Ending the cycle of co-dependency can be challenging—it's familiar, it’s “normal” and it’s safe because it’s what many of us know especially if we’ve grown up in a dysfunctional family.
Though I’ve been in recovery from co-dependent relationships for a while, I relapsed with my brother.
When we reconnected after 8 years of estrangement to make my fathers funeral arrangements I “thought” things would be different because I have a healthy relationship with myself.
At the time this is what I wanted to believe, but months later reality jolted me awake!
The relationship is still one sided—my brother deceived me by withholding information regarding my dad’s affairs and disrespected me by not returning calls or emails.
As painful as it was to face the truth that this has been his repeated pattern in the relationship and I accepted it, I have compassion for him. Like me he is wounded and his need for control is a protection mechanism that he developed based on our dysfunctional upbringing to keep him safe and secure from getting hurt and disappointed.
In the past I would have remained passive and made excuses like: maybe he's busy, he didn't get my message or he forgot to mention the information regarding my dad's affairs.
But then I would become aggressive and confront him—creating drama because my wounded self would resist what is and want things to be different than it actually is.
From co-dependent to independent
Whatever the reason for his actions I’m certain he has a story too, but it’s irrelevant. I can no longer deny reality and the fact that he’s kept me in limbo one too many times is actually manipulation.
When I honoured my feelings by letting go of the story of how I wanted the relationship to be I released the need to “get” acknowledgement and respect from him.
I also forgave my brother and detached in love knowing that I do deserve to have healthy, loving and fulfilling relationships.
3 keys to ending the cycle of co-dependency
Trust your intuition. Co-dependents can either trust too easily or be distrustful.
If something seems off, then it probably is. Listen to your gut feeling, the repetitive nagging thoughts, the sinking sensations, aches in your body etc. Nothing goes away until it is faced.
Be assertive. Co-dependents can live all up in their head creating scenarios with the coulda beens and shoulda beens from the past or the what if’s in the future. They are never in the present moment.
Have the courage to ask questions for clarification and don’t always take everything at face value. Just because someone says something doesn’t mean it’s always completely accurate.
Forgive. Co-dependents can either refuse to forgive because they think it’s letting the other person off the hook or they forgive too easily because it’s the right thing to do.
Forgiveness is not condoning what the other person did or said, forgiveness is freedom from the story—the hurt, pain and disappointment you felt so that you can move forward.
It’s never about the other person—what they did, said etc., it’s always about you and how you manage your emotions so that you are able to make choices that are right for you.
When we stop expecting someone or something to give us what we need, we are able to let go of the stories and reclaim our power.
I want to hear from you!
Can you let go of the story of hurt, pain and disappointment?
Are you passive, aggressive or assertive when others do or say something to trigger you?
Are you willing to forgive others for not being perfect?