I did a poll a few months ago on this exact issue & what ya’ll shared confirmed what I always believed to be true. Codependency may LOOK helpful, loving & selfless. But it is far from it. Behaviors of codependency are actually very self serving. I know… this may come as a shock for some to read.
Codependency is a survival skill that develops early on. As a child, most find a role that encompasses these behaviors because it helps manufacture a sense of safety in a world that otherwise is unsafe.
Maybe your parent overworked, or struggled with mental illness or addiction. Maybe you moved a lot as a child. Maybe you had a younger sibling that wasn’t well. Maybe your parents separated & you stepped in as friend & comforter. Maybe you had food, shelter & an otherwise “normal” family, yet the pressure of perfection ran deep in your family system. Somehow, in some way, you became the person who had to do it all so that you blended in, were accepted, included, needed.
Now as an adult, you don’t need this role. But oddly, you do. Because not having it would mean doing something different than what you have always done. And that scares you. So while you don’t actually need it, because you have tools to create a true safe environment for yourself, you would much rather rely on this old skill. It is predictable. Familiar. Reliable. Doing something different would require energy & time and that isn’t something most are willing to invest.
What is unfortunate is that codependent behaviors are motivated by a desire to grow CLOSER to others, but they actually separate us from each other. When you don’t trust yourself enough to speak up, have a differing opinion, say “no,” set a boundary, live unliked by some, displease others at times… then people start to sense this. They feel something is off… and people pull away.
The key to connection, love and self trust then is in part, ownership over these old behaviors, and that starts with awareness.
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