|It’s Freedom day here in South Africa at a time where the collective consciousness is being programmed to avoid the sheepless life and stay trapped in the old prisons of the old ways of domination over compassion, fear over permission to choose a better way, where everyone thrives.
So if you have been engaged on my recent fb lives here, and here where I got you clear on shadow work, you know already that I have been speaking a lot to your questions and comments about how to honor your No, stand in your truth and stop the old patterns of addiction to please others and feed the abusive cycle of Codependency.
When I found out I was doing a lot of that old familiar coping patterns to keep my child parts safe in a very unsafe world where there is no moral compass or integrity… I was not surprised that the wounded healer energies of Chrion in Aries and the energies of the upcoming full moon were drawing me in deeper to trust my bodymind’s innate intelligence to brave these new unchartered waters and call on my ancestral guides and helping spirits to heal these old wounds.
Listen in here and see if you can relate to some of these old trickster shadows, so you can bring them into the light lovingly and with great patience.
Truth be told, for most of my life, I would stuff my true feelings, wants, and desires deep, deep down because I didn’t want to hurt others or “rock the boat” or create any kind of conflict – it scared the living little panties off me and I learnt to avoid it at all costs.
Late on when I entered the world of business as an employee, I would always be waiting for the “right time” to tell people what I thought or needed, but that time would never seem to come, so I would bury my feelings… building resentment.I remember the one time when I never knew I should have been paid overtime to work on a Saturday, my narcissistic boss would set his pitfall on me and laugh as he watched me freeze in terror, too scared to open the gate to the factory. I also recall when I collected my senses and said No more and resigned not knowing where my next rent money would come from. An all too common pattern by then as he was my third narcissistic boss in the rag trade who told me I did not handle authority well and should go work for myself or in the last story, decided he could break me down and diminish me to a wreck that would do anything he asked…..
I would push away help from others, even in times of stress and overwhelm when I really needed it.
If I look back now on the last 5 decades of my life, I can see now that at some very early age i chose an “adapt or die”belief system that kept me a mobiles strip of repeating variations of those stories, trapped and unknowingly committed to attracting unhealthy codependent patterns with men and women, unable to set healthy boundaries or speak my truth… overextended and stressed, all in the name of “being of service to others” or “do or die”. In a sense it was a coping pattern of “learned helplessness” which I see so much of in my daily work with people and animals.
I was already doing too much for others, and then someone would ask if there was somebody who could bring an extra dish for the meeting and my hand would automatically fly up, as if it were raised by itself!
Then I would beat myself up in private, for committing to yet another thing I didn’t have time for and resent the fact that I lacked the courage to stand in my vulnerability and say “sorry, I can’t do that right now.”
I didn’t realize what it was costing me at the time in my health, wellbeing, money flows and in my relationships, but my codependency and people-pleasing ways were wreaking havoc on ALL areas of my life.
And here’s the interesting thing… in my 20 plus years of facilitating others, I find that almost everyone is doing this to some degree, but almost no one realizes it… and it’s costing us more than we realize. ( If you have not taken the ACE test over at www.accessurtruenature.com, I highly recommend you make that your first step towards self love.)
So what the heck is “codependency”, learned helplessness and shutdown and how do you know if you’re living with it so you can change it now by returning to trusting you are enough without having to prove, justify or validate why you are who you are to anyone including your inner saboteur?
First of all… please know that codependency is on a spectrum. We can all have codependent patterns that flare up from time to time, but for some of us, it’s ruling our life and we may not even know it.
I work with many accomplished, highly intelligent, empathic sensitive and spiritually evolved people that are always surprised when they see how much codependency is running their life, and how deep it can go. You know the burn out, the lack of joy, the addiction to perfection that exacerbates shutdown where your biography becomes your biology aka sick and tired of protecting a life you are not living because you are desensitised to feeling everything so you can heal.
In a nutshell, codependency is the need to be needed by others. Not “like” to be needed by others… but the “need” to be needed by others.
It’s a type of unhealthy relationship that was originally thought to only involve families of substance abuse but it can actually affect any kind of relationship… coworkers… neighbors… romantic relationships… really, any interaction with another human being.
