… & how you can stop it without suffering even more
Codependency is not something that just affects our romantic relationships. Codependency negatively impacts all areas of life. I have chosen a few areas and described what you might be experiencing due to unresolved issues with codependency.
Your Family of Origin
You might be in touch with your family and it’s constant drama or conflict that you engage in or not.
You might have a superficial relationship with your family meaning that you can’t really share anything personal with them because they don’t respond in ways that help you. They may be invalidating, judging, mocking or dismissing you when you try to open up and create a deeper connection with them.
Or you might have cut them out of your life altogether.
In any case, you don’t have any support, especially no emotional support. It doesn’t feel like it’s ever about you and you don’t feel seen or understood. You play your role but no one really sees you for who you are.
You have some friends but they are busy with their own families and lives and they have their own problems. So you help them in any way you can and listen to them but you don’t really want to burden them with your problems.
You also don’t want them to know how much you’re struggling, expose how you feel or that you have your own struggles because you just feel too embarrassed.
You’re happy to help others but you struggle to accept and receive help.
Again, you receive very little emotional support in this area of life either. This may be because of the types of friends you’ve chosen, the tone and dynamic you’ve set with them or because you – often subconsciously – block a deeper connection by being emotionally unwilling to receive attention, care and support.
If you have children, you do everything you can for them. You’re trying so hard to be the best parent you can be but very often you feel like you’re failing.
You’re exhausting yourself and then beat yourself up for not living up to who you want to be for your children.
No matter what you do, you constantly feel like you’re letting everyone down and that you’re just not good enough. The guilt you feel is very difficult to bear.
Your self-care is almost non-existent – you’re too tired and simply don’t feel like you have enough time.
After all, your life is about taking care of others and being there for them.
But you might have a secret: there is always something you need to do to cope with it at all that you hide from the world and sometimes even from yourself. It can be anything: alcohol, food, gambling, affairs, substances, porn, shopping, work and any other kind of distraction from how exhausted, unfulfilled and empty you really feel.
But it’s the one thing you do just for you. You do it to take the pressure off, to reward yourself just a little bit, to have something of your own but even that causes you shame and so you hide it.
You hide more of what’s going on for you. You show the world even less of you.
You’re good at what you do and get on well with others but you often exhaust yourself trying to overdeliver, trying to make things perfect.
You own up to your mistakes if you make any which means that others respect you but it still stresses you out. You try really hard to deliver great work and have people like you.
You get on well with others and show that you care about them but you can feel easily drained by being around them for a long time. And so, even though you crave connection and fun, you often don’t join in and go home when others go out to socialise together and form deeper bonds.
You really struggle with conflict and so do everything you can to avoid it at all costs. This means that you often have to suppress your feelings and bottle things up which drains you even more.
Your Romantic Relationships
When you first enter a relationship, you’re all hopeful and excited but soon the problems begin to appear.
Your partner isn’t very emotional, affectionate or attentive. They’re often busy with other things or choose other people and activities over you.
They might also be critical and judgmental of you which makes you feel even less wanted and loved.
And yet, you stay.
But you struggle. You cry and try to hide that you’re unhappy while forcing yourself to feel grateful for what you do get.
When it all gets too much, you try to talk to your partner only for it to result in major conflict and even less connection. Abandonment fears might set in and take it out of you for days.
You can’t help but to feel wounded and injured. Anxiety and hopelessness want to overwhelm you while you try so hard to keep it all together.
You’re in so much pain because you were so hopeful that this would be it but once again, it’s not working out. You’re failing. Again.
Sometimes the pain just gets too much and you have to do anything you can think of to stop yourself from feeling. It all gets too much.
You don’t want this anymore. You can’t do it anymore. You just don’t want this to be your life. You don’t want to be you anymore.
Why is everyone else so damn happy and you just cannot make it work even though you are trying so very hard and doing your best to be a good person? Just what is wrong with you?!
You Are SOOO Done!
But you don’t know where to start …
It’s not like you haven’t tried to feel better before: you’ve had therapy, tried medication and meditation, read the books, taken some courses, maybe even followed the 12 steps program … but nothing really helped. Not truly. Not deep enough or long enough.
So what next?
You can’t even begin to dare to dream about a better life or a more loving relationship.
You just want the pain to end.
I want you to know that it can. Your pain can end. Let me explain.
I know what it’s like. I have been there.
I was great at keeping up appearances and trying to look fine. I tried to distract myself in so many different ways from what was really going on for me but nothing ever worked.
I’d always end up feeling depressed again. Bored, hopeless, tired, exhausted, drained. Empty.
Until I found a new person, got into a new relationship and then the painful hope and excruciating excitement took over again only to end in bitter disappointment and more emotional neglect or abuse.
