Sometimes we can’t see our emotional forest through the trees of others. I’ve been helping people for over thirty years and have been involved in thousands of conversations about all aspects of people’s interpersonal (relationship with others) and intrapersonal (relationship with self) lives.
When we love someone, we may not want to let them be who they are. We’re afraid of our own feelings. The inability to tolerate them makes taking care of ourselves, even if it means the loss of a relationship, an unbearable idea. We grasp at straws. Come up with excuses. Make plans. Search for explanations. Justify. Rationalize. Blame. We do everything else but feel our own effing feelings. Why? I think it’s because we’re co.
I’m kind of codependent. I grew up trying to handle an emotionally manipulative, abusive parent. If you’ve ever read Alice Miller’s Drama of the Gifted Child, you understand how those of us with these family of origin issues learn to take care of others as a survival skill. As I’ve written in the past, this is a tough one to let go of. But the “dis-ease” of codependency is about more than just caretaking.
We tend to take responsibility for the decisions, actions and emotional states of others. Since we had to be hyper-sensitive to energetic shifts in people as kids, we can feel it “in our bones” when something’s wrong. And since we feel responsible, we may become more like intrusive, annoying meddlers rather than the helpful, caring souls that we might like to think we are. We may know we want to fix people, but we may not know that we really feel powerless to fix ourselves. We try to control the emotions and experiences of others because we can’t fully own our own emotional states. This, I think, is the root of codependency. The solution: self-empowerment. I’ll be sending out a course on that in the future. If you want in on that, be sure to subscribe to my email list. Note: It’s an email list, meaning that I do send out emails.
Oh, and, you get a free eBook.
The first step to self-empowerment is to allow people the space to walk their path and be who they are-especially if you don’t agree with their choices. Many people that I have loved do things that I feel are unhealthy, like relapse and die. Wreck cars. Give up. Stay stuck in situations that do nothing but suck the life out of them. If you really love so and so, then you greet their life experience with an open heart, filled with abundant joy-no matter how shitty they may act. Even the idea that they’re not behaving correctly needs to float away in space. Just be. Let them be. Be you. I know it’s hard. For some of us it’s a life’s work. I get it. But you still gotta do it. Unless you prefer to be sick. If so, that is your choice and I respect your right to choose to stay sick. Personally, I want to be free and I want to be healthy.
Meanwhile, I suggest reading some of the Alanon Family Groups literature. Perhaps attend some meetings. Personally, I’ve found it more helpful than AA in the past year or so. But if this holiday season (or any other time) you find yourself with that ache in your gut regarding other people in your life, I want you to think about something, namely, your own self-empowerment. I also want you to feel something: self-love. Just like the love that a mother has for her only child. Bring that from your own heart to your own soul. Trust me, it’s the only solution.
If you want some one on one help, feel free to book a personal coaching session with me. You’ll walk away with new insights and some homework.