Are you drawn to relationships in which you take care of others and neglect your own needs? Does your self-esteem and self-worth depend too much on what you are doing for others?
If your parents didn’t take care of your emotional needs, you may have developed a co-dependent relationship pattern:
You didn’t get the unconditional love you needed, didn’t feel good enough and your feelings didn’t matter.
Often, this results in a feeling that there is something wrong, deficient or damaged about you. In other words, it could have created a shame-based identity.
In relationships, shame makes you hide, and you defend against your own vulnerability and needs due to the fear of pain. Your needs were not met and you learned to feel love, approval and validation through caring for and helping others.
In codependency, taking care of others while neglecting yourself helps you to avoid the shame and avoid risking the pain. In this way, it’s similar to how addicts and alcoholics avoid themselves. The person or people with whom you are codependent become the “the problem” while you avoid your own. You also get to feel a sense of control and power in the guise of helping the one who needs to be taken care of.
This is like a shot glass of self-esteem, which in the long run, leaves you even more depleted. The problem is, like the addict, your focus on the other takes you away from your own needs, feelings, and vulnerability, and you do not get your needs met.
If this sounds like you, it may be helpful to start to question the source of what you are doing. Here are some questions to explore:
- Am I doing this for them or is it so I feel better by distracting myself from my own issues?
- Do I want to do this or do I need to say no – set boundaries and take care of myself?
- Am I giving up my needs for theirs? What do I really feel and want?
- Did they ask me for help or am I pushing it on them?
- Do I need to get credit, always be right/perfect, be the one who does it all and saves the day?
- Do I need to ask for support?
While healthy self-esteem comes from healthy parenting, it’s not too late! I (and those I have worked with) have healed from co-dependence and addictions by re-parenting my inner child, working through the pains and shame of the past, setting healthy boundaries and more.
You too can be the loving, nurturing and empowering parent you always needed for yourself and your inner child. You can trust yourself to be present for what you need and to feel safe through the process of feeling and healing.
Learn how to heal your wounded inner-child and re-connect to your inner child/true self with my 60-day core emotional healing program: CLICK HERE to enroll in Express What’s Repressed.
This process will not only help you heal codependent patterns but also heal chronic symptoms, emotional eating (binges!), addictions, and perfectionism so that you may live a more fulfilled and inspired life!