It was a thankless cycle that never ended well for me. I wondered if it would ever get any better or whether this was just my life.
Was this really what I had to accept?
Living life feeling all alone, unsupported and unloved? Giving to the point of exhaustion but never getting anything back? Constantly talking about the weather or the news but never having any deeper, more meaningful or intimate conversations? Being there for everyone else but constantly going without what I want (if I can even remember what that is)?!
I was tired. And confused. And SO ready to give up. Give up on relationships. Give up on myself. Give up on life.
But I didn’t. Well, for some time I did but then I thought that I’d try again but this time with new information! A new tactic.
I needed to find out just what was wrong with me!
and so I began to study psychotherapy and the human mind.
Everything started to make sense when I came across something I had never heard before and that no therapist or psychiatrist had ever mentioned before.
>> Codependency <<
So there I had it. At first I felt relief. Then, sheer panic.
How the hell would I be able to rid myself of it?
The more I read, the more anxious and hopeless I felt. It looked like almost everything was wrong with me and stopping me from being happy in love and life.
I tried all the traditional methods of codependency recovery but nothing worked for me. I wasn’t willing to become religious, learn more about narcissists, medicate myself or give up on relationships altogether. I also couldn’t afford to take time out of my life or spend thousands on some guru sharing airy-fairy quotes with me.
There had to be a different way!
And there was but it wasn’t one that had been laid out for me. It was one I had to make myself and so I did.
Instead of consuming more information that just left me feeling more depressed and defective, I began learning about what healthy humans do in their relationships and lives.
I started to see the differences and very soon things began to make a lot of sense.
I practiced on myself and saw incredible changes. I experienced a sense of euphoria, joy and love like never before and then applied the same practices in my work with clients who also experienced shifts neither they nor I had thought possible for them previously.
My clients’ transformations were INCREDIBLE!
And none of the work we did was ‘weird’ in any way. We simply had conversations during which we:
identified the underlying cause of their presenting problems so we could find practical solutions that actually made a huge difference in their relationships and life
matched past relational and behavioural patterns to present ones so we could break them and make room for healthy habits to form
discovered the many unconscious lies of the mind that had kept them stuck in painful cycles and found healthier ways of thinking and using my mind
discovered the many unconscious lies of the mind that had kept them stuck in painful cycles and found healthier and more helpful ways of thinking
identified their codependent conditioning so they could move away from it by actively choosing new ways of thinking and being
reconnected with their feelings, wants and needs, and normalised and validated them to allow healthy self-esteem to re-emerge and grow
All of this resulted in massive improvements in my clients’ lives. They started to see things in ways they had never done before due to my shared discoveries, realisations and insights into what it takes for humans to be happy, healthy and thrive in their lives and relationships which we then applied to codependency.
We smashed it with logic!
Many have asked me what kept me going during this process and my main motivation was obviously to be a better role model for my children. But there was also something else that motivated me to keep learning, exploring, reflecting and studying. It was this one question:
If codependency can’t give me the relationship I want, then what can?
If I have to give up my codependent expectations and ways of being to get the love I need, then what do I have to do instead?
Asking myself those questions has led to my biggest transformations.
Let me share with you some of the most powerful secrets I have discovered that have helped my clients end their distress and struggles with codependency
Our beliefs about ourselves, others, relationships and life are formed when we are children. These depend on what our families teach us and how we interpret what is going on around us. It forms our conditioning – our belief system that feels like reality to us.
Any unhelpful or unhealthy beliefs we form as children with our underdeveloped brains and our codependent childhood environment will cause problems, pain and distress for us as adults. It’s like our operating system hasn’t been installed correctly.
It is the #1 cause of our problems. It is, in fact, the very core of our problems.
Our Codependent Conditioning
And so I began to specialise in the codependent conditioning and how it stops us from developing in ways that are healthy and life-enhancing.
I became aware of patterns we’d repeat over and over again despite them never having worked out in our lives before.
I learnt about toxic shame and how it unconsciously motivates so many of our actions, inactions and reactions. Worst of all, it stops us from ever being able to form deep and intimate bonds and relationships because toxic shame makes us hide when healthy relationships require us to be open and to be seen.
I also got to understand how avoiding our feelings gets in the way of us creating meaningful and emotionally fulfilling relationships: we simply cannot numb the uncomfortable feelings and only leave the ones we want in place. If we numb one, we numb them all – well, apart from boredom. That one replaces them all and you’re left with a feeling of emptiness or ‘the void’ as I’d like to describe it. And isn’t it tragic that even the void feels painful?
But most interestingly, I came to see how something I call focus inversion completely wrecks our chances of ever having the relationships we want.
And all of this combined was a complete game-changer. Having these realisations, making sense of them all and integrating them into a logical, clinical and trauma-informed framework helped me transform my life.
