I am going to answer the question of “What are some preconceptions of codependency?” (and how can this prevent us from finding freedom aka recovery).
For some people, they have never heard of the term “codependency”, which can be a blessing because then this allows them to be free to discover what it is without being tainted by preconceived ideas.
For others though, there can be a lingering assumption of what “a codependent” is…
…perhaps the scent of an old assumption left over from the 80’s when codependency was first being discovered and had its associations with the caretakers and partners of addicts.
(Another term which is due for some renewed PR, given the prevalence of addictions which all aspects of society are taken by, right down to even our children and their online interactions). (🙈 ← my personal icon for feeling shame)
As such, it is often assumed that to don the label of a “codependent” means that you are now sentenced with being considered a person who is completely dependent on another person, that you are weak willed or unable to fully function as an independent highly functioning individual. (I want to return to this point later, but probably not in this mail)*
It can also conjure up images of the archetypal doormat or a desperate individual willing to do just about anything for the love and approval of others…
They wear the mask of “having their shit together” in the world… which, as I alluded to in my previous mail…. a world which really expects and requires you to be codependent in order to keep the economy and society operating at the level that it is.
So basically… bit of a caught between a rock and a hard place situation.⛰️
We can’t recover from that which we are lying to ourselves and others about….
… and stuck in the trap of our codependence we remain the pawns of society and others to dictate how we should move around and show up in the world to continue to dance for the pennies of acceptance…. I.e. we remain a slave!
There is a saying…
You can’t save your ass and your face at the same time!
And that really is at the heart of codependency recovery….
Because as I started alluding to where I mentioned that I was stuck in my own codependency entanglement….
A big aspect of healing from our own codependency is dealing with and embracing the feelings of SHAME!
There is a difference between the feelings of “guilt” and the feeling of “shame”. There is also a difference between healthy shame and toxic shame.
Guilt is what we feel when we have done a “bad thing” or perhaps made a decision that we have regretted. We feel sorry for a particular thing.
Shame invariably (and in this instance I really am referring to toxic shame), says “I haven’t just done a bad thing, I am bad”.
Shame becomes an internalized narrative when you feel guilt (sorry) simply for existing. The message is: I am not worthy / good enough / capable etc.
It runs along the narrative of “I should know better”; “Of course I was going to fail”; “If people really knew who I was, they would…” etc.
When we fall into either setting up unrealistic expectations for ourselves (or accepting the unrealistic expectations of others); or turn simple tasks into overwhelming expectations of self… then we set ourselves up to feel “failure”….
…A recipe for that part of us, which is desperate to receive the acceptance of others, to fall down a hole of toxic shame….
Healing from the shame that binds us isn’t as quick as “Bibbidi Boddidi Boo” unfortunately…. HOWEVER, there are processes and awareness that we can be mindful of so that we can minimize our tendency to experience toxic levels of shame.