When we are kids, we are dependent on our parents to take care of both our physical and our emotional needs. In order to “learn how to fly”, we need their validation when we go through a wide range of emotions and their supportive love to help us process and regulate them. We need them to see us, hear us and acknowledge us for who we truly are in order for us to learn how to trust ourselves and have a good sense of our own self-worth. And it is through this mirroring that we are then able to develop a healthy relationship and a healthy dialogue with our own inner self.
However, this mirroring doesn’t often take place, because many of our parents were exposed to trauma themselves in their own childhood, where there was no one there to teach them useful skills on how to efficiently heal from it. This results in trauma been transferred down from generation to generation and in a kid that is constantly seeking for love and validation in almost all the external relationships it develops later on in life. This kid becomes a love addict…a codependent.

If you yourself are a codependent or you know people that are codependent, then you will be familiar with many of the characteristics of this negative conditioning in the list below.

Codependents are:

• PEOPLE PLEASERS: They always put up the “nice mask”. Poor boundaries are their Achilles heel. They have great difficulty saying NO to people, because they are afraid, they might upset the other person or they might be perceived as “bad”. So, oftentimes, they find themselves doing things they don’t really like and then they end up feeling self-loath, confusion and anger.

• PEOPLE FIXERS: They are naturally very empathic and they have the tendency to take other peoples’ problems as their own. They feel responsible for other peoples’ emotions and they frequently feel the obligation to “save” the other person. They are also big in giving advice and in helping others learn their life lessons.

• EXCESSIVE GIVERS: They often appear as very generous, but because they have the tendency to extensively give from a place of lack and emptiness, they end up feeling drained, exhausted and very resentful for all the giving.

• HAVING DIFFICULTY MAKING DECISIONS: Due to their constant seeking for external approval and validation, codependents are often lost when it comes to decision making. It is difficult for them to make decisions. In order to do so, taking the opinion of others first is crucial.

• SOCIALLY ANXIOUS: They are always concerned with what other people think of them. Even though they appear strong, confident and as if they have it all together, inside they suffer from low self-esteem and they continuously compare themselves to others. This constant tuning into other peoples’ perception of them, makes them very sensitive to criticism and social feedback. They are inclined to take things personally and to get easily insulted.

• SELF-BETRAYERS: They are so invested in their external relationships and the fact that they want to be liked by others, that they have forgotten how to turn inside to connect with their own self. They have great difficulty connecting with their own intuition and their emotions and they tend to especially hide the unpleasant ones under the carpet. When they go through something very difficult emotionally, they lack self-soothing mechanisms and they tend to “beat up” themselves for not being able to manage things in an idealistic perfect way.

Healing from codependency is not an easy job, but it is possible. It requires a lot of will power and commitment, which is always the case when breaking out from any negative conditioning. To unlearn codependency and gain back your autonomy, it requires that:

1) You start listening carefully to your own needs and intuition. Instead of rushing into doing things or making decisions, learn to take a moment to ask yourself “How do I feel about this?”. Tune into yourself and start respecting and validating your own emotions and experiences. If the emotions you are dealing with are heavy, try not to run away or find a way to distract yourself. Instead take some time and some space to be with you, even if the feeling is really uncomfortable. This way you learn how to be there for you and how to have your own back!

2) You start setting boundaries and saying NO to anything you don’t feel like doing. This step is crucial for recovering from codependency. Learning how to set healthy boundaries takes time and practice and you’ll have many step backs during this process, but be patient with yourself and be ready to disappoint or confuse many people around you (family, friends, etc..) that are not used to this version of you.

3) You start being OK with the idea that other people might not agree with your decisions/opinions or might not even like you. Think about it! It is impossible for everyone to like you or agree with you. People perceive the world and everyone included in it based on their own inner programming so in the end of the day there is nothing personal, it’s just different tastes and preferences. Practice not taking things personally (it will give you a great sense of freedom) and choose to surround yourself with people that give you a safe space to BE YOU.

4) You stop trying to save or fix people. It’s not your business! You need to realize that you are not responsible for how others feel, especially when they are not happy with themselves. You can always be there for them and hold space for them, but trying to take on their problems is an indication that you have some serious control issues and that if you are not able to shift the way others feel, then you cannot stand being around them. People who tend to save or fix others always expect someone else to save or fix them and they generally have very high expectations from the people close to them. Become aware of these expectations. Do you expect from others to understand you better than you understand yourself? Do you expect them to be super empathic when you are going through some difficulty? How do you set up people to disappoint you? Healing the core of your codependency wound requires that you become very conscious of this CONTROL-BEING CONTROLLED dynamic in your relationships… and then then it requires to bravely start choosing against it.

5) You start giving to yourself FIRST. Giving to others from a space of lack, will only make you feel angry, frustrated and resentful. Take care of yourself first and then giving will come naturally and effortlessly without leaving a bitter aftertaste. You’ll start seeing your relationships becoming deeper, more sincere and much more satisfying.

I do hope you found this post informative and useful. If you have already started your codependency re-covery journey, I’m so glad, I’m rooting for you. If you need any assistance throughout its course, do not hesitate to contact me and schedule a private session. If you are in need of just a quick advice, check out the new “QUICK ADVICE SERVICE” in the Holistic Awareness homepage. For any related comments drop an email in the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and I’ll come back to you asap.

Take lots of good care!