Unbeknownst to us, we do this to each other, in a variety of ways, most of which have been normalized to subtlety. While its expression and the means by which we practice it are diversified, its premise remains pretty much the same.
When we externalize our power and rely on outside forces to validate us we initiate this cycle.
We teach others that we are codependent on them, and if they accept our example, they become a part of it. They too, become codependent on us. This paradox of a mutually parasitic relationship takes place.
Couples do this to each other, friends do this to each other, parents do this to their children, politicians do this to the masses, religious leaders do this to their religious communities, and the list goes on.
No one is completely free to think, feel, behave in her/his own way in a codependent relationship. The Other must always be taken into account. The Other must always give her/his validation; through obedience, agreement, praise or silence.
Fear fuels the fire of a codependent relationship. There is fear that without the Other, oneself will cease to exist and thrive. This type of fear creates the illusion that empowered independence is at its core destructive. In fact could never see independence as empowering at all.
One might ask, if we’re already enmeshed in such a relationship is there anything we can do to get out of it or transform it?
If it’s a relationship that can be very well cut off, then it’s for the best interests of both parties if it gets severed. Usually, one person has to step up and take the lead. In other cases, though, when it’s with someone we may find too difficult to remove from our life, such as our family, we may have to resort to other options. We could spend less time with them, avoid going over subjects that only fuel our codependency, and get busy with our own stuff instead.
On the other hand, these approaches are just externalization of the shift in our perception.
We can only break ourselves free from this cycle once we have resolved the true major issue internally – self-validation.
We need to remember that we don’t actually need any other kind of validation, other than self-validation. All the external ones are just confetti – they amp up our celebration but they’re actually useless on their own.
We can address the root cause of all our codependent relationships by deciding to rely only on our validation of ourselves. Codependent “symptoms” tend to go way crazier once we initiate the shift. The Other will feel that they are losing their lifeline – us – and for this they will feel more desperate. They may act antagonistic towards us or retaliate by pulling away from us in order to draw us back in. We must not let ourselves be dragged by any of their drama. We must protect our mind and energy by reminding ourselves of our lone responsibility – to validate ourselves.
Dissolving these relationships actively, then, becomes secondary, because more often than not, if they’re truly codependent and they are not able to transform with us, they will fade on their own, anyway.
We must trust the process that self-empowerment is leading us into.
Likewise, we’re also giving them a chance to evolve by spearheading the shift inside us. This is a gift to ourselves and to all those we are in relationships with. We offer them the opportunity to heal and learn to validate themselves as well.