Codependency is an attachment style where you need the other person in the relationship to give you approval in all the positive ways. You need other people to validate you as a person. You need their words to remind you that you have worth. To remind you that you are lovable and worthy and valuable. When you are codependent you use other people’s emotions to gauge how you are allowed to emotionally show up. Sometimes this looks like being a people pleaser. You often don’t trust your own opinions. You defer decisions. You don’t value your words or your thoughts. If you don't learn to let go of your codependent habits, you will end up recreating this attachment style in all of your other relationships moving forward. So that ends today. I'm going to teach you three steps that you can use to help you let go of your codependent habits and instead create healthy, strong relationships moving forward in your life. In this episode you will learn:
What codependency looks like.
How learning to validate yourself will be a game-changer for you in learning to fully love and accept yourself and being able to fully love and accept those in the relationship as well.
The key to reconnecting with you emotionally that has been missing keeping you stuck in a codependent habit, and what you can do to emotionally show up for yourself.
How to take a proactive role in implementing these changes today so you can finally replace the codependent habit with a new healthy habit instead.
List to the full episode:
You think you're doomed to repeat the same cycles you had in your marriage with your future relationships. I'm here to reassure you and tell you, you're not doomed, if you're willing to put in the work to change some old habits. It's totally possible for you to let go of codependency and learn to have healthy, strong, loving relationships that are full of acceptance, for yourself and your future partner. Let me show you how. Click here to schedule your complimentary discovery session with me.
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Full Episode Transcript:
I’m Karin Nelson and you’re listening to the Becoming You Again Podcast, episode number 60.
Welcome back to Becoming You Again. I’m your host Karin Nelson. I’m a certified divorce confidence coach and this is the podcast where I teach you how to reconnect with yourself, create emotional resiliency and live a truly independent life, so you can have an even better life than when you were married.
Hello my friends. So things here are going pretty good. I’m getting ready for my daughter’s 21 birthday which should be so fun. She’s been looking forward to it for a while now, obviously. It is her 21st birthday so…and we’ve got it planned exactly what we are going to do. We are going to the bar together and it’s going to be so fun. We’re looking forward to it a lot.
And we also just had our family pictures done. Now I don’t know about where you live but here in Utah fall is like especially the end of September, like early to mid October it gets really pretty. The leaves in the mountains are changing colors and it’s just like this explosion of yellows, and reds, and greens, and purples and it’s the most beautiful thing. So I scheduled our pictures purposely to be during this time of year up one of the canyons in Salt Lake City. So we go up Sunday afternoon and we get to the place, hahaha, and it was a scene that I was not expecting. It’s of course totally beautiful but there are so many other families in this same spot waiting to get their pictures taken. It was actually really kind of funny. I was not expecting this at all. But I really want you to picture this in your mind. You are walking down the path to where you are going to take the actual pictures and there are just pockets of families like every 20 to 30 feet just posing, taking pictures, photographers. I mean there were people up there for their wedding pictures. There were families. There were people dressed in Halloween costumes. There were two people dressed as ghosts running down the street holding hands, hugging with this photographer who is just taking all of these action shots. I mean so many creative different kind of things going on. It was so fun. And a little crazy and very unexpected for me. I guess maybe for a photographer you’re like, yeah that’s just how it is, but for me who only gets family pictures I think the last time we did it was two years ago this was very fun and unexpected. But I am also so glad that it is done and I can’t wait to get them back. I am so excited about it. So that is what is going on in my neck of the woods. That is what has been going on with me. What has been going on with you. Please come tell me. Either a join my Facebook group and let me know or DM me on Instagram. However you want to get a hold of me. I love to chat with you guys. You are amazing and I love getting to know you so let me know.
Also before I move on to the topic of today I did want to announce the date and time of this month’s free monthly coaching support group call where you can come, you can feel supported and connected to other women who are going through divorce and struggling with the same things you are. You can either listen in and just join and feel connected. You can get coached on a problem that you are having. You can do both. You can join and listen and get coached. It is totally up to you and sometimes what we need most is to step out of the isolation that we feel as we are going through this divorce and we really want to just step into connection and contact with other women who are just struggling with the same things we are struggling with.
