The Collateral Damage of Codependency

The Collateral Damage of Codependency

There are all kinds of ways codependent habits feed covert agreements in relationships.
Codependents can tackle their destructive relational habits with this one-two:

1. Listen to inner self and truly connect (this may take some time) to figure out what you truly want/need to feel safe and loved within your relationship.
2. Learn and practice practice practice effective communication. This will most certainly take some time to learn so have compassion for yourself.

Reprogramming your default for codependency is a process (as with all valuable growth). When you let the codependent default habit have free reign in your life, your connections become tricky minefields for you and others to navigate with all that is left unsaid and lying beneath the surface.
This is where manipulation, abuse, and toxic bonding breed so it’s very important you take back your power and reprogram!

Don’t be discouraged by the process. Being aware of the faulty habit is truly 1/2 the battle! The rest of the work just takes a little attention and commitment.

The most important part of this whole codependency thing: you’re not alone. Most (if not all) of us have experienced wrapping ourselves a little too tightly in with another person’s experience.

Do you recognize any codependent habits in your life or in someone you’re close to? How does that make you feel?



How Is Codependency Serving You?

How Is Codependency Serving You?

The thing about codependency is that it actually DOESN’T serve you. It works against you and covertly sabotages your perceptions of the people you love and their perception of you.

When we make other people’s feelings/experiences/life about US, we are not serving ourselves well. And we are for sure not loving our people well.

Unconditional love is impossible for codependents.

When another person’s love is your lifeline for worth, it cannot be a pure, unconditional source for either person in the relationship.

You cannot simultaneously unconditionally love someone while also needing them to behave in a particular way so that you can feel OK about yourself.

What can be done when you are programmed for codependency?

The reprogramming begins in your shadow work. Only when you turn inward, tune in, and accept what is empty or dark within you will you gain the tools to hold space in your relationships.

Codependents want to fix. Secures want to witness.

Codependents want to insert themselves. Secures want to show compassion.

Codependents want to give advice. Secures want to support.

Codependents make another person’s experience about them. Secures understand they are not responsible for another person’s feelings/experience.

When you learn to hold space for yourself, you can practice creating space for others to move into without agenda. Then you are free to love people just as they are whether they behave according to your plans for them or not.

Unconditional love flourishes in the space you hold between you and your person. The space where you are a witness and not a fixer; where you serve instead of direct; where you stand beside instead of push along.

The work of codependency begins with YOU. This is an extremely powerful position. Don’t underestimate how transformative you can be.



WTF is Codependency?

WTF is Codependency?

Codependency is not a one-dimensional method of relating. I’m sure you’ve all heard a lot of different pieces of what it is or could be: dependency on another person financially, emotionally, or otherwise, losing oneself in another person, needing others to feel ok about self, etc.

So, WTF is codependency, really?

My definition is this: when one person doesn’t understand how to have a separate experience from another person.

It’s like you are scared that having your own experience will not be enough… so you jump into someone else’s and try to fix it for them.

Oh, that egocentric know-it-all syndrome. Most of us like to mix it with a shot of self-abandonment and throw some good ol’ patriarchy in to really chill the glass.

And that lovely little cocktail is called: CODEPENDENCY.

Trust me, if you can find the courage to be quiet enough to listen to your inner voice, brave enough to turn and face your shadows, and curious enough to observe and study YOURSELF, you will NOT have any interest in inserting yourself in other people’s feelings/situations/experiences (aka being codependent).

We all have wounds and triggers to those wounds, that will always be the case. What DOESN’T have to be the norm is reacting out of those unacknowledged triggers and obsessing about other people’s shadows/issues because we covertly want them to get better so they can stop triggering us!

Can you see how ass-backwards that is? How about you take care of the ONLY thing you ACTUALLY have power over–yourself–and pay attention to your own wounds and learn how to self-soothe when you are triggered, so you can regain ALL your power and stop passing it off to others HOPING they will be quality enough people to not let you down?

When I was in an abusive relationship (with an addict), I was CONSUMED with his pain. By the end, I was a shell of a human and had NO joy or excitement left in me.

I was never going to be able to control his choices or his pain, but I could have used my power to save myself. Instead, I enmeshed myself in him and tried to heal him so I could have a better life.

Of course that didn’t work. So here I am, years later, FINALLY discovering what it means to have relationships without BECOMING one with the other person.

In the upcoming posts I will address more examples of codependency (I’ve got plenty!), the faith-based ideas that can be a catalyst for it, and how to recreate healthy relational habits.

What’s your experience with codependency? Does ANY of this sound familiar?



PS. Check out @createthelove and @risingwoman for more brilliance on wounds/codependency/emotional intelligence!

How Does Your SOUL Garden Grow?

How Does Your SOUL Garden Grow?

Picture your soul as a garden.

What does it look like? Has it been well kept? Is it overgrown? Is the fence dilapidated? Is anything growing in it besides weeds and a few wild flowers? Who’s been tending to your garden? Have you been expecting other people to come and till the soil and labor to plant seeds?

If you are not consciously working on creating the soul-space you desire, I can guarantee your soul is a free-for-all-shit-show of unmanaged feelings, unmet expectations, unfulfilled needs, and unrelenting fear/pain/rejection/anxiety.

Sound familiar?

If you stand back and watch your garden deteriorate while you analyze every withering piece or if you turn your back on it and pretend it’s not really there, you do yourself no service. You may feel knowledgeable of the condition of your mental/emotional state, but it’s an illusion.

