What is codependency? We hear the word banded around a lot in therapy and recovery circles, but what is it, and do we suffer from it?
The book title of Richard Schwartz’s book ‘You’re the One You’ve Been Waiting For’ perfectly sums up my understanding of codependency. For us adults, I believe inner-peace and a feeling of being okay needs to start with us, and if we are looking to another or others to provide us with the good stuff first, codependency is at play.
Of course it is natural and right to seek loving connections in our lives with other human beings. I believe that creating loving attachments leads to a greater capacity to venture into the world with courage, confidence and clarity-of-purpose. However, essentially, if we are not grounded and rooted ourselves in a sense of our worth and value that comes from within, our relationships will likely cause us some suffering.
I belive codependency is a form of compulsion, and that it actually stops us having our needs heard and met, or serving and loving the other person as we otherwise could. The best methods I’ve found to help heal codependency are:
1. Internal Family Systems (IFS), for looking within at what we are wanting from others, and giving these missing experiences to ourselves.
2. Intimacy From the Inside Out (IFIO): a method of using IFS for two people, facillitated by an IFIO therapist.
I use these methods to help individuals and couples (not just romantic couples – it works for any two people struggling with their relationship).
Also, check out these 12 Step programs, which could help you as you seek freedom in your relationship:
Codependence Anonymous: http://coda.org/
Al-anon is especially helpful if the object of your struggles has addictive compulsive tendencies you are seeking to control: https://al-anon.org/