So go and register for this call. I forgot to tell you when it is. Okay. Here is the date. Listen up. It is Tuesday, October 25, 2022 at 7 PM Eastern time. And you have to register for this call. Which basically means you give me, you put your name, you put your email and then you get email updates and reminders when each month’s call is but once you are on the list you do not have to keep registering every month. You are just on the list. You will get the email update and then you can join for the ones that you can make. Which is pretty amazing I think. You join one time, you are on the list, there you go and it will be once a month. This month’s call again is October 25, 2022.
So if you are listening to this in the future but it is a present for you then we have already had this call and you are not going to be able to come but I would guess there is probably one coming up for whatever month your listening in so just look for that date, get on the list and you will get an email telling you when it is. But this month if it is before October 25, 2022 that is the date that we are doing it at 7 PM Eastern time. So you can find that link in the show notes of this podcast or if you come and join my Facebook group, if you are not already in it, I always post announcements in there as well.
Alright so let’s dive into today’s topic on overcoming codependency. I’ve coaching several women through their codependent habits after their divorce because they recognize that if they don’t figure out how to leave codependency behind that they’re just end up attaching themselves to their next partner in the same way. And it’s not going to be good. And I had to do this work on myself as well. I didn’t know what codependency was while I was married and so I definitely wouldn’t have called myself that, but once I got divorced and I found coaching and I started getting trained in all of these different things and learning new things about myself and about relationships I recognized myself that I was someone who had codependent habits and I really wanted to unwind that attachment style so that as I moved forward into new relationships with not just my new partner but with my kids and my family members and with my friends and I wanted to approach those in a much healthier loving way where I was being true and authentic to myself and so I could show up being true and authentic with them as well.
So let’s first understand what codependency is because maybe you are like I was and had no idea this was even a thing. You don’t recognize it. You don’t may be recognizing yourself because you’re not quite sure what it actually means. Or maybe you have literally had all the therapy in the world, right, you have been doing therapy for years and you know what it is and it’s still showing up in your life and in your relationships.
This is how I define codependency. It’s when you need the other person in the relationship to give you approval in all the positive ways, or as another way of saying this, you need other people to validate you as a person. You need their words to remind you that you have worth. To remind you that you are lovable and worthy and valuable. When you are codependent you use other people’s emotions to gauge how you are allowed to emotionally show up. Often times you become a people pleaser to try and in a sense manipulate how someone else is going to feel so that you can feel good too. You often don’t trust your own opinions. You defer decisions. You defer opinions. You do not want to make decisions because you are afraid you might make the wrong decision. You don’t value your words and your own thoughts. You are kind of afraid to put them out into the world because you are afraid of what the judgment will be coming back at you.
So for example when I was married I believed the story that if my husband was happy and successful, then I would be happy and our family would be successful too. I put a lot of pressure on the relationship by adopting this codependent habit that I had formed. I needed him to be happy to give myself permission to be happy. I needed him to tell me that I was great, and I needed him to give myself permission to believe that I was great. I didn’t know that those things needed to come from inside of me. I didn’t know that someone else was not able to provide that for me. This is why I believe I was so unhappy for so long. And it’s why I continued to revert into losing myself and giving so much to everyone around me and really not paying attention to my own wants and needs. I lost trust in myself. I lost trust in my opinions because if I didn’t get a certain reaction from my husband at the time then I would go into a tail spin of negativity, and self hate, and criticism. I just really was embarrassed to give my opinion. I thought I would get in trouble. He might get upset if I said a certain thing or if he didn’t agree with me that was embarrassing for me. I just kind of started differing everything to him and really showing up in a very codependent way of like you tell me how you are going to feel so then I can decide how I am going to feel based off of that.