I never thought it would be possible but it is. I had always thought that this was ‘just me’ and that this was how my life was.
I was wrong. (And I used to hate being wrong so admitting this was hard!)
So What’s Changed?
Before I had my realisations, I didn’t know how I felt and so couldn’t figure out what was going on for me. All I knew was that I felt ‘bad’ but that wasn’t enough information for me to go and find effective solutions.
Today I know how I feel and understand why I feel how I feel. This helps me understand what I want and need or don’t want and need and then take appropriate action. As a result, I have learnt to ask for what I want without fear or shame and, most of the time, get it.
Before, I was in constant distress and had to numb my feelings to get through the day.
Today I know about human needs and how to meet them in healthy ways. Consequently, I feel content and happy and have energy to have fun in my life and pursue important goals.
Before I had my realisations, I would choose one unsuitable partner after another and repeat the same distressing relationship patterns and cycles. I felt like I was going out of my mind because I kept losing myself in these relationships and couldn’t handle the pain.
Today I have developed strong and secure relationship skills and know how to create and maintain healthy and loving relationships. I finally feel safe, wanted and loved – something I never thought was possible for me!
Before my transformation, I became preoccupied, jealous and insecure in my relationship. I neglected all other areas of my life and my distress got worse. I didn’t know about focus inversion and thought traps and so simply didn’t know how to break these cycles. I felt really embarrassed about it all and so didn’t seek any help for it.
Today I know know to take care of myself and I enjoy it too! I no longer feel that my wellbeing depends on my partner or that I have to sacrifice my life and everything that brings me joy in order to be in a relationship, I have finally learnt how to create and live a well-balanced life with many truly enjoyable and fulfilling relationships (not just one crumbling under the pressure of my codependent expectations).
My Biggest Issue Was How I Felt About Myself
Worst of all, I didn’t really like myself. And why should I have?
I treated myself badly.
- I made terrible decisions for myself.
- I didn’t allow myself to ask for help and so had to go through life without the support every healthy person naturally needs.
- I cut off my feelings so I could stay in painful situations.
- I never even asked myself what I wanted but went along with what everyone around me wanted instead and so treated myself like I didn’t even matter.
- I didn’t stand up for myself or protect myself when others disrespected me.
- I never set any boundaries because, hell, I didn’t even know what they were or that they even existed!
I exhausted myself, starved myself, neglected myself, failed to take care of myself, didn’t listen to myself, rejected myself, chose others over me …
And then it dawned on me …
There was no way that I would have allowed anyone else to treat me as badly as I was treating myself …
Oh! Wait …
Noooo … my partner!
And then I had one of my. biggest realisations … my choice of partner and the relationship I had with him mirrored and reflected the relationship I had with myself perfectly.
I had just never realised it before.
I now know that the tone I set in the relationship I have with myself sets the tone for every other relationship I have in my life.
It is also the only relationship I have full control over.
And so, I have a choice: I can either learn how to have a healthy relationship with myself and thereby change my relationships and life experiences or I can continue to subject myself to more misery by repeating the same old, dysfunctional and codependent patterns again and again.
I know which one I chose. Which one will you choose?
Because This Transformation Is Available to You Too
I don’t have any special qualities or advantages. In fact, I doubt I’m very different to you.
What I have done is available to everyone willing to finally look in the right direction and see.
See for the first time how their conditioning has run their life and made their choices for them.
See how unresolved trauma infects every area of their life and makes it impossible to feel safe enough to open up to the full experience of love.
See how we focus away from ourselves and therefore away from the information we need to meet our needs and make healthy decisions.
See how our fear of feeling blocks all the enjoyable emotions but magnifies the painful ones.
See how the self-loathing stories we have about ourselves are complete fabrications and lies of the mind that stop us from living the life we want.
See how our thought patterns are nothing more than trauma-based thought traps and not ‘the truth’.
See how we can never let others love us more than we love ourselves.
This process is not about becoming someone new or different. It’s not about getting rid of ‘you’.
It’s about letting go of everything that isn’t you, never was you and that definitely doesn’t serve you.
It’s about letting go of old pain and trauma to make room for growth, love and life.
So … are you with me?
Do NOT give up on yourself.
There is a way out of this.
Let me show you how.
Let me support you in ways you have never been supported before.
Let me help you make sense of your struggles so that you can see how it all makes sense. How YOU make sense!
Let me show you how to reconnect with yourself and feel your feelings without getting overwhelmed.
Let me show you how to break painful relationship patterns so that you can make better choices for yourself and in your partners.
Let me show you how to use your mind to your advantage so that you too can have a life that just feels right for you.
No more drama.
No more heartache.
No more loneliness.
Because this doesn’t have to be part of your life anymore.
Click the picture to find out more on how to work with me here.
With Love, Marlena xx