You are the only one on the earth that will ever be able to clean up, recreate, and maintain stability in your soul (mind/heart/emotions). So, who have you been trying to pass off that responsibility to–your mom, your partner, your kids, your friends?

Here’s a quick picture of what a SOUL Garden is made of:

  1. Fence (boundaries)
  2. Soil (connection with self/inner child)
  3. Seeds (relationships)
  4. Water/Sun (time/energy invested)
  5. Planting/Pruning (commitment to self)
  6. Harvest (ultimate joy/fulfillment)

YOU are the gardner and the first step to creating the kind of garden (life) you want, is to take an accurate assessment of the condition of your garden.

What weeds, wild animals, and toxic elements have you allowed in? What kind of fence (boundaries) do you need to put into place so you can begin to work safely in your soul space?

Start with those two questions then you can move to the next phases of reshaping your soul.

After you have spent time cleaning out the negative influences in your life (toxic relationships, smartphone addiction, substance abuse, etc.) and you have created a healthy practice of regular self-care (self-soothing, journaling, yoga, clean diet, exercise, boundaries), THEN you get to think about the kind of life you want to live.

This is where you get to set practical methods into place and plant healthy relationships, emotional wellness, and maintain a commitment to self in your life. (This is where you really begin to feel the shift in joy, endorphins, mental wellness, and self-worth.)

And after all that hard work, your job is to maintain the beauty and serenity you’ve created.

You watch tenderly over your soul and keep out any robbers (of joy, peace, or kindness). You feed what you have so consciously planted in your space and you care for your relationships with compassion and intention. You prune and clean up those connections as they grow and stretch, staying committed to having difficult conversations when needed, not avoiding intimacy, and paying attention to their growth as well as your own. And you let those blossoming elements feed you right back and sustain you, tethering you to this life and humanity, constantly reminding you that you are ALIVE. You are WORTHY. You BELONG here.

So, how does your garden grow? What care can you take in cultivating a life that satisfies you instead of suffocates you?

Don’t worry, this is just the first installment of SOUL Garden talk.



The ABC’s of Connecting with Humans

The ABC’s of Connecting with Humans

Whether we realize it or not, we are a herd species. Connection is in our genetic makeup. We will never stop calculating our existence next to other humans.

“Am I too close? Not close enough? How often do I interact with people? What kind of interactions am I having? Am I happy with my partner? Do I long to have a partner? Will I be alone for the rest of my life?”

The questions of connection will never stop floating around in our minds… every single day. What would happen if we turned those questions into a small action?

Instead of wondering if we are social enough, we can make moves to answer that question actively. For instance, forgoing one night of Netflix alone on the couch with takeout for dining in and people watching (Baby steps. You don’t have to dive into a weekend of parties and social outings).

Or if the question is whether we are satisfied with our current relationship, we can take an hour or a day or a weekend and hold space to listen to our inner voice and rediscover our standard for fulfillment. Then we can take an honest look at what work needs to be put into our relationship or what steps need to be taken to get out of it.

The key to connection (with self, others, Higher Being, nature, and community) is to be ACTIVELY LIVING. Get out of the back seat of CONSTANTLY THINKING about living life and GO LIVE IT.

No grand gestures or major upheavals required, just set an intention to live INTO the question on your mind and FOLLOW THROUGH with it. It requires bravery, not genius. And we all have the courage within us if we choose it.

Protect your time, it’s your most valuable asset. Be generous with your experiences with your people–don’t be stingy or closed off to sharing moments or trying new things with the people you care about. And, for the love of all that is holy, be PRESENT in the moment you’re actually in–put your phone away, make eye contact, actively listen and respond, share closeness and hugs, be willing to be vulnerable and open in conversation.

It takes practice, but if you make strides everyday, your life will bloom. You will shift from merely existing to full-on LIVING.

May you find every damn thing your heart ever hoped for in LIFE.



Here’s How NOT to Get Stuck in Pain

Here’s How NOT to Get Stuck in Pain

If pain is inevitable, then how can we keep opening ourselves up to LIFE and not get stuck in fear of more pain?

Whether it’s emotional, physical, or mental–pain is painful and we’re all going to keep experiencing it as long as we are breathing.

Yikes. That’s a pretty debbie-downer statement. But it’s true! Luckily (but not by chance because we were made for this), we have everything already pre wired inside of us to be able to absorb, process, and heal from pain.

Humans are freaking fascinating.

Here’s how we live with an open heart when our nervous system and all the alarms in our brains are telling us to shut down, avoid, divert, and lock down:

We practice choosing ourselves. This means consciously building trust with our inner self and daily proving our commitment is real (boundaries, self-care, paying attention to intuition, etc.).

This simple (but initially uncomfortable) ritual will transform every area of your life whether you apply your amazing (and overworked) analytical abilities to it at all.

For all the other over-thinkers and off-the-charts analyzers out there, this practice will bring the peace of mind and soul that you’ve always craved but never thought was attainable.

When you become fluent in speaking and understanding the language of your own soul, you will create a natural, fluid circle of security that is all your own. It depends on no one else.

It’s liberating to explore the world, love again, adapt to change, and dive into new experiences when you know (because you’ve proven it to yourself over time) that you will always have a place to belong, be loved, heard, and seen… because that place is YOU.

Become your own self-soother, security blanket, loving arms to rest in, and safe place to run to.

If you are courageous enough to journey through the dark places of your soul and accept each part of yourself along the way, you will discover that pain isn’t something to be feared after all… it’s what uncovers the magnetic force of unaltered, pulsing, meticulous, exuberant LIFE within you.

So, what are you waiting for?





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