I promise you if I can find a way out of codependency you can too. It is possible for you. Like I said, I was able to find myself out of it. I have been able to create the healthiest most loving relationship I’ve ever know, that I have ever been in and attribute so much of that result to my ability to overcome my codependent habits. So I’m going to give you three ways that you can begin to let go of your codependency so your relationship with yourself with grow stronger and your relationships with other people will grow stronger and they will be healthier and stronger and more loving and it’s just the all-around goodness when it comes to you and your relationships.
The first thing you need to do to overcome codependency is work on learning to validate yourself. Validating is just another way of saying accepting yourself. So basically you are telling yourself that you are worthy and you are whole and complete just as you are. It’s getting to this place where you love yourself and all parts of yourself like the good amazing parts. The parts that are just okay and the parts where you are kind of learning to be better and to do better and then the worst dreadful parts of you. Right because those are the whole package of you. All of those things make up you and when you can get to this place for you accept all of it that is going to be where you are showing up and validating and excepting you.
Because when someone approves of us and tells us all of the amazing, gushy things about us, it feels really good. Right. I totally recognize that. It feels so good when people tell us those things. This is why falling in love feels so amazing. Because we’re constantly hearing those things about ourselves. But on top of that, what’s really going on is that when someone tells us all of these validating things, about you’re worthy, you’re valuable. I love you. You’re beautiful. You’re so amazing. You’re so unique. You love your family so much and all of the things that we love to hear about ourselves, what is really going on is someone is saying those words and we are in essence giving ourselves permission to believe that what they are saying is true and then we feel really good inside. Because it feels good to believe that we are good and that we are amazing in certain ways and we are unique and there is something special about us. And this is not a problem unless we haven’t learned to believe those things about ourselves on your own as well. What happens is we don’t learn how to validate ourselves. We don’t learn how to accept ourselves and then maybe that relationship ends or it gets kind of rocky or kind of gets challenging and they stop saying those things about us and then we are like but wait a minute I can’t like myself unless I hear those things. I can’t like myself unless I get proof from you to tell me that they are true. But in reality you can. At any time you can begin to give yourself permission to believe those things and you don’t have to hear it from someone else. You can 100% give yourself permission to believe anything you want about yourself. You can 100% give yourself permission to love yourself, to recognize your worth, to recognize your value, to recognize you are the whole package and not doesn’t mean you are perfect. It means yes you make mistakes and your amazing, you are both. You are all of it. And that makes you worthy and valuable just as you are.
When I was dating my current partner, Tim, we were maybe dating I don’t know a month or two we were into the relationship and I hadn’t learned this process of self validation yet. I would get so worked up if he didn’t send me a text back within a certain amount of time. Right? Let’s say I would text him and then I just wouldn’t hear anything for a couple of hours or maybe even it would go from like saying good night to the morning or something and my brain is such a good storyteller. You guys I don’t know if your brains are like this but it would come up with all kinds of crazy things about why he wasn’t texting me back. They were all kinds of fear based stories. And all of them are critical to me in some way like he just doesn’t like me anymore. I must have done something or said something to push him away. He probably found someone else that is prettier or smarter or skinnier or has bigger boobs or whatever my brain was feeding me in those moments. And then I would believe them. And then all of the sudden I would get a text and you know what would happen, my brain would be like oh never mind. It is okay. Now I can believe that everything is good and fine. Now I can believe that I’m worthy, that I’m beautiful, that he loves me. That everything is good. But it was causing me so much pain in the meantime. I felt so terrible if I didn’t have that text. I felt so terrible if I didn’t have that proof. And it was causing me to act like a crazy person when we were together because I was constantly needing to have reassurance that everything was fine and that he liked me and love me and wanted to be with me and all the things. And then I was also crazy when we were apart. I was driving myself insane and felt terrible.
