If there is one area of our lives that we tend to care more about, relationships can be the same. In Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, she describes her friend, a psychologist who is asked to offer advice to Cambodian refugees. Daunted by the task of helping people who have suffered this kind of harrowing journeys, discover everything you wanted to talk about was their relationships.
Relationships bring our greatest joys and our greatest challenges. From a spiritual perspective, relationships are assignments to the effects of growth opportunities. It is in the context of a relationship with another person in which we see the places we have to heal, based on our triggers, blocks and patterns.
Codependency is undoubtedly one of the greatest challenges facing most of us in relationships – that feeling that can not exist without the other person, their existence and validation is required to make us feel happy, even complete. Blocks access Codependency us better than ourselves, and also blocks the potential for further growth in the relationship.
Interestingly, most of us do not even know they are enacting codependent patterns in our relationships. Why? Because it has been taught to believe certain myths about relationships, especially romantic relationships work. Many of these myths codependency upbringing.
I was living in codependent relationships for two decades and not even know it. When I got to the bottom on a break a few years ago, everything was revealed to me; my fears were precipitated from my employers and rose to the surface so that I finally see clearly. My fears of being alone, my longing for love and attention away from me, that I had put my power to another person making the source of my love and happiness, everything came into my consciousness and not there was no turning back.
I was finally ready to do things differently. Knowing that there must be a better way, I went to my spiritual path and experienced a radical transformation from the inside out, from the relationship with myself. The first step was awareness – recognizing the ways in which I had been living in codependent relationships and let fear run the show, not love.
A lot of codependency time seems intense love, but “need” another person often stems from fear, not love. Here are ten common ways to identify if you are in a codependent relationship (and Might not even knowing it):
1. You blame others for how we feel.
We are actually responsible for how we feel and it’s not someone else’s responsibility to make us happy. We make ourselves happy first so that others can make us happy.
2. You can’t live without the other person.
I know, this is supposed to be romantic, but it’s not, it’s attachment which is different from connection. It’s not sexy and it’s not fulfilling. Recognize your wholeness and completeness so that you can truly enjoy the other person in your life rather than being half of a person who is incomplete without someone else; you are the cake — everything else is the icing.
3. You’re controlling outcomes and situations.
When we are controlling the other person or how things are unfolding, we are living in fear not in love. Surrender the relationship, surrender the other person’s process and what their choices are and trust that everything will unfold perfectly if you allow it to do so.
4. You play caregiver.
A healthy relationship is between two adults, not two children or one child and one parent. When we are mothering or taking care of someone who is not taking care of themselves, it’s disempowering for both people. When we spiritually grow up, we learn how to take care of ourselves so someone else doesn’t have to do it for us and we can live in our highest truth, not as a child or a victim or helpless. We are all capable.
5. The other person must behave in a certain way.
In order for you to feel loved or for you to love them, the other person must be who we need them to be. This is conditional love (as opposed to unconditional love), which doesn’t allow the other person to be who they really are: in other words, your happiness is dependent on them being how you want them to be.
6. You give from a place of lack.
We might be putting ourselves last and focusing on the other person more than we do ourselves and we lose ourselves in the relationship. This pattern comes from a lack of self-love and when we try to give from an empty well, anger and resentment can build because we are not filling ourselves up first and giving from a place of abundance.
7. You don’t feel free.
Love is freedom. Rules and constrictions are fear. We must do what we want to do, not what other people want us to do.
8. You think your happiness is predicated on the other person.
It’s not. Our happiness is within and when we stop searching for it in our partner, and instead connect with ourselves in a daily practice, we connect to our true source within and that happiness can overflow to the other person, rather than making them our only source.
9. You think you need to get the love you want.
Giving love is more important than getting love. You have an unlimited source within you. It will come back to you tenfold.
10. You’re waiting to be saved.
No, this isn’t a conscious choice and yes, it’s rampant in our collective psyche. Save yourself. Be your own knight in shining armor, the heroine of your own story and then he can be exactly who he needs to be, without having to rescue you.