it to yourself and not obtain it from anything outside of yourself. Only you will know what that answer is. Perhaps it is finally taking a stand against people who put you down by walking away or speaking your truth, maybe it is to take a leap of faith and change jobs or take time off, maybe take that trip you wanted to, or start that project, whatever it is that makes you feel good is where you’ll find healing. As you begin to do what you love and what feels good for you, you’ll be surprised by the praise and recognition you start to receive from the outside world because it is reflecting back to you how you feel on the inside. The more you let go of needing something to fill you up that is external to you like a relationship or a job and finding enjoyment in things that you love to do or be around are you better able to become more secure in yourself and less attached to needing external validation. If you are able to constantly validate yourself you no longer become dependent on seeking that outside of yourself. This takes discipline. There isn’t a direct route to get to this outcome but remembering that your worth comes from you helps you to align to that when you stray too far.
Keep shifting your perspectives and finding the delights in everyday moments.
Love and light,
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