The change started to happen for myself when I began to think about myself in a different way. I’ve talked about this before but I started telling myself five things that I loved, liked and appreciated about me everyday. I did this for months, and months, and months. But what happened is the voice inside my brain started to change. I started to be nicer to myself. I was way less critical. I stopped worrying so much about what other people were thinking about me and I started paying more attention to what I thought about me. I started to notice that I was lovable. I started to believe that. I started to notice that I had strengths and I started to accept my weaknesses and I was willing to change the things that I could change and you know maybe just accept the things that like our part of me and it’s okay that I am not perfect. And I began to realize that I had didn’t need to wait around for permission from Tim or literally anyone else to believe what made me feel good about me and instead I could give myself that permission. And it’s not like I am being delusional and telling myself all of these things that aren’t believable about myself like oh you are the best basketball player in the world. You are amazing. Look at you. No. I was telling myself things that I believed and that were true about me but instead of waiting for someone else to give me permission to believe those things, I started getting myself that permission. That is where the change is going to happen. That is the very first step to creating validation for yourself and letting go of this codependent habit that you are attached to. And what happened was once I started doing this I was able to let go of seeking that acceptance from Tim and instead I just accepted myself which opened me up to being able to accept him for who he was as well and it really took so much pressure off of our relationship of trying to pretend and show up as people who we were not. We have been able to allow ourselves to be who we are and accept ourselves for who we are and that has made our relationship so much richer. So much more loving and connected.
The next step is to allow yourself to move on from this codependent habit is to allow yourself to feel your feelings. Codependency often shows up when we are constantly putting other people’s needs before our own and this happens not just with physical needs but it also happens with our own emotional needs. Right. We are often pretending that we are feeling a certain way or we are pretending that everything is fine when really everything is definitely not fine. Or we are walking on eggshells as they say trying to not provoke a certain mood from our partner but when we are doing this we are also preventing ourselves from connecting and allowing ourselves to feel whatever it is that we are actually feeling emotionally.
So to overcome codependency you’re going to have to get really good at feeling your feelings. You have to allow yourself to become friends with your emotions, even the negative ones that seem scary. But no emotion is really that scary, and the better you can get at letting them pass through you, the less you can let go of that attachment of needing other people to show up in a certain way so that you can feel better.
So how do we make friends with our emotions? Well we have to invite them in. We allow them to be with us and to be present when they show up. So I want you to picture this in your head, you’re in your house and sadness comes and it’s knocking on the door. Most of the time this is what we do with our emotions. Most of us are too afraid of sadness. We don’t want to let sadness in. And so instead of opening the door and inviting it to come in, right , we lock the door. We turn off the lights and tell it to go away. We pretend like we are not home. We are literally saying things like I don’t want you here. Go away. Why are you still here? Why haven’t I moved on from the sadness yet? I’m tired. I’m done. I can’t do this anymore. Sometimes you will look through your blinds and you are like ugh it’s still there. I can’t believe it’s still here. Everything I do with isn’t working and I don’t understand why you’re sticking around. But sadness (or whatever feeling it is that you are feeling) isn’t going to just go away. It’s going to keep knocking at the door. It’s trying to tell you something and you’re like I don’t want to hear it. Get away for me. I hate you. I don’t want to feel you. You are too scary. Go. And you run upstairs and you try to hide under your bed. And yet sadness is still down there knocking on the door. Right.
It’s going to keep coming back until you make friends with it. Until you understand what it is that it is trying to tell you. So how do you do that? You open the door. You let it into your house. You invited in. You talk to it. You’re like, oh, hi. I’m Karin. Who are you? Oh you’re sadness. Okay. I guess we’re doing sensitive. I guess we’re getting to know sadness today. All right. You sit down with it. You allow it inside your body and you get to know it. You focus your brain on your body and the sensations and the vibrations that you are feeling. Where does sadness show up for you? What does it look like? Get really intimate with sadness. Because once you become friends with your emotions and I’m using sadness of the example here, it could literally be any other motion but mostly it is with negative ones because they are the scary ones. They are the heavy ones. They are the ones that we think are going to make us too exhausted if we let them in. But I promise you it is the opposite. The opposite is true when you can let it in, invited in, allow it and focus what it feels like in your body and really get to know it like it is your friend your emotions. In scary. Your emotions will stop feeling overwhelming. They will stop feeling so intense and you will stop needing them to go away quickly. You will just be able to let them be there in your house with you and they can just come right along. They don’t have to roll your day. They don’t have to decide if you are going to be able to get things done or not. They are just with you. They are just going to tag along for the ride and it’s totally fine. It’s not a problem. And when you can start allowing your emotions to become your friend and inviting them in you will stop meeting other people to change how they are acting or change how they are feeling so that you can feel better because no emotion is going to be too scary for you to handle anymore. No emotion is going to be too heavy. No motion is going to be so difficult and challenging that you feel like you have to hide from it.
