A few years ago I read a book that was really instrumental in helping me to understand codependency and the effect that it had on my life, and also the lives of those around me. The book was called ‘Codependent No More’ by Melody Beattie and she really gives a thorough explanation of her understanding of codependency along with numerous examples of the different variations of how it can show up.
Wikepedia offers the explanation that codependency is “a behavioral condition in a relationship where one person enables another person’s addiction, poor mental health, immaturity, irresponsibility, or under-achievement. Among the core characteristics of codependency is an excessive reliance on other people for approval and a sense of identity”. Whether codependency can be completely eradicated from ones personality, or simply managed to the point that it no longer effects your life in a negative way, is debatable. When I found out that I was codependent a few years ago this book helped me to understand that I was not just a victim in my relationship, and I began to see the part that I had played. I made the decision that I did not want to play that role anymore, and that is when I searched deeper into how codependency can be cured.
I was far too involved in my partners life, spending my time trying to please him, ensure that I was being helpful and fulfilling any requests that he had. I rarely put my self first and because of this I gradually became more and more disgruntled in the relationship and resentful. I was stuck in a pattern of reacting to everything that my partner did, and consequently always giving my power away. If he was in a bad mood and wanted to pick an argument, then I would join in the argument and we would both end up in fowl moods. If he made a rude remark, I felt that I had to react immediately.
Through doing my research and working on myself I learned how to take my power back, and also that I was wasting my time trying to control others. The more that I tried to get my partner to meet my needs, in a covert way because I did not know how to express myself overtly, the worse and more detached he became. He was clearly letting me know that he was not going to be controlled. It is so liberating to know that I do not need to try and control him or anyone else, I just need to put myself first and everything else will follow.
Below I have shared some of the quotes from the book that resonated with me the most:
- “A codependent person is one who has let another persons behaviour affect him or her, and who is obsessed with controlling that person’s behaviour.”
- “The only person you can now or ever change is yourself. The only person that is your business to control is yourself.”
- “Codependents make great employees. They don’t complain, they do more than their share, they do whatever is asked of them; they please people; and they try to do their work perfectly- at least for a while until they become angry and resentful.”
- “We are loveable. Even if the most important person in your world rejects you, you are still real, and you are still okay.”
- “Codependents are reactionaries, they overreact. They under- react. But rarely do they act. They react to the problems, pains and lives of other’s.”
- “Codependents don’t trust themselves, don’t trust their feelings, don’t trust their decisions, and don’t trust other people.”
These quotes are a few of my favourites from the book and you can see that each gives an insightful look into the traits and behaviours of a codependent. Have any of you read this book? Or are there any other books that you would recommend on codependency? I would love to hear your thoughts.