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Codependent, Codependency, and Codependence Articles
Healing codependency does not mean curing codependency. Healing codependency is a process. Healing always begins with recognizing the problem. Knowledge is power and that is true when we talk about Healing Codependency.
Let us begin the journey in understanding the process of Healing Codependency. Ask yourself these questions: Am I codependent? What does this mean? What codependent behaviors do I have? What is it costing me? These are essential questions as one begins the journey of healing and questions that need explored. I suggest you begin a journal and start recording your responses to these questions, allowing it to be your touchstone.
In addition to the journal, a group setting in the form of support groups facilitates the healing process. The community you live in may have some Codependency Support Groups. If not, perhaps try to find the name of a psychotherapist who specializes in addictions and has an understanding of codependency. I have found Al Anon groups to be effective if there is not a Codependency Support Group.
Developing an understanding of the roots of your codependency can provide a foundation for your healing. Many codependents are adult children of alcoholics/addicts and come from dysfunctional families. The journey of healing is about family of origin work as you discover the role and, the rules you were given and general dynamics from your first family. Most adult children from dysfunctional families remain in those roles, abide by those rules and, struggle with dynamics that are similar to those learned in their family of origins, repeating patterns with their significant other and their children today. However, please keep in mind that as wonderful as insight can be, insight alone will not heal your pain nor provide you the healing necessary for changing codependent behaviors and patterns.
Learning emotional detachment will assist you in early recovery and be a mainstay throughout your recovery program. Detaching is about learning to balance self in relationship with others. It is the beginning of boundary work, which you will hear much about at support groups and in your recommended readings. Detaching allows your emotional reactivity to lower and an emotional space to open, creating the opportunity for less dependency in relationships. It will be in this new space that one can begin to develop a sense of who am I? Needs, wants, and feelings can begin to be identified and communicated as you move toward less codependent relationships.
Communication skills, self-esteem building and improving how you manage stress will also be areas that will need addressed in your codependency recovery. These tools will assist in regaining ones own sense of self that was lost in codependent relationships. Recovery is about regaining your personal power that was lost in the dynamics of codependent relationships. It is about feeling empowered to live ones life without the need of approval, the fear of abandonment, of being preoccupied with pleasing others, about caring too much, and in general overfunctioning in relationships. Recovery is claiming back self.
Linda M. Smith, PhD, LMFT
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