And the last thing that you need to do to overcome codependency is to figure out what it is that you are needing to provide for yourself that you are wanting someone else to provide for you?
So it’s kind of a confusing thing. I’ll kind of explain it a little bit more. For example, let’s go back to my example with my boyfriend and him not texting me back. When I notice that I’m starting to feel anxious about him not texting and I notice that my mind is racing with all these different possible scenarios of why he isn’t, I would stop myself in the middle that process and ask myself what is it that I will feel if he texted me back right now? What will be going through my head and what emotion will those thoughts create for me? So I might feel secure. I might feel loved. I might feel wanted. I might feel desired. I might feel happy when I see the text because I will be thinking about like he does love me. He wants to be with me. Our relationship is going great. Everything is fine. And those things, those thoughts are going to create feelings of security, of happiness, of love ability, of being wanted and desired.
So now I know what I want to feel and now my job is to go about creating that feeling for myself in the moment without needing him to say something or provide proof or offer me a thought that gives me permission to think that about myself. Right so it kind of goes back to the first one but in this one you are a little bit more proactive. You are like what is it that I think I am going to feel if they give this thing to me and how can I go about creating up for myself right now in this moment?
We know that our thoughts create her feelings. Our feelings of security and love and want and desire and happiness and all of the other feelings, that will never be created by someone or something outside of us. It will never be created by someone else’s actions. We want it to be. We think that it is. But it truly never works that way. You have a thought and your thoughts create your feelings and your feelings create your actions and those actions create your result. Your experience. We create those feelings for ourselves by what we are thinking and so if you realize that getting the text or whatever it is that you are waiting around for from the other person, if you can realize oh what I really think I am going to feel when they send that is this, now how can I provide that for myself right now in this moment?
Now when you’re first starting out you may not be able to fully believe on your own that you are worthy or that you are lovable or that you are wanted or desired or whatever it is that you are seeking from that person. So you want to start with a small step, like a little stepping stone. I just call these steppingstone thoughts. And so you could start with I’m open to believing that I’m worthy. Or I’m learning to see my worthy. Or I’m willing to believe that I am lovable and worthy. Or whatever you are seeking and meeting you can come up with your own thoughts on your own that are believable that will provide that feeling for you instead of needing it to come from someone outside of you. And with that you will take a small step closer to what you want to believe about yourself and you practice it and you practice believing those thoughts until it becomes real and true for you.
I promise you overcoming codependency is completely possible for you. I was able to do it. I have watched my clients create this in their lives as well. Take what I’ve taught you today and begin to implement it into your lives. It’s one thing to listen to the podcast which is amazing. I love you are listening but I also want you to create real change and real change is going to come from taking action on what I am teaching you.
Alright my friends. I love you so much. Thank you so much for listening, for being here, for sharing the podcast, for giving it ratings. I appreciate it so much. I am so grateful for every single one of you. I truly believe that it is possible for you to have an amazing life after your marriage, to have an amazing life when you are divorced. I 100% believe this is possible for you. I have created in my own life. I have helped my clients and watched them create this in their own lives as well. And I know it is possible for you to. Thank you so much for being here. I love you all. I will be back next week.
If you like what you heard on today’s podcast and you want to know more about working 1:1 with me, you can go to www.karinnelsoncoaching.com and schedule your free consult to find out more. That’s www dot Karin nelson coaching dot com.
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