The word Codependency has various applications, descriptions and meanings. Jason Breyer describes Codependency as “a psychological and behavioural condition based on faulty programming and emotional wounds, which affects someone’s capacity to have healthy, mutually satisfying relationships.” See “What is Codependency?” for more info. When I tune in to the energy behind the word Codependency it feels (to me) dense, dark, needy, weak, taken advantage of, and flawed, broken, low-vibration, lonely, and filled with fear. I also feel shame and embarrassment. I wonder if you feel something similar? This is one of the reasons why Ross Rosenburg, the author of “The Human Magnet Syndrome” has renamed “Codependency” in his work, to “Self-Love Deficit Disorder?” I feel this term does not have the same dense energy and the negative stigma attached to it. What I sense is the room or space for self-compassion, warmth, kindness, and growing, learning and healing, instead of self-contempt, embarrassment and shame. Self-Love Deficit Disorder calls it what it is at its core. There are many reasons for the onset of Self-Love Deficiency/Codependency. We were not born this way; it was created, which I will explore more in this article. Regardless of what we call it, there are many layers and depths that need to be addressed along the healing, wholeness and self-awareness journey.
Early Programming/Wounded Inner Child
Christiane Northrup writes:
“As Empaths, we learned early on that we couldn’t be our true selves (and that we needed others to validate us and make us feel whole and seen) and throughout our lives- because we didn’t understand our empathic nature- we became lint rollers for the unfelt pain of others. We took on stuff that wasn’t our responsibility. And we did everything in our power to uplift others and make them feel better so that we could finally feel better too.”
We adapt to the best of our ability to our early environment(s). As we get older, we might notice these early adaptions are no longer serving us. Children with different temperaments adapt in different ways. Northrup continues by saying, we are trying desperately to “fit in”, to find any bits of conditional love, and to the best of our ability to avoid the “three archetypal wounds: shame, abandonment, and betrayal.” Our inner child is grief-stricken, confused, angry, lonely, sad, scared, feeling unlovable, etc. and as a result, our “outer experience in the world is going to re-create our wounds”, resulting in more pain. This makes us vulnerable to Narcissists, or what she calls, “Energy Vampires.” Lisa Romano echo’s something very similar, “our troubled relationships are mirrors of what is happening inside of us. Until we awaken to our denial of self, we stay on paths of destruction with others who are also on paths of destruction.” In this way, it helps us to understand how denying our true emotions has allowed others to violate our boundaries for personal gain.
Pete Walker, in his book, “Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving”, gives this phenomenon a name, he calls it “repetition compulsion” or “re-enactment.” It is where “we remain symbolically enthralled to the family by getting ensnared with narcissistic people who were just as abusive and neglectful as their parents.” This explains why we have been unconsciously drawn to certain people (that recreate our early wounds). Once we become aware of this “repetition compulsion” or “re-enactment”, we realize that it is not our fault and there is nothing wrong with us. It is unconscious, an adaption that deeply needs tending to and healing.
The Results of Codependency
Denying the truth of who we are to feel loved and safe has very steep consequences and can manifest as anxiety, depression, frustration, self-hate, self-harm, hypersensitivity, addictions, etc. If this is not healed, Christiane Northrup says, “that the little wounded child will run your endocrine, immune, and central nervous systems until you take the time to meet her needs and stop neglecting her.” We need to take some of the concern, empathy, love, compassion, kindness, understanding and forgiving energy (that is innate in all Empaths), that we readily give to others, and offer it to our divine inner child. Self-Compassion is the key to healing. Stacy Hoch says, “if you have deep compassion for others and you do not have compassion for yourself, you do not have compassion! It is a two-way street!” She is absolutely right!
What will happen when you begin to heal?