It’s characterized by sacrificing one’s personal needs in order to try to meet the needs of others… but this can show up in many forms, and can unknowingly sneak into every area of our life.
Now of course… codependency is on a spectrum. We can all have codependent patterns that flare up from time to time. But if you find yourself often living in the patterns below, your codependency is probably costing you more than you know.
1. Hard Time Saying “No”: It’s fine to want to please someone you care about, but codependents usually don’t think they have a choice. Saying “No” causes you anxiety. Some codependents have a hard time saying “No” to anyone, and go out of their way and sacrifice their own needs to accommodate other people.
2. Avoiding Tough Conversations: Waiting to have an uncomfortable conversation with someone that turns into days, weeks, months, or even years. You don’t want to hurt their feelings or upset them, and yet there never seems to be the “right time” to bring things up. You sweep your true feelings under the rug, then rationalize and justify why not to speak up, so as not to rock the boat.
3. Squishy Boundaries: You make rules or guidelines for yourself and interactions with others, but can’t seem to stick to them or enforce them.
4. Reactivity & Defensiveness: A consequence of poor boundaries is that you react to everyone’s thoughts and feelings. If someone says something you disagree with, you either believe it or become defensive. You absorb their words, because there’s no boundary between you and them. With a healthy boundary, you’d realize it was just their opinion and not a reflection of you, so you wouldn’t feel threatened by disagreements.
5. Control Issues: Control helps codependents feel safe and secure. Everyone needs some control over events in their life. You wouldn’t want to live in constant uncertainty and chaos, but for codependents, control limits their ability to take risks and share their feelings. Sometimes you have an addiction that either helps you loosen up, like alcohol, or helps you bury your feelings, like being a workaholic or being OCD, so that you don’t feel out of control. Codependents also need to control those close to them, because they need other people to behave in a certain way to feel okay. Even people-pleasing and care-taking can be used to control and manipulate others.
6. Empathic to a Fault: Being able to sense the needs and feelings of others is a gift, but codependents are often experts at feeling what others need or feel, but can’t always access or hear their own needs or truth. Many of us successfully navigated the tumultuous currents and storms of our childhood by learning and using the ability to read other people’s feeling and needs. By tuning into other’s feelings and needs, we could hopefully avoid the potential emotional landmines around us. However, as we became an expert at reading and sensing others, we often lost our own connection to what we were needing or feeling, so this aspect of ourselves became underdeveloped.
7. Your Self-Care Slips: You may not be taking the time to exercise or feed your body what it needs, or even getting enough sleep because you’re so busy with obligations to others. Codependents can even become workaholics who don’t take adequate breaks at work or allow their body the rest it needs to recuperate.
But the biggest thing is that when we are acting out of codependency, we’re giving our power away, and unwittingly creating drama and chaos in our life.
Codependency is actually one of the top ways we sabotage ourselves from reaching our true potential in life.
We each came here this lifetime with a very specific Mission and Sacred Purpose, but without being able to hear our own voice and needs, or having the courage to speak our truth and set healthy boundaries, we’ll remain stuck in old patterns of self-sabotage.
When I’m working with others, I always marvel at the absolute transformation that takes place when someone awakens to and breaks through their codependency. I will never get tired of watching someone step out of their codependency, and reclaim their power.
This is why I created my new upcoming virtual Boundary bootcamp over on my fb page @ 7pm
If you’re ready to go deeper on your journey with unwinding your people-pleasing and codependency, you can download my Boundary cheatsheet here.
In trust, grace and service,
Sarah-Jane and the motley pack
P.S. In the comments over on my facebook page, I’d love to hear about your own journey with setting healthy boundaries,creatig your own safety in chaotic times, people-pleasing, and codependency. I read each comment personally, and I’d love to connect. 🙂
P.P.S. If you’re ready to go deeper on your journey with acknowledging, cleansing and clearing your people-pleasing and codependency, please join me tomorrow on a free training right here where together we will kick people pleasing to the curb lovingly and establish solid, strong, healthy boundaries.