I have maintained on several occasions that there is no such thing as recovery from codependency in the true sense of the word. There is no disorder or disease to recover from. Recovery entails becoming aware of and controlling one’s symptoms. If somebody can accomplish that successfully, they will be able to maintain good relationships while still maintaining a strong sense of self and individuality. Doing this on a regular basis also guarantees that the emphasis is on addressing one’s own needs rather than looking to others to assume responsibility for that beyond a reasonable degree.
Codependents, on the other hand, are well-known for letting others make decisions for them, even when doing so puts them in a disadvantageous position. Due to their propensity to please others, they are often able to evade the repercussions . This is a common occurrence in the behaviour of codependents, who rush to correct the course of events when they observe something or someone else headed in the other direction. They see the world through sacrificial eyes, distorting their viewpoint and not allowing them to think of themselves.
Many codependents I know or have dealt with avoid making choices for fear of upsetting their partner, who may demand to be in charge. The controlling codependent, on the other hand, will make certain that their wants are met and will use a variety of dysfunctional strategies to do so, including the drama triangle, a codependent tactic of choice. Codependents, on the other hand, tend to be concerned with “people pleasing,” which means they are content to “go with the flow” of others’ plans, whether they like it or not. This often results in increased animosity and the deterioration of an already weak and unstable relationship. Due to the “pliable character” of the codependent and their fear of change, these circumstances may persist for a lengthy period of time before collapsing completely in a catastrophic end.
Trust in one’s own judgement and capacity to make decisions is a major problem here. It’s difficult to believe that a codependent can learn to do this on their own, given that they’ve never been taught how. When it comes to codependents, self-doubt plays a crucial role in decision-making. You may easily trace it back to previous childhood teachings when this uncertainty arises. The codependent may hear a parent’s voice in their thoughts saying, “You don’t know what you’re doing.”
Children can make age-appropriate judgments if their parents are willing to take the time to help them do so. An important part of this is listening, reflecting back to the child what they are saying, as well as discussing the ramifications of various choices they may make. To be able to decide for themselves what they want and need, children need their parents to help them recognise and trust their own emotions.
Even the smallest of choices may seem huge when you don’t know what you’re feeling and aren’t good at evaluating your actions and their effects. Your life becomes a passive one if you don’t think about what you’re doing. It’s easy to become reliant on the advice of others, which may lead to a situation where their views take precedence over your own. You also don’t want to disappoint them if you’re a people pleaser.
For making age-appropriate errors, children in many dysfunctional households are subjected to punishment. Punishment may be harsh, arbitrary, and unexpected in certain instances. Even if you no longer live with your parents, these anxieties will continue to haunt you. That parent is still alive and well within you as your Inner Critic, and he or she will not allow you to forgive yourself for your shortcomings. Every choice may be plagued by perfectionism and the urge to be flawless, causing you to study every purchase, rehearse personal conversations, and shun new experiences. Another thing to consider is the fear of being disappointed or rejected.
Especially in problematic households, parents seldom take the time to console their children after they’ve been let down. Coping with disappointment is a component of growing up, and it is learnt when parents understand and sympathise with their children’s sentiments.
Here are some pointers to keep in mind while making decisions as a codependent:
– Make a list of all of the possibilities available.
– Write down the consequences of each decision, including your emotions attached to the process.
– Visualise the outcome and how you feel in your body about the outcome.
– Discuss your alternatives with a trusted friend or family member who will not criticise you or tell you what to do, but who will listen and allow you to make your own decisions
– A graph may assist you in graphically comparing distinct elements of several options. List your selections along the left-hand side of the chart, then write the aspects to evaluate along the top, such as cost, convenience, time required, value, and reward, in the appropriate columns. You may want to include a column for repercussions and rate them from 1 to 10 in order of importance.
The factors that influence a choice will differ based on the kind of decision. When comparing which car to purchase, factors such as maintenance, comfort, pricing, depreciation, and mileage should be taken into consideration but this strategy does not work as well with choices that are mostly based on feelings, where the emotional element can cloud judgment. There is no such thing as a good or bad decision; there are just consequences and every decision carries them, one way or another. Many times, you won’t know until you take a chance and make a decision for yourself. Allowing yourself to explore, change your mind, and make errors is a positive step. This is how you mature and come to understand yourself and the rest of the world.
For a codependent, the capacity to recognise the need to make a choice and the bravery to follow it through might be the difference between being in an abusive, manipulative relationship and being in a relationship that is both meaningful and rewarding.
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Dr. Nicholas Jenner, a therapist, coach, and speaker, has over 20 years of experience in the field of therapy and coaching. His specialty lies in treating codependency, a condition that is often characterized by a compulsive dependence on a partner, friend, or family member for emotional or psychological sustenance. Dr. Jenner’s approach to treating codependency involves using Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy, a treatment method that has gained widespread popularity in recent years. He identifies the underlying causes of codependent behavior by exploring his patients’ internal “parts,” or their different emotional states, to develop strategies to break free from it. Dr. Jenner has authored numerous works on the topic and offers online therapy services to assist individuals in developing healthy relationships and achieving emotional independence.