As Empaths, we are so terrified to ever trigger anger or disapproval in others as we can feel their experience within our bodies. So we often choose to “keep other people’s egos at bay”, says Matt Khan. In doing this, we are stuck in the energetic muck. As we become more self-aware and healthy, we notice that we no longer rely on others for validation, approval, permission, etc. Some people are not going to like that they can no longer control you or impact you in this way, Lisa Romano says, “a quantum entanglement must happen (with this person), which is very uncomfortable.” Until this point, we have made others’ opinions of us, their ideas, love, affection, acceptance, etc. such a huge part of our lives and identity. As scary, difficult, and painful as it may be, we must learn to release and let go of these energies and patterns that do not serve us. Matt Khan writes:
“Disrespectful behaviour (from others) is how souls request greater physical distance in order to spend more time getting to know themselves beyond the confines of ego. If someone is meant to interact in a way that is mutually beneficial for the evolution of both souls, their conduct will be open, honest, and respectful. If they are unable to communicate in a respectful manner, their soul is asking for physical space, even if their ego can’t stand the thought of being apart.”
Healing Embodiment and Integration
According to Fred Gallo, a psychological problem, such as trauma, results in an imbalance or disruption in our body’s energy system. This disruption may show up in various systems in your body, including the nervous system, glandular system, meridian system, and chakra system. Further, he says, Energy Psychology techniques (such as EFT) can shift these energies and return your body’s energy system to balance influencing your health, emotions and state of mind, eliminating the problem.
Healing Codependency is a complex process. Our early attachment trauma needs to be addressed, and our inner child needs to be recognized, seen, acknowledged, heard and embraced. I encourage you to seek out the assistance of those specifically trained in assisting with this.
Our unconscious programming needs to be addressed. This includes being aware of our thoughts, beliefs and feelings about ourselves that stem from our early experiences and all that we unconsciously absorbed. Our body and behaviour also give us as clues as to what is going on deep within us. The deep shame that we feel due to this early inner wounding needs to be addressed. Our beliefs, thoughts, feelings, emotions, and body sensations are the level that I feel that EFT is a masterful accompaniment to the healing process. As Codependents, we accepted someone else’s version of who they thought we should be to please them, which has come at a cost. This is an example of something that an EFT or “Tapping” session could be done on; a step towards letting go of old programming and reconnecting with and embracing who we truly are, at our core.
Stacy Hoch says that once we have healed these inner wounds and are resonating in this place, we are too “Self -FULL” to continue taking on other people’s crap, which doesn’t make you not compassionate, it makes you sane. To which, I agree!
To new-found freedom,
If you are interested in a list of, “Codependent Thoughts and Beliefs to Tap On” (please click on the link).
Please see the contact page if you would like to let me know what you thought about this article, or if you are interested in receiving Empathic Heart Healing’s articles/blogs/newsletters or joining the facebook page. Thank you.
- What is Codependency?
- What is Narcissism?
- What is an Empath?
- What is EFT?
- Healing From Narcissistic Abuse
*Energy Therapies, such as EFT and Pranic Healing, are not substitutes for professional medical, psychological or psychiatric care.
- Breyer, Jason. Empath – A Highly Sensitive Person – Develop your gift, use emotional intelligence to turn your high sensitivity into a superpower: Overcome negative mindsets and master your social skills. Kindle Edition.
- Forward, Susan. Mothers Who Can’t Love (pp. 19-20). Harper. Kindle Edition
- Hoch, Stacy. The Empoweress- YouTube.
- Khan, Matt. Everything Is Here to Help You (p. 18-22, 64-65). Hay House. Kindle Edition.
- Northrup, Christiane. Dodging Energy Vampires (p. 123- 28). Hay House. Kindle Edition.
- Romano, Lisa. The Breakthrough Life Coach. YouTube.
- Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, CSAT, Ross. The Human Magnet Syndrome: The Codependent Narcissist Trap. Morgan James Publishing. Kindle Edition.
- Walker, Pete. Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving: A GUIDE AND MAP FOR RECOVERING FROM CHILDHOOD TRAUMA (pp. 16-17). Azure Coyote Publishing. Kindle Edition.