Numerous articles, such as this, from the website Mental Health America, discuss codependency as a learned behavior. Well, what is learned can be unlearned. Many people have heard of codependency as it relates to those who live with individuals addicted to substances and behaviors, such as drugs, alcohol, sex, and gambling. However, codependency can occur in any type of relationship, even those relationships which do not involve someone else’s addictions. Codependency, which I choose to speak of as loss of self in someone else/another person, can occur in a variety of relationships including our relationships with our partners, our children, our aging parents, our friends, and our co-workers, and its origins can come from a number of possible sources that include but are not limited to living with addictions, chronic illness, abuse, neglect, perfectionism, and rigidity.
In Disentangle: When You’ve Lost Your Self in Someone Else, the central theme is codependent relationships. Distenangle offers practical tips on how to get emotional freedom from such relationships and to rediscover your true sense of self. The process is not easy, but you can do it. I have worked with many individuals over the years who felt trapped by such relationships and yet many have benefited from this recovery process. As you begin this disentangling process, I have found it useful to understand it in terms of these ten Basics:
It’s about the experience of losing your Self
It’s about unhealthy attachments
It’s about finding you
It’s about getting balance
It’s about intervening on your own behalf
It’s about spiritual growth
It’s a process without rules or sequence
It’s a process that takes time
Every day ain’t great
Don’t go this alone
In future blogs, I will delve into each of these Basics and cover many other aspects of this disentangling process including specific ideas for change. However, for now, an understanding of the Basics is a good foundation for learning and growth.