After learning about codependency and the behaviors involved with it, and then working on choosing different behavioral options such as detaching, letting go, feeling my emotions and setting and enforcing boundaries – including saying no — I began to feel … ashamed for having been so blatantly codependent.
I’d been the poster girl for the hand-wringing, anxiety-ridden, people-pleasing, controlling and obsessive stereotype often associated with people identifying themselves as “codependent.”
It (being codependent) wasn’t glamorous. It wasn’t something I was proud of.
Then I began to understand: there’s no shame in being codependent or having been that way.
The real root of the word “codependent” and the original definition came from the legal use of the word in contracts and documents. It (codependent) meant that an action was mutually dependent on or influenced by something else – someone or something besides the original factor or persons involved.
Codependent defined certain legal terms in agreements, contracts or decisions.
Then, in the 80’s, when codependency came out as a word used to describe (mostly) dysfunctional relationships, it took on a new meaning for many of us – but not a completely new one.
When making decisions and choices, we all take into consideration various factors: our choice’s impact on people we love, the results of that choice on our (and other people’s lives) and other considerations.
Being “Codependent No More” (or at least “Not as Much”) doesn’t mean we’re crazy. And isn’t cause for embarrassment.
It means we’re now consciously considering the motivations for our decisions. For many of us, it means that instead of making our choices solely to please others – or to try to control them – we’re considering all our options, and finally (for many of us), understanding the impact of our decisions and behaviors on ourselves. We learned that we matter too.
There’s no need to be embarrassed to be (and stay) Codependent No More.
No need to be ashamed to have gone through the process of allowing codependency (in a negative way) to impact our lives, and then learning to stop trying to do what’s impossible (control others) and start focusing on the possible: taking good care of ourselves. Consciously and in a way that takes others and (at last) ourselves into consideration when making decisions.
Feeling embarrassed about different stages of life we experience on the way to becoming who we are now is no different from cringing when we see pictures of how we wore our hair 25 years ago. We can feel that way; but it isn’t necessary. We were doing what we thought best – at that time.
We weren’t crazy – even at the height of our obsessing and controlling. We were codependent on unhealthy factors in our decisions and behaviors.
To many millions of us, that revelation was and still is a huge relief. We set ourselves free to live our lives in a way that was and still is in our best interests.
No shame in that.
From the desk of Melody Beattie
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