Jennifer Lonnberg Spiritual Guide and Mentor on Co-dependency
Codependency is one of those words that tend to get misused or misinterpreted. Many people believe co-dependence is just something that affects families of alcoholics. But really co-dependency is a term for unhealthy personal and relationship boundaries.
Codependency – often involves placing a lower priority on one’s own needs, while being excessively preoccupied with the needs of others.
Here are some basic traits of codependent behavior:
- You tend to put everyone first and get upset because you feel like they don’t do the same for you
- You believe it is selfish to take care of yourself
- You feel it is your responsibility to “fix it”
- You may feel bored if there isn’t a “crisis” that needs your attention
- You think your boyfriend/hubby or girlfriend/wife should make you happy
- You spend most of your energy trying to make “them” happy
- You deny your own needs, thoughts, feelings
Many people think others are responsible for their feelings. He made me feel…She treats me like….They never…those are all beginnings of sentences that show you’re giving your power away.
What does it mean to give your power away? It simply means letting something outside of you determine how you feel.
Here is a clip out of a blog from Joyce Meyer Ministries:
Selflessness can be addictive. It feels so good to do for others and it makes us feel important. Yes, it is a good thing to help others and should be a major part of our life, but in my line of work, I often see people who routinely ignore their basic needs. The only thing that gives them meaning is doing things for others. This is admirable, but it can easily cross the line into mistaking suffering for virtue. Martyrs usually end up bitter. And once the body breaks down and life is no longer joyful, it becomes increasingly hard to serve anyone. Volunteers in a soup kitchen don’t let their pots fall apart while they ladle out one more bowl of soup. They take the time to care for the equipment they need to do their calling. And you should do the same with your most important piece of equipment—your body.
I am not suggesting that we be selfish because that renders us very unhappy and is not how God teaches us to live. We are to live sacrificially and be involved in doing good works, but we must not ignore our own basic needs in the process. Everything in life must be balanced or something breaks down and quite often it is us. Here’s the link for the rest of the article: Click here
I think the confusion comes in because most of us are taught to put others first, and while there is some validity to that, if you put others first to the point of your own detriment it becomes a problem. You can put others first some of the time, but you also have to learn the balance of learning what is right for YOU. As with anything in life there is always some ebb and flow. In a healthy relationship, you may put the other first in a certain situation, but then the balance comes when the next time the other person puts you first. It’s a little give and a little “receive” (not take). On the flip side, if you give, give, give and never receive, you ‘ll eventually end up feeling resentful and angry at the other person. The other person may not even realize that you feel you are “giving and giving” and not getting anything back because chances are you have always put them first and never asked for or expected anything in return until you’re at that point of burn out!
Learn to know yourself. What you like and don’t like. Get familiar with your feelings and how you process and express them. Have open communication about expectations and limitations in relationships. (not only in romantic relationships but with friends, parents, siblings, co-workers.)
The more you know your own personal boundaries and what is and is not ok for you, the more you’ll be able to notice codependent patterns in yourself and others.
Take care of YOU so that you’ll have the energy to take care of others!
xoxoxo ~ Jennifer