Page 16 - LCT December 2019
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 Codependency: how do we let go?
“Codependency” happens when one becomes dependent on another person or controlled by the needs of another person. Recovery from codependency is key to having healthy relationships. Often the codependent may say that if my partner or child would just change, I will be ok; however, codependency is a sign that you are not living a life in personal balance. The focus becomes on “the other” as either the source of happiness or unhappiness in life. People become addicted to other people in the same way that we become addicted to alcohol or drugs or other compulsive behaviors. “Seeking” something outside of you is not the way to feeling whole or happy. Unfortunately, we live in a society that emphasizes the belief that with the latest new medication, exercise, diet, podcast, etc., that we are going to find the answers that we are looking for to fix what is wrong inside of us. Along with that is the theory that if I find the perfect partner, or if my children are on the ideal path and are doing well, all will be good with me, right?

Our experience with “the other,” meaning another person, can be disappointing and limiting if we are not in a good personal space with ourselves. The capacity for joy comes within us first and not just from our experience with another person. If we can’t experience joy within ourselves, no partner or other relationship can create happiness within us. Happiness between two people gets created when both can find a familiar place together to create it. Often it comes from an offering or invitation to join into a pleasing activity; a smile or a laugh can be infectious! One person makes the offer, and either the other(s) step into that moment or the moment is missed.
People become addicted to drugs, nicotine, food, sex, and other things to satiate needs. Just as people become addicted to these things, we become addicted to the feeling of being in love. We all know there is nothing better than meeting someone new and the roller coaster of butterflies and excitement that comes from a new relationship. The “love hormone” oxytocin is released during the romance stage of a relationship, so in essence, we are experiencing a lift in brain chemistry similar to drugs. Once that phase of the relationship has passed, we move on to a more mature part of the relationship, and that’s where the work of really getting to know each other begins. As soon as we have declared love for another, the vulnerable state of an open heart begins.
Often in love, we are filling up needs that come from longing for connection that may stem from unmet needs in childhood. We bring ourselves with all of our previous
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